Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

Published on Author Zach Ware

This book from Patagonia’s founder changed my view of a company’s role in the world.

2013

Amazon Link

Kindle Highlights:

In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.

 


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.”

 


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 to have 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 that distinction between work and play and family.

 


I’ve always thought of myself as an 80 percenter. I like to throw myself passionately into a sport or activity until I reach about an 80 percent proficiency level. To go beyond that requires an obsession and degree of specialization that doesn’t appeal to me. Once I reach that 80 percent level I like to go off and do something totally different;

 


Words.

 


Even if he or she isn’t aware of it, every individual spends an entire lifetime creating and evolving a personal image that others perceive.

 


The basic tenets of that philosophy are: a deep appreciation for the environment and a strong motivation to help solve the environmental crisis; a passionate love for the natural world; a healthy skepticism toward authority; a love for difficult, human-powered sports that require practice and mastery; a disdain for motorized sports like snowmobiling

 


or jet skiing; a bias for whacko, often self-deprecating humor; a respect for real adventure (defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive—and certainly not as the same person); a taste for real adventure; and a belief that less is more (in design and in consumption).

 


We believe the best way to get press is to have something to say.

 


A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both. —FRANÇOIS AUGUSTE RENÉ C

 


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This post originally appeared at Zach Ware's Notebook.