Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

Yvon Chouinard

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0143037838

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In his long-awaited memoir, Yvon Chouinard-legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.-shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth. From his youth as the son of a French Canadian blacksmith to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditions that inspired his innovative designs for the sport's equipment, Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life-a book that will deeply affect entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

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new ideas. A company needs someone to go out and get the temperature of the world, so for years I would come home excited about ideas for products, new markets, or new materials. Then I began to see rapid changes in the world, and more and more I came home with stories of environmental and social devastation. In Africa, forests and grassland were disappearing as the populations grew. Global warming was melting glaciers that had been part of the continent’s climbing history. The emergence of AIDS

has to go beyond the products themselves. It extends to how we organize ourselves to get a body of work done, how we beg, borrow, and steal good ideas from other companies and cultures, and how we approach the question of the way things are and how they should be. That begins with an attitude of embracing change rather than resisting it. Not just changing without reflection and weighing the relative merits of the new ideas, but nonetheless assuming that if we only look hard enough, there may be a

he couldn’t be subpoenaed for a lawsuit over Trans World Airlines. During school holidays I would go with friends down to the wilds of Baja and the coastal mainland of Mexico to surf, driving the ’39 Chevy I’d bought for fifteen dollars. After getting nineteen flats on one trip, we stuffed our back tires with brush and weeds and inched the last dozen miles into Mazatlán. We were always sick from the bad water and couldn’t afford medicine, so we would powder charcoal from the campfire, mix it

time. * * * * * * Global consumption of water is doubling every 20 years, more than twice the rate of human population growth. If current trends persist, by 2025 the demand for fresh water is expected to rise 56% above the amount that is currently available. —Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians * * * I also prefer to believe that in the most basic terms, evil is a stronger influence than good. By evil I mean something morally bad and destructive.

health of our planet was endangered, and certainly no one imagined that one day a business would need an environmental as well as a financial policy. Not until Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring came out in 1962 did some of us awake from our torpor. Today most Americans are aware we are facing an environmental crisis. In surveys, 75 percent identify themselves as environmentalists. But you are what you do, not what you say you are. We continue to blame others: the Mexicans for having large

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