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Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman [Anglais] [Broché]

Yvon Chouinard
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

5 septembre 2006
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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Produits fréquemment achetés ensemble

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman + Un business responsable ? - Petit guide de l'entreprise durable et profitable par le créateur de Patagonia + Homme d'affaires malgré moi : Confessions d'un alter-entrepreneur
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

I'VE BEEN A BUSINESSMAN for almost 50 years. It's as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit to being an alcoholic or a lawyer.

I've never respected the profession. It's business that has to take the majority of the blame for being the enemy of nature, for destroying native cultures, for taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and for poisoning the earth with the effluent from its factories. Yet business can produce food, cure disease, control population, employ people, and generally enrich our lives. And it can do these good things and make a profit without losing its soul.

My company, Ventura, California–based Patagonia Inc., maker of technical outdoor apparel and gear, is an ongoing experiment. Founded in 1973, it exists to challenge conventional wisdom and present a new style of responsible enterprise. We believe the accepted model of capitalism, which necessitates endless growth and deserves the blame for the destruction of nature, must be displaced. Patagonia and its thousand employees have the means and the will to prove to the rest of the corporate world that doing the right thing makes for good, financially sound business.

One of my favorite sayings about entrepreneurship is "If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent." The delinquent is saying with his actions, "This sucks. I'm going to do my own thing." Since I had never wanted to be a businessman, I needed a few good reasons to be one. One thing I did not want to change, even if we got serious: Work had to be enjoyable on a daily basis. We all had to come to work on the balls of our feet and go up the stairs two steps at a time. We needed to be surrounded by friends who could dress whatever way they wanted, even be barefoot. We all needed flextime to surf the waves when they were good or ski the powder after a big snowstorm or stay home and take care of a sick child. We needed to blur the distinction between work and play and family.

Breaking the rules and making my own system work is the creative part of management that's particularly satisfying for me. But I don't jump into things without doing my homework. In the late seventies, when Patagonia was really starting to grow some legs, I read every business book I could find, searching for a philosophy that would work for us. I was especially interested in books on Japanese and Scandinavian styles of management, because I wanted to find a role model for the company; the American way of doing business offered only one of many possible routes.

In growing our young company, however, we still used many traditional practices—increasing the number of products, opening new dealers and new stores of our own, developing new foreign markets—and soon we were in serious danger of outgrowing our breeches. By the late eighties we were expanding at a rate that, if sustained, would have made us a billion-dollar company in another decade. To reach that theoretical mark, we would have to begin selling to mass merchants or department stores. This challenged the fundamental design principles we had established for ourselves as the makers of the best products, compromised our commitment to the environment, and began to raise serious questions about the future. Can a company that wants to make the best outdoor clothing in the world be the size of Nike? Can we meet the bottom line without giving up our goals of good stewardship and long-term sustainability? Can we have it all?

It would take 20 years, and the near collapse of our company, to find the answers.

My lifelong adventure in business took root in Southern California. My family had moved from Lisbon, Maine, to Burbank, California, in 1946, when I was eight, because my mother, the real adventurer among us, thought the drier climate would help my father's asthma. My father was a tough French Canadian who worked as a journeyman plasterer, carpenter, electrician, and plumber, and I had an older brother and two older sisters.

It was in California that I would discover climbing, at age 15, in the outskirts of Los Angeles, after helping found the Southern California Falconry Club in the early fifties. One of the adult members, Don Prentice, taught us how to rappel down to the falcon aeries on cliffs, showing us how to wrap manila rope (stolen from the telephone company) around our hips and over our shoulders to control the descent. Through high school and into my years as a student at Valley Junior College, in Valley Glen, California, I started hanging with young members of the Sierra Club—a group that included Royal Robbins, who would go on to start his own successful clothing company, and Tom Frost, an aeronautical engineer who would become my business partner from 1966 to 1975—and climbing the sandstone cliffs of Stoney Point, at the west end of the San Fernando Valley, and at Tahquitz Rock, near Palm Springs.

By the time I was 18, my climbing buddies and I had migrated to the big walls of Yosemite. Because we were pioneering long routes requiring hundreds of piton placements, I bought an old forge and taught myself blacksmithing so I could make my own hard-steel pitons. (The softer European kind didn't work well in Yosemite's uneven granite cracks.) During the sixties, I worked on my equipment in the winter months, spent April through July on the walls of Yosemite, and during the heat of summer headed out for the Alps and the high mountains of Wyoming and Canada—all interspersed with surf trips down to Baja and mainland Mexico. I supported myself by selling homemade gear out of the back of my car, supplementing my meager income by diving into trash cans and redeeming bottles for cash.

By 1971, two important things had happened: I'd met and married Malinda Pennoyer, an art student at Fresno State who spent summers working as a cabin maid in Yosemite and who would go on to become my partner in all aspects of the Patagonia business; and I had produced my first clothing: knickers and double-seated climbing shorts made from superheavy corduroy produced by an old mill in Lancashire, England. Back then, "active sportswear" consisted of your basic gray sweatshirt and pants, and standard issue for Yosemite climbing was tan cutoff chinos and white dress shirts bought from the thrift store. Though I just wanted more durable and comfortable climbing clothes for myself and my friends, I soon realized I had stumbled onto an entirely untapped market.

In the early seventies, my company, Chouinard Equipment, took over an abandoned meatpacking plant in Ventura and began to renovate its old offices as a retail store. Customers were responding to our "hand-forged" clothing, and we sold more and more items, including Chamonix guide sweaters, classic Mediterranean sailor shirts, canvas pants and shirts, and a technical line of rainwear—a predecessor of Gore-Tex—called Foamback. The apparel was such a success we decided it needed its own name to distinguish it from Chouinard Equipment's hardware line.

A few years earlier, in 1968, several friends (including Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face) and I had taken a six-month road trip to the tip of South America, surfing the west coast of the Americas down to Lima, Peru, skiing volcanoes in Chile, and climbing 11,073-foot Fitz Roy, in Argentina's Patagonia. To most people, especially then, Patagonia was a name like Timbuktu or Shangri-La—far off, interesting, not quite on the map. It seemed like just the right idea for our clothing. To reinforce the tie to the real Patagonia, in 1973 we created a logo with a stormy sky, jagged peaks based on the Fitz Roy skyline, and a blue Southern Ocean.

We debuted our pile sweater—the precursor to our Synchilla fleece—in 1973; it was made from a polyester fabric intended for toilet-seat covers. Then we launched our first polypropylene underwear, in 1980, and became the first company to preach the virtues of layering. This new type of high-performance "system" amounted to blockbuster success: From the mid-eighties to 1990, sales skyrocketed from $20 million to $100 million. Most companies would relish such rapid growth, but for us it was nearly disastrous.

By 1991, I had transformed from a modest smithy and adventurer in business with a few friends—including Kris McDivitt (now Kris Tompkins), our CEO and general manager on and off for 15 years, between 1979 and 1994—into the guy in charge of a multi-million-dollar corporation with 650 employees. But with a big company came big problems.

In the late eighties, Chouinard Equipment became the target of several lawsuits. None involved faulty equipment or climbers. We were sued by a window washer, a plumber, a stagehand, and someone who broke his ankle in a tug-of-war contest using our climbing rope. The basis of each suit was improper warning—that we had failed to properly warn these customers about the dangers inherent in using our equipment for uses we could not predict. Then came a more serious suit, from the family of a lawyer who was killed when he incorrectly tied into one of our harnesses in a beginner climbing class.

The litigators thought that Chouinard Equipment and Patagonia were the same company and that, since Patagonia was doing so well, they could milk the corporation. Our insurance company refused to fight any of the suits, because of the costs involved, and settled out of court. Our premiums went up 2,000 percent in one year. Eventually, Chouinard Equipment filed for Chapter 11, a move that gave the employees time to gather capital for a buyout. They successfully purchased the assets, moved the company to Salt Lake City, and built their own company, Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., which to this day continues to make the world's best climbing and backcountry-ski gear.

Still other issues loomed. The general interest in outdoor sports and adventure was exploding in the U.S. and overseas, and we were riding the growth. We expanded internationally, opening retail stores in Chamonix and Tokyo. At the beginning of the nineties, we added another 100 em...

Revue de presse

No matter what you do, you will find essential guidance and inspiration in Let My People Go Surfing. (Dave Foreman, The Rewilding Institute)

Wonderful... a moving autobiography, the story of a unique business, and a detailed blueprint for hope. (Jared Diamond, author of Collapse)


Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 272 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin Books (5 septembre 2006)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0143037838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143037835
  • Dimensions du produit: 7,5 x 9,3 x 0,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 17.039 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Un livre aux visages multiples 11 avril 2014
Par Roxane
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Ce livre nous présente :
- l'histoire de Patagonia
- la vie et les valeurs de Yvon Chouinard, son fondateur
- la réussite d'une entreprise responsable.

Il est intéressant et agréable à lire.

Le plus : les photos qui illustrent les propose d'Yvon C.
Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ?
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A lire et à faire lire en VO ou en VF 29 février 2012
Par Vincent
Format:Broché
A lire et à faire lire pour espérer que la philosophie Patagonia et de son fondateur ne soit un jour plus une rare exception.
N'hésitez pas à nous plonger dans l'édition en VO mais l'édition française existe aussi .
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  142 commentaires
65 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 just drop everything and read the book 2 février 2006
Par R. M. Williams - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
This is one of those drop everything books that you want to buy and give to all your friends and relations who will read and gain from it.

I don't even know how the book came to my attention to buy i the first place, it sat in my TBR pile for several weeks until i had the time to read the first chapter and skim the rest, my usual routine with new books as they come into the house. However it is so good, from the first sentence that i just set aside my other reading and finished it.

It is about doing good and having an adventure while doing so. Partly biographical, partly a history of the company's beginning, mostly a philosophic discussion of how to interact with an increasingly polluted and destroyed planet in a responsible corporate way. It's a story about a man, from all indications one of those rare individuals who consciously walks through life (perhaps climbing is a better word for his travels) aware of what is around him and how he is responsible for his wake through the world.

From the decision to end pinions and switch to clean climbing chocks to the 1% of sales to progressive environmental activist groups, his philosophy not only interacts with his outdoor activities but with the wider world. This book ought to be required reading for every MBA, every business student in the world. And recommended reading for everyone else.

I'm not a very hopeful person, perhaps being in contact with people like the author would turn me around. He is realistic, a little pessimistic but puts his money, his deeds where his words are, in action. An excellent book, just drop everything and get a copy and read it tonight.

thanks for reading this short review.

if you can offer suggestion like this book, please email rwilliam2@yahoo.com subject amazon review.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Incredible insights from incredible man 15 octobre 2005
Par John F. Mcmahon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Yvon Chouinard takes all current and accepted business practices and turns them on their ear! Being involved in the "corporate world" I am witness to all sorts of techniques, behaviours, policies, practices etc. The driving force is always the bottom line. While Chouinard is, and has to be concerned with the bottom line his path to that bottom line is both bold and unique. Clearly this is a very practical guide to a more healthy and sustainable business culture.

Chouinard is clearly a wonderful man leading a wonderful charge. Hey, I want my boss to let me go surfing!!A must read!
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A leader with vision 23 octobre 2005
Par Michael F. Maciaszek - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
There is no better place to work than one where the employees share the vision of the company, and believe in the leadership of the company. "Let My People Go Surfing" is a detailed mission statement for a company whose purpose is to take care of its employees, and do one's best within the 'business ecosystem.' There's no question that Patagonia is a tremendously successful enterprise, and there's no question that Yvon Chouinard's vision has captivated many. He's living proof that you can lead with the customer's and employee's best interest in mind, and reap the benefits of success which transcend the dollar. I'd encourage anyone who is in management to read this book, and take what you can from the teachings within, and incorporate them into your own leadership. It's also an interesting read for anyone who has a hard time believing that you can't follow your dreams and also be financially successful.
39 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Preachy to the point of insulting 28 janvier 2011
Par TPS Student - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I've loosely followed the Patagonia over the years and read the book based on the recommendation from a colleague as we search new means to "engage" employees.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the book and would recommend it as a case study for any business person trying to grow their own business but especially for those confronting their first major crisis after the first success although I am not entirely sure the success of Patagonia has been more because of brilliant management and leadership or just plain luck. Probably a combination of both.

The problem I have with the book is Chouinard's preachy bigotry against anyone that doesn't fully subscribe to his philosophy of what makes the world a better place. As an avid outdoor person I accept the need to be wise stewards of our limited natural resources so I don't have a problem and would gladly support responsible organizations that do the same. But Chouinard takes it one step too far by classifying all Christians as evolution denying morons and anyone that drives an SUV as a myopic terrorist against the survival of the world. In Chouinard's world anyone that has more than one child and doesn't bicycle to work or drive a hybrid is deserving of contempt from the all knowing and all wise Zen master himself. And while he derides every form of fossil, hydro, and nuclear energy the best alternative he can come up with is to put a solar panel on his office building. I think this is all hypocritical as he jet sets around the world to bag this peak or that, admire his contributions to nature preserves, and travels from stream to stream to catch and release innocent trout. I wonder if he has done an energy analysis of maintaining a headquarters in Ventura where undoubtedly most of his employees are forced to commute huge distances. Oh, but then if he moved his headquarters to Modesto where his employees could afford to live where they work they couldn't go surfing. And lastly, he is critical of government subsidies for things he is opposed to but thinks its fine to subsidize his solar array on his roof. Yvon, if you want to save the world knock yourself out. I will even join up with you from time to time. The moment you start insulting me, I have no use for you.

Chouinard says that people that don't espouse the philosophy he promotes should not work for him. I would follow that up by saying the companies that have contempt for me shouldn't expect my business.
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Refreshing Set of Perspectives... 17 octobre 2005
Par Terrence Gargiulo - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is not another tired business book sold as old wine in a new bottle. Chouinard's success grants him credibility but for me the real strength of this book is its peek into alternative ways to creatively pursue business. It's a relief to know we do not have to follow the same old prescriptions to be successful. While the writing is not perfect, the book is a stimulating read full of retrospective reflections and real stories that capture the challenges no ideological or philosophical system can bypass when building a business no matter how enlightened they may be. Come to this book for a breath of fresh air - and then dare to find your own "business wave" and ride it the way best suited to your passions and talents. This is a must read for any young man or woman thinking of venturing into business.
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