By Isabella Place and Courtney Rogin
TOMS shoes are nearly as common as a pair of Converse for today’s college students. Blake Mycoskie’s book, “Start Something That Matters,” is a great guide for learning about the story behind TOMS and for gaining insight and advice from the man behind the “One for One” campaign.
The story itself reads more like a business guide than a chronology of Mycoskie’s life. Readers will quickly find any of the chapters can be taken out and read separately. Every chapter provides valuable tips and insight for those looking to start their own company. Each section outlines a principle that Mycoskie finds pivotal, such as “find your story.” Mycoskie also draws on anecdotal examples from other companies that have had similar success stories, so it’s not just the TOMS story being told.
The first half of the fairly quick read introduces Mycoskie and TOMS to the reader. It begins by telling the tale of the company and its rise to success. Though important to Mycoskie’s overall narrative, the story plays a small role in the usefulness of the book. The other few chapters deal with the beginning of an idea, how to create it and how to harness it.
The second half of Mycoskie’s book further encourages the importance of starting something immediately, by emphasizing that a lack of resources is no excuse to postpone or pass on an opportunity. He further argues that, contrary to hampering success, a limited supply of resources is the reason TOMS succeeded. Mycoskie states, “Many people think they can’t give anything away when they start a business because they have nothing to give. Nor, they fear, can they afford to share a percentage of profits, because they don’t have any profits yet. But that’s the very reason you should do it.”
To find the several great pieces of valuable advice given, read chapter four: “Be Resourceful Without Resources.” Chapter five explains the importance of keeping it simple, as it reads like a sequel to the advice given in chapter four, highly recommended for any business or marketing majors. Chapter six delves into the principles behind building trust. Mycoskie depicts real scenarios from well-known companies, so readers can identify with the rules of business.
An honest voice resonates throughout Mycoskie’s work. He places special emphasis on the importance of giving and why it equals good business. Giving not only extends to a monetary notion, it also includes the donation of skills, be it time or expertise.
As things are catalytically wrapped up in chapter eight, Mycoskie drives home another principle. He tells readers throughout the book to start now. Whether it’s starting something new or changing something old, start with a goal and acknowledge that it can and probably will change.