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Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman--Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual Paperback – Illustrated, September 6, 2016
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"For everyone who is alternately outraged and depressed by the wave of greed that has been the hallmark of corporate America in the twenty-first century, there is a name that inspires hope: Yvon Chouinard....Unique and compelling." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Chouinard's biography, Let My People Go Surfing, reveals a fascinating and colorful character....For all of our sakes, it seems the responsible thing for companies to do is follow Chouinard's ascent." --USA Today
"No matter what you do, you will find essential guidance and inspiration in Let My People Go Surfing." --Dave Foreman, The Rewilding Institute
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One note to Yvon/Patagonia suppliers: The commercial wool industry is BRUTAL. I like that you're selling recycled wool sweaters, and would love to see you totally abandon any partnerships with commercial wool farmers. In order to sheer sheep at a rate that's profitable (most get paid per sheep rather than by the hour) they have to hurry through the sheering process. That means lots of cuts for the sheep. Plus there are some types of sheep that are prone to parasites in the folds of their rear. In order to combat that, farmers simply slice off a chunk of that area so there are no longer folds. OUCH. Again, commercial wool farmers, BAD.
Sorry, I got off on a tangent. I loved this book. It held my attention all the way through. I had trouble putting it down, actually. Yvon's voice is very sweet and actually has inspired me to ask myself, am I doing all I can for the environment? AND am I working at a job/in an industry that I'm proud of? Could I be doing something more fulfilling (for my own quality of life, and the environment?).
He also bashes political conservatives and people of religion as well, lumping them into a single category of nature-haters, and spouts that Patagonia’s support of Planned Parenthood is one of the biggest ways they’re helping the planet - by reducing overpopulation. Whatever readers believe about abortion in general, there seems to be a line between environmental activism to help protect our lands and waterways, and involvement in social and political affairs. How many millions have gone into this and similar issues that could have gone toward some of our national parks?
There was a lot in this book that I found admirable and agreeable, but by the end I was so disappointed with Chouinards attitude that I no longer feel inclined to shop at Patagonia before going elsewhere. Surely there are other companies out there using sustainable production practices who aren’t just as big and lofty as every other major corporation.
Overly preachy for the second half of the book, covering some of the same ground over and over. I still learned from it, changed a little of my perspective, but not what I had expected.
This did make me respect Patagonia as a company though, and for some, I think they'll find a lot of validation in this book for sustainable practices.
Top international reviews
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.
The beginning is pretty interesting, as Chouinard writes about his early life and how his company started making better equipment for mountain climbers.
Overall a good read, and I learned a lot of interesting history of climbing and enjoyed his learnings on business from several angles
Became interested in the brand after watching the true cost and find the decisions they make and the way they seek to be the best they can in terms of sustainability fascinating- they know they have to evolve still but they seem to have great integrity —all comes from the top our leaders etc
Definitely worth a read.
My business partners must read this book. We must tell our corporate sustainability story for others to learn more. In this aiming, we improve our organisational performance.