When Blake Mycoskie vacationed in Argentina during 2006, he didn’t foresee the trip being a catalyst to starting a world-renowned business.What he did see was a common Argentinian shoe called alpargatas, while at the same time observing a vast number of children who, without shoes, were highly susceptible to injury and soil-borne diseases. It was a problem so widespread that he felt compelled to help in some way, any way. And an idea was born. Blake was no stranger to being an entrepreneur and to wanting to help others, and it was on that trip that his passion for both merged into a brilliant idea: TOMS Shoes.
In Start Something That Matters, Mycoskie shares how his vision became what is now TOMS Shoes–his for-profit company that operates on a One for One basis, donating a pair of shoes to needy children for each pair purchased through his company.
Table of Contents:
- one: the TOMS story
- two: find your story
- three: face your fears
- four: be resourceful without resources
- five: keep it simple
- six: build trust
- seven: giving is good business
- eight: the final step
This book is more than just a history of TOMS: Start Something That Matters is in the genre of inspirational business, encouraging entrepreneurs to do something more than just build a successful business.
Reading this book, I caught similar themes as those found in Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness and Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Work Week, business books that Mycoskie refers to specifically and that I’ve also read in the past year. This book was more in keeping with the theme of Delivering Happiness, but I felt it delved deeper into the concept of philanthropic business than did the latter. (Of course, the two businesses, Zappos.com and TOMS, are quite different in many ways.)
Even if business and entrepreneurism aren’t a reader’s typical fare, I believe many would find this book inspirational for Mycoskie’s story alone; and who knows, perhaps start something that matters, too.
Random things that made this book particularly fascinating: Blake and his sister were contestants on The Amazing Race in 2002. Blake’s mom was also an entrepreneur in her own way. After TOMS began to grow, Blake realized he was living with too much stuff, and too extravagantly; he sold and gave away most of it and now lives on a sailboat. The colors of TOMS shoes that Blake thought would flop have repeatedly been the bestselling colors. In the first years of TOMS, the company selected customers to travel with them on shoe-drops (they still do the shoe drops; but the selection of those going on shoe-drops has slightly changed).
I don’t own a pair of TOMS, but I think next time in the market for a pair of new shoes, I’ll definitely pursue them as a viable option.