by Kelli Raines
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded,” writes Blake Mycoskie in his new book released last month, “Start Something that Matters.”
Throughout his book, Mycoskie, TOMS creator and chief shoe giver, keeps this positive tone as he explains TOMS and how the company started from a simple idea in Argentina and progressed to the movement it is today.
Mycoskie also informs the reader that TOMS is a hybrid business that incorporates non-profit organization values and goals into a for-profit business model. However, this book is not simply about the TOMS story.
Mycoskie has a larger goal in mind than just sharing his success story; he encourages others to begin their own story by starting something that matters.
Mycoskie summarizes the initial creation of TOMS in the first chapter. The subsequent chapters are about specific components of being successful in starting something that matters. The chapters range from “Find Your Story” to “Giving Is Good Business.” Each chapter examines an important aspect of business that should be learned and embraced in order to succeed.
Throughout the chapters, Mycoskie interweaves his and other people’s experiences in business. A few narratives include the organizations FEED Projects, charity: water, and method. These are businesses that evolved from a simple idea to help others and are now successful for-profit and non-profit businesses.
The narratives lend support to Mycoskie’s advice. For example, in the chapter called “Face Your Fear,” Mycoskie quotes Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek.”
“Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you,” Mycoskie writes. “If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
“Start Something That Matters” is engaging and easy to understand. By presenting only six main points, Mycoskie is able to discuss his topics in depth and offer realistic goals and strategies.
He encourages others to keep a notebook, electronic or paper, handy at all times.
“Rather than trust that I’ll remember something and add it to the clutter of information already floating through my mind, I write down everything that’s important, whether it’s the name of someone I want to meet or a sudden idea for a new design,” Mycoskie writes.
Although sometimes repetitive, the book is easy to set down and pick back up later. This is convenient for readers who only have a few minutes a day to spend reading.
Also, it is easy to pick a single section and be encouraged and reminded of the little changes that can be made to one’s life.
The book’s design continually creates an association with TOMS. The book has light blue, black, and white lettering, just like the shoe logo colors. Also, the TOMS flag, shown on the front cover of the book, is the model for chapter titles and the sub headings in the book.
The visuals in the book include photos of Mycoskie in Argentina, employees at TOMS and snippets from Mycoskie’s journal and notes.
“Start Something That Matters” leaves the reader with an all-around good feeling and solid aspects to consider. It ends with an encouraging call to action.
“Start now,” Mycoskie writes. “Start by helping other people – anyone you can. Do something simple. You don’t have to start a business or big initiative right away – you can begin by changing your mindset. Commit to seeing the world through the lens of how you can initiate meaningful change.”
Although much of the book focuses on creating a successful and meaningful business, Mycoskie writes in such a way that all can appreciate and use his advice even in areas other than business.