Blake Mycoskie’s Start Something That Matters is quite like a pair of his famous TOMS shoes. It’s straightforward and simple, with tips telling us to “be resourceful without resources”, that “giving is good business”, and that we need to “face our fears”. The literal design of the book even echoes the blue and white tag on every pair of TOMS shoes, allowing it a consistency with the company’s mission. Mycoskie even stayed true to the TOMS One for One business model, by promising to donate one book to a child in need for every book sold. Even the pessimist in me can’t help but to admire the bright sense of optimism that resonates all the while.
But much like the shoes, I have to question the book’s durability. Catchy and cute it may be. Do a little digging, however, and a few things raise my eyebrows. As far as the book itself goes, the simple fact that there is no index shortens its shelf life drastically. And from a personal standpoint, Mycoskie’s relationships with Bain Capital and Focus on the Family make me, for lack of a better word, 🤔. His emphasis on business acumen and salesmanship, and lack of emphasis on how his free shoes have actually improved lives, regrettably make me question his overall perspective.
That being said, I truly enjoyed many of the anecdotes Mycoskie provides. The book is littered with story snippets ranging from Netflix to Tito’s Vodka to SENDaBALL, leaving me curious and eager to research more about them. He even inspired me to check out the charity: water organization (and to donate!). Perhaps his best piece of advice comes from the first two chapters: to focus on telling a good story.