Public Book Club

Start with Why

by Simon Sinek

Whether you are a state leader, district leader, building/program leader, or teacher leader, you inspire people to take action. Join us in discussing WHY we do what we do and how that inspires those around us. This book discussion is a low-stakes event (i.e., join in anytime, even if you didn’t have time to read) and free to join.
Amazon link to the purchase book.


All dates meet at 4:00 pm ET

October 7, 2020 Book Club Kick-off and Introduction
November 12, 2020 Part I – Discussion Questions

Chapter 1 states “every instruction we give, every course of action we set, every result we desire, starts with the same thing: a decision.” How does this apply to education? Does education (or educators) use a series of effective short-term tactics until we get the desired outcome/result we want? If so, what is an example?

Referring to the first paragraph in Chapter 2, do you believe school districts offer the same programs, with the same quality and level of service? Why or why not?

Does the field of education use manipulation (i.e., fear, aspirations, peer pressure, and novelty/innovation) to get their desired outcomes? Explain.

How would you define loyalty in education?

Is transactional or transformational leadership more effective for successful organizations? Which type of leadership do you find to be more effective in education? Is the type of effective leadership in education different at the state, district, or classroom level?

December 8, 2020 Part 2 – Discussion Questions

What is the “Golden Circle” and how can it be applied to education?

The author uses Apple as an example of a company that starts with why. Do you agree with Sinek’s example? How is this example related to trust?

Is it hard for a school or district to determine their purpose, cause or belief (their WHY)? Why or why not? Do charter, private, or magnet schools find this easier? Is it difficult for schools/districts to stay true to their WHY? Explain.

Do you agree with the author’s statement that “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it?” Is this true for public education? Do people “buy” WHY we educate? Explain.

The author states “absent a WHY, a decision is harder to make.” Do you agree? Explain why or why not.

How do you know when you have found your “WHY” and it is right?

January 12, 2021 Part 3 – Discussion Questions

How does WHY work when building a team? How do you use it to get people on board with you?

The author shares how Continental Airlines changed to measure things the employees could control together. Do we create and measure the impact educators have on learning as a group rather than individually? Explain.

The author states, “The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen” (Ch 6, p 99). How can we do this within our school districts or buildings?

Why is it important for all to grow for the success of an organization?

What are your thoughts on the Law of Diffusion? Is it applicable to education? How does “Why” impact whether or not our ideas or products are embraced?

Provide an example in education where the HOW and WHAT may be different but the WHY is the same.

February 10, 2021 Part 4 – Discussion Questions

Is it important for us to help students find their WHY? Why?

WHY and HOW people are both present in successful organizations. Share your experience working with WHY and HOW people.

In education, we often talk about “best practices.” The author states “best practices are not always best” (Ch 9, p 166). What does he mean by this? What does this indicate about best practices for education?

How well does your school or district communicate your WHY? Do you pass the Celery Test?

March 10, 2021 Part 5 – Discussion Questions

Have you ever worked for an organization or person who lost their WHY? What impact did it have on the organization or you?

Why does the split happen and how can you keep it from happening?

In Chapter 12, the author talks about “What Gets Measured, Gets Done.” What are the metrics used to measure education? Do these measurements align with education’s WHY?

How can an organization ensure that their WHY survives new leadership?

April 22, 2021 Part 6 and Afterword

“When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.” (Ch 14, p. 223) How can this be applied to education?

What leadership attributes did Sinek discuss in his book? Which of these attributes are most important to you as an educational leader?

What leadership competencies did Sinek discuss in his book? Which of these competencies are most important to you as an educational leader?

“Learning the WHY of a company or an organization or understanding the WHY of any social movement always starts with one thing: you.” (Ch 13, p 215) What is the WHY in your school district or business?  How is the district’s or business’ WHY align with your identity?

Simon’s Ted Talk: How great leaders inspire action