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Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

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In his long-awaited memoir, Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.-shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. From his youth as the son of a French Canadian blacksmith to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditio In his long-awaited memoir, Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.-shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. From his youth as the son of a French Canadian blacksmith to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditions that inspired his innovative designs for the sport's equipment, Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life-a book that will deeply affect entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.


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In his long-awaited memoir, Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.-shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. From his youth as the son of a French Canadian blacksmith to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditio In his long-awaited memoir, Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.-shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. From his youth as the son of a French Canadian blacksmith to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditions that inspired his innovative designs for the sport's equipment, Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life-a book that will deeply affect entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

30 review for Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

  1. 5 out of 5

    Preston Kutney

    I don't know where to start with my reverence for Chouinard. He's my anti-business business hero, a reluctant radical in corporate America. The book opens: "I've been a businessman for almost fifty years. It's as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit being an alcoholic or a lawyer. I've never respected the profession. It's business that has to take the majority of the blame for being the enemy of nature, for destroying native cultures, for taking from the poor and giv I don't know where to start with my reverence for Chouinard. He's my anti-business business hero, a reluctant radical in corporate America. The book opens: "I've been a businessman for almost fifty years. It's as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit being an alcoholic or a lawyer. I've never respected the profession. It's business that has to take the majority of the blame for being the enemy of nature, for destroying native cultures, for taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and for poisoning the earth with the effluent from its factories. Yet business can produce food, cure disease, control population, employ people, and generally enrich our lives. And it can do these good things and make a profit without losing its soul. That's what this book is about. " When I think about Patagonia, I think about a company that prioritizes its values over profits. The brand image of the company is not simply a product of skilled marketing, but an extension of the authenticity of its founder, and the culture he established. Chouinard never wanted to be a businessman, he didn't really care that much about making money; he simply needed to make a little cash so he could go climbing...and well, why not make climbing gear to do it? As the company slowly took off, Chouinard grappled with that success. In a pivotal moment for the company, a management guru asked Yvon "If the main goal of the company is to fund environmental causes, why not sell the company today for $100M, and give it all rather than a steady drip of 10% of your profits?". Chouinard struggled with that question until he figured out his answer years later: "I knew, after thirty-five years, why I was in business. True, I wanted to give money to environmental causes. But even more, I wanted to create in Patagonia a model other businesses could look to in their own searches for environmental stewardship and sustainability. " Today, Patagonia's mission statement is "Make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." This philosophy took decades to catch on, but today it is common knowledge that mission-driven businesses develop strong brands and loyal customers, attract the best employees, and often deliver above-average returns to investors with lower risk. When we think of contemporary innovative business leaders, we often think of people who developed products that made the future come to life. Yvon Chouinard did create a few new products, but that is far from being the most significant part of his contribution to the advancement of management. I would argue that the paradigm shift that is still under way, that you can "do well by doing good", which owes so much to Patagonia's example and success, will prove to be one of the most important business innovations of our age, and a key component of what (hopefully) tips us into a cleaner economy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Miller

    Patagonia is an amazing company with great products and a commendable mission. I'm probably more apt to purchase something from Patagonia than from one of their competitors after reading this book, but I don't subscribe to Chouinard's overwhelming anti-establishment sentiment. Somebody's got to make enough money to buy their $500 ski jackets, and it isn't the dirtbags living out of their cars, smoking pot and eating cat tuna. The environmental conservation movement should not have to be so polar Patagonia is an amazing company with great products and a commendable mission. I'm probably more apt to purchase something from Patagonia than from one of their competitors after reading this book, but I don't subscribe to Chouinard's overwhelming anti-establishment sentiment. Somebody's got to make enough money to buy their $500 ski jackets, and it isn't the dirtbags living out of their cars, smoking pot and eating cat tuna. The environmental conservation movement should not have to be so polarizing to be effective. Many "Patagoniacs" have a general disdain for people that work in professional services, but somehow don't appreciate that these are the very people that keep their company afloat! That said, a lot of their philosophy is, in my opinion, spot on. Buy better quality, keep it for a lot longer, etc.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This book changes you. If you don't come away doing SOMETHING more for the environment than you already are, well then I think there's something wrong with you. It's a do as I do book, and is quite effective at that. My company's next two printing projects will be done on 100 percent post-consumer content paper, produced with wind-generated power, and in a smaller format footprint than previously intended...because of this book. I'm riding my bike to work more often ... because of this book. I l This book changes you. If you don't come away doing SOMETHING more for the environment than you already are, well then I think there's something wrong with you. It's a do as I do book, and is quite effective at that. My company's next two printing projects will be done on 100 percent post-consumer content paper, produced with wind-generated power, and in a smaller format footprint than previously intended...because of this book. I'm riding my bike to work more often ... because of this book. I leave my car home on the weekends and do the grocery shopping with my children all on our bikes, each with a backpack ... because of this book. It all matters. It all adds up.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cate

    I love origin stories, and was drawn to this to read the story of how Chouinard lives a life of adventure while running a successful business. The beginning was interesting, I liked reading about his early years and how he started making climbing equipment basically on the beach and growing that into a business. The "reluctant" part of the business story wears thin pretty quickly: this guy obviously knows how to run a business, and wants to run a business, so the whole I'm-really-just-an-outdoor I love origin stories, and was drawn to this to read the story of how Chouinard lives a life of adventure while running a successful business. The beginning was interesting, I liked reading about his early years and how he started making climbing equipment basically on the beach and growing that into a business. The "reluctant" part of the business story wears thin pretty quickly: this guy obviously knows how to run a business, and wants to run a business, so the whole I'm-really-just-an-outdoor-guy-now-running-a-whoopsie!-business does not ring true. As the book goes on, it reads more like an extended version of a Patagonia catalog with Successories-type side bars meant to inspire(!). If you are interested in thread count and sewing techniques of shell jackets, this book is for you. If not, you might find yourself, like I did, paging through it like any other mail catalog while the tv is on and the dinner is warming up on the stove.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mason Wiebe

    Chouinard’s story of his values and what led him to start Patagonia. The principles that drive his company are really his own and he is a reluctant businessman. Big focus on quality, durability and doing more with less. He is a committed environmentalist and believes businesses should be responsible for the damage they do to the Earth. Refreshing. Quotes I liked: Doing risk sport had taught me another important lesson: never exceed your limits. You push the envelope and you live for those moments Chouinard’s story of his values and what led him to start Patagonia. The principles that drive his company are really his own and he is a reluctant businessman. Big focus on quality, durability and doing more with less. He is a committed environmentalist and believes businesses should be responsible for the damage they do to the Earth. Refreshing. Quotes I liked: Doing risk sport had taught me another important lesson: never exceed your limits. You push the envelope and you live for those moments when you’re right on the edge, but you don’t go over. You have to be true to yourself; you have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means. -Yvon Chouinard The more you know, the less you need. -Yvon Chouinard Everything we personally own that’s made, sold, shipped, stored, cleaned, and ultimately thrown away does some environmental harm every step of the way, harm that we’re either directly responsible for or is done on our behalf. -Yvon Chouinard How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top. -Yvon Chouinard The goal of climbing big, dangerous mountains should be to attain some sort of spiritual and personal growth, but this won’t happen if you compromise away the entire process. -Yvon Chouinard …the worst thing said about him is that he was “uncurious.” -Yvon Chouinard …most of the damage we cause to the planet is the result of our own ignorance. -Yvon Chouinard

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I'm always wary of the stories of successful people who make it seem like they fell into their success. At the same time, because Patagonia is, for a for-profit business, very environmentally responsible and family-oriented, I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I didn't. The beginning is pretty interesting, as Chouinard writes about his early life and how his company started making better equipment for mountain climbers. I was with him for this part. He figured out how to build a bet I'm always wary of the stories of successful people who make it seem like they fell into their success. At the same time, because Patagonia is, for a for-profit business, very environmentally responsible and family-oriented, I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I didn't. The beginning is pretty interesting, as Chouinard writes about his early life and how his company started making better equipment for mountain climbers. I was with him for this part. He figured out how to build a better mousetrap and the world beat a path to his door. As the company grew, Chouinard wrote about how little he knew about business. Mostly, he wanted to keep climbing and surfing and fishing. He makes it seem as if his business sort of magically grew. I find that much harder to swallow. You don't get to be the size of Patagonia without some very savvy business people running things. While at first it was just Chouinard and his friends, my guess is that not every employee was a ski bum. There are many reasons to laud Patagonia. The company is incredibly environmentally responsible. They were on the forefront of implementing family leave for employees who gave birth. They had child-care on site so that families can be together. But as another reviewer pointed out, Patagonia clothing is damned expensive. Chouinard certainly touts Patagonia as a company run by thrill-seeking iconoclasts for thrill-seeking iconoclasts. Then he charges prices that only lawyers and corporate executives who want to come off as thrill-seekers can afford. In my opinion, this book is a little disingenuous. Chouinard may be a reluctant businessman, but he certainly hired some very competent businesspeople to work for him and help build his company. That was not the message I was looking for out of this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Willian Molinari

    I'm migrating all my reviews to my blog. If you want to read the full review with my raw notes, check it here: https://pothix.com/letmypeoplegosurfing/ It was 3 stars until 70% of the book but the ending deserves 4. This book is the story of Patagonia and how its founders deal with business, people, and the environment. Their way of life resonates a lot with what I think is a good way to live. Maintain a sustainable business, hire people you trust, and give them enough freedom to live a good life w I'm migrating all my reviews to my blog. If you want to read the full review with my raw notes, check it here: https://pothix.com/letmypeoplegosurfing/ It was 3 stars until 70% of the book but the ending deserves 4. This book is the story of Patagonia and how its founders deal with business, people, and the environment. Their way of life resonates a lot with what I think is a good way to live. Maintain a sustainable business, hire people you trust, and give them enough freedom to live a good life while giving their best to make the company grow, thinking about the environment, grow only when you have to grow (to supply your demand), live a minimalistic life, and so many other stuff. The book speaks in the first person, about their own story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    I expected to dislike this book and dislike YC after reading it, but I was wrong. I was actually quite impressed with his vision and efforts and *some* of his business policies. Most criticisms I hear about Patagonia are one of two things. First, that it’s too expensive. This is discussed and makes sense to me. He wanted to make the best quality possible, that could last a long, long time, to reduce waste. At the same time, he’s not looking to be dry-clean only, but durable and usable. I have ha I expected to dislike this book and dislike YC after reading it, but I was wrong. I was actually quite impressed with his vision and efforts and *some* of his business policies. Most criticisms I hear about Patagonia are one of two things. First, that it’s too expensive. This is discussed and makes sense to me. He wanted to make the best quality possible, that could last a long, long time, to reduce waste. At the same time, he’s not looking to be dry-clean only, but durable and usable. I have had two expensive Patagonia coats. One I wore until the zipper broke, and I mailed it in and they replaced the zipper, free of charge. The other fell apart at the seams after a strange interaction with my dryer sheets, we think, and they replaced it with the newer year’s version, which would have cost more, again free of charge and with no hassle. These experiences match what he preaches in his book. Yes, I pay more upfront, but less in the long run if it truly lasts. Also, pro deals are to let those who truly are passionate about the sport afford the gear for much less. He’s not trying to make the cheapest disposable product. Walmart has that covered. Second, people love to say that Patagonia only supports environmental causes bc it’s advertising and will help them sell more. I liked how he described how each time they made a change to better the environment, it actually saved them money. If you find a way to support your cause and run a business, that doesn’t seem worse to me than just running a business. He acknowledges the press/marketing they get, but it doesn’t mean they don’t actually care. I did feel it fell flat in some parts, esp the parts about management. Not his area of expertise. I also felt annoyed that he seems to think that working in the outdoor industry is the only worthy and valuable career. He makes fun of lawyers, but I bet he’s needed them. He seems oblivious at times to the fact that not everyone needs to live his way or share his priorities. I think this is kind of common in that world. Overall a good read, and I learned a lot of interesting history of climbing and enjoyed his learnings on business from several angles.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alper Çuğun

    Chouinard tells the story of how the succes of his company Patagonia has forced him to invent a whole and balanced way of doing business. He takes a longer term view focused on real sustainability and in doing so he does does away with conventional business paradigms where the goal is growth at any cost. Patagonia as told by Chouinard is an example for the rest of the world with a dedication to the highest level of quality and the lowest amount of side-effects, environmentally and socially. Once Chouinard tells the story of how the succes of his company Patagonia has forced him to invent a whole and balanced way of doing business. He takes a longer term view focused on real sustainability and in doing so he does does away with conventional business paradigms where the goal is growth at any cost. Patagonia as told by Chouinard is an example for the rest of the world with a dedication to the highest level of quality and the lowest amount of side-effects, environmentally and socially. Once you have read this, morality alone should convince you that there is no other way of doing business.The story Chouinard tells is reminiscent of Ricardo Semler's story in the Seven-Day Weekend but whereas Semler's stories tell of an anecdotal success, Chouinard rolls out a comprehensive philosophy that is the basis for all of Patagonia's action and takes Semler's principles to their logical conclusion.I am not an environmentalist in the traditional sense of the word but change is necessary. I think we can and will live in harmony with the environment if we employ a positive world changing outlook, technological progress, market forces and cradle to cradle thinking in a good way. Chouinard gives example after example of these strategies and the change they have created. Patagonia is both a profitable company and an exemplary environmentalist at the same time. They show how doing things right can be more fun, better for the world and cheaper in the long run.Personally this book has persuaded me that conservation of nature and the last pieces of wilderness is important and that the resources we consume should be in balance with the planet harvested organically and sustainably. In business the example of Patagonia has strengthened my resolve to be in business myself. For the same reasons: to do what you believe in, do good and to lead by an example others can follow.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ynna

    Yvon Chouinard wanted to make a little extra cash so so he could support his rock climbing hobby and decided to create his own climbing equipment. Years later, a simple desire to do what he loved evolved into an outdoor recreation company recognized for its quality, consistency, and sustainability. After reading this memoir, Patagonia means so much more to me now than colorful fleece pullovers and vests. Chouinard's unusual approach to business includes campaigns which literally ask customers no Yvon Chouinard wanted to make a little extra cash so so he could support his rock climbing hobby and decided to create his own climbing equipment. Years later, a simple desire to do what he loved evolved into an outdoor recreation company recognized for its quality, consistency, and sustainability. After reading this memoir, Patagonia means so much more to me now than colorful fleece pullovers and vests. Chouinard's unusual approach to business includes campaigns which literally ask customers not to buy his products, offering repair services for used or damaged products and donating 1% of all sales to environmental causes. Perhaps the most endearing thing I learned about Patagonia is their dedication to families. Yvon and his wife Malinda didn't want to run a company where parents had to be away from their children, especially during the early years of childhood so they worked to create on-site childcare services and generous maternity and paternity leaves. Besides sharing his business philosophy, Yvon shares his Zen inspired life philosophies and how he incorporates his desire to do good into his business practices. I was inspired and humbled when reading this and forced to re-think my very American consumer habits. My biggest takeaways from Let My People Go Surfing were: 1) Buy only what you need and make sure it's high quality so you don't have to buy it again 2) The earth is dying and we are killing it 3) It's the little efforts of human beings striving to do good and make the world better that combine to make significant positive changes for our planet and generations to come This book also includes dozens of beautiful pictures of Patagonia employees enjoying themselves in nature as well as incredible scenery from around the world. I have a definition of evil different from most people. Evil doesn't have to be an overt act, it can be merely the absence of good. If you have the ability, the resources, and the opportunity to do good and you do nothing, that can be evil.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Enrico Berta

    At certain times a bit idealistic and naive, however overall, if read with a certain sense of "self-conciousness" knowing that it simply won't be that easy and that many more factors are to be considered (like for example the high pricing of his clothing which he doesn't tackle at all or that working towards a sustainable environment is for most people a privilege many people simply cannot afford (here it is also important to mention that it is on the other hand usually the privileged ones who c At certain times a bit idealistic and naive, however overall, if read with a certain sense of "self-conciousness" knowing that it simply won't be that easy and that many more factors are to be considered (like for example the high pricing of his clothing which he doesn't tackle at all or that working towards a sustainable environment is for most people a privilege many people simply cannot afford (here it is also important to mention that it is on the other hand usually the privileged ones who can do something against it that are causing the environmental problems with vast overconsumption)) literally a "goodread" for me and I recommend it to anyone who is at least slightly concerned about the direction in which our world is going. Well sourced and decorated with marvellous pictures too. Sorry for the long brackets :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ola Niechciał

    Very impressive and truly inspiring. And amazing photos. Def. a MUST READ. Key highlights: - PD Philosophy Quote- When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know is wrong. (R. Buckminster Fuller). - Marketing Philosophy - Branding is telling people who we are. Promotion is selling people on our product. Our promotion efforts begin with the product. - Management Philosophy - It's not t Very impressive and truly inspiring. And amazing photos. Def. a MUST READ. Key highlights: - PD Philosophy Quote- When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know is wrong. (R. Buckminster Fuller). - Marketing Philosophy - Branding is telling people who we are. Promotion is selling people on our product. Our promotion efforts begin with the product. - Management Philosophy - It's not the strongest species that survivors, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change (Ch. Darwin) Environmental Philosophy: - I've found the cure for depression is action, and action is the basis for the environmental philosophy at Patagonia. - Focus on the causes, (...), no the symptoms. - Among the multitude of threats facing life on Earth, there is none more threatening than global climate change. - In other words, we need to go back to the old ways of farming, with organic practices, biodynamics, and crop rotation leading the way. Def. of Evil - If you have the ability, the resources, and the opportunity to do good and you do nothing, that can be evil. Evil doesn't have to be overt act, it can merely the absence of good.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    (audio) I mean, I already wanted to wear nothing but Patagonia for the rest of my life but now I don’t know if I CAN wear anything but Patagonia for the rest of my life? I also don’t know if I can work anywhere else but of course they don’t hire just anyone so I’m doomed to a life of unfulfilled career dreams because after reading this I’m convinced all other employers are trash. A memoir by the founder of Patagonia naturally inclines you toward favoring the company but this is a MANIFESTO FOR T (audio) I mean, I already wanted to wear nothing but Patagonia for the rest of my life but now I don’t know if I CAN wear anything but Patagonia for the rest of my life? I also don’t know if I can work anywhere else but of course they don’t hire just anyone so I’m doomed to a life of unfulfilled career dreams because after reading this I’m convinced all other employers are trash. A memoir by the founder of Patagonia naturally inclines you toward favoring the company but this is a MANIFESTO FOR THE WORLD. I dare you to experience this book and not change your life in meaningful ways. NOTE: I listened to the 2016 10th anniversary edition with the updated forward & epilogue, and it was eerie how much has changed in the world since 2006 & 2016, but also how perennial this book is.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claire Stanovich

    A very very good and informational read. Loved hearing all of the stories of how this company was founded. Did I agree with everything it had to say? Not at all, but it’s good to read multiple perspectives and opinions. Did it make me think a lot about myself as a consumer and all the things I own? 100%

  15. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Law

    Probably my favourite business book I've read (not that I've read a lot). Definitely made me feel like Patagonia is a good company to support. Really loved reading all about the journey, and appreciated the long environmental section too at the end. Probably my favourite business book I've read (not that I've read a lot). Definitely made me feel like Patagonia is a good company to support. Really loved reading all about the journey, and appreciated the long environmental section too at the end.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shawna Hopper

    Very cool - lots of respect for Patagonia's philosophies. Very cool - lots of respect for Patagonia's philosophies.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ben Gigone

    Should be required reading for every entrepreneur and business-person. Our world will be much better off when more companies structure themselves alongside Chouinard’s philosophies. Patagonia 4ever

  18. 4 out of 5

    Henry Manson

    Very informative. Very scary. Some cool pictures too.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book starts out as a fantastic story of Patagonia, the outdoor gear and clothing retailer. Then Chouinard, the founder of the company, breaks down the company into its value components. It would be great, except he repeats the same details he spoke of in the beginning. I would have appreciated a better integration of the two parts. Overall, a very interesting read, and a great lesson about keeping to your values and making sacrifices early to reap benefits later.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kenny Leck

    In Yvon Chouinard's words, "I have a definition of evil different from most people. Evil doesn't have to be an overt act; it can be merely the absence of good. If you have the ability, the resources, and the opportunity to do good and you do nothing, that can be evil." In Yvon Chouinard's words, "I have a definition of evil different from most people. Evil doesn't have to be an overt act; it can be merely the absence of good. If you have the ability, the resources, and the opportunity to do good and you do nothing, that can be evil."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily McKinney

    5 stars for the first section describing how Patagonia came to be, 2 stars for the second section where the book turned into a many- paged Patagonia advertisement.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grace Lawrence

    Amazing book. We’re all going to die of global warming but besides that feeling of crippling depression, great read!

  23. 4 out of 5

    WJ

    This book is depressing but also inspiring. I am going to give it to my boss 🙂

  24. 4 out of 5

    Märt

    There’s a funny stereotype of venture capitalists wearing Patagonia vests, and after reading this book, for all that Patagonia stands for, I’d love to live their values and have some of that gear as well. Starting out as the makers of climbing gear in the 1960s, Patagonia grew into one of the leading outdoor equipment manufacturers by breaking many traditional business rules. Yvon Chouinard’s and his team's goal of making great products expanded over time so that great products meant being great There’s a funny stereotype of venture capitalists wearing Patagonia vests, and after reading this book, for all that Patagonia stands for, I’d love to live their values and have some of that gear as well. Starting out as the makers of climbing gear in the 1960s, Patagonia grew into one of the leading outdoor equipment manufacturers by breaking many traditional business rules. Yvon Chouinard’s and his team's goal of making great products expanded over time so that great products meant being great to customers, to outsourcing partners, to the environment, and to the world. This resulted in a number of innovations and interesting developments, some of which are listed below. In many ways, Patagonia is pointing the way how to run the company in the (sustainable) future. Some things I learned: * Patagonia invented the concept of layering, which is foundational to outdoor clothing: base layer, insulation, shell * Patagonia Catalog, running since the 1970s, has educated and inspired customers rather than pushed for specifics products (which also leads to more sales). A lot of their famous innovations in products, business and environmental action have started out as essays in Catalog * They pioneered applying industrial clothing design principles. For example, an item must allow full range of arm movement, breathe and dry quickly, be easily washable, multifunctional, and easy to repair. Long lasting products are good for the environment and the customer. There are Patagonia vintage stores in Tokyo. They have North America’s largest clothes repair facility. * In marketing materials, they have two kinds of copy: descriptive that tells products, and inspiring that communicates values. Same with photos: they have product photos without people, and they have real photos with actual people doing authentic things. If it’s hard to promote the product they are making (ie. it has no good story or it's not unique), they probably should not be making it. * Patagonia wants their company to feel like home for people who want to change the world. * "Let my people go surfing” is the name of their flex time policy. Company should allow its employees to live the best lives, including being able to go surfing when the waves are perfect. * Chouinard was the "80% practitioner" of each event - mountain climbing, surfing, hiking, etc - which explains the wide product line of Patagonia. Somebody needs to go out and take the temperature of the world. They stay away from motorized sports such as snow-mobiling. * Venturo HQ with 500 employees has a child development center for 60 children. This is great for bonding with children and keeps moms at work as much as possible. * When there is no crisis, a good CEO will invent one by challenging the employees with change. The author is most proud of the 1984 to 86 transfer to organic cotton, which led to the writing down of their philosophies. * Sustainable manufacturing is an oxymoron. When they started looking in the 90s by how much their products pollute, they were surprised by the real extent. They work super hard to educate their entire supply chain to raise their standards, and build long-term partnerships. * Since 1980s have diverted 1% of sales for 10% of profits whichever is bigger, despite the economy, towards environment. * They use only accounting practices as approved by CFO which gives the most accurate true picture of the financial position, ignoring many legal ways to manipulate and show profit every quarter. The final part of the book is about our disastrous treatment of the environment. Some points: * It seems like almost in all fields successful organisations and people keep doing more evil as they grow bigger whereas they could easily do more good. * We've been cooking the books for a long time by leaving out the worth of nature. * Study in UK in the 1990s showed that since 1940s vegetables had lost 75% of their nutrients. * We are killing lots of species in the rainforest without knowing how they could benefit us in the form of medicine or otherwise, and more importantly what catastrophic effects that might have on the ecosystem. * Rates of all kinds of cancers have dramatically risen since mid-century. Pharmaceutical and agriculture company CEOs have vested interest in inventing "cures” and in keeping the research away from pollution which is the true cause. Of the 84,000 chemicals in use today, only 1% have been tested for whether they cause cancer. * The world needs a revolution in agriculture. Nowhere is a crisis worse than food production, which comes at the cost of destroying topsoil, displacing the small farmer, polluting groundwater and the ozone. And in the end, it produces less food per acre than natural farming. Nature does not like mono crops. * Existing agriculture continues to be the paradigm because of massive subsidies from governments to big farmers and fossil fuel industry. 30% of land and 70% of water is used for agriculture. * We could possibly reverse the entire global warming footprint by changing the way we farm and do animal husbandry, because this kind of farming sequesters carbon. * Patagonia Provisions aims to do good with the food they produce and the harvesting practices they employ. * Three main benefits of going back to the traditional agriculture methods: 1) we will have more nutritious food, 2) we will provide meaningful work for many people displaced by the technological revolution, 3) changing agriculture is our best shot at fixing climate. * People who make products that ultimately hurt the environment are not excused by the fact that they need jobs or the customer wants the product. * You are what you do, not what you say you are. * We are the people we have been waiting for - Navajo medicine man

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kimron

    Can't believe I am reading a business book, and one with this name Update: giving this three stars only because I believe it was written as a kind of manifesto from the founder to the employees of Patagonia. So if I were one of the aforementioned, I would give it five stars - but as a general consumer it is interesting, but not the most interesting book in the world. This guy has real convictions and it is - dare I say it - inspiring. Still, if you're going to read a hyped up book that mentions s Can't believe I am reading a business book, and one with this name Update: giving this three stars only because I believe it was written as a kind of manifesto from the founder to the employees of Patagonia. So if I were one of the aforementioned, I would give it five stars - but as a general consumer it is interesting, but not the most interesting book in the world. This guy has real convictions and it is - dare I say it - inspiring. Still, if you're going to read a hyped up book that mentions surfing by a middle aged California guy, then it has to be Barbarian Days. This was a nice skim for when I didn't feel like reading something dense, and he does lay out his business modus operandi clearly and convincingly. Don't all successful companies know by now that they should treat their employees well, and that having hobbies is inherently, always good?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chris Kendig

    This book is interesting and provides some insight into the mind of a successful businessman who doesn't fetishize business (a rarity in my experience). Patagonia is undoubtedly a company that can thrive if/as the world becomes more just and responsible (also a rarity in my experience). This book is interesting and provides some insight into the mind of a successful businessman who doesn't fetishize business (a rarity in my experience). Patagonia is undoubtedly a company that can thrive if/as the world becomes more just and responsible (also a rarity in my experience).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Great book - it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but still really enjoyed it. I liked hearing about Yvon's backstory and the philosophy behind Patagonia's business practices. The way that the reader is called to action is compelling too, appreciated the points backed up by stats that were referenced. I'll likely read the second half of the book again, as I wasn't prepared for the content and I found I wasn't in the right head space to digest it. Great book - it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but still really enjoyed it. I liked hearing about Yvon's backstory and the philosophy behind Patagonia's business practices. The way that the reader is called to action is compelling too, appreciated the points backed up by stats that were referenced. I'll likely read the second half of the book again, as I wasn't prepared for the content and I found I wasn't in the right head space to digest it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Georgia Whitear

    Maybe there are people who really love learning about business who will find this interesting, but it wasn't for me. What Patagonia does and has done is fascinating but this might have been better as a documentary. Maybe there are people who really love learning about business who will find this interesting, but it wasn't for me. What Patagonia does and has done is fascinating but this might have been better as a documentary.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rory Lilley

    4.5 star. Highly original.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paula Tolpežninkaitė

    “Most of the damage we cause to the planet is a result of our own ignorance. We go about blindly doing unnecessary damage because we are uncurious.”

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