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Start Something That Matters Hardcover – September 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781400069187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069187
  • ASIN: 1400069181
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


A Letter from Author Blake Mycoskie

People often ask me what I consider my goal to be at TOMS. The truth is that it’s changed over the years. When we first began, the goal was to create a for-profit company to help the children that I met in a small village in Argentina. And that objective to give new shoes to children in need continues to be a powerful driver for me and everyone else at TOMS.

But recently my personal mission has changed. Today, I would say that my goal is to influence other people to go out into the world and have a positive impact, to inspire others to start something that matters, whether it’s a for-profit business or a nonprofit organization. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to share everything that we’ve learned from TOMS, so that others can learn from both our mistakes and the counterintuitive principles that have guided our success.

I would also like to share the stories of other social entrepreneurs, from all walks of life, who are taking that wonderful and courageous step forward, who are moving from thinking about doing something to actually doing it. Among many others, the leaders profiled in my book include Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos), Scott Harrison (founder of charity: water), Lauren Bush (founder of FEED Projects), Eric Ryan & Adam Lowry (co-founders of method) and Tim Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Workweek).

Like me, all of the people featured in the book faced insecurities and fear when first starting out. All of us bootstrapped with limited resources, and made countless mistakes along the way. After reading these stories of success, I hope that you’ll realize that you already have everything you need to get started. You don’t need a lot of money, a complicated business plan, or a great deal of experience to get your idea off the ground. What you absolutely must have, however, is the courage to take that first bold step forward….

For me, the ultimate success of this book will be measured not by how many copies it sells but by the number of people whom it inspires. Are you ready to start something that matters?

Carpe Diem,
Blake

Review

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

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Customer Reviews

Blake Mycoskie, who wrote the book, "Start Something that Matters" founded the TOMS Shoe company in 2006.
john detweiler
If you're an entrepreneur, Start Something That Matters will inspire you to start or grow your business in a way that can make a truly difference.
Jessie
The book is written in such a way that it feels like Mycoskie is sitting right next to the reader, just talking about things.
kmmagers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Elly Sparks VINE VOICE on August 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you find you have a bookshelf crammed with inspirational business books - you probably don't need to make room for this one.
Though if you are just starting on a road to self discovery, finding your niche, and need some motivation, this book is most definitively for you.
I love Tony Hsieh (Zappos) but found his book long, flat, bland - and I found Blake's book to be short, flat, bland (for someone that has a shelf of books crammed with business inspirational books).
I've come to the conclusion that brilliant founders of successful upstarts are much better at doing than writing.
If you've read Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Tom Peters, - doubtful you'll feel satisfed after reading this. If you aren't familiar with any of the authors I mentioned, then I think buying/reading this book is money and time well spent!
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful By John Chancellor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is not necessary to be a serious student of current affairs to realize that most of the institutions in our society no longer work. Our governments at all levels are dysfunctional, spending more than they take in, more concerned with the welfare of government bureaucrats than the citizens they are supposed to serve. A close look at many of the larger charitable institutions reveals that administrative cost far exceed the money spent on the stated purpose of the organizations.

It is very easy to become discouraged and disillusioned with our society and the direction it seems to be heading in. But then I read Start Something That Matters and at least I think maybe there is some hope.

The story of TOMS is very inspirational. Starting with very little money but a lot of dedication and a vision for creating a dual purpose business - offering a unique product and providing free shoes to underprivileged children, the success has been exceptional.

The book uses the story of TOMS as a blueprint to inspire others and to show them how to go about starting something that matters. The book does not dwell on how inefficient most government and large organizations efforts are. Instead it focused on what worked for TOMS and a few other examples highlighted in the book.

At the heart of the TOMS model is transparency. There is an honest desire to help others. They did not use their charity as a means to gain free and/or favorable publicity. They kept the program simple, sell a pair of shoes, give away a pair of shoes.

The book gives some general guidelines for how to model your own program that matters.

The book is extremely short and very easy to read. I would have loved some more real life stories about the "shoe drops".
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By DJY51 VINE VOICE on August 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a parent, I have believed that there are two jobs I had other than providing the necessities for my children and that is to teach them that there are consequences to their actions and that they can make a difference in the world.
This book is all about that way of living. It's completely entrenched in Blake's life and in his corporate culture.
He donates one pair of shoes for every pair of Tom's shoes he sells. And he has made a huge difference in doing so.
He will show you how with plans large or small, you can make a difference in at least one person's life, and hence the world.
Every business leader, entrepreneur and thoughtful person should read this book. It forces you to look at ways you can and should do more.
It certainly gave me the push I needed to change how I was running my business.
I loved this book. You will too!
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52 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Arsenius Paphnutius on October 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
While I appreciate the author's good intentions of making a positive impact via private initiatives and his passion; I can hardly endorse a very broken, irresponsible and oxymoronic model of "profitable-charity" that has done much harm and destruction under the guise of altruism and responsible consumerism.

Let me explain...
Business model: Launch a private initiative by sourcing production from a cheap, labor rich country; market those goods to first-world consumers under the banner of serving the poor and a 1-to-1 model of putting shoes on the feet of impoverished children - therein saving their lives; lastly, market your company as if it is not-for-profit - unmotivated by margins - strictly focused on saving lives and addressing poverty in the 21st century.

Why this is flawed: This is an initiative that has a great marketing strategy, coupled with an incredibly flawed and destructive business model. While selling merchandise (shoes in this case) that are extremely marked up, under the guise of serving the poor in another country, TOM's has convinced its consumers that you can be both trendy and a responsible consumer. The only problem is that TOM's built its model on a marketing plan aka what would sell (developed world), as opposed to a responsible understanding of the need (the developing world). Forced to honor its commitment to it's 1-to-1 policy, TOM's has dumped thousands of its shoes on the open markets of developing countries, driving hundreds of native companies out of business. In fact, TOM's has most often done far more harm than good, and all while making a tremendous amount of profit as a high-margin enterprise.
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