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On My Bookshelf: A Book Review

Women's Initiative Newsletter

Start with Why, by Simon Sinek

In my role as chair-elect of the ABA Section of Litigation, I plan – a lot. The Section has approximately 60,000 members, 70+ committees and task forces, a myriad of great publications (and publication boards), two annual major meetings which attract thousands of attendees from across the country, and three leadership meetings at which the Section's 300+ leaders expect to be inspired and energized. As I prepare to lead this group (gulp), I constantly survey the landscape for interesting and informative books and presentations on effective leadership. My quest recently led me to a TED Talk featuring author Simon Sinek, explaining the concepts underlying his book Start With Why. I was so captivated by the TED Talk that I downloaded the book on Audible, listened to it while I drove back and forth to work, and then bought the hard copy version. As you might guess, I highly recommend this book.

He gives concrete examples of the results achieved when people and organizations deliver performances based on their "whys," and what happens when they do not. From Southwest Airlines, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Sinek himself, these examples inspire examination and action geared toward matching what we do with why we do it. If an organization's "why" is made clear by its leaders, the members of that organization can more easily and clearly understand what is expected of them, and perform consistent with the organization's vision. The elegance of Sinek’s message is its simplicity, but his delivery of that message engenders the understanding of a concept which I hope will make me a better leader, and which I find myself applying to my actions outside my ABA role, as well. In short, Sinek's book provides some life lessons from which I think any reader could benefit.

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