Start Something That Matters: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Start Something That Matters containing key details about the book.

What is Start Something That Matters About?

"Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie is a book that explores the idea of using business as a force for good and making a positive impact on the world.

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Start Something That Matters is the story of the author about how he knew he wanted to help, but rather than start a charity, he went against conventional wisdom and created a for profit business to help the children who he met. With the help of a local shoemaker, Blake struck out to merge activism and fashion in the form of a local canvas shoe worn by farmers and gauchos alike, called the alpargata. Blake called his creation TOMS Shoes (which stands for "Tomorrow's Shoes") and promised to give a pair of new shoes to a child in need for every pair that he sold.

Summary Points & Takeaways from Start Something That Matters

Some key summary points and takeaways from the book include:

* The power of storytelling: The author emphasizes the importance of storytelling in creating a powerful brand and in inspiring others to take action.

* The importance of giving back: The author argues that companies have a responsibility to give back and to make a positive impact on the world, and that this is essential to creating a successful and sustainable business.

* The power of collaboration: The author encourages companies to collaborate and to work together with other organizations, in order to achieve greater impact and to create a more sustainable future.

* The importance of passion: The author argues that passion is a key factor in building a successful business, and that companies should strive to create products and services that are aligned with their values and passions.

* The importance of simplicity: The author encourages companies to simplify their operations, products, and services, in order to make them more accessible and appealing to customers.

* The power of word-of-mouth marketing: The author argues that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful and effective forms of marketing, and that companies should strive to create products and services that are so good that customers will naturally want to tell others about them.

* Overall, "Start Something That Matters" is a inspiring guide to using business as a force for good and making a positive impact on the world. The author provides practical tips and recommendations for storytelling, giving back, collaboration, passion, simplicity, and word-of-mouth marketing, in order to create a successful and sustainable business that makes a positive difference in the world.

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Who is the author of Start Something That Matters ?

Blake Mycoskie is an American entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. He is the founder of Toms Shoes and co-founder of Madefor.

Start Something That Matters Summary Notes

Summary Note: Embracing Fear: Overcoming the Damaging Effects of Unchecked Anxiety

Fear is a natural emotion that arises when we encounter unfamiliar or challenging situations. However, our society often stigmatizes fear, causing embarrassment or shame, and leading to avoidance or denial. This can have damaging effects on our lives as we miss out on opportunities and experiences that we actually desire. The fear of failure, for example, can prevent us from pursuing new jobs, traveling, or starting a business. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," highlighting the importance of confronting and overcoming our fears.

It's crucial to acknowledge that fear is a normal part of the human experience and not something to be ashamed of. Everyone experiences fear at some point in their lives, and it's okay to feel scared in certain situations. However, it's important not to let fear dictate our actions and decisions.

When we avoid discussing our fears or deny their existence, we hinder our ability to overcome them. It's essential to have open and honest conversations about our fears, whether it's with ourselves, friends, or a therapist. By acknowledging our fears, we can begin to understand them better and develop strategies to cope with them.

Holding on to fear can have severe consequences. It can limit our potential and prevent us from pursuing our passions and goals. It's crucial to confront our fears head-on and take steps to overcome them. This might involve gradually exposing ourselves to feared situations, seeking support from others, or challenging negative thoughts and beliefs associated with our fears.

Embracing fear means recognizing that it's okay to feel scared, but it's not okay to let fear control our lives. It's about acknowledging our fears, facing them with courage, and taking steps towards personal growth and self-improvement. By confronting our fears and not letting them dictate our choices, we can break free from their damaging effects and lead a more fulfilling life. Remember, fear is natural, but it's within our power to overcome it and start something that truly matters.

Summary Note: Confronting Fear: Overcoming the Barrier to Success

Fear is a natural emotion that can have a damaging effect on our lives when it goes unchecked. It can cause us to miss out on opportunities and prevent us from reaching our full potential. Identifying our fears is the first step towards overcoming them.

Many of us avoid talking about our fears due to embarrassment or shame, but keeping them hidden can hinder our progress. We need to confront our fears head-on to overcome them. This means facing situations that make us uncomfortable, even if it's scary.

One way to confront our fears is by making a list of all the reasons we are scared. By acknowledging and writing down our fears, we can gain clarity and perspective. We can then evaluate the worst-case scenario if our fears come true. Often, we realize that the outcome may not be as bad as we initially thought.

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The author shares a personal example of when he started his shoe business, TOMS, in Argentina. He was terrified and had many fears, including the fear of failure and losing his investment. However, when he wrote down his fears and evaluated the worst-case scenario, he realized that even if he failed, he would still gain valuable skills, experiences, and friendships from the process. This helped him put his fears into perspective and move forward.

Confronting our fears also involves taking action despite our fears. We need to step out of our comfort zones and face our fears head-on. This could mean going for a job interview, speaking to strangers in a foreign language, or taking a flight despite the fear of flying. Most of the time, we realize that our fears were relatively minor and easy to overcome once we confront them.

Summary Note: Embracing Uncertainty: Overcoming Fear in Pursuit of Success

One of the main themes in the book is overcoming fear in the pursuit of success, particularly in the context of starting a new business venture. Many people are held back by fear, especially when it comes to the uncertainty of starting something new. The fear of failure, the fear of not having enough expertise or experience, and the fear of timing being perfect can all prevent us from taking action.

The author argues that waiting for the perfect timing or trying to plan a risk-free strategy is futile because the future is unpredictable, and we can never know exactly what will happen. Instead of letting fear hold us back, the author suggests a few strategies to overcome it and take action towards our goals.

One strategy is to read biographies and blogs of successful entrepreneurs to understand their fears and coping strategies. This can help us realize that even successful individuals had their own fears when starting out, but they found ways to overcome them and achieve success. Another strategy is to write down our goals and hang them where we can see them every day, along with motivational quotes to keep us focused and enthusiastic. Surrounding ourselves with inspiring people who share our goals can also provide support and motivation during challenging times.

The author emphasizes that taking action, even in the face of fear and uncertainty, is crucial to making progress towards our goals. Waiting for the perfect timing or trying to predict the future is not productive, and we should not let fear hold us back from pursuing our passions and dreams. Embracing uncertainty and facing our fears head-on is the key to overcoming them and achieving success in our entrepreneurial endeavors.

Summary Note: Keep It Simple: The Power of Simplicity in Success

One of the main themes in the book is the importance of simplicity in achieving success. It challenges the misconception that complexity equals brilliance and emphasizes the value of keeping things as simple as possible. Examples are given from different domains, including design and business strategy, to illustrate the power of simplicity.

The book highlights that simplicity can be a key factor in creating successful products and services. It uses the example of Apple products, such as the iPod, which became popular due to their clean and easy-to-use design. The book also mentions In-N-Out Burger, a successful fast-food chain, which focuses on making the best possible burgers without wasting resources on unnecessary frills. These examples illustrate that simplicity can be a winning formula in product design and business models.

The concept of simplicity is also extended beyond product design and business strategy to daily life. The book suggests that focusing on the few things that truly matter and ignoring everything else can help improve productivity and motivation. It encourages letting go of irrelevant "small bad things" and prioritizing important goals. By keeping things simple and avoiding unnecessary complications, individuals can streamline their work routines and achieve better results.

Summary Note: Thriving with Limited Resources: Building a Successful Business

One of the main themes in the book is the idea that it is possible to grow a successful business with limited resources. The author uses examples from their own experience with TOMS, a successful shoe business and philanthropic organization, to illustrate how constraints can be approached with a creative mindset.

The book emphasizes that limited resources do not have to be a hindrance, but rather an opportunity to find innovative solutions. The author shares how, in the early days of their business, they did not have enough money to buy business cards and instead handwrote their name and contact information on other people's cards. This resourceful approach was well-received and showcased their commitment to being economical and finding creative solutions.

The book also highlights the abundance of free technology and information available online that can be leveraged to promote and organize a business. Examples are given, such as using blogging and social media for promotion, and utilizing free services like Doodle and Google Drive for business meetings and document organization. The author emphasizes that these free tools can be just as effective as paid solutions, proving that limited resources should not be a barrier to building a successful business.

Summary Note: Building a Motivated Team: Stretching Your Personal Network for Success

One of the main themes in the book is the importance of building a motivated and enthusiastic team for the success of a new venture. The author emphasizes the need for help from others, whether they are acquaintances or staff, and highlights the value of tapping into the unique abilities and knowledge of those in your personal network.

The book draws inspiration from the model of Wikipedia, which is built on contributions from unpaid non-professional contributors from around the world. Each small contribution adds up to create a vast database of information, showcasing the power of collaboration and tapping into the skills and knowledge of others.

In addition to skills and knowledge, the author emphasizes the importance of finding like-minded people who share your goals and are enthusiastic about your project. Starting a business with enthusiastic individuals who believe in your vision can create a powerful working atmosphere that enhances everyone's abilities and knowledge.

The book also suggests cultivating a "garage mentality" within your business, taking inspiration from successful companies like Apple that were started in garages on a shoestring budget. This metaphorical garage can be created by promoting an atmosphere of togetherness and shared adversity, where a sense of joy and motivation can be fostered among employees and oneself.

Summary Note: Building a "Good" Company: Giving and Humor as Core Values

One of the main themes in the book is the importance of building a "good" company that prioritizes giving and philanthropy, while also fostering a working environment centered on trust and humor. Successful companies often incorporate philanthropy and giving into their business models, which not only benefits the community but also enhances the company's public image and promotes positive feelings among employees.

One example of this is Saks Fifth Avenue, which partnered with charity: water to raise awareness and solicit donations for clean drinking water in the developing world. This philanthropic endeavor not only made a positive impact on the community, but it also improved Saks Fifth Avenue's public image and generated goodwill among customers and employees.

In addition to giving, fostering a working environment based on trust is crucial for a "good" company. This means being understanding when employees make mistakes and viewing them as valuable learning experiences. Companies like Brogan & Partners have successfully created a supportive environment by recognizing and embracing mistakes through their "Mistake of the Month" award. This approach promotes a culture of openness, innovation, and risk-taking, without the fear of embarrassment or failure.

Furthermore, incorporating humor into the company culture can also contribute to a positive and inclusive working environment. Having a sense of humor about one's mistakes and shortcomings can create a lighthearted atmosphere where employees feel comfortable taking risks and being creative, without the fear of judgment or criticism.

Summary Note: The Power of Storytelling in Marketing Your Product

In today's competitive business world, marketing plays a crucial role in the success of a product or brand. While many may rely on facts and statistics to communicate the value of their product, the main idea presented here is that storytelling is far more effective in capturing the attention and emotions of customers.

Research has shown that people are more willing to pay a higher price for a product when they hear an emotional story about it, compared to when they are presented with plain facts and figures. This is because stories have the power to evoke emotions, create connections, and establish the values and identity of an organization. A compelling story can make a product more memorable, convincing, and appealing to customers.

A great example of the power of storytelling in marketing is the author's own shoe enterprise, TOMS. With no professional retail background and limited start-up capital, the author had a simple idea of donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold through retail. This inspiring story caught the attention of a reporter, resulting in press coverage that boosted the business's success. Customers were not just buying a pair of shoes, they were also becoming part of a meaningful story, which created a strong emotional connection to the brand.

While finding a personal story that aligns with a business may be challenging, the impact it can have on marketing efforts is well worth it. By incorporating storytelling into marketing strategies, businesses can differentiate themselves, establish an emotional connection with customers, and create a memorable brand identity. It's not just about selling a product, but also about conveying the values, purpose, and story behind the product. So, when it comes to marketing, remember that storytelling is far better than plain facts.

Book details

  • Print length: 189 pages
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Business, Entrepreneurship

What are the chapters in Start Something That Matters?

Chapter 1 The Toms Story
Chapter 2 Find Your Story
Chapter 3 Face Your Fears
Chapter 4 Be Resourceful Without Resources
Chapter 5 Keep it Simple
Chapter 6 Build Trust
Chapter 7 Giving is Good Business
Chapter 8 The Find Step

What is a good quote from Start Something That Matters?

Top Quote: "Books are different from other possessions-they're more like friends.” (Meaning) - Start Something That Matters Quotes, Blake Mycoskie

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: “A creative and open-hearted business model for our times.” — The Wall Street Journal

* The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways. If you're interested in furthering your personal development, I invite you to check out my list of favorite personal development books page. On this page, you'll find a curated list of books that have personally impacted my life, each with a summary and key lessons.

Reading is Smart. Applying is Smarter:  Apply

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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