The Sinek Playbook


"Isn't it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them!" - Orville Wright

Simon Sinek is a cultural anthropologist. He joined the RAND Corporation in 2010 and advises on matters of military innovation and planning. He wrote Start with Why on the idea that people don’t buy what you do - they buy why you do it. He wrote Leaders Eat Last about the idea that people do their best when they know their teammates will do the same. Sinek’s answer to The Millennial Question broke the Internet. Simon's a big deal.

His playbook for success is super interesting. You can watch the video here.


Break the Rules
The rule is you can go after whatever you want you just can’t deny anyone else going after what they want. You can do it your way. You can break the rules. You just can’t get in the way of someone else getting what they want.

Train Your Mind
Train yourself to interpret stimuli in a more useful way. Feeling “nervous” and “excited” are interpretations of the same exact behavior in your body. Deal with pressure by interpreting how your body feels as excitement rather than nerves.

Be Patient
Impact (like love) does not come quickly and does not stick around easily. “I love my job” is a result. Satisfaction comes from the journey. Ending the journey early ends your chance to be satisfied. Be patient.  

Take Accountability
Take accountability for your actions. Take credit for the things you do right. Own your mistakes. Do both. Sometimes, you’re the problem. Sometimes, you're the solution. Take control of what you can control.

Outdo Yourself
Beating competitors is a finite game. Beating yourself is an infinite game. Don’t play to beat others. That’s reactive. Joy comes from advancement not comparison. Play to beat yourself. Play the infinite game.

Stack the Deck
Choose to play in an environment that plays to your strengths and that is supportive of your success.

Be the Last to Speak
How do you learn to be a great leader? Hold your opinions to yourself until everyone else has spoken. Reap the benefit of listening to what others have to say. Don’t nod yes. Don’t nod your head no. Don't just ask questions to understand what they are saying. Ask questions to understand why they are speaking up.

Be Authentic
Telling the truth and sharing your truth is an investment in your future. Dress your way. Speak your way. And then make sure your company does the same. There are no weak beliefs. Beliefs don’t exist until you back them up strongly. Doing anything else is a lie. Branding is only powerful when it is authentic.

Find Your Passion
What do you do when you’re not getting paid? Be so good at it they can't ignore you. (And if you don't have anything you do when you're not getting paid - get good at something. Passion follows mastery.)

Start with Why
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Apple: “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. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

People make decisions emotionally and justify them with language. Our neocortex processes rational, analytical thought using language. Our limbic system is incapable of language. But the limbic system drives all of our behavior. Emotion drives action. Language justifies it. Our values, beliefs and emotions are the real "deciders." So we must transfer “why” - our values and beliefs - to engage their limbic systems. It’s biology.