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Let My People Go Surfing – Yvon Chouinard Founder of Patagonia Inc

patagonia-surfing-book-01awIn 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 handyman 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.

Let My People Surf

“We were able, in many ways, to keep alive our cultural values, even during the heavy-growth years, and after the shock of the 1991 layoffs. We were surrounded by friends who could dress however they wanted, even barefooted. People ran or surfed at lunch, or played volleyball in the sandpit at the back of the building. The company sponsored ski and climbing trips; many more trips were undertaken informally by groups of friends who would drive up to the Sierras on Friday night and arrive home, groggy but happy, in time for work on Monday morning.

Since 1984 we have had no private offices, an architectural arrangement that sometimes creates distractions but also helps keep communication open. That year we opened a cafeteria where employees can gather throughout the day that to this day serves healthy, mostly vegetarian food. And we also opened, at Malinda Chouinard’s insistence, an on-site child care center, at the time one of only 150 in the country (today there are more than 3,000). The presence of children playing in the yard, or having lunch with their parents in the cafeteria helps keep the company atmosphere more familial than corporate. We also continue to offer – mostly for the benefit of working parents but also for others – flexible working hours and job sharing.”

About the Author
Yvon Chouinard is the founder and owner of Patagonia, Inc., based in Ventura, California. He began in business by designing, manufacturing, and distributing rock climbing equipment in the late 1950s. His tinkering led to an improved ice ax that is the basis for modern ice ax design. In 1964 he produced his first mail-order catalog, a one-page mimeographed sheet containing advice not to expect fast delivery during climbing season. In 2001, along with Craig Mathews, owner of West Yellowstone’s Blue Ribbon Flies, he started One Percent for the Planet, an alliance of businesses that contribute at least 1 percent of their net annual sales to groups on a list of researched and approved environmental organizations. An avid surfer and fly fisherman as well as climber, he lives in Ventura, California, and Moose, Wyoming with his wife, Malinda.

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SOURCE:, Patagonia

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