I’m reading Start with Why, Simon Sinek’s bestselling book. I’m enjoying it and getting lots out of it, yet I fundamentally disagree with its central premise.
First, the basis of my disagreement; second, why I continue to read and find it fascinating.
It doesn’t matter how many times Simon writes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” (and it’s a lot!), I still find the conclusion largely baseless. We can all pick examples of a theory that proves our point but the points made and the evidence quoted are ‘cases to prove my theory’ rather than data that forms a theory.
So, why am I still reading it, enjoying it and benefitting from it? Because it’s smart, well-written and thought-provoking. My review of it reminds me of some feedback I was given by a university lecturer on the first essay for my degree in English.
Having returned to university life in my late 20s, I was particularly nervous about my first piece of academic work. I received a modest mark though not a terrible one. The feedback said: “Your points are almost all completely wrong,” – great start – “but at least they’re wrong in an intelligent way.”
Sinek’s book has had a rather larger readership than my essay with one reader but I’d give it the same feedback. The reason I’m still reading / enjoying / benefitting is that it’s provoking lots of thoughts in my mind that are giving me new ideas for my business and my life.
My reason for writing this today is to remind you that you don’t have to agree with everything to get something from it. In fact, you may well get more productive use from reading things with which you disagree.
Learning takes many different forms. A counter-intuitive one is to subject yourself to a contrarian opinion as it’s more likely to trigger your brain to react, a less pleasant process than reading text with which you agree but an infinitely better one for the generation of ideas.