For the month of August, I read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. I saw a friend reading it about a year and a half ago, and he raved about it. Obviously it took me awhile to actually pick it up, but I’m so glad I did!
First of all, this was such a quick read, despite being over 200 pages. This was mostly due to the fact that it was so enjoyable and inspiring. There were a ton of real-world examples that he used, like Apple and Microsoft. My personal favorite was his use of Walmart as an example. He talked about how the founder, Sam Walton, had an incredibly strong concept of ‘why’, and how it was a key component in Walmart’s explosive growth. But when Walton died, his concept of ‘why’ seemed to die with him, and Walmart has been in steady decline ever since. Sinek used this example to deeply impress the idea on the reader that having a ‘why’ is important. Even further though, teaching your ‘why’ to your employees and successors is equally important, especially if you want your company to outlive you.
The book is based on a TED Talk that Sinek did awhile back (and you guys know I love TED!) and it was so well received that he decided to expand the concept. In fact, a lot of the reviews say that there wasn’t enough material there to warrant expanding into a book. They said that there was too many case studies and examples and not enough concepts. I don’t entirely disagree with this idea, especially at the beginning of the book. But if you’re patient, and get a little more than halfway through the book, he expands on the main concept of ‘The Golden Circle’, and teaches the reader why it works, and how to implement it better.
In the End
I immensely enjoyed this book, and in fact it’s the first of my monthly reads that I finished weeks before writing the post. But I will admit that it might not be for everyone. With that in mind, I will say that if you run a business, or may be in the position to run one someday, you should absolutely read this book. The concept of ‘why’ is timeless, and I believe it belongs on the same shelf as books like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.