Leaders Eat Last | Book Review

“According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2013 called ‘State of the American Workplace,’ when our bosses completely ignore us, 40 percent of us actively disengage from our work. If our bosses criticize us on a regular basis, 22 percent of us actively disengage.”

From page 28 of Simon Sinek’s new book urges us to become better leaders and to develop future leaders. Leaders Eat Last has many parallels to our Leadership Excellence Course experience and this review will highlight several of them.


Part Two (chapters five through eight) is dominated by discussion of four chemicals, introduced as the EDSO Chemicals:

Endorphins         What we like to do. Runner’s high.

Dopamine           The high of achieving a goal. Also released through intoxication,
                            such as via nicotine or alcohol.

Serotonin           “Leadership chemical.” Serving other feels good.

Oxytocin             Doing well. Both parties get boost. Strengthens immune system
                            and leads to  happiness.

Personal Leadership Philosophy & Communication

Pages 14-15 emphasize the need for a Leader’s Compass:

Truly human leadership protects an organization from the internal rivalries that can shatter a culture… and…

According to the Deloitte Shift Index, 80 percent of people are dissatisfied with their jobs.

In our discussion about “Why Have a Leader’s Compass,” these two statements provide a strong argument in favor of active leadership offering a safe, productive and aligned environment in which our teams may thrive. Sinek introduces The Circle of Safety – moving from I to we, and references a related Aesop fable on page twenty. The fable is a complement to The “I’s” Have It exercise from our Communicating the Vision workshop.


Page 71 states “We cannot motivate others, per se,” but we can create the conditions where it will occur. Chapter Ten, Snowmobile in the Desert, reminds me of Dan Pink’s video from his book Drive. Sinek states “We [Our Organizations?] have built systems and constructed organizations that force the human animal to work in environments in which it [we, our teams?] does not work.” The question statements are mine, a reminder to us all that we may need to fundamentally rebuild and align our environments in order to become truly effective leaders.

In Part IV, How We Got Here, Chapters Eleven and Twelve, Sinek subjectively narrates (a complement to Jennifer Deal’s Retiring the Generation Gap) Baby Boomer evolution through a dopamine seeking individual and cultural perspective.


Part VI, Chapters Seventeen through Twenty-one, Sinek offers five leadership lessons. Chapter Twenty-one, lesson five offers a terrific comparison between GE (which received a great deal of positive press under Jack Welch) and Costco (which has quietly and vastly outperformed GE).

Page 183 offers a fine closing to the book:

Leadership is about taking responsibility for lives, not numbers.

An energizing book to read and share.

JE | January 2014