Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

A book by Simon Sinek “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”



The big idea behind Simon Sinek’s “Start with why” is that you will build a stronger company, grow your sales more organically, and resonate with the right customers by focusing your branding and communications around WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.  The WHAT you do is in many ways secondary.


Customers that identify with your WHY – “what you stand for” – will feel more passionate about your brand and are more likely to become fans, trust you, and buy from you.

For example: if your purpose is to make a difference in the world by inspiring people find their passion, that message will resonate with many and they will check out what you offer.  Whereas if you come out saying “I’m selling books to help you build a business” you will be one of a million, you won’t connect emotionally with your audience, and you won’t stand out.

Starting with WHY is part of a leadership framework demonstrated by The Golden Circle.  Leaders should first define and communicate WHY they do what they do, then recruit the people who can figure out HOW to do it, and finally use WHAT they do as proof of their WHY.

The beauty of defining your WHY is that it can function as your northern star for all your choices.  If you stand for SIMPLICITY, you’ll have a good sense for the design direction you should take regarding your website, or your product’s packaging, or your pricing sheet.

And the really good news is that when your WHY resonates with customers, they won’t care as much about pricing or features or performance.  They’re your fans and supporters, which makes for a strong brand, and a company that can weather challenges that come along.


So how can you define your WHY?  What is your mission?  For inspiration, here are a few examples:

Asana’s mission is “to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.”  Uber’s is to make “Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.”  And Airbnb’s is “to connect millions of people . . . so that you can Belong Anywhere.”[1]

Your WHY should be inspiring and bigger in scope than WHAT you actually do.  Ask returning clients what’s unique about you, and WHY they keep buying from you.

The key takeaway is that you shouldn’t focus on your end product: the WHAT you do.  Because you become short sighted, you don’t see the opportunities that come your way, and inevitably you become a commodity.  Instead, start with the EMOTION behind WHY you do what you do, so you can influence people and turn them into fans of what you stand for.


Start with Why (storyboard image 1) Start with Why (storyboard image 2) Start with Why (storyboard image 3)

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Simon Sinek author

Simon Sinek

Book Author

Simon Sinek is an optimist. He teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. From members of Congress to foreign ambassadors, from small businesses to corporations like Microsoft and 3M, from Hollywood to the Pentagon, he has presented his ideas about the power of why. He has written two books, Leaders Eat Last and Start With Why and is quoted frequently by national publications. Sinek also regularly shares 140 characters of inspiration on Twitter (@simonsinek).

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