“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek

Rating: 3/5


3/5 to the book and 5/5 to the concept in the book. I feel a little behind the times with my review of this book. It was published in 2011 and has been on my ‘to read’ list for years. After watching Simon Sinek’s talk on Ted.com about how great leaders inspire action (https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en), I was inspired! I wish that I could say the same about the book.

I struggled with my review of this book because I know many people (and these are people that I respect and like) who loved this book. I almost felt bad rating this book a 3/5. To give you some perspective on my 5-point rating scale, a rating of 3 is perfectly respectable. For me, it generally means that a book was worth reading and that I got something out of it. It also means that I didn’t love it and likely won’t be gushing about it. The process of reflecting on this book also reminded me that different books will resonate/impact different people at different times. If the concepts in this book had been brand new to me or if they were what I needed or wanted to learn in that moment, then maybe I would have had a different reaction to the book.

My main issue with this book is that it felt repetitive and Sinek seemed to use the same case studies throughout (he references Apple a lot). I read the entire book but only because I kept hoping that some new idea or thought would emerge in the next section or the next chapter. Sadly, I don’t think that there was enough here to fill an entire book.

To be clear, I love the concept in the book that “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Starting with the why in whatever you are doing provides purpose, meaning, inspiration, and a framework to get started. Whenever I’m feeling stuck or unsure of something, I am reminded to go back to the WHY questions: “Why am I doing this?” “Why is this important?” “Why does this resonate with me?” I may not have loved the book but I do love the idea of starting with WHY.