Let My People Go Surfing – Yvon Chouinard

I feel a bit embarrassed it has taken me so long to read this book.

And not just getting round to it; it wasn’t even on my radar.

That, compounded by the fact that I have ploughed through many a business tome over the years, made me ask what the hell I had been wasting my eyes on when it came to the written word.

Anyway, less of the self-deprecation and onto the celebration – this is an essential read.

Bottom line, Patagonia founder, and outdoor obsessive, Yvon Chouinard has been contending with the dilemma of “doing business” whilst being woefully aware of the destructive effects on the planet since selling climbing equipment from the back of his car in the 60s.

Can an equilibrium be found? Probably not. Yvon keenly observes we have taken far more than we could ever put back. The environmental scales will refuse to tip back in the right direction, but they can be slowed, even paused with the right collective effort.

Why do it then?

To show others that success can still be achieved despite making every business decision in the context of the environmental crisis. Plus, that culturally, as a collection of people they know this is the right way to go about things. It’s the way every business should be run.

Yvon is honest about the challenges of maintaining a “planet first” ideology; Patagonia has nearly been sunk on many an occasion due to a dogged refusal to waver on its purpose over profit approach. Yet still they persist and maintain a position as one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.

Take a gander, it’s well worth the effort and provides a blueprint by which we can all subscribe. You can also check out my business book reviews for other wonderful reads.

All the best


PS the second half of this book covers the black and white processes by which the company is run and the philosophies that inform them. Hack ‘em apart and transpose your own offering on top.