Let My People Go Surfing

The Education of a Reluctant Businessman - Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual
Length: 7 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,715 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

With a preface to the second edition, introduction, and epilogue read by the author.

©2016 Yvon Chouinard (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Featured Article: Big Ideas in Business and Tech


Even the most successful entrepreneurs had to start somewhere. When it comes to groundbreaking technology, the people who became leading business executives often began as lone visionaries with nothing but an idea. Now that they’re global industry leaders, many of them have shared their amazing stories in memoirs. These tales of heartbreak and triumph will bring you along on the roller-coaster of success, all the while showing you the secrets of how business greats transformed their dreams into reality. Read on to find your next great inspiration!

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From the Heart

I have a lot of respect for Yvonne Chouinard. He lived an amazing life and was mindful the entire way. after listening I yearn to climb mountains, to work in such an amazing company as Patagonia, to start an organic farm, and to practice Civil Disobedience. To think about life and put your thoughts to action.

9 people found this helpful

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Good presentation, though a little preachy

I respect Patagonia and the fact that the company stands behind its values. I was hoping for more on the overall management of the company, not so much on this is what is wrong with the planet and let me give you a ton of statistics to back it up.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A great look at how business can be used for good

A great read that I would recommend to any and every business owner, or entrepreneur, that gives a damn about the world they operate in. It is both a good adventure in how Patagonia came to be and a insightful journey about the founder Yvon and his deep rooted values that shape the company. This book will force you to critically examine your business and the impacts that it has on the world as a whole. There are also some very insightful ideas that can be applied to any business that desires to operate in a more "sustainable" manner. Yvon is an inspiring figure whom makes no excuses when critically examining his own company and holding it accountable for any impact that it has, both positive and negative. Patagonia is a role model that all businesses should look to aspire to. Yvon and this book have definitely inspired me personally and I think it will for you as well if you give it a chance.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Em
  • 11-02-16

Must Read

A personal, yet totally relatable (and usable) manifesto on business, adventure, environment, and just being human. This book will help you see more clearly the right path forward in whatever it is you're doing.

4 people found this helpful

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Half and half not

The first half of this book was insightful, however the second half was too specific to clothing manufacturing or restatements of previous points.

3 people found this helpful

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Stands out from other memoirs

Where does Let My People Go Surfing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the better audiobooks I've listened to. There was a nice mix of storytelling and advice and wisdom. Not too dry.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Yvon Chouinard (the author and one of the only real characters in the book)

Have you listened to any of Christopher Grove and Yvon Chouinard ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book inspired me to try and be a more environmentally conscious person over all. It made me want to cut down on my consumption and rethink and reevaluate the way I look at clothing and the outdoors.

Any additional comments?

Great read, not just for people who want to learn about business or Yvon Chouinard.

2 people found this helpful

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one of the most eye opening books I've ever read

I work in an entrepreneurship college, where every day I see co-workers, students, and business owners succomb to the pitfalls chouinard references. If I took one thing away from this book, it's that simplicity really will likely be our greatest innovation. "Turn around and take a step forward"

2 people found this helpful

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amazingly inspiring

Thanks for shinning the way for us in order to work TOGETHER for a better world!

2 people found this helpful

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Rethink, Reuse, Reniew

In the first five minutes of listening to this book I knew it was going to change the way I think. Actually it took me back to thinking the way I did in the 1980s. Somehow through consumerism I developed a hopelessness for the environment, but this book has restored hope and belief that I can make a difference.

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This book was absolutely fantastic.

I appreciated the unique perspective this book offered. The authenticity and honesty throughout the entire book was refreshing and insightful. This book changed my life and my habits.

1 person found this helpful

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  • dc-l
  • 04-22-17

Highly recommended

In a world where many people are naive enough to think that life's goal is the accumulation of wealth at the expense of all else, Yvonne provides a working example of how we will be measured, not by our bank balance but by the lack of impact our actions have on the planet.
A brilliant book form end to end.
Highly recommended.
Read it, then live it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-12-17

Buy the book

Great book. loved the environment section. I would prefer to read the paper book though.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bradley P
  • 01-25-18

Patagonia leading to do environmental business

Next time you buy anything, ask yourself "who made it," "where was it made" and does this company care about the environment and the labour staff. This is a great book which provides insight into the how a company made mistakes and what actions it took as soon as it realised that their product was toxic.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Yemi
  • 10-03-17

Do you plan to let your people go surfing?

An insipration on knowing what your purpose is when setting up a business and knowing the role the business plays both in society and in relationship to the planet

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-17

inspirational

beautifully written book, inspirational and profound. packed with so much information and insight I'll be reading this over and over again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Big Rico Suave
  • 01-05-17

The future of business

Thought provoking and insightful in equal measure, this is a rallying cry to business to challenge the convention of hierarchical, command and control consumer driven enterprise and pursue the creation of a new type of commercial organisation motivated by its purpose and it conscience rather than just money.

1 person found this helpful

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  • raw.tism
  • 06-20-20

Inspiring

The environmental crisis is real and terrifying, and this book does an excellent job of explaining where we are and how we got here. it also explains real, tangible ways we, and more to the point, businesses, can change behaviour to set us on the path to a more sustainable way of life. Essential listening for anyone who cares.

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  • Graham Smith
  • 03-10-20

Truly inspiring book

As a long time admirer of Patagonia it was great to get an in depth understanding of business ethics and the long term growth without compromising principles.

Now to start my Patagonia.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tanzeen Ferdous Alam
  • 02-06-20

Must read for every conscious business owner

An extremely honest and inspiring story of how doing well by doing good is possible. how doing nothing is actually evil and why we need activism approach encouraged in corporations.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-04-20

Inspirational

I’ve been a Patagonia Pro for 20 years and their message, their causes and their methods hold so much value and truth. The book is an inspiration and speaks of so much that should be taken note of, should be actioned and instilled in our daily lives.
Read it and take action to save the planet you live on, not for your sake, but for the future generations, for our children.

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  • Cam
  • 09-12-18

7 Hour Marketing Pitch

I’ve been a big fan of Patagonia for a long time and was excited to start on this book.

Having just finished “Shoe Dog”, Phill Knight’s story of founding Nike and Elon Musk’s book I was really starting to get pumped up for what I thought was going to be a really good time...

Unfortunately 30mins in it became very clear what I was going to be in for...a 7 hour marketing spiel on how “amazing” everything Patagonia does...it also started to feel like a lecture of sorts with their “environmental” addenda been pushed hard at every opportunity.

Also unfortunately the translation from the written word to the audio book was executed poorly, with a lot of long passages of quotes being read in a confusing manner.

I ended up getting quite frustrated and any type of halo feeling I had to one of my favourite brand has now gone.

Reluctantly I would recommend giving this one a pass, and if you haven’t already give “Shoe Dog” a listen.
It’s a lot more genuine, interesting and personable. I didn’t want it to end.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Cru Jones
  • 10-29-19

Good overall message.

While it certainly doesn’t hold up to the likes of Shoe Dog or Losing My Virginity, this book has left a lasting impression on how to do better in all aspects of life.

I admit that mid-way through I was underwhelmed, but I stuck with it and enjoyed the journey in the end.

It’s really a book about ethics, environment and empathy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-11-19

A Reluctant Entrepreneur story

not your usual management book though instinctive, environmental journey that is exactly what everyone should be doing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anna
  • 07-16-19

brilliant

business meets environment at its best, I totally recommend this as an easy to understand book with solid principles

1 person found this helpful

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  • Heidi
  • 02-05-19

live more simply

Let's all live more simply. A motivating and eye opening read. A nice touch hearing the authors ow voice

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-10-18

Enjoyed the story of Patagonia

This book made me realise the impact of what we buy has on our planet. I'll definitely choose things more carefully in future.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Iain
  • 03-07-18

Inspirational

If we all had 10% of Yvon’s drive and commitment to the planet, the world would be a better place.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-30-17

Best book ever

This is amazing, insightful, true and is filled with inspiring values we all need to be living by

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ulli
  • 01-17-20

Just self advertisement

This book just sells the brand! it pretty crap!
didn't even finish it!
Don't spend money on it!!!

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  • CA Weir
  • 07-27-17

Insight into a great man, inspiration to live

What made the experience of listening to Let My People Go Surfing the most enjoyable?

This is more than an autobiography of a great climber, surfer and environmentalist. Not just the story of one of the most succesful companies in the world. It is a call to arms. A manifesto to live a better, simpler, happier life. I haven't been moved by a book like this since Naomi Klein's 'No Logo'

What aspect of Yvon Chouinard and Christopher Grove ’s performance might you have changed?

I wish we had Yvon's gravely voice narrate this. The narrator does a good job, but I love hearing YC speak and if he'd narrated the whole book, not just the intro, it would be a masterpiece.