“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek Book Review

Key Message for “Start with Why”

The golden circle rule is the thinking mode used by the most influential leaders in the world.

Core Content for “Start with Why”

  1. Why should we use the golden circle rule to think;
  2. How to use the golden circle rule;
  3. How to use the golden circle rule to influence and inspire others.

“Start with Why” Author

Simon Sneaker, the founder of Sinek Partners marketing consulting firm, became famous for discovering the “Golden Circle Rule”. His speech at TEDx “How Great Leaders Motivate Action” is one of the most-watched videos at the TED conference.

Why should we use the golden circle to think?

The way of “manipulation”

One may think the most common way to influence the behavior of others are “manipulation”, such as intimidation, encouragement, praise, and fines. There are also psychological effects such as implementing herd psychology, fear psychology, authority effect, and even statistics and big data to study how to manipulate consumers.

The problems of manipulation

People will not be loyal and trusty when they find out that they have been manipulated. Regardless even if it works to influence customers to buy products frequently, it does not mean you have the loyalty of your customers.

People buy not your products, but your beliefs [Start with Why]

Comparison of manipulation and golden circle rules


(1) Manipulation: It brings transactions, short-term gains, and cannot win the loyalty and trust of others.
(2) The Golden Circle: To attract people with the same intrinsic motivations as a way of inspiration, it brings trust and long-term management.

How to use the golden circle rule? [Start with Why] Review

What is the golden circle?

This is a mindset of thinking, which draws thinking and understanding issues into three circles:

  • the outermost circle layer is the What layer, that is, what to do, refers to the appearance of things;
  • the middle circle layer is the How layer, that is, how Doing is the way to achieve the goal;
  • the inner circle is the Why level, which is why one thing is done.

Most people think, act, and communicate in the outermost What circle, which starts from what circle. For example, when Dell promotes to consumers, it will only say that its computer has good performance, friendly interface, and preferential prices.

The golden circle rule’s thinking order is “from the inside out”, that is, thinking in the order of Why—How—What.

WHY – The first step of the Golden Circle

Think inside out and start with the innermost part of the golden circle, and why in the innermost Why circle: For Dell, Why do you want to produce computers? For the Wrights brothers – Why are you making airplanes? What kind of faith are you carrying? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get up every morning?

How – The second step of the Golden Circle

Only after you understand the “why” in the innermost layer, the second step is to think about how to do it in the middle layer. How this circle layer is to sort out how to realize Why and how to implement your ideas and values.

What – The third step of the Golden Circle

If Why and How are sorted out clearly, then what is done in the What layer is a natural result. What means the action or milestones that you will need to do and accomplish to achieve your goals.

Book Summary of Start with Why by Simon Sinek – The Golden Circle of why

Summary of “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek:

  1. Influencing others can be achieved by a series of manipulation methods, but it cannot win long term loyalty and trust.
  2. People buy because of what your beliefs are, not only your products.
  3. The Golden Circle requires a sequence of thinking. We need to think “from the inside out”: think about the Why first, then How, and finally What.
  4. Great companies and influential people are not recruiting capable people when they start and then motivating them. On the contrary, they are recruiting those who have identified themselves and are very motivated, and then inspire, inspire and awaken Their abilities.
  5. The mediocre company is to assign tasks to employees, while the innovative and influential companies all give employees directions and take responsibility.

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About the author

Susanne Ricee

Susanne Ricee is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and Researcher at Diversity for Social Impact. Sue brings over 15 years of HR and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion consultation experience.
Sue's previous experience includes Microsoft, Target, and Kraft. Sue is also the manager of Diversity Leadership Directory