“ How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action ”

by Simon Sinek

Book Cover


Understand the underlying reason of what you are doing. Communicate clearly what your (company’s) real and honest mission is. Make the why actionable.

Reading notes

Starting by the reason why rather than how. E.g. Apple is defined by challenging the status quo rather than building computers

Golden circle:

  • Why (core belief) -> how (how core belief gets fulfilled) -> what (what is done to fulfill it)
  • The golden circle form a speaker phone, because what amplifies how, amplifies why.

Usual tendency is to start with how. Instead, start with why to:

  • To define a company (we challenge status quo, rather than we build computers)
  • To market products and ideas (it will make your life better vs. it has all the features and quality)
  • Drive innovation (we help people being confident, rather than we manufacture toothpaste)
  • To lead others
  • To find the best candidate to assemble a consistent team - “we’re looking for someone who cares deeply for X” rather than just a long list of qualifications.
  • To self motivate (I’m building a cathedral vs. I am building a wall)

Empty “whys” are pointless ; look at “we value our customers” but then you wait on the phone for tens of minutes, or at Samsung and its coupons limited to one physical address.

Values should be actions so they can be actioned. “Prioritize customers” gives a guideline. “Customers are important” does not.

Organizations are defined by their why. Changing the why is very complex and risky, leaders should make sure the why is passed on to the company before they leave. E.g. Bill Gates, why was to put a PC on every desk, left to Balmer who was a “how” person, energy is good to motivate but disappears as soon as the leader is invisible. “Why” is leading.

About Reading Notes

These are my takes on this book. See other reading notes. Most of the time I stop taking notes on books I don't enjoy, and these end up not being in the list. This is why average ratings tend to be high.