In Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, readers get a fascinating look inside the history and philosophy of both Patagonia and its irascible, opinionated founder. From its beginning, the book shares a sense of Chouinard's strong-willed personality and his love of the outdoors. He recounts a mostly happy childhood spent in a still-unspoiled southern California, climbing, diving, fishing, and surfing. The narrative soon moves into Chouinard's early entrepreneurial efforts, which were less focused on market-share domination than on earning a basic living to finance his own sporting habits. As his company's first catalog noted, delivery could be slow in the summer months, when Chouinard typically left the "office"--a dilapidated shack converted into an ironworks--for climbing adventures across the American West.
Eventually, though, the story settles into a pattern familiar to business audiences: Patagonia grows rapidly, takes on more employees and product lines to sustain hungry demand from customers, but overreaches with over-ambitious expansion plans and suffers a hiccup in its adolescence. This make-or-break juncture of a business's development often contains the most interesting material, and here Chouinard and his beloved company are no exception. He describes a series of wrenching decisions through which he and Patagonia management team navigated in 1991, as sales growth stalled while capital and operational expenses sprinted ahead. From this crisis emerged Patagonia's first-ever layoffs, affecting a hefty 20% of the workforce, and a serious re-examination of the business's core principles and methods.
The historical part of Chouinard's book largely ends at this point, and gives way to an exposition of philosophies which emerged at Patagonia during its dark moments in the early 1990s. The rest of the book serves as a kind of primer to business, the Patagonia way: one chapter each on product design philosophy, production philosophy, distribution philosophy, image philosophy, financial philosophy, human resource philosophy, and so on. Fans of Patagonia can revel in the company's working details, as can those who support or want to build businesses with self-consciously cultivated soulfulness. Readers who enjoyed Gary Erickson's story about Clif Bar, for example, should definitely find this a welcome addition to their bookshelves. --Peter Han --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Since my Son Zachary works for Patagonia I was interested to know more about the company and the owner Yvon Chouinard! Read morePublished 8 days ago by maxine helen hartley
Very good book - love the Patagonia story and model - who would't want to work for YvonPublished 11 days ago by John C. Joyce
Easy to read, quirky and with humor, an excellent eye opener, reminder and useful guidelines for those who want to change the direction of their companies or improve their company... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Jeremiah Josey
I wish it had kept my attention, but alas. I found it boring. Even with pictures....Published 28 days ago by Danielle D. Crossman
This is the must book to read if anyone wants to question society's effect on the global ecosystem. Chipboard, does a fantastic job reliving his younger years and being such an... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lane Tomme
Yvon Chouinard is an excellent model for modern 'business' students. If we had only a few more like this, America would be very different. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dennis Nomer
Interesting read especially for business owners. Would have rather read electronically to save money and paper .Published 1 month ago by Steve Fleming
opens you're mind to what sustainability really means, yvon shows you what it means to be true to yourself, your consumers and the well being of your employeesPublished 1 month ago by Chad
Every one has their "must read" books and this is one of mine. I can't tell you how many people whom I've recommended buying this but whatever industry you work in,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Adam