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I was sitting in a restaurant when the waitress noticed that I was wearing a pair of TOMS and we instantly struck up a conversation on the merits of the shoes, how many pairs we had, etc…

Do you own a pair of TOMS?   For the uninformed, these are canvas shoes but shoes with a purpose.  For every pair you purchase, TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in a developing country.

When I had to give a talk about Doing Well by Doing Good, TOMS immediately came to mind and so I went out and purchased Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS.

And I was pleasantly surprised.  It is an easy, interesting and inspiring read.  Did you know that Blake MyCoskie was a finalist in The Amazing Race?  It was when he visited Argentina and saw so many children shoeless that the idea for his business was conceived.  He started it with barely no funds and ran the business from his apartment, using interns he’d recruited through Craigs List.

He presents six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business:

  1. Find your story and use the power of storytelling
  2. Face your fears and get over self doubt
  3. Be resourceful without resources (list of free resources provided)
  4. Keep it simple and use consistent branding
  5. Build trust – do what you say you will do
  6. Giving is good business

And certainly from his perspective it truly has been good business.  Over a million shoes have been sold (and given away) and TOMS is one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world.  MyCoskie recognizes that it has been word of mouth and his  story has sold the shoes but you should know they are also very comfortable too.

If you are looking for a book that will inspire you, provide some resources that can help you grow your business and make you reflect on what you can do to make a difference, then this is the book for you.  Plus, he is continuing his one for one theme, and for every book sold, he will be giving a new book to a child in need.  He truly walks the talk.