Start With Why by Simon Sinek book review

About two months ago I watched a great TED video, it was a talk by Simon Sinek. Simon talked about How great leaders inspire action.

From this video I was just blown away by the idea of the golden circle. In my next presentation I included the idea and diagram.
A friend mentioned she had the book and wanted to send it to me. From the moment I received the book I started reading it and kept thinking about the impact for my business. I started thinking about why I did what I did.

This is what I wrote down:

I believe that Independent Professionals can attract clients via the internet
I believe that relationships via the internet are real.
Real relations help you to become more successful.

Where did this come from? In a course about writing articles I came with the posing that people feel that online relationships are not real. Entrepreneurs want to meet the people that they do business with. They want to meet potential customers. They connect with me online and write me a note “Let’s have a cup of coffee and see what we can do for each other.” Or they only connect with people on LinkedIn they have actually met, shaken hands with and exchanged business cards.

This is not necessary you can build real relationships via social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter.

I love the book Start With Why. Simon talks a lot about Apple a lot, because they seem to have an intense connection with Why. Another example Simon uses is South West Airlines.

One thing I am not sure of from the book is the size of the business when the Why is good to use. Simon writes it is not really important for a small company. Since you, the owner of the company, make all the decisions and they are aligned with your Why, your gut. That is true but I also feel that being clear on your why in all your communication will make it easier to grasp as a customer. Put your Why on your website. Start with Why, then How then What. Maybe that can even be the order of your menu in your website.

The book does not give you a step by step how you can find your why. Finding your why is a process of discovery according to Simon.

The Golden Circle

The book is all about the Golden Circle.

The book review in video:

Start With Why by Simon Sinek – book review ErnoHannink from Erno Hannink on Vimeo.

How great leaders inspire action

This was recorded at TEDxPuget Sound September 2009.

Simon published his book “Start With Why” in 2009. There is also a website Start With Why you can order the book via Amazon Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (aff).

A reaction on

Belief leads to trust
Trust leads to confidence
Confidence leads to happiness
Happiness leads to love

And we all love to get some LOVE. LOVE from another person and LOVE for what we do.

Why do you do what you do. Love to here the Why for your business, for why you do it all.

This book was sent to me by Brigitte van Tuijl

By Erno Hannink

Sparring and accountability partner for entrepreneurs who create sustainable positive impact. Explores decision-making. Shares his insights on this in, articles, books (Dutch), podcast, newsletters, and tools. Has a life mission to reduce social and ecological inequality. Father of two children, husband of M., runs, referee for the national soccer league, and uses stoicism for calm. Lives in the Netherlands. Speaks Dutch, English, and German.


  1. (…) people feel that online relationships are not real. Entrepreneurs want to meet the people that they do business with. (…) This is not necessary [sic!] you can build real relationships via social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter.

    It may not be necessary. But if people feel the need for it, you will experience a business fiasco if you decide to ignore this need.

    1. Hi Mariano, thank you for this addition. It has to do with habits, people are used to having face to face meetings, especially employees. When entrepreneurs email for a meeting I often suggest a meeting on Skype. I even do training and mentoring via Skype.
      When people really want it you can agree to meet, but if you do business with people from all over the world you can’t visit them all.
      Also, when I do talk with people via Skype (with video) for the first time, they agree that it actually is a very comfortable way of meeting. Close to physical and saves a lot of time (travel).

      I am not saying that you should eliminate all physical meetings, but you make the meeting more effective by interacting and getting to know people via social networking sites. To make it even more effective you can have a first conversation via Skype with video.

      1. I agree about the effectiveness of Skype or Google talk. I plan to do a Spanish advanced course in Europe. I know a good institute in the Netherlands. I simply emailed them. And the guy proposed a Skype session. Have never met him in person!

        After the Skype session I decided to do the course this year in Madrid . Through this language institution.

        I also started very low profile to introduce Google talk with one of my clients last week. They have Skype and for personal use have a gmail account. Once I saw that I showed them how we could share files in an online office (free) and have meetings to review policy papers, presentations etc. Saves me flying time and travelling time. And for them now I’m just one sms or email away.

  2. Hi Erno
    You know what: you are right.

    Let me first tell you why I bought your book.
    Because it was about the small self employed businessman who could use the internet to play just like the big guys. I believe, just like you that small is beautiful . That being flexible and using knowledge to lay down an automated process will let people come to you, instead of you going to them.

    Just like Apple , Erno, you managed to reverse the order of things. All the SEO guys are telling you, do this and this and tweak your website etc. I just don’t buy their services.

    Now I just looked again at Simon’s TEDEx discouse. Great. As a small business I need to get my purpose more clearly defined. Especially because I’m taking more and more projects and I’m planning for business year 2013. What kind of projects? For which clients? When will I fully implement Erno’s concepts in my website about Economic models and hotel models (see How can I automate to let clients come to me?

    So I googled for Simon’s book and came to your website. Great review.

    Before I buy the book of Simon, I have to say I’m a little bit disappointed. You say Simon doesn’t explain how to find my “Why”? You say he doesn’t belief that small companies like me have problems defining their “why”?

    Then Simon doesn’t have the same belief system as me.
    So I won’t buy the book. How ironical! : o )

    Now I need to find a business who has this belief and can help me find or more clearly define my why.

    Erno hopefully my reaction can help you improve your why! I’m still looking. For me I believe it is something like:

    I believe that through education people can get out of poverty and improve the well being of themselves, their family and their kids. Education is a one lifetime opportunity. I believe that knowledge is power, but character is more.

    That’s why I teach businesses and professionals. That’s why I give all my knowledge to my customers in workshops. By giving you receive. That’s why I research about my topics and build Economic models. Which give only the most essential things to know.
    That’s why I love letting my clients play with the past, present and future of their business. So they know what factors, risks are at stake in determining their well being. That’s why I empower them to become more independent and take actions, because I will not always be around!
    Erno: I want to do this for more people, especially in the Caribbean, my homebase. That’s why I bought your book. Because Caribbean are scattered around beautiful waters. But they are linked through the internet. So to achieve my mission I gave to become an online company.

    I just happen to make good Economic spreadsheet models and give workshops to businesses, policy departments of governments and hotelmanagers in the Caribbean.
    You want to buy?
    : o )


    1. Wow Runy. Sound like you are on the right track.
      I have been working on my why for the last few months and have some really great insights. I will reveal these here soon. Coming with a manifesto on my topic balance in entrepreneurship and family, a well-rounded life.
      Maybe I can help you to focus on your why.

  3. Ik vind de Golden Circle heel erg inspirerend en zie dat heel veel mensen en bedrijven inderdaad op het What gefocusseerd zijn. En daarmee doen ze zichzelf tekort. Daarom pas ik het gedachtegoed van SInek ook regelmatig toe in mijn lessen op het HBO. Ik heb de Golden Circle gaandeweg wel vertaald naar wat je Goal Circles zou kunnen noemen. Van binnen naar buiten: Doelbewust, Doelgericht, Doelmatig werken. Ik hanteer gewoon de principes en het model van Sinek maar met deze vertaling klinkt het wat praktischer en schrikt het nuchtere Nederlanders niet zo af. Veel Nederlanders houden namelijk niet zo van die quasi-religieuze proclamaties waar Amerikanen zo goed in zijn.
    Door mijn ingreep verliest Sinek’s Golden Circle wel wat van het inspirerende karakter, de glans die het zo succesvol maakt. Echter, je kunt de Goal Circles weer oppoetsen door het heel erg op jezelf te betrekken, dus heel persoonlijk te maken. En ziedaar: De gouden glans en het inspirerende is terug! De Golden Circle lijkt zo simpel omdat het dat ook is. Waarom ga je tot actie over, hoe pak je het aan en wat wordt je gereedschap? Zo simpel is het gewoon. Het inspirerende en het succes zit hem volgens mij in de toepassing op jezelf, dus hoog in de Maslov piramide. Onderin lijkt het wel gewoon werk…

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