Inspiration Starts with One
It is not necessary to be a serious student of current affairs to realize that most of the institutions in our society no longer work. Our governments at all levels are dysfunctional, spending more than they take in, more concerned with the welfare of government bureaucrats than the citizens they are supposed to serve. A close look at many of the larger charitable institutions reveals that administrative cost far exceed the money spent on the stated purpose of the organizations.
It is very easy to become discouraged and disillusioned with our society and the direction it seems to be heading in. But then I read Start Something That Matters and at least I think maybe there is some hope.
The story of TOMS is very inspirational. Starting with very little money but a lot of dedication and a vision for creating a dual purpose business - offering a unique product and providing free shoes to underprivileged children, the success has been exceptional.
The book uses the story of TOMS as a blueprint to inspire others and to show them how to go about starting something that matters. The book does not dwell on how inefficient most government and large organizations efforts are. Instead it focused on what worked for TOMS and a few other examples highlighted in the book.
At the heart of the TOMS model is transparency. There is an honest desire to help others. They did not use their charity as a means to gain free and/or favorable publicity. They kept the program simple, sell a pair of shoes, give away a pair of shoes.
The book gives some general guidelines for how to model your own program that matters.
The book is extremely short and very easy to read. I would have loved some more real life stories about the "shoe drops". But in keeping with Blake Mycoskie's philosophy, he kept the book short and simple. The book is meant to inspire and awaken you to the possibilities you that you can do more worthwhile things with your life.
The value in this book is not so much the TOMS story but the idea that we as individuals can make a difference in the world. I believe part of the message is implied - what we have been doing does not work. There is more to life than accumulating material possessions. Trying to accomplish aid programs through government and large organizations is fraught with mismanagement, misuse and in many cases diversion of the aid. The real message is that if we want to bring the world closer together, to really help those in need, we need to do more ourselves. We should not rely on others. We are capable of starting something that matters.
If you want more fulfillment in life then find some way to help others, find a cause that you believe in and then do something to bring that cause to life. Use the concepts outlined in this book and Start Something That Matters.
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Blake Mycoskie takes on society's biggest challenges with a refreshing courage; succinct but important
Author: Blake Mycoskie
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
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