Books Leadership

Book Review: Start with Why


Another book read, another book reviewed. But this time I am going give my opinion away right at the start. Start with why is hands down the most inspiring book I’ve read. Interested in leadership, communication or marketing? This is definitely a book for you!

Now I must admit that I am a bit of a Simon Sinek fan. I’ve watched his TED talk, listened to a couple of his presentations and been through a bunch of interviews prior to reading “Start with WHY”. The idea of starting with why resonates with me, and I was convinced already before I started reading. But in the book Simon does a really great job explaining his idea, explaining the reason it is more than a theory (it’s biology) and exemplifying it. The structure, flow and language is top-notch, and makes it easy to follow his chain of thought. I would go as far as saying this is not only the most inspiring book I’ve read, but also the most well written.

Simon who?

For those new to Simon Sinek or new to his idea of starting with WHY, I highly recommend that you go check out his TED talk on Start with Why.

His view on leadership is well summarized on one of the last pages of the book, “Leadership is not about power or authority. Leadership is decidedly more human. Being a leader requires one thing, and one thing only: followers. A follower is someone who volunteers to go where you are going. They chose to go not because they have to, not because they were incentivized to, not because they were threatened to, but because they want to.”

There are many ways of getting people to do what you want them to do. To purchase what you want them to purchase, and to decide what you want them to decide. Manipulations such as discounts, peer pressure and fear successfully drive transactions. But manipulations do not drive loyalty. Having a following, being a leader, is all about building that loyalty.

Start with WHY?

Simons idea is that to create loyalty and to build a following, what you should do is to always start with why. Tell people what your purpose is, tell people what your cause or belief is. Why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed every morning? And why should anyone care?

Always put what you are doing in a context of why. Make sure that what you do always align with your why. Why you do something should be evident simply by looking at what you do. Continuously making consistent actions enforce your why. But to be able to be consistent, you first have to know your why.

A mantra repeated by Simon is “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. The same goes for work. You don’t want to come to work to build a brick wall. You want to come to work to build a cathedral. You want to be part of something bigger, something with a cause.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it! @simonsinek on #leadership Click To Tweet

Communicating that cause, communicating that belief, communicating that WHY is what leadership is all about.


This one is easy: just read it.

If you have any interest what so ever in leadership or communication this is a book for you. There is a really powerful idea behind starting with why, and Simon does a remarkable job explaining and exemplifying the idea, the reasoning behind it and the value of applying it.


By Alexander Sandstrom

Passionate product manager with a love for technology and innovation. More about me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *