The book Let My People Go Surfing offers an inspiring look at the popular outdoor gear company Patagonia, a company that has demonstrated that there are more ways to run a successful business than just one.
In addition to learning about the company’s history and unique philosophy, you will also learn why Patagonia employees are some of the happiest in the world and why people are so proud to own the company’s products.
You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book review will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.
At the end of this book review, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Lesson 1: Every aspect of Patagonia’s business, including marketing, reflects the company’s philosophy
Its core values became part of its philosophy, and despite being written down, they remain very flexible and more akin to a set of guidelines.
Everyone, including employees and the general public, can agree on Patagonia’s key ideas and a rough plan for where it wants to go.
This philosophy holds that products should be treated with the same dignity as humans. Unlike other companies that produce disposable goods, Patagonia’s products serve a useful purpose and are not intended to be purchased and sold for the sake of consumerism.
Patagonia’s product marketing reinforces its value proposition by reminding people that its products are made by passionate people for a real purpose.
In marketing, photos of people using the product are prominently displayed, emphasizing its functionality. The images also show how the products can be used in harmony with the environment.
This philosophy informs Patagonia’s catalog, or “bible.” Patagonia’s catalog is used not only to showcase and sell its products, but also to share climbing and outdoor activity information and advice.
It first promoted the idea of wearing layers for warmth in cold climates in a company catalog, and it made sure to assure customers that it wasn’t just a ploy to sell more clothes.
Marketers are all too familiar with the difficulty of selling products that have no real value. As a result, Patagonia strives to be at the forefront of innovation, creating unique, easy-to-market products that are honest and straightforward.
Lesson 2: Patagonia’s products are designed to provide functionality, durability, and environmental protection
Product design is a major focus of the company, which aligns with Patagonia’s philosophy.
Patagonia designs each product with the goal of making it the best in its category. As a result, each product is rigorously tested and designed, with special attention paid to the elements that will ensure its durability and, above all, authenticity.
Authenticity can be achieved in a variety of ways, but two in particular have become synonymous with the company.
Patagonia’s products are designed for multifunctionality for practical reasons: climbers are not permitted to carry excessive weight, so they require tools that can serve multiple functions. Taking this into consideration, a backpack can be used to transport items, sleep on, or drag water away from a stream.
Patagonia’s products are also known for their long-lasting quality. Rather than producing a plethora of backpacks, the company creates a single backpack that will last a lifetime. Finally, someone who can use his equipment for an extended period of time is less harmful to the environment.
Patagonia strives to add value through its design philosophy, in addition to not causing harm.
Patagonia clothing should be eco-friendly, long-lasting, authentic, and easily identified as Patagonia without looking at the label. Even so, it’s not always easy, especially when it comes to environmental protection.
The company has always sought ways to be more environmentally friendly; for example, in the 1990s, the company discovered that supposedly “100% cotton” actually contained 30% synthetic materials. As a result of this discovery, Patagonia was one of the first multinational corporations to insist on using organic cotton as much as possible.
It was initially difficult to find organic cotton that met the high durability standards. Patagonia collaborated with suppliers to develop a solution based on research and education.
Lesson 3: The management and staff at Patagonia are respected and trusted
Patagonia is well-known for the way it treats its employees, in addition to the quality of its products. That is yet another of the company’s core values.
Patagonia was founded primarily by Chouinard’s friends or other climbers and surfers. Although this has shifted over time, Patagonia’s human resources department continues to strive to ensure that the majority of its employees are also customers.
Passionate people create great products. Furthermore, teaching businesspeople to love the outdoors is easier than teaching outdoor enthusiasts about business. Patagonia looks for people who enjoy camping, climbing, or surfing with every hire.
Employing passionate people is only the beginning; in order for employees to feel free to put their passion to work, they must also be treated with respect.
As a result, Patagonia’s human resources department’s motto is “let them go surfing,” referring to the company’s flexible work schedule, which allows employees to surf when the waves are right, rather than when some fixed schedule allows.
These factors, along with health insurance and on-site child care, contribute to a positive work-life balance and harmonious family dynamics.
Certain values must also be followed by upper management. Employees at Patagonia are not required to follow orders or to be afraid to speak up or question authority. Instead of simply telling employees what to do, the company seeks leaders who inspire them.
Patagonia seeks leaders who are passionate and visionary. They are long-term goal-oriented managers who stay on top of new developments while setting long-term goals. It is a trust-based model in which both managers and employees can rely on one another to do what is right.
As we’ll see in the final chapter, the environmental philosophy that underpins Patagonia wouldn’t be Patagonia without it.
Lesson 4: Throughout its history, Patagonia has cared about the planet’s well-being and the impact its products have on the environment
As evidenced by the tool and clothing design, we have seen in previous chapters that Patagonia’s management and philosophy are based on environmental concerns.
Patagonia is deeply concerned about the environmental impact of its products.
Patagonia, like any other company that makes physical products, relies heavily on natural resources – but it also strives to respect these resources as much as possible. As a result, the company examines its business practices on a regular basis.
Even when things are going well, the company isn’t happy and is constantly looking for ways to improve. According to Patagonia, their primary concern is whether a current product or policy is long-term sustainable.
Patagonia phased out the pitons mentioned in the first chapter for the same reason. Despite being designed to be environmentally friendly, customers were unintentionally leaving them embedded in mountainsides.
Chauinard was forced to reconsider the company’s behavior, which Patagonia continues to do today; when a product or practice that harms the environment is discovered, the company tries to fix it in any way it can.
Patagonia addresses these concerns holistically by investigating both the causes and symptoms of environmental damage.
Patagonia, for example, donates to Planned Parenthood because overpopulation is one of the world’s most serious environmental threats today. The company’s genuine concern for the environment can be seen in everything from its products and catalog to the reusable cups used in the cafeteria.
Patagonia’s mission has always been to give people access to nature’s gifts while also ensuring that these gifts are enjoyed by future generations.
About the Author
Yvon Chouinard, who lives in Ventura, California, founded and owns Patagonia. He began designing environmentally friendly and sustainable products for outdoor adventurers after beginning as a rock climber. In addition, he established a number of environmental charities and initiatives.
Buy The Book: Let My People Go Surfing
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