Book Summary: Who Not How by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Quick Summary: Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy teach you how to create a mentality shift that will lead to explosive growth and limitless possibilities in your business and personal life in Who Not How (2020). Do you believe that doing things yourself is the only way to get them done? What if it wasn’t this way? What if you had a team of people helping you achieve your goals while you helped them achieve theirs?

You can retrain your brain to stop limiting your potential based on what you can achieve alone and instead focus on the virtually limitless and endless connections between yourself and other people, as well as the boundless transformation that those relationships can bring.

Who Not How Book Summary

Who vs. How

When we want something done, we’ve been taught to ask, “How can I do this?” However, there is a better question to ask. “Who can assist me in doing this?” opens up a whole new world of ease and accomplishment. What would happen if other great Whos boosted your abilities and potential? How much of your own life are you attempting to manage on your own, for whatever reason? Do you have Whos in your life who offer you perspectives, resources, and the possibility of accomplishing more than you could on your own? Or are you setting minor goals in order to make them easier to achieve on your own?

Most people believe that in order to prove their worth, they must put in the most effort, sweat, and tears. As a result, they fail to achieve great things by working together and helping one another. It’s easy to get caught up in the How, especially for high achievers who want to exert control over the only thing they have: themselves.

You must be vulnerable and trusting in order to broaden your efforts and build a winning team. It takes foresight to recognize that many of the Hows can be handled by others, and that your efforts and contributions, your Hows, should be focused solely on your areas of greatest passion and influence. Rather than being spread thin, your attention and energy should be focused where you can experience exceptional flow and creativity.

The outcome, not the effort, is what matters in the end. In life, the results you produce, not the effort and time you put in, are rewarded. If you want to truly achieve at the highest level, you must shift from a How-mentality to a Who-mentality.

Your ability to produce results will become increasingly dependent on Whos rather than Hows as you advance in your career. If you focus on Who you work with rather than How you achieve your goals, your level of accomplishment, and thus freedom, will skyrocket in all critical areas.

Free Up Your Time

If you only think in terms of “How,” you are limited to your own knowledge and abilities. It requires you to devote your time and attention to the task at hand, limiting your time freedom. “Who” instantly connects you to a wealth of knowledge, insights, and abilities. “Who” is all about getting the desired result as soon as possible. As a result, “Who” can immediately free up hundreds of hours that you can spend on more productive and meaningful activities. It broadens your perspective on what is possible because you are no longer the sole means of achieving the goal.

Self-expansion is a basic human need, and it occurs through Whos. Unfortunately, most people spend the majority, if not all, of their lives putting off the things that really matter. According to studies, 85-95 percent of college students regularly procrastinate.

Procrastination takes up a significant portion of our time. It’s also a byproduct of having a goal and asking “How?” rather than “Who?” It also has a number of negative consequences, such as reduced happiness, dissatisfaction, and, eventually, motivation loss. Procrastination, on the other hand, is knowledge. “This goal is incredible!” exclaims your inner genius. “But you are not the one who is expected to do everything!”

If you’ve never truly committed to big goals, asking “Who can help me achieve this?” may be a stretch, so start thinking big. Leadership requires being clear and specific about one’s vision. There are a plethora of knowledgeable and capable Whos willing to assist you. All they have to do is understand your vision.

When you stop asking “How?” and start asking “Who?” your possibilities become virtually limitless. You can get answers tens of thousands of times faster if you ask “Who?” instead of “How?” You can use Who Not How in both personal and professional settings. And figuring out Whos will save you tens of thousands of hours in the future. Once you’ve let go of the Hows, you’ll have a renewed sense of purpose and clarity. You’ll also feel as if you’ve been given a second chance at life.

Dan Sullivan created the Moving Future process, in which you reflect on what you’ve accomplished in the previous 90 days and take action. You can remove responsibilities for yourself and free up time, energy, and attention by adding Whos to better handle the Hows every 90 days. And you’ll be able to do more as you become more intentional and efficient with your time over the next 90 days.

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Free Up Your Money

Before you can have financial freedom, you must first have time freedom. In fact, by freeing up your time, you gain the critical benefit of freeing up your mind. Furthermore, by freeing up your time, you will be able to devote it to higher-value activities such as strategizing or creating, which will immediately increase your earnings. Improving how you spend your time increases your ability to earn money on autopilot.

Adding a Who to a specific area of your life reduces decision fatigue. One of your primary goals if you want to be a high performer and increase your income should be to eliminate decision fatigue from your life. And, if you’re serious about getting a result, you should focus on Who rather than How. Extreme devotion results from having a clear vision and the freedom to carry it out however the Who sees fit.

Transformational leaders invest in their Whos, push them, help them clearly understand the vision, and ultimately get them just as devoted and invested as they are. After all, autonomy is useless without a clear vision. When there is a clear vision and constant feedback on results, autonomy leads to good performance. Leaders should prioritize the end result over the process. Rather than micromanaging the process, leadership should provide flexibility and autonomy, as well as extreme clarity and high standards of excellence.

Overemphasis on How will limit your earning potential. It is a limiting belief to believe that it is noble to do all of the Hows yourself. It truly isn’t. When you think about How, you usually think about scarcity and cost avoidance. Trying to save money by participating in Hows will ultimately cost you and your future a lot of money.

By viewing Whos as an investment rather than an expense, you can easily increase your income and revenue. Transformational partnerships, rather than transactional ones, can then be formed in which all parties offer more than they take. You can increase your Freedom of Time, Money, Relationship, and Purpose by viewing yourself as an investment rather than a cost.

Free Up Your Relationship

Never enter a relationship without first contributing to it, and never stop contributing to and maintaining your connections. Always ask, “What’s in it for them?” rather than “What’s in it for me?” and try to understand what is important to the other person. Do your research: learn about them, their context, and their goals. Provide useful information while avoiding wasting their time. If you want to make transformational connections, approach them with a transformational mindset rather than a transactional one.

How do you go about taking a transformational approach? Bring a measurable result to the table. Increase the size of the pie for all participants. Make no grandiose predictions about the future. Bring about immediate results. Make no promises you can’t keep. And be a generous contributor who prioritizes service and growth over status. Also, be courteous to those you meet on your way up because you’ll see them again on your way down. If you are grateful to the people in your life in large and small ways, you will attract incredible abundance.

Remind yourself that in order to enjoy Relationship Freedom, you can no longer engage with people who do not share your vision. Create buffers and mechanisms to ensure that you don’t work directly with irrelevant people. As you say no to people and situations that do not align with your future self’s vision, your confidence will grow.

Your team will also have more faith in you as a leader. Tell yourself that your current self does not have to put up with situations or people that your previous self did, and that your future self will not tolerate or engage with situations or people that you are currently putting up with. As you make daring decisions based on the future you want to create, you can take greater leaps into your freedom and achievement.

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Free Up Your Purpose

When you concentrate on the question “How?” your thinking becomes rigid and non-collaborative. It also stresses you out because you’re always too busy to juggle everything. Isolation from your goals results from focusing on “How?” This slows your development because isolation from your goals weakens your dreams.

Collaboration immediately broadens your Freedom of Purpose and Vision, because what you can accomplish with others is far greater than what you can accomplish alone. Competition stifles creative innovation and limits your future, whereas collaboration allows you to focus on what you want to focus on without feeling guilty about seeking help. Collaboration also transforms the original goal of the project into something far better and more meaningful than you could have imagined on your own. Your Freedom of Purpose grows as you broaden your horizons.

Only through Whose can you experience life’s most significant miracles and blessings, and only through Whose can you transform and grow your purpose and existence. Ask yourself: Who can assist you in identifying potential in your future and career that you are unable to see for yourself right now? Furthermore, Whos broaden your horizons and give you the confidence to pursue lofty goals. In this way, your Whos eventually become your mission.

All successful entrepreneurs have used Who Not How to get where they are, often unknowingly. Instead of completing all of the Hows by themselves, every business breakthrough occurs when an entrepreneur discovers the Whos. When Who Not How is used effectively for the first time, it quickly becomes “the only way”—a positive point of no return. The freedom and self-expansion you will experience will excite and amaze you. Who Not How has innumerable benefits. A whole new world of possibilities will open up for you. Your level of freedom in terms of time, money, relationships, and purpose is determined by your commitment to and implementation of the system.

Who Not How Review

The style of Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy is empowering and inspiring. With approachable and relatable writing, they encourage readers to change their mindset and adopt the Who mentality. They thoroughly explain their concepts and provide real-life examples of famous people who have used the Who mindset to advance their careers.

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About The Author

Dan Sullivan is an American author of over thirty books and the founder and president of The Strategic Coach Inc., a business coaching service. He has over 35 years of experience as a well-known speaker, consultant, strategic planner, and coach to entrepreneurs.

Benjamin Hardy is an American author with a PhD in organizational psychology from Clemson University. His blogs have been read by over 100 million people and have been featured in Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, and many other publications. For many years, he was the most-read writer on

Who Not How Quotes

“In Dan and Babs’s experience, your team can and should operate seamlessly without you. “


“According to the Self-Expansion Model developed by married psychologists, Dr. Arthur Aron and Dr. Elaine Aron, humans have a primary motivation for self-expansion, which is the desire to enhance your efficacy or confidence. “


“But as you combine your efforts with other Whos, your efficacy immediately increases. Relationships are how you transform as a person. Relationships are how you transcend your current limitations. Relationships are how you produce results. Relationships are the purpose of life. “


“Employees, collaborators, and consultants work for you not because they are beneath you, but because they believe in you. “


“The question is, are you willing to invest in Whos. Are you willing to take that leap of faith and solidify your commitment to your dreams. Or, are you going to remain semi-committed. Get some skin in the game. “

View our larger collection of the best Who Not How quotes. 

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