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Leaders Eat Last

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Simon Sinek

Narrated By: Simon Sinek

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Date: January 2014

Duration: 8 hours 7 minutes


Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things. In his travels around the world since the publication of his bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why? The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first, while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: great leaders sacrifice their own comfort — even their own survival — for the good of those in their care. This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. It’s not a management theory; it’s biology. Our brains and bodies evolved to help us find food, shelter, mates and especially safety. We’ve always lived in a dangerous world, facing predators and enemies at every turn. We thrived only when we felt safe among our group. Our biology hasn’t changed in fifty thousand years, but our environment certainly has. Today’s workplaces tend to be full of cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best organizations foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a Circle of Safety that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside. The Circle of Safety leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities. But without a Circle of Safety, we end up with office politics, silos, and runaway self-interest. And the whole organization suffers. As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories from a wide range of examples, from the military to manufacturing, from government to investment banking. The biology is clear: when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests. It’s amazing how well it works.


  • Hannah H.

    Love this book. So inspiring. Simon makes a case scientifically, anthropologically, and historically that when we invest in people, valuing their well being above numbers, and relationship before profit, everyone benefits, including the business and shareholders.

  • Timothy M

    There are some good nuggets of information that you can take from this book, but I have a hard time linking everything that occurs to chemicals found within the body. There is a lot to be said about being a servant leader. That is the type of leadership that I strive for, and I don't always achieve that goal on a daily basis. The book got off the rails when it started to skew itself to being a book about servant leadership and more about the plight of capitalism. Unfortunately, there are decisions that are made in the business world that have to be based on dollars and cents. Not everything can be blamed on corporate greed. Believe it or not, there are a lot of CEO's in the world that are not greedy.

  • Heidi H


  • Evan T

    I have been really enjoying this book, great for any upcoming and current leader.

  • Jonathan W

    This book is 50% reasonable and 50% garbage. He actually says shareholders don't own corporations. In what world? Activist shareholders are always quick to remind the board and management that they (shareholders) do in fact own the corporation. He also compares a company firing employees in a bad year to a family getting rid of their kids in a year they make less income. Really? The people I supervise aren't my kids and the two situations aren't even close to being the same. And oh by the way, if a company doesn't make hard decisions to let some people go in tough times, it might cost everyone their jobs if the company ultimately goes under because management refused to make the difficult and unpopular cuts. Lose some jobs or lose all jobs? The answer is pretty simple. The 50% of the book that is reasonable is that which points out that servant leadership - as opposed to tyrannical leadership - is a more productive leadership style. But the New Testament already told us that. That said, I only finished 3/4 of the book.

  • Jenny Gernhart

    I feel inspired after listening to this book. Sinek does a good job of using science but keeping it easy to understand. He uses many examples- enough that no matter who you are or what you do, you will be able to relate to this book and find it relevant to your life. I plan to incorporate many of his leadership philosophies into my college classroom teaching practices when the next semester begins.

  • Elizabeth Alm

    Valuable read to challenge one's view of leadership and how to execute that effectively.

  • Unknown Unknown

    It's an excellent read that will teach you why CEOs, and others "at the top" do and act the way they do and what they're doing wrong if they want to truly grow their business. "Put people before numbers." Worth the read for entreprenuers.

  • Tyler Donat

    Great book on understanding leadership and how a team should function.

  • Jacki Decker

    Great point of view from history though sometimes a bit too much history