Leaders Eat Last Summary (PDF), Review, And Quotes

Written by

Quick Summary:

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek discusses the qualities of real leadership. It also teaches how building a system with a safe environment helps the members of an organization to safeguard themselves from outside threats, and helps them in making deep connections with each other.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase or sign up for a program, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Leaders Eat Last Summary

Have you ever wondered how big organizations work with so many people at the same time, and that too while facing outside threats?

The thing is, they are able to do so because they have great leaders at the top of the hierarchies that manage people at the bottom.

Surely, it’s not a piece of cake.

The question here is:

What makes a leader great?

Well, in this book, Simon Sinek shines light on all the things a great leader must know to build connections with the people at work.

He also shows what leadership is, and what leadership is not.

Today, in this article, I’m going to share key insights or lessons that I’ve learned from this book.

Let’s roll.

Empathy is one of the most powerful tools in an organization

a leader showing empathy towards his employee

The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own.

Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last

If you want to learn only one thing from this book, then remember this lesson:

Have empathy for your employees.

A great leader always tries to see things from the perspective of other people in his organization.

When you are the CEO of your company, you have many choices to make, some are profitable to you but not to your employees.

I’ll explain with an example:

Let’s say you have to increase revenue by the end of this month by taking on a big project but you have a limited workforce. 

What would you do in that case?

Would you increase the workload of your employees?

Or hire more people?

There would be a plethora of choices for you.

But the question is, what a great leader would do in such a perplexing situation?

Well, a great leader knows that an organization can tackle any situation if it has a culture of sacrifice and service.

It doesn’t matter whether you get any attention or praise. It isn’t about how much profit/loss you go through either.

A great leader always helps his employees to advance along with the organization.

Regardless of how big the challenges are, when people feel that they are given priority and respect, they put in everything they have got to overcome them.

One who prioritizes others’ well-being over his is worthy to be a leader.

Your employees aren’t robots, treat them like people

treat your employees as humans

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last

What happens in most of the organizations is, the people at the top of hierarchy treat the ones at the bottom of the hierarchy as mere metrics.

And what do they do with these metrics?

They use them as analytics and generate a massive amount of dollars.

It’s true that in real life, it’s necessary to go through analytics to beat the competition and track the progress within an organization.

But when the leader treats its followers like some numbers he could use to profit himself, he forgets about the empathy and well being of the very people who are the foundation of his organization.

When this happens, people stop pushing hard at their work.

They realize that their leader doesn’t value their effort.

Even simple work starts looking like torture to them.

Ultimately, the positive culture of empathy, growth, and well-being of all gets blown to smithereens.

So what’s the takeaway here?

Treat your employees as humans.

When you treat them like humans they get the feeling that the company trusts them.

They feel that their efforts aren’t going in vain.

The feeling that they are contributing to the advancement of the company, gives them the courage to push harder.

They naturally feel committed to their work and without any pressure, they put out their best work.

Trust and empathy in an organization go hand in hand.

Once you show empathy towards others, you begin to earn the trust of people within your company, which is another hard thing to earn in an organization.

Being a leader is like being a parent

Once the leader starts seeing his employees like a family the culture of the company shifts from ‘working’ to ‘caring.’

So, what does a good parent do?

He provides his children with all the things that are needed for his children’s well being.

A leader is very much like the sun.

The sun provides sunlight relentlessly to everyone on the ground.

Regardless of what the season is, it never stops giving sunlight.

While on the other side, people on the ground feel gratified and use sunlight to advance in their lives.

Similarly, a great leader selflessly provides its employees with all the resources they need.

And in return, the employees manage all the groundwork.

Both sides do what they must to reach the goals of the company.

This type of work environment encourages all the people who are part of the organization to contribute.

No matter where an employee is in the hierarchy he feels equally motivated and energetic to work.

They no longer work for themselves, they start working for each other.

In the best-case scenario, the workplace feels like a paradise where everyone is working towards a single goal.

When people get treated like a family, they start enjoying their job and engage more with the organization.

Get key takeaways from the world’s best nonfiction books in text and audio – Start Free Trial!

The circle of safety

The image below represents the circle of safety:

the circle of safety

The crosses here represent “danger”. And the “circle” represents the environment of an organization.

Within this circle, there is a safe environment while outside the circle there are dangers and threats.

Every organization, whether big or small, is prone to outside threats.

These outside threats often lead to the downfall of the organization and shatter it to pieces.

What a true leader does to cope with outside threats is, he creates a safe environment within the organization.

A safe environment within an organization allows the employees to thrive and also helps in avoiding internal rivalries.

When the organization holds a strong bond with its employees, it becomes strong enough to face threats from outside.

Now imagine what would happen if the people within an organization start facing dangers from inside?

The whole culture would shatter and result in rivalries among each other.

And when this happens the organization becomes vulnerable to outside threats.

When attacked by both inside and outside threats, the leader, as well as its followers, suffer significant damage.

What does an ideal organization do?

It maintains its circle of safety and makes it so strong that no threat penetrates its shield.

It’s like a bulletproof jacket worn by a military man in a war.

The jacket protects him from all those fierce bullets in the circumstances where you never know when you’ll get hit by one.

When people are within this circle of safety, they feel safe and become relaxed.

And therefore, they focus more on pursuing their goals instead of fearing outside threats.

A true leader creates a system to make sure that this blanket of safety, trust, and cooperation fully covers its organization so that people feel safe and focus on their objectives.

This concept of creating a safe environment within an organization is not a fancy management theory.

It is all based on our biology and anthropology.

We’re built to work together

employees working together

The ability of a group of people to do remarkable things hinges on how well those pull together as a team.

Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last

It has been since ancient times that humans prefer to be a part of the community and work within that.

Hunters and gatherers worked together in groups to ensure their survival by gathering food supplies and other basic needs.

Our systems are built such that what we can’t do alone, we can achieve by working together.

For example, it was hard to hunt an animal for meat all by a single person.

But by working in group formations, hunters could easily gather food for an entire week.

Working together improved their efficiency and helped them survive.

They could work for themselves and the community to future proof themselves from threats.

Fortunately, in present times, we don’t need to explore the forests to hunt and find food for ourselves and our family.

We barely need to move at all, the necessities can easily be fulfilled.

Our basic necessities, today, have turned into endless desires of wealth, happiness, mindfulness, and so on.

Likewise, outside threats have also changed significantly.

Even though we have developed rapidly in recent centuries, our biology hasn’t changed that much.

When it comes to survival, we still perceive the outer world as a place of threats.

Earlier, we used to worry about wild animals and food supplies, now we worry about our careers and opportunities.

When it comes to an organization, we’re always surrounded by threats and a great leader ensures that people work together as a team and safeguard or prepare themselves for future threats.

Recommended Summary:

How to Win Friends and Influence People Summary: 24 Incredible Lessons on Relationships

The incentive system of Mother Nature

the incentive system of mother nature

As you just read, our biology evolves to preserve our well-being.

To ensure our well-being, our Mother Nature has developed an incentive system that helps us survive and thrive, especially in harsh circumstances.

This is the only system responsible for instincts that urge us to take the best actions in our interests.

Whenever there is a threat our defenses go up, and when there is an opportunity it encourages repeat behaviors.

So what’s the point of knowing this? It’s common knowledge, isn’t it?

Well, a great leader understands what guides a person to take certain actions.

When you know about the fundamental systems that guide us, you become better equipped to understand other people.

And that’s how you progress towards great leadership.

To make it simple, understand that our lives revolve around these biological chemicals:

Your instincts, mood, feelings, etc, all are guided by the release of these chemicals in your body.

When you understand how these chemicals work, you gain better control over your actions and behaviors.

And therefore, you understand others better.

Reality is way different than ideal leadership

It feels good when we imagine an ideal leader who looks out for its people.

But in reality, most of the leaders are selfish people who only care about themselves.

It’s good to discuss what makes a great leader but it’s pointless because you won’t find many in real life.

In fact, these days people face threats from within the organization, there is no circle of safety at all.

The leaders, most of them, manipulate people and see them in abstraction.

To them, their employees are mere numbers that make them revenues.

Moreover, employees too feel frustrated at work and don’t feel that they contribute to the advancement of the organization.

Empathy and Humanity in businesses these days, look like a thing of the past.

The big corporations, today, are being run by smart executives, not by great leaders who can lead people.

No one wakes up in the morning to go to work with the hope that someone will manage us. We wake up in the morning to go to work with the hope that someone will lead us.

Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmlller

The problems of this era: Abstraction and Dehumanization

Unlike the era when humans had few resources and knowledge, this era is filled with an abundance of everything you can think of.

Earlier, we had dangers surrounding us, now we have only a few.

Due to the availability of all the things in abundance, things have lost their value.

And the same has happened with humans.

As everything is scaling up, people are losing touch with human values like empathy, trust, honesty, etc.

We no longer see each other as humans, we are now business leads, customers, emails, Facebook profiles, Gmail accounts…

It won’t be wrong to say that humans are turning into virtual identities.

Due to the abstraction of people, we are tending more towards inhuman behavior.



The key takeaways from “Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek”

Let’s wrap up the key points from this summary:

  • Have empathy for your employees or followers.
  • Be a leader who looks after his people.
  • See your employees as human beings.
  • Understand your biological chemicals and adapt.
  • Try to create a healthy and safe environment within your organization.
  • Be more human than anything else.

Extra lessons you could learn on Blinkist

  • Why a leader should put others ahead of himself to fulfill a vision.
  • How modern society has become addicted to better and faster performance.
  • How a leader decides the company’s culture and values.

Leaders Eat Last Review

leaders eat last book review

This book taught me that true leadership comes at a price.

One can’t be a true leader unless he is willing to put his well-being over his people.

Many things written in this book point us towards an ideal world where leaders respect their people and help them grow, and at the same time, people do their best to meet the objectives of the organization.

But no matter how sweet it sounds, it isn’t always true.

I can’t say this for sure, but I believe, there is still big room for development in this regard.

As the book is named “Leaders Eat Last”, so what does this phrase mean exactly?

If you’re still confused about this, then let me tell you.

This means that great leaders give priority to their people before their self-interests.

Overall, this is one of the best books on leadership for those who wish to become a great leader someday and guide people towards prosperity.

Final thoughts

I’m glad, you made it through!

Our world truly needs great leaders. I believe Simon Sinek wrote this book with the purpose of educating people and creating great leaders.

This article would certainly help others in becoming leaders they wish to see in the world.

Liked it? Share it.

If you enjoyed reading Leaders Eat Last summary, then you can help others by sharing this article with your friends and family members.

Reader Comments (10)

  1. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back
    to your website? My website is in the very same area of interest as
    yours and my users would truly benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you.

    P.S. If you have a minute, would love your
    feedback on my new website
    re-design. You can find it by searching for «royal cbd» — no sweat if you can’t.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for appreciation.

      Regarding quoting a couple of my articles, if you really love my articles and want to share them with your audience, you can always share the link to my articles.

      But at the same time, I don’t allow anyone to copy my entire articles. Sorry for that.

      It’s always better that you create your own and help others.😃

  2. I have to express some thanks to the writer just for bailing me out of this particular difficulty. Just after researching throughout the world wide web and obtaining opinions that were not beneficial, I figured my entire life was over. Living minus the answers to the problems you have resolved as a result of the write-up is a crucial case, as well as the kind which could have in a wrong way damaged my entire career if I hadn’t discovered the blog. Your actual mastery and kindness in handling all things was invaluable. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come across such a subject like this. I am able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks for your time so much for your skilled and results-oriented help. I will not be reluctant to propose your blog post to any individual who would like guidelines about this subject matter.

  3. Thank you for your entire labor on this blog. Ellie really likes carrying out research and it’s really easy to understand why. A number of us learn all concerning the powerful way you deliver insightful tricks by means of your blog and in addition boost contribution from people on that article and our favorite princess is certainly learning so much. Have fun with the rest of the year. Your performing a glorious job.

  4. I wanted to put you a bit of remark just to give many thanks over again about the breathtaking tactics you have provided in this article. This is quite strangely generous of people like you to deliver extensively what some people could possibly have offered as an e book to get some profit for themselves, specifically seeing that you could possibly have done it in case you wanted. Those things also served to provide a fantastic way to be aware that someone else have the same eagerness like my own to see very much more with respect to this condition. I know there are some more enjoyable times up front for people who browse through your website.

  5. I precisely desired to thank you very much all over again. I am not sure what I would have accomplished without those creative ideas contributed by you concerning that problem. It truly was an absolute frightful matter in my position, but viewing a new expert approach you processed it made me to jump over contentment. I am just thankful for your assistance and even believe you really know what an amazing job you’re doing training some other people through your blog. I know that you’ve never got to know any of us.


Leave a Comment