Start With Why

How great leaders inspire

everyone to take action

By Simon Sinek

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty?

    Through his research, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way-and it's the complete opposite of everyone else. True leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., the Wright Brothers, Apple and Southwest Airlines all started with why. Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire. Sinek's TED Talk and Golden Circle concept went viral and became the new business mantra in this over-crowded digital age. Whether you're an executive, an entrepreneur or a team, your "why" is your purpose – it represents the most critical success factor in everything we do.


Quiet Leadership by David Rock


This is a paradigm shift in the way we view leadership. Here, the author combines his knowledge of neuroscience with coaching to come up with a brilliant thesis. “Quiet leaders are masters at bringing out the best performance in others: They improve their employees’ thinking — literally improving the way their brains process information — without telling anyone what to do. Given how many people in today’s companies are being paid to think, improving thinking is one of the fastest ways to improve performance.” This book shows you how, with suggested dialogue and detailed examples.

The Leadership Wheel

by C. Clinton Sidle


For those who like personality assessments such as DISC, Myers Briggs and Birkman, this simple tool has become my favourite. Not only does it outline “leadership preferences” but the tool can also be used to enhance team processes, manage projects, and resolve conflict. Its multi-purpose framework makes it easy for teams to work with and grasp. Most importantly, it promotes a collaborative process that helps teams understand how to work together to achieve optimal results.

Speed of Trust

by Stephen Covey Jr.


This is for anyone looking to build and/or repair relationships. While many of us agree that trust is the basis for any relationship, Covey breaks it down into bite-size chunks in order to demonstrate (1) how trust works, and (2) how to build it. By the end, you have a completely new view — as well as clear and practical direction — for how to approach business and personal relationships.

Emotional Intelligence

by Daniel Goleman


One of the most important psychology books of our time, Goleman presents convincing evidence that the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is just as important in success as cognitive intelligence measured by IQ. Although there are many lessons in this book, Goleman’s thesis says that there are two key attributes we can teach our children to ensure success through life: (1) empathy, and (2) delayed gratification. Goleman wrote subsequent books such as Emotional Intelligence at Work. His theory has become a pillar of leadership development.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

by John C. Maxwell


This is a great basic foundation for anyone looking to understand the keys to leadership. Again, John C. Maxwell delivers tough love in an entertaining way, offering up his own practical wisdom peppered with modern quotes and true-life stories that inspire and motivate. After reading this book I was on fire.

Winning With People

by John C. Maxwell


John C. Maxwell knows how to relate to the reader with an easygoing writing style that entertains and inspires. Here he teaches the 25 people principles — common sense with great stories, anecdotes and nuggets of wisdom. Sometimes we struggle with moral dilemmas of how to react in certain situations or with certain people — this author knows how to clear some of them up for good.


The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni


For leaders and managers alike, Patrick Lencioni wrote a fable that offers up a step by step approach to turning your team around. This book is easy to read and the illustration provides clarity and insight. He breaks it all down in brilliant detail to demystify the inner workings of a team’s dysfunctions for good.

17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork

by John C. Maxwell


In this easy to read lesson, Maxwell shares his wisdom while entertaining with relevant and interesting stories from sports, pop culture and business. He shares catchy quotes and inspires the whole way through.

For entrepreneurs, executives and businesspeople

The Compound Effect

by Darren Hardy


If you have ambition but are held back by procrastination, lack of focus or momentum, this is one of the most important books to read. Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, zeros in on the one key to having success in any area of life: consistent effort. The arguments in this book will change the way you see every moment of every day, forever.

The Science of Getting Rich

by Wallace D. Wattles


A complement to Think & Grow Rich, the author of this book was a contemporary of Napoleon Hill. His simple but formal writing provides a tough love approach that will inspire you to think positively under any circumstances. You won’t want to have another negative thought!


A free e-book version is available.

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill


I believe that every young adult at the beginning of their career should read this book. It is the first and most widely read business book ever written, and in reprint ever since. Napoleon Hill was hired by Dale Carnegie in the 1920s to study all the world’s millionaires to come up with the keys to their success. This book is the culmination of 20 years of research that Napoleon Hill completed. It is often quoted by the world’s richest as the most impactful lessons they learned to achieve success. The secret? You’ll have to read it to find out! If you are discouraged trying to move ahead in your own business or in your career, this book will change your mind for good.


Here is the free e-book version with updated examples for the 21st Century.

The E-Myth Revisited

by Michael E. Gerber


Gerber changed the game when he urged us to work “on” our business, as opposed to working “in” our business. This is a classic and a must read for any entrepreneur.

Mind management

The Feeling Good Handbook

by David D. Burns, M.D.


For anyone suffering from any level of depression or anxiety — whether it be temporary, chronic or serious, this book uses full-proof cognitive behavioral therapy exercises that will cause your symptoms to literally vanish. This book has been in reprint since the 1980s and is proven to cure depression. This is also the first book to inspire the term “bibliotherapy.” It is a favourite recommended by psychologists.

Reinventing Your Life

by Jeffrey E. Young, Ph. D., and Janet S. Klosko, Ph. D.


We’ve all suffered from childhood pain in one way or another. This book outlines the 11 common lifetraps that may impact us today. By taking the assessments and completing exercises, we are able to break down the negative thought patterns, see how they operate, and replace them with healthier ones. This book is highly recommended by therapists.

Getting in the Gap by Wayne Dyer


This book comes with a simple discussion on meditation, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to practice. It includes a wonderful CD with two guided meditations by Wayne Dyer. These are great recordings to keep on your iPod, with two lengths depending on how much time you have. For beginners especially, this provides a perfect introduction.

Excuses Begone

by Wayne Dyer


Wayne Dyer reveals what’s behind the curtain of our habits, helping us understand how they operate and how we can overcome them. Great common sense strategies to change your life for the better.

Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson


A tongue-in-cheek book with some wise lessons and strategies to overcome the negative thinking that keeps us stuck in a rut.

Teach Yourself to Meditate in 10 Simple Lessons by Eric Harrison


This is the first book I bought to learn how to meditate. It outlines compelling medical research demonstrating the mental and physical health benefits of meditation. Harrison also offers a practical step by step guide for beginners, with detail on what to expect and the dos and don’ts. I found this book to be the best one on the market for everyone including skeptics!

Wherever You Go There You Are

by John Kabat Zin


Kabat Zin is the most widely respected expert on meditation. This book read like poetry and inspires us to meditate in order to live a balanced life.

Career and life direction, purpose and fulfillment

Authentic Happiness

by Martin P. Seligman


The father of positive psychology gives us the 24 core strengths that humans possess, across all cultures and across time, and the ones that are at the core of who we are. Stemming from his extensive research, Seligman asserts that these strengths are at the heart of our personality, no matter what the situation, personal and professional. I use Seligman’s VIA Signature Strengths test as a key component to my coaching process. The book explains why we might get along with some people and not others, what makes a great marriage and how we can become happy and fulfilled.

Now Discover Your Strengths

by Marcus Buckingham & Donald E. Clifton


A wonderful complement to the VIA Signature Strengths, the authors state the most convincing case for focusing on strengths. Their “themes” are key in helping us understand our own unique way of doing things.

Drive by Daniel Pink


The author debunks all common misconceptions about what motivates us, and sets us straight on how we can achieve our highest levels of fulfillment.

Perspective on life

A Return to Love

by Marianne Williamson


Marianne Williamson has had an enormous impact on many people’s lives including my own, and this book is one of the most successful and ground-breaking of its kind, achieving top honours on the New York Times Bestseller list and going into reprint year after year since it first hit the market. This new age philosophy provides comforting perspective and vision for how we can find peace of mind and radiate it out into our lives and communities.

Change Your Thoughts — Change Your Life

by Wayne Dyer


Wayne Dyer has updated the Tao de Ching for modern times. Each verse is like food for your soul. I read it in the mornings to help me get centered and launch me into my day.

A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle


Most of us have heard Oprah go on-and-on about Ekhart Tolle, and for good reason. His books stand up with Marianne Williamson’s and Wayne Dyer’s as a new and healthier way to think about our world in modern times. This book moved and inspired me on many levels.

Man’s Search For Meaning

by Viktor Frankl


Holocaust survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl shows us that monsters can try and take everything from us. But the one thing they can’t take without our permission… is our attitude. If ever you were feeling bad about a life situation, this book demonstrates another perspective on our lives and why we’re here. The first half is his personal story living through the holocaust. The second half is his philosophy borne from that experience, which he coined as “logotherapy.”

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

by Robin Sharma


This was the first book I read that changed the direction of my life. Robin Sharma’s easy writing style, his wisdom, his optimism and can-do attitude made me believe that I can do anything.

Creativity & innovation

Where Good Ideas Come From

by Steven Johnson


A description of the 6 patterns of where good ideas come from which offers clarity, understanding and wonderful new insight about how creativity really works. The author sites many practical examples from the world of science to the world wide web. The reader can walk away with many aha moments and tips that will not only shed light on the creative process, but help enhance their creativity going forward. Note to future readers: Johnson has an academic writing style, which makes for a somewhat dense but worthy read.

Innovation to the Core

by Peter Skarzynski & Rowan Gibson


An MBA-style approach to harnessing creativity in order for companies to engage in world-class innovation strategies that lead to success and prosperity. The approach is based on four innovation insights that organizations explore. Following these insights, the authors build out critical processes and considerations required to devise an optimal strategy. A must-read for anyone leading strategies to grow their organization.

A Whack on the Side of the Head

by Roger Von Oech


Von Oech’s philosophy is that everyone is creative. We are simply limited by the mental blocks adopted growing up. This book outlines 10 mental blocks, and offers up practical exercises and solutions for each. It is chock-full of tools and devices designed to access your creativity. This book is for creative professionals looking for quick tricks and devices to take their talent and/or problem-solving abilities to the next level.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield


If you’ve ever struggled to just “sit down and write,” or engage in any artistic endeavour, or if you’ve ever had a “creative block” that prevented you from moving forward, this book is for you. It’s easy to read and provides short one-pagers with philosophy and spiritual wisdom surrounding the creative process, everything from finding your muse to dealing with procrastination.

Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire

by Braden Kelley


A simple tome that outlines how a manager or leader can introduce an effective innovation process into their organization. It takes the age-old “suggestion box” concepts and pumps it up to the tenth power. A lighter read than “Innovation to the Core” and yet well-researched.

The Art of Possibility

by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander


Benjamin Zander is a famous orchestra conductor and leadership guru. He and his psychologist wife teamed up to provide suggestions for novel ways of defining ourselves, others, and the world. Their approach breaks out into 12 practices that are designed to shift perceptions, beliefs and thought processes, and ultimately to transform the way we see the world. This book is a wonderful read for anyone with an artistic talent, but just as useful for the corporate executive. As Zander says, “Art, after all, is about rearranging us, creating surprising juxtapositions, emotional opening, startling presences, flight paths to the eternal.”






Radiate is a personal and professional development coaching company based in Toronto, Ontario.        Site contents copyright 2019 Robin Altman, Radiate Coaching

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