Let’s be honest, I’ve got just about every Simon Sinek book in my collection. Heck, he (or whoever manages his account) once liked one of my Instagram posts when I tagged his book that I was reading while at the beach, and I squealed. To say I am a fan is probably doing him a disservice, so when he agreed to have a chat on the phone I was more than thrilled. Did he assume I would ask him about his favorite book recommendations, I am sure of it. Did it cross his mind that I might also ask him to tell me a secret to share with the world? Probably not.
Simon Sinek Leadership
Simon Sinek’s innovative views on business have shaped his work as an author, public speaker, and leadership expert. His TED Talks are some of the most viewed in the world.
Sinek teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. He has been invited to speak with companies such as: 3M, Costco, Deckers, Ernst & Young, HSM, JetBlue, KPMG, Pfizer, NBC/Universal, the military, government agencies, and entrepreneurs.
I caught up with Simon and we got to chatting about the weather, one of his books, and even Comic-Con. You’ll never guess who he’s dressed up as! He’s an optimist and an inspiration, but the question on the tip of my tongue was: Who is Simon Sinek?
Candice Galek: Your TED Talks are some of the most viewed in the world, what is it like to be on stage giving the lecture?
Simon Sinek: It’s an amazingly powerful feeling to look out on an audience and feel that people are interested in the ideas that you want to share, to feel them leaning forward and paying attention. It's an incredible feeling.
You wake up and encourage and educate others on a daily basis, where do you draw inspiration from?
On my mirror, it says “Today you will inspire someone.” I’m literally reminded every morning when I brush my teeth.
My team is amazing. They are devoted to this cause and I get inspiration from them. I see how devoted they are and how much they sacrifice to help me and it makes me want to do right by them.
Tell me about your book, “Together is Better.”
Through all my work, everything I’ve learned about leadership, teams, trust, and cooperation, there’s one theme that shines bright in all of it. We’re social animals and none of us can get anything done that’s difficult or worthwhile by ourselves.
When we teach children things, we teach them through examples and through metaphors and we tell stories. The best children’s books have a moral to the story. So I thought, instead of writing this big sort of thinky-thinky book with biology and anthropology (which is usually how I make my argument), what if I made a children’s book for adults?
I wrote the simplest little story to remind us that together is better, to remind us that we can’t achieve anything or get anywhere without the help of each other.
What was your inspiration for Together Is Better?
Nothing I’m doing in my career was planned. I never expected I would ever do any public speaking. I never expected that I would write a book or be an author.
So why should I limit myself to my own expectations? Why not do something unexpected for me as well as everybody else?
I love children’s books because of the message, the words, the poetry and the illustrations. But they are still children’s books, and so I love the idea of having an adult message with an adult theme and an adult lesson in the format of a children’s book.
It’s just delightful.
Under what conditions do you get your best work done?
I like music playing, but usually music without words. I like working with somebody in the room, I don’t like working by myself. I like having a sounding board if I need it, I like working in crowded spaces.
Alright, if you could recommend a single book, what would it be?
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.
What are your long-term business and personal goals?
To me, my business and my personal are not distinct. I wake up every day to advance a cause greater than myself and it’s the way I live my life personally but it’s also the manner in which I advance my business.
As a friend, I work hard to inspire my friends, be a good listener, hear what they are going through, because I want my friends to have that life.
Tell me something few people know about you.
I’m a Star Wars geek. I’m a big nerd — at the end of the day I’m just a big dorky nerd, there’s nothing suave about me.
I like science fiction, I like Comic-Con, I like other nerdy people. Last year I attended dressed as Spider-Man.
What makes you truly happy?
True happiness is feeling like you’re part of something bigger than yourself, true fulfillment is the opportunity to serve those who serve others. And to wake up every day with the feeling that today I get to give to people that I care about.