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Why Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

About the book:

Simon Sinek teaches leadership and management principles with real examples from companies, governments, and the military. He primarily talks about the importance of good relationships among employers and employees. Sinek also explains the biological roots of what motivates successful leaders.

Takeaways and Paths of Action:

The brain chemicals behind our emotions and motivations:

The most important thing I learned from this book is how our brain rewards and motivates itself. It uses four chemicals, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins (DOSE). 

The details are just chemistry. The most important thing is that we can use what we know about these chemicals to "trick" our brain and achieve more of what we want.

Note: this is advice that you may already be tired of reading. What I intend to provide is a little explanation of the neurological mechanisms that make it work. Hopefully, it will help you believe in them and apply them more. They really work!

Dopamine: Addictions.

Image result for candiesBefore humans became civilized, our ancestors needed to hunt for days to feed their tribes. How did they manage to keep going when no prey had been found in three days? Sinek suggests that the celebration that came after the hunting played an important role because the illusion of this celebration fueled their brains with dopamine.

Dopamine is the chemical behind our feeling of success. In little doses, it tells us we are making progress. Dopamine has a deep connection with our senses, and this is why life coaches always say your goals must be clear and visible. This chemical is the easiest to release because it is the same that is released when we taste something sweet. It is also highly addictive.

How to get it:

To be more consistent, you should have consistent small rewards to tell you brain success is coming. For example, once you have finished an important task, get yourself a little of your favorite dessert. The rewards should be immediate, consistent, and proportional to the effort you put into the activity. You could use any type of reward, but I have found that food works particularly well.

Oxytocin: The trust chemical.

Do you remember that feeling when you and your best friend became best friends? What you were feeling comes from a brain-bath of oxytocin. It is the chemical that you feel when someone looks after you, helps you, or protects you. It is also an antidote to depressive feelings.

Image result for marines back to backI should add that this is the most powerful chemical towards increasing our willingness to act.

How to get it:

Make your rewards social. Share your rewards with friends and family. For example, after I finish an important project, I like to go out with the people that participated. More importantly, however, share your struggle with your team members and loved ones. Ask for help and give help, both release oxytocin.

Serotonin: The leadership chemical.

You have surely noticed that society expects more from leaders. For example, in a company, not many people would care if an accountant took the day off, but a lot of people get angry when they see the CEO is doing less than their subordinates. Real leaders can and do more, and it is partly because of this chemical.

Related imageSerotonin rewards being accepted, respected, and admired by others. It was released when you were getting an award or were recognized for your contribution. It is why universities hold graduation ceremonies instead of just giving you a diploma.

How to get it:

Take responsibilities in the projects you participate. Be a leader whenever possible and take it seriously.

Endorphins: The runners high.

Have you noticed that sometimes it is hard to start working, but, once you are fully into it, it is hard to stop? It feels good to make progress.

Image result for marathon championEndorphin helps us sustain pain. This is the same chemical released when we laugh. Without endorphins, laughing would be painful.

How to get it:

Nike put it the best way: just do it. It is hard to start but endorphins will be released to help you keep going. You just need to work hard. Do that initial step and you will start feeling motivated as you do it. Trust science.

Favourite quote:

"Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first" - Simon Sinek

Other sources:


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