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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

The power of his ideas, including more than 28 million views who have watched the TED Talk based on START WITH WHY - the third most popular TED video of all time.

Posted: Sept. 22, 2019

In 2009 Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work and, in turn, encourage their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 46 million who've watched his TED Talk based on Start with Why - the third most popular TED video of all time.

Simon starts with a fundamental question:

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others?

Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike?

Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with why. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the why behind it.

Start with Why shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way - and it's the opposite of what everyone else does.

Simon calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with why.

As Simon mentions throughout his book:

“People don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it.”

The golden circle

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Simon Sinek says people are inspired by a sense of purpose (or "Why"), and that this should come first when communicating, before "How" and "What".

Sinek calls this triad the golden circle, a diagram of a bulls-eye (or concentric circles or onion diagram) with "Why" in the innermost circle (representing people's motives or purposes), surrounded by a ring labeled "How" (representing people's processes or methods), enclosed in a ring labeled "What" (representing results or outcomes). He goes on to speculate about the biological factors behind this structure, such as the limbic system.

The limbic System: The set of brain structures located on both sides, the structures and interacting areas of the limbic system are involved in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory.

Every leader and company knows the WHAT. They can describe their products, their industry, and their competitors. Some companies also know HOW they do WHAT they do - their unique differentiation, their value proposition, and their values. But few companies know or articulate their WHY — their purpose, their cause or their belief. The WHY is their reason for being. And the WHY is why anyone should care.


Great salespeople always start with Who. Then they move to Why, What, and How. And then eventually to When, and How Much. ... Now once you get to the right Who, Simon Sinek is spot-on about beginning the conversation with Why. The Why is a game changer in selling modern technology.