PF book review: Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Intro: Every once in a while I’ll share a review on my blog. This is my opinion of a book, product or service I used and I detail why I came to that conclusion.  This is my book review of Start With Why by author Simon Sinek. I rate books on 4 dimensions:

  • Does the book contain valuable lessons I can carry out ( related to personal finance / career progress / personal development)
  • Is it an enjoyable read
  • Will I read the book again
  • How much fluff this it contain vs. content

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Start With Why
book review start with why simon siinek

Book Title: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

Book Description: This is a book for those who want to inspire and for those who want to find someone to inspire them -Simon Sinek. It crystallizes the essence of leadership in the clearest way I've encountered in years.

Book Author: Simon Sinek

Number Of Pages: 225

  • Valuable lessons
  • Readability
  • Read again
  • Content vs. fluff

Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Valuable Lessons

What it’s about

Start With Why is not a personal finance book, so what is it doing on a PF blog? Well, for one thing I’ve noticed that PF-ers are often ambitious people who want to take leadership roles, whether at work or in their communities. Whether it is to climb the corporate ladder, inspire people to join your start-up or ignite the passion of your friends to rally for a cause, better leadership cal ultimately help towards a better world.

The book details on what really inspires humans at a deeper visceral level. But it goes on by demonstrating how great leaders can make there WHY come to life and touch hundreds or thousand of people by aligning what they do, and how they do it with the their WHY and the WHYs of their following.

What it isn’t about

Start with Why is not a personal development book either, because it doesn’t aim to turn you into an uber-charismatic leader. Simon Sinek is actually brutally honest about this, not everyone can be a “Steve Jobs”-like leader. But many people are great at enabling and guiding the vision of a leader. If you can understand your WHY and align that with the vision of a great cause and help out, that is a tremendously valuable way to demonstrate leadership too.

Things I learnt from this book

  • What is the WHY, HOW and WHAT that are present in every organization?
  • How is that some persons or organizations are able to inspire and so many do not?
  • How does innovation diffuse? Who should you target your message at?
  • How do you measure and drive WHY behavior in an organization?
  • How do you discover you WHY?

If by now you want to know what this WHY – stuff is: Great!Pick up the book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action or look at this short video of Simon Sinek explaining this concept.


At 225 pages long I read this book over a week-end without any effort. The language is clear, the points of the author concise and his illustrations are on point. Simon Sinek introduces each and every one of his examples so beautifully, that at times it felt like I was reading fiction.

Read again

Will I read this book again. Oh boy  yes! It simply contains so many good quotes and pieces of information that I do not want to miss. I’ll let 6 months pass and read this book again. I’m convinced I’ll find some insights I’ve overlooked on the first read.

Content vs. fluff

I need to come forward: I’m a scanner. If I see fluff, my eyes tend to drool over and I skip entire sections until the good stuff comes back. I did not have to do that so much with this book. However, Simon Sinek uses only a handful of examples in Start With Why (Apple, Dell, Microsoft, MLK, …). As these examples are used several times to highlight different angles or aspects there is some overlap. I’d say that at the most 15% of the book is somewhat duplicate content. Which is really low for this type of book. There is actually 0% self promotion of the author. Cudos to Simon on this one.

How can I apply this in my daily life?

The point of reading a non-fiction book is to learn something and apply it in real life, so here are a few ideas I took away from Start with Why.

  • I adjusted the “About section” in my blog so that my WHY comes out. Previously I was all about WHAT I did
  • When I lead a meeting, I will take a few minutes to remind people of the WHY before diving into the minutiae
  • I’ll make my WHY come to life better when I’m introducing myself
  • When leading teams, I need to try to discover my team mates WHY and inspire them at that level

What about you?

Have you read Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action? How much did you like it ? Which insights did you apply in your life and how has it helped? Join the conversation in the comment section below.

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