They say the best things come when you least expect them to. Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe GiverÂ of TOMS Shoes and author of theÂ New York Times bestseller â€śStart Something That Mattersâ€ť about creating TOMS and more, has lived a life of those happy accidents. In 2006, Mycoskie, knee-deep in his fourth entrepreneurial endeavor -- this one was an online driver education program for teens utilizing only hybrid vehicles -- took a much needed vacation to Argentina only to find that work was, in fact, inescapable. When he learned through volunteering that children in poor Argentine villages often go without shoes, his entrepreneurial light bulb went off: first, â€śShoes for a Better Tomorrow,â€ť then â€śTomorrowâ€™s Shows." Finally, catchier and easier to remember: "TOMS."
It is with TOMS that Mycoskie created his famous â€śOne for Oneâ€ť model -- for each pair of shoes sold, a new pair is given to a child in need. (He has since extended this model to eyewear, as well, with TOMS Eyewear.) In â€śStart Something That Matters,â€ť he expounds on how he uses this initiative and others to create social change. Along with tokens of insight and inspiration from Mycoskie, the book also offers motivational anecdotes from social entrepreneurs including Tony Hseih, founder of Zappos; Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water; Lauren Bush, founder of FEED Projects; Eric Ryan, cofounder of method; and Tim Ferriss, author of â€śThe 4-Hour Workweek.â€ť In the bookâ€™s first chapter, â€śThe TOMS Story,â€ť Mycoskie waxes poetic on his belief in finding a win-win approach to passion and work: â€śIf youâ€™re like me and most of the people I know, you yearn for something more than just business success. Youâ€™re searching for meaning. You want to have the time and freedom to do the things you love and contribute to making the world a better place.â€ť
Listen to the excerpt below to hear more of Mycoskieâ€™s inspiring vision, spoken in his own voice.