Start With Why Book Summary, by Simon Sinek

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1-Page Summary of Start With Why


Simon Sinek’s Start With Why is a self-help book for business leaders who want to inspire their employees and customers. Most companies use manipulative strategies that do not lead to loyalty, but rather encourage short-term thinking. Customers will eventually stop buying the company’s products when those strategies fail, and employees are less motivated when they don’t feel inspired by their employers’ purpose.

Rather than just competing in the market, companies should have an underlying purpose of why they’re doing what they do. That way, employees will know how to work and customers will be more likely to buy from them because their values align with the company’s mission.

A company needs to have a leader who is able to communicate the values of the organization and create an environment where employees can spread that message. The strategy for this involves focusing on early adopters instead of everyone, as well as choosing one person to be the face of the company in order to ensure consistency.

When a visionary leader leaves, it is often hard for the company to continue with its vision. The focus shifts from “why” they do things to what they are doing. This can happen at all levels of the organization. A company’s purpose can be lost when there is no one left who remembers why that company exists and what their goal was in the first place. To avoid this problem, companies need to have metrics (measures) in place so everyone knows how well they’re doing or not doing against those measures and also needs to keep their culture strong by focusing on why rather than just what as well as having a succession plan that keeps people focused on why they exist rather than just what they do.

Start With Why first came out in 2009.

Key Takeaways

Current business practices focus on competition and manipulating customers to buy. However, this approach is ineffective because it costs too much money.

In order to come up with a good business strategy, you need to know the purpose of your company. After you figure that out, it’s important to know how you’ll achieve your goal. When choosing strategies for your company, make sure they align with the goals of your customers because people want to feel like they belong somewhere and if their values are aligned with yours then they will be loyal.

Companies that focus on their purpose are more innovative than companies that don’t. They appeal to the limbic brain by stating their purpose and how they fulfill it. The limbic brain is easier to convince than the neocortex, which recognizes what a company does.

Leading a company with a strong sense of purpose means growing trust, cultivating an environment that is conducive to the organization’s purpose, and seeking employees who are committed to the organization’s mission. Companies should focus on early adopters and build lasting relationships with them because they respond well to challenges.

Successful companies often have one visionary leader who focuses on “why” and a planning leader who establishes “how”. The rest of the organization amplifies the “why” and “how”, as well as symbols such as logos. When a visionary leader leaves or when it grows larger, that company can lose its focus on purpose.

Companies need to have a strong culture and succession plan in order to stay focused.

Companies that focus on their “why” are more successful because they reflect, learn from failure, and only compete against themselves.

Key Takeaway 1: Current assumptions about business success encourage leaders to focus on competition and manipulating customers to buy, despite evidence that these strategies are ineffective and costly.

Start With Why Book Summary, by Simon Sinek