In the first installment of the Recart Book Club, Tristan Edwards, our Talent Strategy Manager, reviews Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.
First and foremost, this book makes no attempt to disguise itself as anything but a sales pitch. You can almost feel it trying to inspire you and it makes you want to pull back and say “I won’t be sold to”. Despite this, and almost despite myself, I did actually find this book to be genuinely inspiring.
Start with Why taps into something that everyone has heard and wanted to believe – if you do something you love, you won’t work a day in your life. Start with Why draws a lot of very compelling parallels between businesses and people, both in modern times and throughout history. It looks into how inspirational figures achieved what they did and how they stripped back the ‘what’ to focus on ‘why’ they started in the first place.
The best part of this book is how it changed my perception of how I look at my work and myself. Start with Why essentially boils down to a reversed sales pitch. The metaphor he uses with Apple computers is absolutely genius. A regular sales pitch goes like this:
- What the company does (“we make computers”)
- How the company is better than their competitors
- Asks the consumer to buy the product.
Meanwhile, Apple completely reverse the classic selling strategy. Their sales pitch goes a bit like this:
Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.
And we happen to make great computers.
Wanna buy one?
It’s such a simple concept but the book executes it brilliantly. For me, it had a big impact on how I went about both my job and my personal life. What you do becomes a side issue compared to why you are there doing it. It almost gives you a boost in confidence to know that your “why” aligns with the people around you, whether this be your work colleagues, your relationship or friend group.
However, the book does drag a bit after a while. The first time he mentions Apple it works perfectly but he does go on to talk about them a billion times after that. I got bored of hearing about them. After the first 100 pages or so, it’s essentially him trying to disprove and then reprove his initial concept. In my opinion, you could shorten this book down to a fairly long article and it would still be as good.
Overall, I thought this was a really good business book, and I’d recommend it.
Rating: 3.5/5 Dannys.