Book Review: “Start Something That Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Founder

This book is a must-read.

"Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie. Pic: themedicalstartup.com
Pic: themedicalstartup.com

Most of you would have heard of TOMS. Many of you perhaps own a pair or two. There’s a fascinating story behind it.

Blake Mycoskie is known for pioneering the One-for-One retail model, where a company gives something for every item that’s sold. In TOMS’ case, that’s a pair of shoes to a community in need for every pair of TOMS sold around the world.

Blake was inspired after taking a brief sabbatical from his former startup (and after “The Amazing Race” in America). As many startup founders (and healthcare workers!) discover, it’s hard to switch off. Early into his trip to Argentina, he was struck by the number of children walking barefoot on the hot roads, because their families couldn’t afford to purchase shoes. Blake goes into detail about his early days finding a local shoemaker in Argentina; working out the supply chain without having fashion experience; hiring his first interns; and how they spread the word about TOMS. Since then, TOMS has grown into a multimillion-dollar company, and Blake has created a venture fund for social entrepreneurs to help others create good from their companies.

Other companies such as Warby Parker for eyeglasses have found success with a for-profit model of giving. Many people believe that non-profits are more subject to instability, being reliant upon donations and philanthropy. It could be argued that social enterprise is a more sustainable business model long-term, where a social enterprise is defined as a for-profit business that serves to do good as its core mission.

With “Start Something That Matters,” Blake shares his thoughts from TOMS’ journey, and gives actionable tips on how you can do the same. A very inspiring and uplifting read, including case studies from other companies.

What other books have inspired you? Share your best recommendations below. 

Leave a Reply