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Start Something That Matters

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Love your work, work for what you love, and change the world—all at the same time.
What matters most to you? Should you focus on earning a living, pursuing your passions, or devoting yourself to the causes that inspire you? The surprising truth is that you don’t have to choose—and that you’ll find more success if you don’t. That’s the breakthrough message of TOMS’ One for One movement. You don’t have to be rich to give back and you don’t have to retire to spend every day doing what you love. You can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once—right now.  
In Start Something That Matters, Blake Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and combines it with lessons learned from such other innovative organizations such as Method Products, charity: water, FEED Projects, and TerraCycle. Blake presents the six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business, from discovering your core story to being resourceful without resources; from overcoming fear and doubt to incorporating giving into every aspect of your life. No matter what kind of change you’re considering, Start Something That Matters gives you the stories, ideas, and practical tips that can help you get started. 
Why this book is for you:
• You’re ready to make a difference in the world—through your own start-up business, a nonprofit organization, or a new project that you create within your current job.
• You want to love your work, work for what you love, and have a positive impact on the world—all at the same time.
• You’re inspired by charity: water, method, and FEED Projects and want to learn how these organizations got their start.
• You’re curious about how someone who never made a pair of shoes, attended fashion school, or worked in retail created one of the fastest-growing footwear companies in the world by giving shoes away.
• You’re looking for a new model of success to share with your children, students, co-workers, and members of your community.
You’re ready to start something that matters.

208 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2011

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About the author

Blake Mycoskie

9 books106 followers
Blake Mycoskie is the founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes.Blake Mycoskie is the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, and the person behind the idea of One for One, a business model to help a person in need with every product purchased. A simple idea has grown into a global movement: TOMS Shoes has provided over 35 million pairs of shoes to children since 2006, and TOMS Eyewear has restored sight to over 250,000 since launching in 2011. In 2014, TOMS Roasting Company was founded with the mission to provide clean water to developing communities with the purchase of premium coffee.

TOMS humble beginnings happened unintentionally. While traveling in Argentina in 2006, Blake witnessed the hardships faced by children growing up without shoes. His solution to the problem was simple, yet revolutionary: to create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake's vision soon turned into the simple business idea that provided the powerful foundation for TOMS.

Over the course of its first five years, TOMS was successful enough in providing shoes for children in need. But Blake, having recognized other vital needs during his travels around the world, realized that One for One® could be applied to more than shoes. He developed the idea for TOMS Eyewear in which for every pair of eyewear purchased, TOMS would help give sight to a person in need. One for One®.

In the fall of 2011, Blake released his first book, Start Something That Matters, offering his own amazing story of inspiration, and the power of incorporating giving in business. He references other companies and individuals who have been motivated and inspired to integrate philanthropy into their profession as well as their personal lives. The book became a New York Times best-seller. More importantly, it is Blake's hope that Start Something That Matters inspires others to turn their passion and dreams into a reality.

From shoes to eyewear and now a book, Blake's unique approach to business has awarded him with numerous accolades. In 2009, Blake and TOMS received the Secretary of State's 2009 Award of Corporate Excellence (ACE). At the Clinton Global Initiative University plenary session, former President Clinton introduced Blake to the audience as "one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I've) ever met." People Magazine featured Blake in its "Heroes Among Us" section, and TOMS Shoes was featured in the Bill Gates Time Magazine article "How to Fix Capitalism." In 2011, Blake was named on Fortune Magazine's "40 Under 40" list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world.

Before TOMS, Blake, a native of Texas who always had an entrepreneurial spirit, started five businesses. His first was a successful campus laundry service, which he later sold. Between business ventures, Blake competed in the CBS primetime series, The Amazing Race. With his sister, Paige, Blake traveled the world and came within minutes of winning the $1 million dollar grand prize.

Blake is an avid reader and traveler. He is passionate about inspiring young people to help make tomorrow better, encouraging them to include giving in everything they do. His hope is to see a future full of social-minded businesses and consumers.

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5 stars
4,232 (38%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 924 reviews
Profile Image for Lea.
441 reviews78 followers
October 5, 2011
I won this as part of a GoodReads FirstReads giveaway -- thanks!

Before reading this book ( written by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes), I was completely unfamiliar with the author's company. I'd seen TOMS shoes once or twice, but I really didn't "get it" -- I'm not a shoes girl, and they didn't look like anything all that special to me. Well, after reading this book, I'm buying TOMS for the whole family, LOL. I love the concept behind TOMS -- for every pair of shoes purchased, the company donates a pair to someone in need. How wonderful is that?

And that is the message of this book -- it's possible to do GREAT things while still earning a living. At first glance, it's a pretty naive philosophy, yet this book is full of examples of people who did just that -- took a good idea and ran with it, earning money, sure, but also giving back to the community.

This is a must read for anyone looking for advice on starting or running a company with a conscience, but I think it would be an inspiring read for almost anyone. I think we all have our little pet projects, charities we'd like to donate to or work with, or ideas we have for helping to make the world a better place, but sometimes it's just so hard to figure out where to start. Mycoskie writes in a simple, breezy style -- very upbeat and always positive -- and he's all too happy to help you figure it all out.

HIGHLY recommend.
Profile Image for Sharon.
571 reviews18 followers
April 12, 2015
This book will be on my gift-giving list this Christmas, and it should be on yours. Easy and fast to read with many profound thoughts and ideas. It's partly the story of TOMS, but also the story of many other similar companies, briefly, including some sage advice for anyone who wishes to start a company with an integrated charity component. More than all that, there are pearls of wisdom in it for living well for every reader.

In these challenging economic times, the message is clear. Help someone else; it will definitely help you to do so, while helping them. And if you think it's unwise to start a business now or to find a way to give, read this book. This is great reading for younger generations, and the lessons here are readily picked up by children and teens.

Reach outside your nest and see what's possible by people just like you.
Profile Image for Laura Fingal-Surma.
55 reviews14 followers
July 17, 2013
I have no idea how this book has an average of 4.11 stars. I picked it up because someone interesting mentioned it during a Q & A session. Most books that I bother to finish get at least 3 stars, but I don't think this really stacks up against the other books I've given 3 stars, so I guess it's 2. I didn't hate it, and I wouldn't say you definitely shouldn't read it. I just didn't get much out of it compared to other books. This book most definitely will not stand the test of time.

The most interesting thing that I learned is that the design of TOMS shoes is based upon the Argentinian alpargata. After starting the book, I did buy a few pairs, but I had been thinking about doing so for practical reasons already, and reading the book just reminded me of that. So this is a good book to read if you want to buy shoes.

Other than that, everything sounded like something I'd heard before. I found it irritating that the author could endorse getting free/very cheap intern labor on Craigslist, completely overlooking the fact that he was exploiting one population in order to supposedly do good for another population (while being a FOR PROFIT company, not sure how that works). You know how sometimes it seems like people do philanthropy more for themselves than for others? Yeah.

Mycoskie narrated his own audiobook, and I hate to say it, but he sounded dumb.
31 reviews6 followers
September 2, 2016
Redundant and self-promotional. Would recommend just Goolging TOMS shoes and reading either a one-page article or wikipedia page instead of this book.
Profile Image for Mukesh Emes.
20 reviews
January 12, 2015
This is really a good book. I really enjoyed reading it. In this book Blake Mycoskie reveals some inspirational stories of TOMS shoes and other companies. I really liked the story of Subway. “Jared Fogiez” who wanted to reduce his weight and he started taking Subway sandwich diet. Once he lost 100 pounds and it became a big news in all media. Subway presented Jared's story in a perfect way and the result was amazing, their sales shot up 20%. Overall, sales more than tripled to $11.5 billion in 2011, from around $3 billion in 1998, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. What he said was right “Story resonate more than fact”

He shared an another story when she met a lady in the JFK airport. The lady who told him about TOMS shoes and how he was excited.

We always look for good time to start something. As per Blake there is no good time to start, let's do it. He also tell about the importance of creating a great work culture in the company. He remember how Tony Shea did the same in Zappos. He also explain the importance of building trust both inside and outside of the company.

This is really good book. Must read it.
Profile Image for Engy Fouda  إنجي فوده.
Author 9 books125 followers
January 16, 2013
هذه قصة شاب وعد نفسه برحلة إلي الأرجنتين في وقت معين، و رغم أنه كان قد بدأ مشروع جديد إلا أنه قرر السفر و ترك الإدارة لشركائه. في الأرجنتين قابل صديقة تدير مؤسسة خيرية عن تجميع الأحذية و توزيعها علي الأطفال المعدمين، و لكن دائماً ما كان يواجهها مشكلات في مقاسات الأطفال حتي لو جائهها العديد من التبرعات و لم يتوافق المقاسات فينتهي الأمر إلي أطفال لا يزالوا حفاة!!
فقرر عمل مشروع إستثماري يحمل نموذج لمشروع تجاري جديد يعتمد علي مبدأ جديد: واحد لواحد، أي لكل حذاء جديد يشتريه، سيعطي حذاء جديد مصنع علي مقاس طفل في الأرجنتين.
و هو في الأرجنتين لاحظ أنهم يلبسون نوع قماشي من الأحذية و تعجب كيف لهذه الأحذية لم تدخل السوق الأمريكي، فقرر أن يبحث عن صانع أحذية محلي يقبل بتعديل التصميم التقليدي قليلاً ليلائم السوق الأمريكي
علماً أن هذا الشاب لم يكن عنده أي فكرة عن تصنيع الأحذية و لكنه قرر أن يخوض التجربة من أجل هؤلاء الأطفال الحفاة
بعد عدة سفريات و جولات علي صناع الأحذية المحليين و رفضهم فكرة مشروعه، وجد واحدا وافق و اضطر أن يسافر له بعيداً عن مكان فندقه في الأرجنتين
و بعد محاولات عديدة و تجارب، صمموا الحذاء الأرجنتيني المعدل و صنعوا منه يدويا ٢٥٠ حذاء
و أثناء ذلك، كان افتتح موقع الكتروني يحمل الفكرة و يعرض صور الحذاء ويقبل الشراء أونلاين
عاد لأمريكا ثم جمع بعض أصدقائه و هو يحنل تلك ال٢٥٠ حذاء و عرض عليهم الفكرة ليقترحوا عليه ما يجب أن يفعل كخطوة تالية و من يجب أن يخاطب من شركات الأحذية
و اللطيف أن الجميع اشتري منه في نهاية اللقاء

النموذج الذي يقدمه هو: For Profit، أي أنه مشروح ربحي و لكنه يقاسم الأرباح مع مشروع خيري، فيكسب هو شخصياً و أيضاً يصرف علي مشروع خيري و التصنيع كان يتم في الأرحنتين
اعتمد علي إعلان مجاني في قائمة حريج لأنه يحتاج من يساعده و اعتمد علي طلبة الجانعة interns و هو شئ مشابه لتدريب الصيفي في الجامعة و يكون بلا مقابل مادي

هذا الشاب هو بلام ميكومسي Blake Mycoksie صاحب مصانع تومس TOMS للاحذية
و خلال الكتاب عرض المبادئ التي بني عليها الشركة و الكتب التي قرأها، و الخبرات التي كان قد اكتسبها من قراءة السير الذاتية لمليونيرات العالم و كيف طبقها في إنشاء شركته

و الكتاب استعرض فيه العديد من القصص، من أكثر القصص التي أثرت فيّ كانت قصة والدته، التي تركت الجامعة و تزوجت من زميلها في المدرسة الثانوية لتظل بالبيت لمراعاة أولادها الثلاثة، و كيف عانت من اكتئاب السمنة فالتحقها زوجها بكوسات رياضية و بدأت تقرأ و تتعلم كيف تغير طريقة طبخها و بعدها و علي مدار عام ظلت تكتب كتاب به وصفات طبخ دون الحاجة للزبدة. و أصبح كل حلمها هو طباعة هذا الكتاب، و لأنها ليس عندها أي فكرة عن عملية النشر و لا كيف تتصل بدار نشر، قررت أن تتولها بنفسها، فأخذت قرض من البنك بقيمة $٣٠٠٠٠ و بحثت في الصفحات الصفراء (صفحات الاعلانات) عن مطبعة قريبة منها و ذهبت و وجدتهم في حالة مزرية فقررت أو تعطيهم الكتاب و الفلوس أملاً منها في مساعدتهم للخروج من هذا البؤس.
و لكنهم أغلقوا المطبعة بعد عدة أيام و بعد القضايا و المحكمة لم تستطع الحصول علي المال و لكن حصلت فقط علي النسخة الأصلية التي كتبتها للكتاب. و طبعاً انهارت و شعرت انها دمرت أسرتها بعد سدادها القرض و خبرتها السيئة و لكن زوجها أخذ لها قرض آخر و أصر أن يجعلها تحاول مرة أخري مع مطبعة أخري، و كانت في منتهي الرعب من أن تفشل مرة أخري في اختيار المطبعة و لكنها لا تعرف طريقة أخري، و لكن المطبعة الجديدة قامت بعمل ممتاز و طبعت ٥٠٠٠ نسخة من الكتاب في وقت قصير بل و شاركت في الدعاية للكتاب و بالفعل قام تلفزيون محلي و جريدة محلية بعمل حديثين مغها تسببا في بيع ال٥٠٠٠ نسخة كلهم خلال ٣ أسابيع فقط، كانت تقوم هي و زوجها و أولادها بالتغليف و لصق الطوابع و كتابة الأسماء و إرسال الكتب بالبريد العادي من بيتهم، و علمت عنها دار نشر في نيويورك فأرسلت لها رحلة طيران مجانية لتمضي معهم ليقوموا هم بالطباعة و الدعاية و الإعلان فوافقت فبيع في أقل من سنة ما يزيد عن المليون نسخة و أصبح الكتاب متداول حتي مجانا في المكتبات العامة و سددت القرضين و حققت أرباح سمحت لها بافتتاح مكان لاعطاء دروس رياضية به!!

قارنت خبرة هذه السيدة بخبرة طباعة نشر كتابي في مصر، يا اللهول !!!
لجأت لدار نشر من البداية و لكن دورها لم يتعد دور المطبعة رغم محاولات الدار في الاتصال بالمكتبات الخاصة حيث أنه لا يوجد مكتبات عامة في مصر أصلاً و أنه ظهر علي الأرفف بعد شهور بسبب أن كل مكتبة لها "لجنة" تقرأ و تبحث الكتاب ثم تكتب تقرير عن رفض أو مولفقة المكتبة لتنزيل الكتاب!!!!!!!! و طبعاً لتعويض ذلك التأخير يتعين عليّ أن أحمل كتابي و أقوم بجولات توقيع مكوكية في أنحاء البلاد لأبيع الكتاب و هذا ما لم تسمح به ظروف سفري طبعاً و قمت بعمل حفلة توقيع واحدة !! في حين أني هنا بأمريكا قمت فقط برفع الكتاب علي موقع أمازون ليصبح متاحاً في أمريكا و أوروبا دون كل هذا العناء!! و لا أنكر أني أفكر ألا أطبع كتب ثانية في مصر و عليّ أن أكتبها بالإنجليزية و أنشرها بأمريكا... و شكراً للجان "الشنكل" المنتشرة بأنحاء مصر !!

في النهاية أكد أنك لتبدأ مشروعك لا تحتاج أكثر من موقع إلكتروني و كروت عمل و مكان صغير تعمل به و لا يهم المكان ممكن أن يكون في مساحة حجرتك أو جراج بيتك، المهم أن تبدأ

كعادتي السيئة طابقت ذلك علي مصر، فتذكرت خبرتي أنا و إخوتي و بعض أصدقائي حين حاولنا فتح شركة بعد تخرجنا مباشرة و كيفكانت العملية مجهولة و غير واضحة المعالم!!
و فين حتي وجدنا محاسب قانوني ابن حلال شرح لنا خطوات فتح الشركة و أنواعها http://ejabat.google.com/ejabat/threa... و طبعا الضرائب تعتمد علي رأس المال و موقع الشركة و وجدنا أنه لو لشركتنا محاسب قانوني حمار سننتهي جميعا في السجن، هكذا ببساطة
صحيح أن أخوتي لم يستسلموا و أصروا علي فتح شركاتهم و لكن تم ذلك بعد مرور حوالي عشر سنوات من العمل بأكثر من مكان في ن��س الوقت و عدم نوم و السفر لبعض السنوات و دفع ألاف الجنيهات للدراسة و غيره
أما بليك فببساطة فتح الشركة وحده و هو في الأرجنتين و ليس بأمريكا أصلاً و لم يذكر كلمة هيئة الضرائب و لو لمرة أثناء الكتاب كله و لو بالغلط!! و خلال ٦ سنوات فقط كان من أغنياء أمريكا !! شكراً وزارة الإستثمار و المالية و هيئة الضرائب !!!!!
يا ريت بقي يفهموا يعني ايه إعادة الهيكلة و تعديل القوانين؟؟

في الكتاب استعرض بليك كيف أدار شركته منذ البداية حتي أصبحت واحدة من كبري الشركات في أمريكا
تحدث عن القصة: أن يكون لك قصة سيساعد ذلك علي انتشار و دعاية شركتك
تحدث عن الثقة في الموظفين و العملاء
عن البساطة سواء في الفكرة أو في الممتلكات و كيفية أن التحرر من الممتلكات و ما يحيطك يحرر عقلك... للعلم بعد نجاح شركته و شهرتها، تخلص من كل ممتلكاته حتي الملابس الزائدة و ذهب ليعيش في قارب.. طبعا الشئ الوحيد الذي احتفظ به هو كتبه
رجل أعمال يعني رجل مثقف، مش نصاب و فهلوي!! :)
إقرأوا لتغتنوا و سافروا و اغتربوا لتعرفوا الدنيا
ربنا يوسع رزق الجميع :)
Profile Image for Valentina.
7 reviews
January 3, 2021
I don’t want to spend a lot of time writing a review about this book.

Start Something That Matters by Blake, the founder of TOMS is the story of how he built a for-profit company where, for every pair of shoes purchase, he gives another one to kids in need. In the book he provides advice in how we all should do something to create social impact in society.

I had a hard time finishing this, it’s just not my kind of book. Sometimes It gets too repetitive, but again, it’s my first time reading about ventures and entrepreneurship.

As he says, If TOMS wouldn’t give away shoes, they wouldn’t be the brand they are so, giving, actually is a good bussines. He promotes himself through charity, good or bad, thats the true. This company IS WHAT IT IS because of the need of vulnerable groups and the desire of others to feel they are doing something good, a kind of charity that sometimes, benefits our ego more than anything else.

I just can’t stand the fact that this guy took alpargatas from Argentina, shoes that are mostly make by artisans, and started an American company. If he wanted to help why didn’t he promote the Argentinian industry instead of taking the market? Have TOMS hurt the local alpargatas industry? What about the long term impacts? I would have liked to see more of these topics address since he talks about ‘conscious capitalism’.

Not every good intension has a positive impact in the long term. For example, If he now orders the shoes from China or under cheap labor, he is not helping to finish this poverty cycle, he is promoting it.

I know the company actually does something that others are not, they are helping in some way, but is this the correct way?

At some points Blake gives good advices and quotes. There are some good examples of business and anecdotes that made me laugh a couple of times and I really liked the chapter about the trust and how he internally manage TOMS; the lacks of tittles and hierarchy and the trust he gives to interns (I’m doing my internship right now), but again, I gave it two starts cause it’s not my kind of reading, it feels like a motivational book, sometimes very repetitive and It left me with a lot of questions about ethics in for pro-fit business.
Profile Image for Malin Friess.
675 reviews20 followers
January 1, 2012
This is Blake Mycokie's story former Amazing Race Contestant and current CEO (or has he calls himself chief Shoe Giver of ) TOMS. Toms is a business that is one for one...you by a pair of his soft simple canvas shoes made in Argentina...he will give one pair to a child in the developing world. TOMS have become style of choice for the social justice minded...making a statement with style and generosity all at the same time.

Blake seem like a great guy and offer lots of great advice....

Be frugal
forget titles...his employee have name like shoe dude, shoe per woman, shoe lace...instead of VP, CEO..and all that nonsense
Business cards matter--creative idea..he used recycled card that he crossed out and put his name on them
donor react to a story (one girl with no parent) rather than statistics. We give more when hearing a story.
Keep it simple..Costco's CEO SInegal uses as a desk a left over second that they couldn't sell in his store
own as little as you can---Blake downsized and now lives on a 50 square foot sailboat and ride his bike to work
Giving is good business

Blake's premise is that you shouldn't have to choose between earning a living and pursuing your passions..You can do both right now.

Profile Image for Elisabeth Ensor.
662 reviews22 followers
February 11, 2019
Wow this book is so inspiring!!! I also had my son read it for homeschool and he is liking it to- this book is so fun because we watched Blake and his sister in the Amazing Race tv show! I have been working on a little side business and I think I would like to model it like the one-to-one giving! Still working on ideas but super inspired :)
Author 2 books23 followers
December 23, 2011
I have to be honest, I'd never heard of TOMS shoes until Blake Mycoskie spoke at my church, WILLOW CREEK COMMUNITY CHURCH. I was instantly intrigued by his story, as well as admired his morals. I've been serving, mainly in the prison and Jail ministers, since 2004. I know firsthand what it means for God to place in your heart a passion that blesses you as well as others.

After the service they were selling TOMS shoes, along with Blake's book out in the lobby. I was tempted, but low on funds and needing to pick my kids up from their classes, had me opting out. I went home not purchasing anything, something I often don't do when it comes to books, yet the story of TOMS and the book START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS was never far from my mind.

Within days I received my Amazon Vine Program picks. To my utter amazement, START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS was one of the choices I could choose from! Clearly a God thing. I didn't hesitate. I immediately ordered the book.

Right from the first pages I was captivated. START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS is a quick and easy read. I wasn't even twenty pages in and I was itching to write and post a review. But I held off. I wanted to make sure I captured every essence of the book from start to finish.

In my copy, that I will forever keep, it's marked with many highlights and dog-eared pages. Before I was even finished with the book I was emailing TOMS, telling others about it, and started a new blog to START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS.

I certainly could have reservations on starting this endeavor, but as Blake's book clearly states, don't over think it. Don't let worry and fear cancel out what you know in your heart to be true. And don't be afraid to make mistakes.

I'm NOT letting this opportunity to serve the least of theses for the Lord, slip away due to fear, doubt, and lack of. I will push on and carry out what Jesus has placed in my heart to do.


What about you?


It will change your life.

A few key things I learned from START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS:


Profile Image for Santhosh.
65 reviews10 followers
March 3, 2015
Mahatma Gandhi’s "Be the change you want to see in the world" -That is a one liner about this book. Every single page tickled me to do something that matters at least once in my life. The verge of this book made me shoot an email and follow Blake Mycoskie’s blogs, posts and appreciate him for such a classic book. Every single time when Blake cried after fitting a shoe on a kid’s feet, one should felt happy. That is the extreme of happiness and a tangible feeling of souls. Money is not everything and not enough at all but finding happiness in other’s happiness is heavenly and make you rich until extinction. I have actually brought 6 hard copies of this book and gifted it to my friends to make sure TOMS is reached everywhere and long lives. I’m sure the 6 books will soon become many more. The catchy part of the book was talking about few other entrepreneurs who actually started small. For instance - method - nature powered cleansing solvents, Zaphos, Blake’s mom being a successful writer, etc. This book directly hit straight in my heart and made me make a promise that “I will start something which will matter”. The strategy of hiring interns to market, design was just beyond the imagination that any startup’s would even think of. The charisma of Blake was over rated. The concept was mesmerising - A business mind that collaborates Charity and capitalism. Moral of the story and Concept just synced in place. I am so influenced with this book that I have a promise which I will keep up - Slowly but surely. I simply fall head over heals in love with this book and hands down 5 starts (Would give much more if I have an option)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
January 9, 2015
It's a really great inspiring book.
I love the idea of TOMS, for each pair of shoe they sell, they are giving one pair of shoe to a barefoot child. Blake told us many stories that are similar to TOMS, how other companies start and doing charity activities.
I like the way he defines the success, its not just a money or status, at the end you are going to help someone who are in need. He will tell us the Power of the stories, how people were really connected to the stories + scientifically proved then any other facts. So he is asking us to find different ways to tell your story to the customer. Fear, fear can’t be controlled, instead of controlling the fear better to control our actions. The best thing is if you have an idea don’t ever wait for the right time. If you wanna do something JUST DO IT RIGHT AWAY. Some of the tips he gave are :- Don’t worry about the less resources, Simplicity, How to manage the money we spent, Build Trust both internally (within the company) and externally (customer should have trust on you). He wants other people to inspire by hearing the TOMS story and want others to Start Something That Really Matter. I suggest that everyone should read it.
Profile Image for Ash.
140 reviews43 followers
August 31, 2016
It's tips are so simple and obvious, children could develop them. This book's purpose is nothing more than to be propaganda for Mycoskie's friends' companies.
Profile Image for Isaac Thomas.
90 reviews1 follower
September 15, 2019
Overall this is a pretty inspiring book. It is also a great starting point for someone without a business background who wants to start a new business. I am a business college graduate, so some of it seemed redundant to me. However, the book overall was great, and I plan to read it with my high school business students this year.

My main gripe is that there have been several studies since this book came out that have found that TOMS’ model of giving shoes to impoverished kids probably does more harm than good.
Profile Image for Audrey.
1,043 reviews42 followers
May 22, 2019
Listened to it. Read by the author/creator of Toms. I appreciated his insights and stories on starting his business and brand. Relatable and simple.
Profile Image for Patricia.
554 reviews
November 10, 2017
When I opened up the book, I won on Goodreads, I was met with a poem entitled "Success,"--(It is posted in two forms below) and almost right away felt that this was going to be a good read. It was. Having never heard of TOMS or Blake Mycoskie (I'm not a reality TV show watcher), I really enjoyed learning the story of TOMS. Overall, the book was interesting and very easy to read. In lieu of being pedantic, it was friendly and easy-going--kind of like sitting around talking to a friend. Its approach is simple yet entertaining, enlightening and educational--I learned a few business tricks that I never learned in college business courses. A really good book for anyone no matter what their career is from CEO to Stay-at-Home Parent. I find that it would be especially good for teens(graduation gift) and college students who are trying to find their niche and who may or may not be thinking about serving the greater good. The language and the fact that Mycoskie is young, comes across as being a bit of a rebel, cool, smart, caring, friendly, and easy going, would be something I think young people could especially relate to. (It beats hearing this type of stuff from a stuffed shirt fogie or a parent where while still true, would would come across in such a way that it would end up falling on deaf ears!)

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.

---Elisabeth-Anne Anderson Stanley (this poem is often wrongly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson or Robert Louis Stevenson)

Verse Form of Poem:
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration

"Books are different from other possessions---they're more like friends."--(Start Something That Matters p. 114) This is just a quote that I really liked.

With his company, I think that Mycoskie is doing a wonderful thing.
I was so intrigued by this book that I googled TOMS to read more about them. I read several articles. Many were positive and some gave mixed reviews. The main complaint regarding TOMS is that TOMS is only treating the symptoms of poverty and not really addressing the causes of poverty: Lack of jobs available for parents of children without those shoes. But does that matter? It does and it doesn't. As long as the children have shoes, they have shoes and while it is a band-aid, when you have a cut, do you skip the band-aid and leave it open for infection? The first step is avoid further damages due to the symptoms and then address the core problem.

In one article, I read that TOMS is manufactured in China, I was disappointed. Inhumane working conditions and an oppressive government are hard pills to swallow. On the one hand, it isn't correct to support those things, however, when so much is coming out of China is isn't exactly hard to walk away from supporting a TOMS who at least is doing something to help others. Many companies manufacture in China and don't do what TOMS does. But if companies refused to manufacture in China including TOMS..... And why not Argentina?

There are no easy answers. Small steps often lead to bigger steps. If no one ever takes the small steps, then bigger steps can never be taken and for that we have companies like TOMS to be grateful to. The only question left on my mind now is: How many bigger steps is TOMS willing to make when it comes to the way business operates? How much more change can Mycoskie create?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tim.
56 reviews3 followers
November 5, 2011
Blake Mycoskie’s brief book covers his struggles in launching one of his companies: Tom orrow’s S hoes (TOMS). This work is not an autobiography. It is somewhat a company profile, almost an entrepreneurial self-help guide, and mostly an elaboration of his mission statement.

Based on a marketing One-for-One (1-4-1) notion, Mycoskie caught the charitable consumerism wave with his version of the Argentinean shoeware called alpargata, which seems to be a cross between a sneaker and a deck shoe and is sometimes known as espadrille. In counterintuitive fashion, the “Chief Shoe Giver” translated the current sales tactic BOGO (Buy One, Get One) into the altruistic Buy One, Give One. His startup company features selling a comfortable loafer and then matching that sale by donating a pair of shoes to unfortunate children. (Even his publisher promises to donate a new children’s book to needy children for each book sold.)

Mycoskie presents scant biographical glimpses of his home-life for this work to qualify as an autobiography. His personal references reflect his journey, maneuvers, and exploits in building his company. He includes material and sidebars about other successful entrepreneurs and charitable purveyors. Mycoskie writes enthusiastically like a Pentecostal preaching altruism. His corporate methodology seems to be a blend of the Golden Rule monitored by the KISS principle. I found his section on freebies to be quite useful.

Although fervent in pontificating over the birth and the growth of TOMS, Mycoskie initially hoped that other products might find a place in this type of eleemosynary consumerism. His final chapter prays simply that others might embrace a philanthropic passion no matter what product, service, or venture they are pursuing.

This book is an easy reader and a slight motivator into action. I caught myself looking up local directories for TOMS outlets. You might also.
Profile Image for Melissa Price.
218 reviews103 followers
September 7, 2016
I'm not rating this or reviewing again!! It's actually one of 'many' I'm seeing in 'all' my books, which I've read and now all ratings and reviews are gone????!!!!! So upset about this and just seeing it now......how in the world are we supposed to go back years and remember what we originally rated every book and even which ones we read and didn't read depending on the impact the book had or didn't have on us. This was a 2011 read. If I hadn't just seen it on somebody else's update I never would have known it was removed from my books entirely??!!

There are many books which have such similar covers and others which have changed covers so how, Goodreads, are we supposed to fix all these issues?! I read this in 2011 and there are 'many' other books I was given copies of from the first reads program, which I 'know' I read 'and' rated which are now off my "read" shelf!! I'm going to have to create a new Goodreads account and start over at this point! Is it all the Goodreads changes?? Am I the only one?? Apologies I'm doing this on a review page, but frustrated is an understatement. So many books read and rated now gone!!
Profile Image for Hannah Pitner .
25 reviews
August 1, 2018
I went into reading this book with a set of qualms about Tom’s and and their social responsibility (or lack there of).

Nonetheless, I found the first couple chapters very interesting. Clearly they have done something right in getting a give back product off the ground so quickly. He stresses the importance of a simple concept and story. This makes sense to me and is clearly a great way to get people on board with your mission.

However, in the process of making a difference is just complicated. You have to focus more on the people than just the simple “feel-good message.”

After the first few chapters, the book mostly feels like a pat on the back to himself and encouragement to give back so that you feel like a better person. Overall, not a fan of this book. I wish he would have focused more on his story and the story of his brand rather than just listing our his accomplishments.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
194 reviews16 followers
April 27, 2012
This book does a great job of not only encouraging you to make changes and put your dreams into action, but it gives a useful breakdown of tips and resources to actually get you started. Written by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, this book works to harness the energy and ideas of the reader to channel them into a feasible business plan. I particularly liked the side notes and personalized true stories to corroborate the guidance of each chapter. While these tips will not hold true for every single organization and company, the overall positivity and direction of the book will serve the reader if not for specific tips, then definitely in terms of motivation. This book left me energized and excited to explore my own talents.
67 reviews20 followers
June 20, 2012
I happened upon this book this morning. After feeling disappointed by Peter Buffett's book on finding fulfillment, I picked this one up without any expectations of liking it. Two hours later, I had finished it and was very glad I had read it. Written by the creator of TOMS, this book described how he started the company, the challenges he faced and how they were overcome, and gave advice to those who wanted to, as the title suggests, start something that matters. It wasn't overly optimistic and not at all preachy. Blake Mycoskie did a great job presenting realistic advice paired with humorous and genuine anecdotes of his real life experience trying to practice what he was preaching. This is a very quick read and has cool pictures, too! It definitely got me thinking...
Profile Image for Kitty.
141 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2015
There are books that are educational about running a business, and there are books that her inspirational. On the spectrum, this is more inspirational than educational, but every entrepreneur needs a little pick me up now, rather than get bogged down with the percentage of entrepreneurial entities that fail.
The story of TOMS and the many other businesses highlighted in this book were wonderfully inspirational while still giving tips about running a company with the TOMS philosophy and business plan. Although their plan may not work for every startup, it was a great read nevertheless. I have a new found respect for the TOMS shoes I wear daily, as well as an inspirational story for the entrepreneur in me.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,901 reviews20 followers
October 8, 2016
I loved the basic message of this book. The author is the guy responsible for TOMs. He told his entrepreneurial story, and the stories of others in a positive manner with a strong emphasis on 'giving back'. This book left me with warm fuzzies. It made sense to me. He also promotes having a story to perpetuate a business and to create a buzz that gets people talking about you and your company, buying from you, and telling all their friends about you. Some might say that his business model is a gimmick to get more business, but that doesn't change the fact that he donates to others in need. Our world needs more of that.
4 reviews1 follower
February 5, 2013
A quick and easy read. The unique idea of making profit for the sake of giving more intrigued me. The author seems to give some brash advice at times. It seems like the publishers also have not done their fact checking right. Towards the end of the book, the author quotes Chanakya referring to him as a Chinese philosopher. However, Chanakya was a famous Indian philosopher. Makes me wonder what else they got wrong in the book. I would still recommend it as a motivating book even if one is not intending to start a business.
Profile Image for Lisa.
128 reviews
December 12, 2011
Really good. Much better than I expected it to be, if I'm honest. Everyone who is in charge of a classroom, group, department, organization, business, or program should read this book. Anyone who hopes to one day be in charge of one of those things should read this book. One of the best 'business' books I've ever read...I'm quite impressed.

Completely along the lines of "Right Livelihood" -- an idea I strongly value.
Profile Image for Andrea.
17 reviews
November 1, 2014
I learned a lot from this book that I wasn't expecting. For example, I had not heard the TOM's story before. I must have been living under a rock, because I thought they were just shoes and a fad. I also learned a little about the Method company's story and how they started in an apartment in San Francisco. Blake Mycoskie offers a lot of advice on how to run a successful that is profitable, but also on how to make a positive impact and give back to society. I definitely enjoyed this read!
Profile Image for Kim.
451 reviews
December 6, 2011
I could write a book with vague platitudes as well. But I wouldn't.
Profile Image for Melanie  H.
812 reviews46 followers
August 21, 2017
Mycoskie, no doubt, has built something that matters. The TOMS brand is compelling and I own more than my fair share of TOMS in a variety of colors. That being said, I was far more interested in how he got his start rather than the pithy advice he offers fellow entrepreneurs. I think the elephant in the room that doesn't get discussed is white privilege. I absolutely get that he's trying to do something different from a capitalist perspective and I respect that. Yes, he's doing stuff frugally like getting interns to work with him from his apartment. His loft. In Venice, California. And feeding them great meals. And taking them on trips to Argentina. Part of what makes guys like him successful is that they were born to believe that their ideas will eventually work out. He will eventually make it because society is set up that way. Not that he's not working hard. Not that he doesn't have a great idea. It's just that it's so much easier for him to say start something that matters and do it. Let's be real.
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