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Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 2012 Book Review: "Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie
"Start Something That Matters"
by Blake Mycoskie
Reviewed by Joan Carleton

Mycoskie travels the country telling his TOMS story to high school and university students, his most recent stop being Oakland University, with hopes of inspiring some to create their own business, as well as making a change they wish to see in the world. A beautiful storyteller, Mycoskie draws the audience in, painting a complete picture of what it was like to build the company, how people were immediately drawn to it because of its mission, and how it feels to really 'start something that matters.' I can guarantee that I was not the only one who had tears in my eyes during the stories of gratitude the millions of people have given in thanks for the shoes - that children can now attend school and that foot diseases will diminish. Upon hearing his story, I was inspired to read his book.

"There is something different in the air these days: I feel it when I talk to business leaders, give speeches at high school and college campuses, and engage in conversation with fellow patrons at coffee shops. People are hungry for success - that's nothing new. What's changed is the definition of that success. Increasingly, the quest for success is not the same as the quest for status and money. The definition has broadened to include contributing something to the world and living and working on one's own terms," as written by Blake Mycoskie.

Blake Mycoskie's "Start Something that Matters" tells the story of TOMS: how the shoe company began with Mycoskie's trip to Argentina; how he learned about the world hunger for shoes; how great the impact is of living without shoes; and how he created his shoe model, one for one, in which one pair is donated for every pair sold. More importantly, though, this is a story for the entrepreneur in all of us; how people love a company with a story, how they are willing to support a company when a good story is the foundation, and how people care about an organization when the organization cares.

Mycoskie's goal used to be "to create a for-profit company that could help relieve the pain and suffering felt by children around the world who do not have shoes." Today, his goal has shifted, "to influence other people to go out into the world and have a positive impact, to inspire others to start something that matters, whether it's a for-profit business or a nonprofit organization."

Though this is a wonderful story, Mycoskie's enthusiasm for his work and mission simply cannot be contained between the pages of a book. Mycoskie's enthusiasm draws one in and brings the story to life. While the book is inspiring in its own way, it cannot compete with the story told by the TOMS founder in person.