Start Something That Matters written by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes. It's hard to read this book and not feel inspired.
In 2006, Mykoskie took an extended vacation to Argentina. Being an entrepreneur-type (he was currently on his 4th start-up business) he thought about the opportunities there might be to market the alpargata (a simple canvas shoe worn by just about everyone in the country) in the US. As he continued on his travels, he met a woman who worked with a charity that was giving shoes to underprivileged children. She explained that sometimes the donated shoes were the wrong size & many children still went barefoot after the "shoe drops." And Mykoskie saw firsthand the poverty outside the cities and the effects that not having shoes had on the children (infections, disease). He decided that the best solution was to turn to something he already knew about: business. He came up with the idea that he could start a shoe company that made a version of the alpargata and for each shoe he sold, he would donate one to a child in need....One for One, which is the motto of his company, TOMS (shoes for tomorrow). In September 2010, the company celebrated its 1,000,000th pair of shoes given to a child in need (here is the link to the TOMS site to learn more).
The author not only gives the reader the TOMS story & how his company got started, but also explains that the reason it's so successful is that there is a great story to tell and customers that are all too eager to pass along the story because they are advocates for the company, not just consumers. He gives lots of examples of other companies - what they do, how they started, how they grew, how they give. There are also many pictures throughout the book of the TOMS company, the people that work there, the shoe drops, etc. The pictures help add a very personal touch to the book, as well as Mykoskie's candid, honest writing.
Anyone can start something that matters. Mykoskie shows the reader how he did it, and encourages the reader to do the same. Maybe there's a great idea you've had (it doesn't have to be a grand idea, it's ok to start small) - turning your idea into a reality is possible. And if you can help out a cause that is important to you, even better, because chances are, it's important for others out there too. And that's one of the messages in the book: if you believe in what you are doing, you can't help but be passionate about it.
This is a great read for anyone interested in making a difference, whether it's through your own business ventures or volunteering or donating. etc. This is the story of one person who had a great idea and turned it into a reality.
Oh, and I almost forgot: there are lots of inspirational quotes (I love quotes)....like this one:
"Be the change you want to see in the world."