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on 15 September 2011
Blake Mycoskie's self-help book "Start Something That Matters" shows how to combine a for-profit company with a social mission. His book uses the story of TOMS his successful for-profit shoe company as a blueprint to show and inspire others to start something that matters.
While traveling in Argentina (South America) in 2006 Blake met a woman who belonged to an organization that collected shoes from donors to give to impoverished kids. When Blake witnessed the blisters, sores and infections on the children's bare feet the idea came to him to create a for-profit shoe company with a social mission. He created a new version of "alpargata" Argentina's comfortable, casual, canvas shoe and for every pair of shoes his company sold he pledged to donate a pair of shoes to a needy child. He named his company TOMS (a promise for a better tomorrow). Blake has fulfilled his promise. TOMS has given more than a million pairs of shoes to children in need the past five years.
There are seven themes in Blake's self-help book: find your story, face your fears, be resourceful without resources, keep it simple, build trust, giving is good business and the final step which is moving from thinking about doing something to actually doing it.
To find your passion and mission in life Blake offers three questions: "If you did not have to
worry about money, what would you do with your time? What kind of work do you want to do? What cause would you like to serve?"
Blake's story is changing the definition of success. He says the quest for success is not the same as the quest for status and money. The definition has broadened to include contributing something to the world. He says TOMS is a success precisely because they created a new model. The giving component of TOMS makes their shoes more than a product. They're part of a story, a mission and a movement anyone can join.
Blake also shares the stories of other people who started something that matters. Their stories show how we can make a living, have the time and freedom to do the things we love and contribute to making the world a better place.
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on 11 October 2013
I started out reading this book expecting a story about how Blake built his business and his experiences. He duly delivered on those.

But that's not why you should read it.

What got me was his firm belief that businesses has a responsibility to contribute socially, heck even charitably, not only by his business exemplifying the very possibility of doing so, but that he goes all out to show you how you could build your own business incorporating social good while not forgetting the cornerstones of a business startup; marketing well, being resourceful and how one builds a strong team.

If it pulls your strings somewhere to start something of your own, while giving something back, please do yourself a favour and read it!
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on 7 June 2012
This is an extraordinary book in that it gives great advice to (pretty much) everyone who reads it. It works on the breathtakingly simple premise that we can all make a difference in our "working" lives, and that just a few small decisions now can make a huge difference to people who need our help. None of this is preachy, and none of it requires huge wads of cash. Indeed Mycoskie makes it clear that people who have invested too much time and/or money have often failed because they were TOO prepared. Instead, he shows through multiple examples that people (and businesses) are intrinsically good and that they're happy to help each other if they know what they're getting themselves into and that they'll make peoples lives easier and happier as a result.

This is an inspirational read, plain and simple. I urge people not to be put off by thinking that this is only aimed at entrepreneurs. Anyone can, and will, benefit from Mycoskie's story and his quietly devastating words of advice.
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on 1 August 2013
I'd heard about Toms shoes and the ethos but reading the book made me understand why they do what they do. The book is clear, concise, straight to the point and easy to digest and understand. I personally liked the stories not only surrounding Toms shoes but also other brands that have 'started something that matters' and how they have made what they do a success today. Ultimately- what Blake is trying to encourage is to start with what you have and see where it takes you. Totally been inspired and I continue to refer back to it. Worth reading in my opinion.
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on 20 April 2016
This book lacks both depth and intelligence. Perhaps my opinion is shaped by the fact I read this after 'Building Social Business' by the saint-like Muhammad Yunus. But in all it came across as dull with Mycoskie seeming at times like a sheltered, entitled individual. His writing is hardly insightful - full of cliches, bland language and lacking variety. To me it seems as if he's a guy who's struck it lucky, he cares not for the deep structural problems facing this world and happens to have made some money flogging canvas slippers and promising to give a pair away at the same time. Commendable, no doubt, but not really a book for anyone seeking analysis of the burgeoning social enterprise scene or looking for meaningful tips and help entering that world. The book is shallow in comparison to a many others you should be reading first - particularly any title by Yunus. This will not last the test of time. Don't waste your money.
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on 6 June 2014
Life changing book ... Set up my own blog to help give bikes to kiddies in need around the world ...halvies.co.uk ....Want to do something that matters .. In this day of "celebrity nonsense" taking up far too much of people's time, here was a guy who wanted to change other people's lives ... Not just the kiddies, but everyone who reads this book and does something that matters ..Deep down we all know that helping others is the secret to happiness .. Unfortunately we all get caught up in competing to try and be more successful and "celebrity" than others ..Ironic thing is, Blake has become massive "celebrity" by giving millions of kiddies a pair of shoes ..Don't just read it, embrace it, & do something that matters. Anything ..........
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on 15 August 2013
Helped me come up with some great ideas for a new business. Not a bad read either, very entertaining, excellent
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on 14 September 2012
Not only has reading this book given me enough energy, excitement and passion to start something (that matters), it has provided me with invaluable insight into the importance of starting small, of having a 'why' as the main reason to what you do and last but not least - several new pairs of awesome TOMS shoes!
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on 7 January 2015
Christmas socking filler for my wife. We always get a few small items and books make a good choice. We had heard of Tom's charity of providing free shoes for every show sold, but my wife was interested in learning what inspired the founder to start in the first place. So a well received Christmas gift.
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on 2 September 2013
Its a great story - the story of how Toms shoes came into being. I read half of it the day I got it and have yet to finish it so I cant say much more. Its written very much in synopsis style. A more detailed version of the story would be just as appealing to me.
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