Book Review: Simon Sinek starts with why over how or what

Simon Sinek introduced the highly influential concept of The Golden Circle in his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. This book appeared in my sphere when a retired business owner in one of my Toastmasters International public communication clubs brought up the notion of marketing the club based on why we do things rather than what we do or how we do them.

Start With Why 2(The Golden Circle)

The book gets into the notions of moving from why to how to what, which is the system that Sinek called The Golden Circle (18-minute video here)Simon Sinek makes the case that his system of communicating on why and through beliefs mirrors biology.

Biology underpins The Golden Circle, per Sinek, because it follows the notion of biology by clarifying similarities to the way our brains function. The newest and outermost section of the brain (the neocortex) processes sensory information, higher level reasoning, and communicating through language. This part of the brain also corresponds to the question of what.

Start With Why 4(The biology of the theory)

The middle two sections deal in the limbic system, which gets into our feelings, memories, moods, and behavior. The limbic system addresses the questions of how and why humans behave the way we do. In other words. our feelings, memories, moods, and behavior controls a larger portion of our means for making decisions than does the neocortex.

Start With Why 3(The Celery Test)

A simple test (or framework) for effective use of is the notion of The Golden Circle is The Celery Test. This four-minute Celery Test video moves from a results-based why into a purposeful, belief-based means for action. The Celery Test gets to the notion of acting consistently with your belief system in living your beliefs.

Start With Why 5(Simon Sinek)

There is much philosophical satisfaction that I take from Start With Why, and for that my inclination is to rate the book as 4.5-stars out of 5.0. The notion that the book could have been a more concise pamphlet or video is not lost on me, though the larger benefit of The Celery Test and the comparison to biology in the book were satisfying parts of the reading journey for me. I recommend this book to those wanting a self-help book for your own edification.

Matt – Tuesday, March 13, 2018