Start With Why

January 26, 2022

Simon Sinek’s six part book–Start With Why— will help entrepreneurs and leaders to build organizations, lead movements, and inspire people.

It is filled with loads of practical examples and case studies to show why some people and organizations, are more successful and innovative than others.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in parts one and two in Start With Why.

Part 1- A world that doesn’t start with why

Sinek says it’s important not to make assumptions based on what we think we know. Instead we must gather formal and informal data to make an educated decision.

It is possible to engineer the outcome we want from the start if we understand why a project has to fit by design and not by default.

“There are two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”

Simon Sinek

Examples of manipulation to motivate behavior include: price drop, promotion, fear, peer pressure, aspirational messages and promising innovation (by support).

The gains acquired through manipulations are costly and they are short term.

Manipulations may breed repeat business/transactions, but they do not breed loyalty.

Manipulations cause stress for businesses as well as the consumer. Consumers feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices and constant manipulations trying to get their attention.

Businesses feel stressed to constantly come up with ways to manipulate their consumers. Manipulation business tactics are today’s norm, but there is an alternative.

Part 2- An alternative perspective

Central to this book’s message is Sinek’s discovery of the Golden circle.

The outside layer of the circle is What. The next layer of the circle moving inwards is How. The innermost circle is Why.

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, People buy WHY you do it”

Simon Sinek

The Rational Brain brain understands what the company/service/product does. It also understands how we do what we do. How’s are used to explain why something is different or better.

The Oldest part of brain (limbic system) is able to tap into why.

Why do companies do what they do? Why do they exist, why should anyone care? The need for buying into why is driven by natural Biology – the need to belong.

When a company clearly explains why, consumers will go out of their why to acquire these products because they become symbols of what we value in life. These products make us feel like we belong, that we are safe, that we are special.


Sinek uses the example of Apple to illustrate the importance of why.

Apple has defined itself as successful brand, because they define themselves not by what they make, but by why they do things. It is a company that challenges the status quo and offers individuals simpler alternatives.

Companies like apple don’t sell a lifestyle. The lifestyle comes first, and then people are drawn to the product. Loyalists to the brand feel inspired rather than manipulated to buy it.

While good quality and features matter, they are not enough to produce loyalty. It is the cause of the company that inspires loyalty.

When the why is absent manipulations thrive. When your company has authenticity and it actually believes its why, then you have balance.

Authenticity is achieved by clarity of understanding why. This authenticity creates relationships. Relationships build trust. Trust builds loyalty.

Starting with why changes the impact of the organization’s how and what.

More topics:

In the rest of the book Sinek discusses more interesting topics that are very useful for both entrepreneurs and leaders.

  • Leaders need a following.
  • How to rally those who believe.
  • The biggest challenge is success.
  • Discover why.

Start With Why ends with the importance of competing against yourself. Sinek says when great companies compete against others, no one wants to help them, but when they compete against themselves, everyone wants to help them!

Hope you found this quick summary of Part 1 & 2 useful. In case you are looking for similar inspiring books check out Books for Entrepreneurs and Leaders.

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