BOOK REVIEW: Start Something That Matters

  1. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about being selected to participate in the TOMS Shoes’ “Books for Bloggers” promotion. I received two copies of TOMS’ founder, Blake Mycoskie’s, new book “Start Something That Matters.” One copy was mine to read and review, while the other was meant for me to give away. While this post is about my review, details on the giveaway can be found here.
  2. I read the bulk of “Start Something That Matters” while commuting to and from work on Chicago’s el. As I was reading, I tweeted the passages that most resonated with me…here are the quotes and context, compliments of Storify:
  3. “Increasingly, the tried-and-true tenets of success are just tried, not true.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 17, 2011 7:07:36 PM EST
  4. This quote was found in SSTM’s opening pages and its quirky word play was what inspired me to tweet out interesting passages as I came across them. Though I usually abhor puns and think they scream “GIMMICK,” I believe that Blake has truly touched on something valuable; today’s business world is long on advice, but short on originality and risk-taking. The same can’t be said for Blake himself, nor for TOMS Shoes…which should become apparent as you continue to read.
  5. “Stories are the most primitive and purest form of communication.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 21, 2011 9:08:11 AM EST
  6. Blake is big on story-telling and attributes it to TOMS’ success. Anyone can make a cool, comfortable pair of shoes…but TOMS was able to connect product with passion. Their customers feel like partners and ambassadors, all because of a compelling and inspiring story.
  7. “If you doubt your own authenticity, it will sap your passion.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 21, 2011 7:12:06 PM EST
  8. Think about your contacts in the business and/or nonprofit world. Now think about the people who personally commit to their product/mission…and think about the ones that “just” do their jobs. My guess (and Blake’s hypothesis) is that you’ll see two distinct groups emerge — one that’s passionate and successful, the other that’s ambivalent and middling.
  9. “What distinguishes the ultimate successes from the ultimate failures is what you do with them.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 22, 2011 9:04:31 AM EST
  10. Sometimes, there’s a fine line between good and bad…between pass and fail…between success and failure. Blake suggests that it’s not so much the idea that dictates a project’s success, but the drive and reactions of the person or people implementing it.
  11. “I surround myself with inspirational quotations.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters #meta
    November 22, 2011 9:12:36 AM EST
  12. Each chapter starts with an inspirational quote. I guess it’s no suprise, then, that Blake wrote a book filled with inspiring words from his own mind.
  13. “Lack of resources inspires creativity… It’s one one of the reasons @TOMS succeeded.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 22, 2011 6:35:22 PM EST
  14. One of the most compelling (and easy to replicate) parts of the TOMS story is how the company started on a shoe-string budget and found success before it was logistically ready to handle it. How did Blake avoid business disaster? By staying simple, exploring every possible cheap/free option and resisting the urge to burn capital (ahem, pets.com) simply because it was available.
  15. “Simplicity is simple. Perhaps this sounds redundant. But it’s true, and it’s important.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 23, 2011 4:12:28 PM EST
  16. ‘Nuff said.
  17. “Ur org’s next great idea may come from…the top down, bottom up or zigzagging thru the middle.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 25, 2011 4:46:01 PM EST
  18. Power to the people! Organizational hierarchy is often important, but Blake suggests that it not come at the expense of innovation. Often, the best insights can come from those employees with ears closest to the ground. Make sure you set up a system in which their observations are collected, appreciated and acted upon.
  19. “Being clear about where your donors’ money goes is the best way to build their trust.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 25, 2011 5:02:23 PM EST
  20. This is gospel to fundraisers, but cringe-inducing to many of our accounting offices. Yes, transparency requires a lot of extra effort…effort that will be rewarded tenfold by loyal, appreciative and increasingly well-educated nonprofit donors.
  21. “Compliment publicly and criticize privately, but do both directly.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 12:09:11 AM EST
  22. What a great business tip! This one has already gone into my rotation.
  23. “Incorporate giving in2 ur business model & give ur business a mission larger than ur bottom line” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 23, 2011 9:16:37 AM EST
  24. “Giving feels good. But…giving is truly good for business as well.” – @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 10:23:28 AM EST
  25. “When giving is incorporated into ur business model, customers become product marketing partners.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 10:26:19 AM EST
  26. These passages appear in different sections of the book, but I’ve united them here because the message is a common one.While not every for-profit business can or should work on TOMS’ “one for one” model, Blake (and a growing number of other business leaders) suggests that to build loyalty among customers, today’s companies need a connection to social good. You may not be able to give away a million pairs of shoes to children in third world countries, but your customers will appreciate and reward your genuine efforts to make a difference in your local community. And really, can’t every business do that? Shouldn’t every business do that?
  27. “I firmly believe that every person alive can make this world a better place.” @BlakeMycoskie #StartSomethingThatMatters
    November 26, 2011 10:45:04 AM EST
  28. Carpe diem, Blake. Carpe diem.
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3 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Start Something That Matters

  1. Great post! I liked so many of those same quotes and sayings, I probably underlined or circled way too many things in this book, but I agree that it speaks clearly, simply, and passionately about how to move forward and be successful in doing something that matters!

    And, no worries on the shameless plug! 😉 Thanks for reading my review as well! (http://kristasheart.blogspot.com/2011/11/review-part-1.html) My book give away is up and running through Sunday!
    ~K

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