You may remember that two years ago, I presented a synopsis of Simon Sinek‘s best-seller, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t (New York: Portfolio, 2014) . He is described as an optimist, and touts inspiration as his key deliverable in business. Sinek’s TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” is the third most-watched of all time, with nearly 29 million views. You can watch it by clicking HERE.
So, this weekend, his newest book released on September 13, has already cracked the business best-seller list. The book debuted at # 5, published by the Wall Street Journal (October 1-2, p. C16). It is entitled Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration (New York: Portfolio, 2016).
The book is already in the top 20 in three different business book categories according to Amazon.com. Here is how that site describes the book:
“Life is a series of choices. Do we go left or right? Jump forward or hold back?
“Sometimes our choices work out for the better…and sometimes they don’t. But there is one choice, regardless of every other decision, that profoundly affects how we feel about our journey: Do we go alone or do we go together?
“It is the courageous few who ask for help. It is the giving few willing to help others. We can all find the courage we need and know the joy of service – the minute we learn that together is better.
“Filled with inspiring quotes, this richly illustrated fable tells a delightful story of three kids who go on a journey to a new playground and take a stand for what they believe. The story is a metaphor for anyone looking to make a change or wondering how to pursue their dreams. And the message is simple: relationships – real, human relationships – really, really matter. The stronger our relationships, the stronger the bonds of trust and cooperation, the more we can accomplish and the more joy and fulfillment we get from our work and personal lives.
“The three heroes are archetypes who represent us all at various points in our lives. Their main challenge is the same one we face every day: How can we find the things we’re looking for? According to Sinek, if we each do our part to help advance a shared vision, we can build the world we imagine.
“In addition to the story itself, Sinek shares such profound lessons as:
· A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.
· Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love.
· Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.
· A star wants to see himself rise to the top. A leader wants to see those around him become stars.
“This book was designed to be given as a gift to someone you want to inspire, or to say thank you to someone who inspires you.”
We will wait and see if this becomes a book that we present at our First Friday Book Synopsis. As of this writing, it is not yet on the New York Times business best-seller list. And, I don’t like books that are based upon fables.
When That Moment Of Inspiration Arrives, Run With It – Now!
When I presented Rework for the May First Friday Book Synopsis, I described the book as a “daily devotional for business readers.” If you are not aware, there are many magazines, and books, written with daily “devotional thoughts” for believers in all faiths. They are usually written to be read one page a day, and each thought “stands alone.” This genre best describes the style of Rework – not for the content, but for the format. Each chapter is short (never over a couple of pages; many, only one page). And though there are some over-arching themes, many of the chapters are true stand-alone chapters. And each one gets you thinking…
Here’s one theme: The authors argue that work should not consume your life. Quit work at 5:00; don’t work weekends; “Forgoing sleep is a bad idea.”
But there is an exception to this “rule.” And that is when you are overtaken by some great burst of inspiration. Here’s their quote:
Ideas are immortal. Inspiration is perishable. If you want to do something, you’ve got to do it now. Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator… If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.
In this short chapter, they argue that when you fall under the spell of a moment of inspiration, do whatever it takes to turn that into action before it “perishes.” Pull an all-nighter; work through the weekend, grab it before it leaves you.
Here’s a well known historical example. Arguably the greatest piece of music ever written is Handel’s Messiah. (with apologies to the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”). Do you know how he wrote it? In one burst of inspiration. And, in this case, it may have been truly the epitome of “inspiration.” Though accounts vary (he locked himself in his room; he wrote it in a garden), it is commonly believed that he did not deviate from his task until it was finished. He spent 24 days straight on the piece, and did not leave his work area even to eat (food was delivered to him). Legend has it that he wrote the Hallelujah Chorus, the climax of the work, on his knees, and as he finished it, he handed the music pages to his assistant and said, with tears running down his face, “I thought I saw the face of God.”
Here’s what the Rework guys say. If you have a burst of inspiration, recognize that it is “perishable.” (great word!) So, in such a moment, drop everything else, and do-it-now!
REWORK by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson of 37Signals