Start Something That Matters

Start Something That Matters

by Blake Mycoskie


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812981445
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/15/2012
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 85,364
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 2.30(d)

About the Author

In 2006, Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes with a simple business model: “With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.” In 2011, TOMS launched its second One for One product, TOMS Eyewear, which with every pair purchased helps give sight to a person in need by providing medical treatment, prescription glasses, or sight-saving surgery. Mycoskie will be using 50 percent of his proceeds from this book to create the Start Something That Matters Fund, which will support inspired readers in their efforts to make a positive impact on the world.
When Blake isn’t working at TOMS, he spends his time reading, writing, fly-fishing, and participating in just about every board sport.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


the TOMS story

Be the change you want to see in the world.


In 2006 I took some time off from work to travel to Argentina. I was twenty-nine years old and running my fourth entrepreneurial start-up: an online driver-education program for teens that used only hybrid vehicles and wove environmental education into our curriculum-earth- friendly innovations that set us apart from the competition.

We were at a crucial moment in the business's development-revenue was growing, and so were the demands on our small staff-but I had promised myself a vacation and wasn't going to back out. For years I've believed that it's critical for my soul to take a vacation, no matter how busy I am. Argentina was one of the countries my sister, Paige, and I had sprinted through in 2002 while we were competing on the CBS reality program The Amazing Race. (As fate would have it, after thirty-one days of racing around the world, we lost the million- dollar prize by just four minutes; it's still one of the greatest disappointments of my life.)

When I returned to Argentina, my main mission was to lose myself in its culture. I spent my days learning the national dance (the tango), playing the national sport (polo), and, of course, drinking the national wine (Malbec).

I also got used to wearing the national shoe: the alpargata, a soft, casual canvas shoe worn by almost everyone in the country, from polo players to farmers to students. I saw this incredibly versatile shoe everywhere: in the cities, on the farms, in the nightclubs. An idea began to form in the back of my mind: Maybe the alpargata would have some market appeal in the United States. But as with many half-formed ideas that came to me, I tabled it for the moment. My time in Argentina was supposed to be about fun, not work.

Toward the end of my trip, I met an American woman in a café who was volunteering with a small group of people on a shoe drive-a new concept to me. She explained that many kids lacked shoes, even in relatively well-developed countries like Argentina, an absence that didn't just complicate every aspect of their lives but also exposed them to a wide range of diseases. Her organization collected shoes from donors and gave them to kids in need-but ironically the donations that supplied the organization were also its Achilles' heel. Their complete dependence on donations meant that they had little control over their supply of shoes. And even when donations did come in sufficient quantities, they were often not in the correct sizes, which meant that many of the children were still left barefoot after the shoe drop-offs. It was heartbreaking.

I spent a few days traveling from village to village, and a few more traveling on my own, witnessing the intense pockets of poverty just outside the bustling capital. It dramatically heightened my awareness. Yes, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that poor children around the world often went barefoot, but now, for the first time, I saw the real effects of being shoeless: the blisters, the sores, the infections-all the result of the children not being able to protect their young feet from the ground.

I wanted to do something about it. But what?

My first thought was to start my own shoe-based charity, but instead of soliciting shoe donations, I would ask friends and family to donate money to buy the right type of shoes for these children on a regular basis. But, of course, this arrangement would last only as long as I could find donors; I have a large family and lots of friends, but it wasn't hard to see that my personal contacts would dry up sooner or later. And then what? What would happen to the communities that had begun to rely on me for their new shoes? These kids needed more than occasional shoe donations from strangers-they needed a constant, reliable flow.

Then I began to look for solutions in the world I already knew: business and entrepreneurship. I had spent the previous ten years launching businesses that solved problems creatively, from delivering laundry to college students to starting an all-reality cable-TV channel to teaching teenagers driver education online. An idea hit me: Why not create a for-profit business to help provide shoes for these children? Why not come up with a solution that guaranteed a constant flow of shoes, rather than being dependent on kind people making donations? In other words, maybe the solution was in entrepreneurship, not charity.

I felt excited and energized and shared those feelings with Alejo, my Argentinian polo teacher and friend: "I'm going to start a shoe company that makes a new kind of alpargata. And for every pair I sell, I'm going to give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. There will be no percentages and no formulas."

It was a simple concept: Sell a pair of shoes today, give a pair of shoes tomorrow. Something about the idea felt so right, even though I had no experience, or even connections, in the shoe business. I did have one thing that came to me almost immediately: a name for my new company. I called it TOMS. I'd been playing around with the phrase "Shoes for a Better Tomorrow," which eventually became "Tomorrow's Shoes," then TOMS. (Now you know why my name is Blake but my shoes are TOMS. It's not about a person. It's about a promise-a better tomorrow.)

I asked Alejo if he would join the mission, because I trusted him implicitly and, of course, I would need a translator. Alejo jumped at the opportunity to help his people, and suddenly we were a team: Alejo, the polo teacher, and me, the shoe entrepreneur who didn't know shoes and didn't speak Spanish.

We began working out of Alejo's family barn, when we weren't off meeting local shoemakers in hopes of finding someone who would work with us. We described to them precisely what we wanted: a shoe like the alpargata, made for the American market. It would be more comfortable and durable than the Argentine version, but also more fun and stylish, for the fashion-conscious American consumer. I was convinced that a shoe that had been so successful in Argentina for more than a century would be welcomed in the United States and was surprised that no one had thought of bringing this shoe overseas before.

Most of the shoemakers called us loco and refused to work with us, for the hard-to-argue-with reason that we had very little idea of what we were talking about. But finally we found someone crazy enough to believe: a local shoemaker named José. For the next few weeks, Alejo and I traveled hours over unpaved and pothole-riddled roads to get to José's "factory"-a room no bigger than the average American garage, with a few old machines and limited materials.

Each day ended with a long discussion about the right way to create our alpargata. For instance, I was afraid it wouldn't sell in the traditional alpargata colors of navy, black, red, and tan, so I insisted we create prints for the shoes, including stripes, plaids, and a camouflage pattern. (Our bestselling colors today? Navy, black, red, and tan. Live and learn.) José couldn't understand this-nor could he figure out why we wanted to add a leather insole and an improved rubber sole to the traditional Argentine design.

I simply asked him to trust me. Soon we started collaborating with some other artisans, all working out of dusty rooms outfitted with one or two old machines for stitching the fabric, and surrounded by roosters, burros, and iguanas. These people had been making the same shoes the same way for generations, so they looked at my designs-and me-with understandable suspicion.

We then decided to test the durability of the outsole material we were using. I would put on our prototypes and drag my feet along the concrete streets of Buenos Aires with Alejo walking beside me. People would stop and stare; I looked like a crazy person. One night I was even stopped by a policeman who thought I was drunk, but Alejo explained that I was just a "little weird," and the officer let me be. Through this unorthodox process, we were able to discover which materials lasted longest.

Alejo and I worked with those artisans to get 250 samples made, and these I stuffed into three duffel bags to bring back to America. I said good-bye to Alejo, who by now had become a close friend: No matter how furiously we argued, and we did argue, each evening would end with an agreement to disagree, and each morning we'd resume our work. In fact, his entire family had stood by me, even though none of us had any idea what would happen next.

Soon I was back in Los Angeles with my duffel bags of modified alpargatas. Now I had to figure out what to do with them. I still didn't know anything about fashion, or retail, or shoes, or anything relating to the footwear business. I had what I thought was a great product, but how could I get people to actually pay money for it? So I asked some of my best female friends to dinner and told them the story: my trip to Argentina, the shoe drive, and, finally, my idea for TOMS. Then I showed them the goods and grilled them: Who do you think the market is for the shoes? Where should I sell them? How much should we charge? Do you like them?

Luckily, my friends loved the story, loved the concept of TOMS, and loved the shoes. They also gave me a list of stores they thought might be interested in selling my product. Best, they all left my apartment that night wearing pairs they'd insisted on buying from me. A good sign-and a good lesson: You don't always need to talk with experts; sometimes the consumer, who just might be a friend or acquaintance, is your best consultant.

By then I had gone back to working at my current company, the driver- education business, so I didn't have a great deal of time to devote to hawking shoes. At first I thought it wouldn't matter and that I could get everything done via email and phone calls in my spare time.

That idea got me nowhere. One of the first of many important lessons I learned along the way: No matter how convenient it is for us to reach out to people remotely, sometimes the most important task is to show up in person.

So one Saturday I packed up some shoes in my duffel bag and went to American Rag, one of the top stores on the list my friends had compiled, and asked for the shoe buyer. The woman behind the counter told me that the buyer wasn't normally around on weekends, but I was in luck, because on this particular Saturday she happened to be at the store. And because it wasn't a busy day, it turned out that she had time to see me. I went in and told her the TOMS story.

Every month this woman saw, and judged, more shoes than you can imagine-certainly more shoes than American Rag could ever possibly stock. But from the beginning, she realized that TOMS was more than just a shoe. It was a story. And the buyer loved the story as much as the shoe-and knew she could sell both of them.

TOMS now had a retail customer.

Another big break followed soon afterward. Booth Moore, the fashion writer for the Los Angeles Times, heard about our story, loved it-and the shoes-and promised to write an article.

One Saturday morning not long after, I woke up to see my BlackBerry spinning around on a table like it was possessed by demons. I had set the TOMS website to email me every time we received an order, which at the time had been about once or twice a day. Now my phone was vibrating uncontrollably, so much so that, just as suddenly, the battery died. I had no idea what was wrong, so I left it on the table and went out to meet some friends for brunch.

Once I arrived at the restaurant, I saw the front page of the Times's calendar section: It was Booth Moore's story. TOMS was headlines! And that's why my BlackBerry had been spinning so crazily: It turned out we already had 900 orders on the website. By the end of the day, we'd received 2,200.

That was the good news. The bad news was that we had only about 160 pairs of shoes left sitting in my apartment. On the website we had promised everyone four-day delivery. What could we do?

Craigslist to the rescue. I quickly wrote up and posted an ad for interns and by the next morning had received a slew of responses, out of which I selected three excellent candidates, who began working with me immediately. One of them, Jonathan, a young man with a Mohawk haircut, spent his time calling or emailing the people who had ordered shoes to let them know their orders weren't coming anytime soon, because we didn't have any inventory-in fact, they might have to wait as long as eight weeks before we had more. And yet only one person out of those 2,200 initial orders canceled, and that was because she was leaving for a semester abroad. (Jonathan, by the way, is still with TOMS, running the company's global logistics-and he still has the Mohawk.)

Now I had to return to Argentina to make more shoes. I met with Alejo and José, and we immediately set out to manufacture 4,000 new pairs. We still had to convince the shoemakers to construct our design; we had to find suppliers willing to sell us the relatively small amounts of fabric needed to fulfill the orders; and, because no one person or outfit could construct the entire shoe from start to finish, we had to drive all over the greater Buenos Aires area ferrying fabrics to stitchers, unfinished shoes to shoemakers, and so on. That meant spending half the day on the very busy streets of the city in our car, driving like madmen. Alejo, who was used to it, was talking on two cellphones at once while weaving in and out of traffic as I gripped the seat, white-knuckled. I was scared out of my mind. Running a driver_ed course in America didn't prepare me for this.

In the meantime, back home, publicity kept growing as the Los Angeles Times article sparked more coverage. The next big hit came when Vogue magazine decided to do a spread on TOMS, although I doubt they knew our company consisted of three interns and me working out of my apartment. In the magazine, our forty-dollar canvas flats were being featured next to Manolo Blahnik stilettos that sold for ten times as much. After Vogue, other magazines, such as Time, People, Elle, and even Teen Vogue, wrote us up.

Table of Contents

Author Note xi

1 The Toms Story 3

2 Find Your Story 21

3 Face Your Fears 45

4 Be Resourceful Without Resources 69

5 Keep it Simple 97

6 Build Trust 123

7 Giving is Good Business 153

8 The Find Step 175

Acknowledgments 187

A Reader's Guide 191

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A creative and open-hearted business model for our times.”—The Wall Street Journal


There is something different in the air these days: I feel it when I talk to business leaders, give speeches at high school and college campuses, and engage in conversation at coffee shops. People are hungry for success - that's nothing new. What's changed is the definition of that success. Increasingly, the quest for success is not the same as the quest for status and money. The definition has broadened to include contributing something to the world, and living and working on one's own terms.

When I started TOMS, people thought I was crazy. In particular, long-time veterans of the footwear industry surmised that the model was unsustainable or at least untested - that combining a for-profit company with a social mission would complicate and undermine both. What we've found is that TOMS has succeeded precisely because we have created a new model. The giving component of TOMS makes our shoes more than a product. They're part of a story, a tribe, and a movement anyone can join.

TOMS is just one example of a new breed of companies that are succeeding at a volatile time in capitalism's history. The growth of TOMS would never have been possible during my parents' generation, or even when I was first getting started in business in the not-so-distant past. In this fast-paced and constantly changing world, it's easier than ever to seize the day, but in order to do so, you must play by a new set of rules. Increasingly, the tried-and-true tenets of success are just tried, not true.

Start Something That Matters combines the story of TOMS with that of charity: water, FEED Projects, method, Zappos and many other incredible organizations. This book will teach you that having a story may be the most important part of your new venture; that fear can be usefuL; that having vast resources is not as critical as you might think; that simplicity is a core goal for successful enterprises; that trust is an invaluable leadership style; and, finally, that giving may be the best investment you'll ever make.

If this sounds like the way you want to do business and live your life, this book will get you started...

Carpe Diem,

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Start Something That Matters 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
WanderingPixels More than 1 year ago
I have not reviewed a great number of books, but this one moved me. Blake Mycoskie has produced quite a following with TOMS and this book lays out how that came to be. It is written in a first person, straight forward manner that remains captivating throughout the book. He uses personal insight and first hand experience to explain how I as a regular person, can start something that matters. Obvously the goal is not to have a lot of TOMS look alike companies, but more appropriately, he explains the motivation and ability to successfully combine a for-profit company with a worthwhile cause. The adaptable nature of this basic idea allows his experience to transform ordiary companies to extraordinary businesses that can literally change lives. Even if you are not looking to start your own business or change the way you do business, this book is worthwhile reading for the insight alone.
LWFIGI More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for inspiration to start a new life and create something to make money at but doing something that fulfills you, this is the way to go. Whether you are interested in starting a business or not, this is an interesting “making changes” in your life idea book. I am always ready to read something that could possibly enlighten me somehow to make changes in my life for the better. Out of the box thinking is always interesting and inspiring to me and food for thought. Great advice and inventive ideas fill the pages and will provide the reader with new incentive to fulfill their spirit.
Christina Wright More than 1 year ago
Awesome read. One of those reads that finds you exactly when you need it to.
renee mcmorris More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing im not done yet but i cant put it down! A must readbfor all ages that will understand the struggles of being an entrepreneur!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really found this book a great insightful read. There is great advice, and some very good ideas that are worth to remember.
WilliamD More than 1 year ago
Brilliantly written and certainly makes the point that things that matter can be done!! Very enjoyable and inspiring!!! William
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and toms!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very motivating and inspirational! Filled with tons of information and great resources!
Copygirl More than 1 year ago
If you've ever had a dream of how you can change the world or start a business or pursue your passion, Start Something That Matters will make you believe you can do it. Blake's easy-to-read book includes not just the story of TOMS but of other dreamers who have made an impact to illustrate his seven key principals. I got my book free as a blogger, but it's one I would be willing to pay for. And for every book sold, a children's book will be donated to kids who need books. It's a win-win.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before reading this book, i never gave any thought to charity or charitable organizations. I started my businesses with only one thing in mind, MONEY! Now i realize that although making money is great, it is not the only way to measure success. Giving and sharing feels just as good now as making money. I can now do both and feel better about my purpose in life. Starting a business is better when you know its for a purpose and when you know you can help change someones life for the better. Toms shoes is a biz with a purpose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blake wrote this book to open people's brains to the concept of starting a business that makes money, and a difference, at the same time. The TOMS story is fantastic, and he explains other similar businesses and what they are achieving around the globe. A must read for entrepreneurs and anyone considering a start-up. Spread the word--there are good things happening out there!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing and its an eye opener.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the idea of starting something that makes a difference in the lives of others. While the story is nice I was actually hoping to learn more about 'the how to' of starting a business that would benefit others. As an eBook purchase there isn't really a way to 'scan' the book to see if the desired information is available within the book. I do applaud Blake for his committment to follow through on his dream and to be persistent to reach his goal.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Blake Mycoskie started TOMS shoe company after visiting Argentina and learning that many children there didn't own shoes, leading to infections and diseases from dirt-born parasites. The business donates one pair of shoes for every pair sold. This quick read describes the challenges and joys of getting the business going, along with how it became so successful; however, the majority of the book focuses on how we as humans can become our own destiny. The chapter titles say it all, among them: " Find Your Story, Face Your Fears, Build Trust, and Giving is Good Business." The chapters are simplistic but contain information which is so true. Decide what it is you really want, have the courage to go for it, and remember the people who helped you along the way. In other words, give back as much as you are able. This is truly an inspiring book which I am happy to highly recommend. Am sending a copy to my son in college this week!
bookhimdanno More than 1 year ago
WOW!!! I loved this book. The way the information was presented made me want to keep reading. I loved the stories of other businesses that are charity based and how they started and are now thriving. The need in the world is huge and it may seem impossible to do anything, but this book gives you small doable solutions to help out others. Have you ever thought that you are only one person and cannot do anything to help.well read this book and you will know that there are tons of things you can do every day to help someone somewhere. I read this book in one setting and I couldn't put it down. The personal stories and the stories of others brought the book to life. Why not have a business that is for-profit and for helping those in need. If we don't have enough then how can we help anyone? This is a book that everyone out there should read and think about. What can you do? Anything is something to someone out there in need. I will be making this book and a pair of TOMS part of my Christmas giving this year. Get this book and start something that matter how small someone will be eternally grateful for what you do. READ THIS BOOK TODAY! The publisher is giving one book to a child in need for every book purchased.
karlitea on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Honestly, I had already heard of the TOMS Shoes company and thought it was a fascinating concept. I would have read this book based on that alone. The first chapter of the book focuses on how TOMS shoes came to be from initial concept, highlighting hurdles along the way. That part is really interesting and I'm glad Mycoskie wrote about it.However, where this book truly shines is in its message to start something that matters. Mycoskie highlights other companies that had an original idea, a need to make a difference, and a successful company launch. With his start something that matters mantra, he demonstrates that non-profits, for profit companies, and for profit companies that do non profit work are all avenues to do something big, and meaningful and fulfilling. In today's economy, where no one's job is safe and seniority and skill do not necessarily matter - doing work that completes you is all that counts. If you can create something that also helps others - right from the start - then you can be satisfied with not only your success but also your impact.It was such a good read - I immediately shared it with a friend who had just been laid off from work and was looking for more than just another job.
nanagee on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Wonderful book! It's so great to hear about how TOMS started and that Blake Mycoskie continues to keep a focus on his One for One cause. I'm thoroughly touched and inspired by this book. There were also great stories shared about other companies, such as Method and FEED. I'm definitely going to start taking a closer look at companies with a good story and cause behind them. These companies definitely deserve our support. Thank you, Blake, for sharing your story.
InsightsGal on LibraryThing 10 months ago
First, let me say that I'm a huge fan of the Toms company. I have several pairs of Toms shoes and am a huge advocate of their one-to-one concept. I have a great deal of respect for the company that Blake Mycoskie founded and built. That said, I'm not a huge fan of this book. I'm an avid business book reader, and this book is simply too light on content for me. Much of it is the back-story around the founding of Toms, which is great, with some other entrepreneurs chiming in with their stories. I don't feel there's a ton of solid business advice in the book if one were seriously considering starting a business. Was it a light, fun read? Sure. But was it actionable? I don't think so.
jshrop on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Blake Mycoskie's business book, Start Something That Matters, is inspiring, uplifting, and a great resource for entrepreneurs and established business people alike. This is a great read for anyone interested in the TOMS story but also provides a lot of inspiration to make positive changes in the world while making a living in your own business.The basis of the TOMS story is starting a for-profit business with a charity based mission. In the TOMS case, it is providing shoes to the shoeless around the world One for One with shoes purchased from them. This book provides excellent leadership tips for dealing with everything from scarcity of resources to the fear of the unknown, and is a great resource for anyone thinking about taking the leap into starting a new venture. My wife and I are in the midst of starting our own business and this book has inspired me to figure out how to give back to our community and those in need while creating customers who are inspired to become real supporters. There is great insight about how having a charity minded business plan can bring you financial success by getting customers excited in your story. I highly recommend Start Somethig That Matters and believe that the theories and methods that Mycoskie outlines can be used to increase your own success while being a good steward for future generations.
erickandow on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I think this is a great business model, that builds in the concept of giving along with the business plan. I've ordered a copy for our library system.
david7466 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Maybe I didn't quite understand the description when I requested this early reviewer book, but this is all about the author doing shoes for those in need. That's great, but I thought it was going to be a more generic book about finding your passion, making a new adventure work, etc. That's in there, but it's very specific, in my opinion, to the author's situation. I frankly am not that interested in his story.
eddiemerkel on LibraryThing 10 months ago
What a wonderful, inspiring book this is! I have seen TOMS shoes, and heard about them but didn't know the story. Now that I do, now that I know that buying a pair means some kid that doesn't have any shoes gets a pair, I am hoping they make size 14 because I intend to buy some!As I read the story of TOMS, began to understand Blake's philosophy and read how these ideas were applied at TOMS and other organizations around the world, I found myself becoming more and more excited about the whole concept. As I was reading, I began to search for ideas for things that I could do; ways that I could put something like this into play. The second that I finished the last page I began writing down ideas I have had in the past and new ones that popped into my mind as I was reading that I need to explore. I have a couple that I think are good ones but need to bounce them off some friends first.From a business perspective this is a refreshing change of pace as well. Here is a business book that touts small, frugal and simple above all else with examples of the various, creative ways TOMS and other companies do simple. A business book that says it's OK if you never get big, it's OK to not even aim at big. That if your goal is to help others then even helping one person equals success. It is also a great source of ideas for resources and places you can go on the web to get help for little to no cost.I got this book for free from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Giveaway and I am glad I did as I may not have read it otherwise. Knowing what I know now I would not hesitate to run out to the store and buy it, and I highly recommend you do that. Especially since, after the TOMS model, for each book sold, the publisher promises to give a book to a child that needs them. That is worth the price of admission and this book then is just really really good gravy!
peleluna on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was excited to receive this book for the "how to" factor and wound up being charmed by the underlying stories within as an added bonus. Quite inspiring and also a reminder of how it is still possible to craft a meaningful and ethical business model. Great writing and a great reference for any entrepreneur.
cemming on LibraryThing 10 months ago
As someone who'd read plenty of books about starting a small business, I can honestly say that this one is a bit different.Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, writes from the creative perspective instead of using normal business speak or logic. Which isn't to say that the book doesn't logical. Rather, Mycoskie's approach is to tailor his approach, creating a business plan that's as unique as your individual business.Based on his experience founding TOMS, a shoe company that gives away a free pair of shoes for each purchased pair, Mycoskie knows it can be difficult to follow a recipe for a business start-up, particularly businesses with a heart for community-building and other not-always-profitable service aspects. His story alone shows that it's possible to build a successful brand with a completely out-of-the-box strategy, and he also references dozens of big businesses that began as one person with an idea. Rife with tips for saving start-up money, Start Something That Matters will help set you on the right track with basic questions as you get started, resourceful growth planning, hiring help, and even finding the funding you need.This is a book with more storytelling than step-by-step advice, so you may want to purchase additional resources if this will be your only how-to guide to starting a business. But if what you truly need is the extra encouragement to follow your heart and begin a business that feeds your soul AND your bank account, pick this one up.
storyjunkie on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Start Something that Matters was a very fast read, once I got into it and past the first two chapters. Mycoskie shares the story of his own entrepreneurial endeavor, TOMS, a for-profit company that has a charitable or social good at the center of its mission. He then uses that story to launch encouragement and advice to the reader for starting their own such endeavor. At its heart, this is something of an entrepreneur self-help book.The first two chapters were necessary, but "the TOMS story" and "find your story" are both much more like a practiced sales pitch than the following chapters that my natural inclination to mistrust the sales pitch got in the way of the words.Once Mycoskie got into the longer message, and gave more details on the pragmatic and practical matters, that problem kind of went away. Of particular interest to me were the places where Mycoskie revealed the resources he had at his disposal (not as many as I thought) when he started TOMS, and the role of the people around him in the success of TOMS.What I took away were some nice kernals of advice, and all the thoughts I've had and conversations I've started based on an idea that a sentence or phrase that caught my eye. This is a very good book to prompt discussions.