Simon Sinek on How to Apply an Anthropology Degree in Your Career

In Chapter 4 of 16 in his 2009 Capture Your Flag interview, author Simon Sinek answers "What Did You Learn Studying Anthropology at Brandeis University and How Did You Apply That in Your Early Career?" Sinek shares how majoring in anthropology enabled him to learn the skills necessary to understand consumer behavior in marketing and advertising. During college at Brandeis University, Simon Sinek, author of "Start With Why", learns to apply the science behind individual and group decision making in advertising and marketing roles, specifically in what motivates and inspires repeat consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. Simon Sinek teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. Sinek is the author of two books, "Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don't" and "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action". He is a public speaker, an adjunct professor at Columbia University and a Brandeis University graduate.


Erik Michielsen: What did you learn studying anthropology at Brandeis University and how did you apply that in your early career?

Simon Sinek: I'm fascinated by why people do what they do.  I've always been fascinated by it.  Anthropology gave me the freedom and flexibility to study the individual and the group. If you just want to study individuals you are a psychology major and if you just want to study the group you are a sociology major.  Where when you are an anthropology major you can do it all.  Freedom is nice.  I'm just fascinated by people.  In college, I loved going to bars and watch people on dates.  Watching their body language.  I did field work with the Massachusetts state police.  When I went into my career in marketing, I was interested in why people buy one thing over another.  For me it is very much the same.  What truly motivates us and what inspires us to repeat behavior?