Friday, May 11, 2018

Review: "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek

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Author:  Simon Sinek
Type: Non-Fiction 
Pages- 225
Publishing house: Portfolio Penguin


There are 6 parts of this book.
Part 1: A world that doesn’t start with why
Part 2: An alternative perspective
Part 3: Leaders need a following
Part 4: How to rally those who believe
Part 5: The biggest challenge is success
Part 6: Discover Why

In the initial pages, he talks about human behaviour. He says that human behaviour can be influenced in 2 ways- by inspiration and by manipulation. He states that companies do stick for manipulations. Manipulations like the price drop, packaging, advertisement do work but do have short-term benefit. But they should be seeking for the loyalty of customers who would stick with the organisation thick and thin. Simon further goes to explain the reason for the same. He very confidently puts it that aiming at ‘Why’ is only the reason for long-term success given that the product is already at its best. He attributes biology for the reason of same. He explains the theory of Golden circle which can be best understood by this well-received TED Talk. He says that Golden circle is not so easy. Authenticity matters.

What authenticity means is that your Golden Circle is in balance. It means that everything you say and everything you do actually believe. This goes for management as well as the employees. Only when that happens can the things you say and do be viewed as authentic.

He tries to differentiate between the meaning of motivated and inspired. Motivated are those who are manipulated by the promise of massive payouts.  Inspired are those who work in the best interest of the whole. He also states Law of diffusion of innovation in his later chapters and does aid the theory with ample examples. He also explains an interesting metaphor, he uses in the chapter- ‘Split Happens’.

“The school bus test is a simple metaphor. If a founder or leader of an organisation were to be hit by a school bus, would the organisation continue to thrive at the same pace without them at the helm? So many organisations are built on the force of a single personality that their departure can cause significant disruption. The question isn’t if it happens- all founders eventually leave or die- its just a question of when and how prepared the organisation is for the inevitable departure. The challenge isn’t going to cling to the leader, it’s to find effective ways to keep the founding vision alive forever.”
Simon Sinek is full of praise for Apple Inc. throughout the book. He has used the organisation for instance to aid his points and theory. Though he has used it ‘many times’. He even personally admits this fact.

The reason I use Apple so extensively throughout this book is that Apple is so disciplined in HOW they do things and so consistent in WHAT they do that, love them or hate them, we all have a sense of their WHY. We know what they believe.”

The words are quite easy to understand and don’t challenge your verbal ability. Pros are it is based on a unique theory supplemented by great examples that convinces you to believe in. Simon Sinek is extremely well in telling people what he wants to tell. Just watch his TED Talk or his interview with Tom Bilyeu (Impact Theory) and you will be full blown by the personality and charisma, he possesses. Cons are that though the videos may be extremely good and well received, one may struggle to go across the chapters. I mean, there is nothing much on the theory side to talk about. You propose a mind-boggling on a page, you try to explain it multiple times, you aid the theory with multiple examples, sometimes even same, these all things make you feel dragged down and not swift enough while reading the pages.

Verdict: It has a great theory and book deserves a lot of praise but the writing style isn’t compelling enough. I don’t expect a nonfiction to be as compelling as a fiction. Though the chapters are heavy, and you feel a bit slow. But in the end, it’s a nice book. Watching his TED Talk may too summarize the things that he wants to say. So, it depends on the age group and class, for which they want to go for.




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