Book Summary: Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard Book Cover

Yvon Chouinard is the founder of Patagonia, one of the most successful and environmentally conscious companies in the world. In his book “Let My People Go Surfing,” he shares his personal journey and the philosophy behind the creation and growth of Patagonia. The book is divided into three parts, each focusing on different aspects of Chouinard’s life and the development of Patagonia.

Part 1: The Early Years

In the first part of the book, Chouinard takes readers back to his childhood in Maine and his early fascination with rocks and climbing. He shares how his passion for the outdoors led him to California, where he discovered surfing and rock climbing. Chouinard’s love for these activities inspired him to start a business, which eventually became Patagonia. He describes the early days of the company, including the challenges of finding investors and building a customer base.

Part 2: The Patagonia Philosophy

The second part of the book focuses on the philosophy behind Patagonia and Chouinard’s personal beliefs about business, environmentalism, and consumerism. He emphasizes the importance of using high-quality materials and environmentally friendly practices in manufacturing. Chouinard also shares his views on advertising, which he sees as a way to promote environmental causes rather than just selling products. This section of the book provides insight into the values that have made Patagonia such a unique and successful company.

Part 3: The Future of Patagonia

In the final part of the book, Chouinard looks to the future of Patagonia and the challenges the company may face. He discusses the importance of maintaining the company’s values and culture as it continues to grow. He also shares his thoughts on the role of business in society and the potential for companies to make a positive impact on the environment and communities.


Overall, “Let My People Go Surfing” is a fascinating and inspiring book for anyone interested in business, environmentalism, or the outdoors. Chouinard’s personal journey and the story of Patagonia’s growth provide valuable insights into building a successful company while staying true to your values. The book is a must-read for anyone looking to create a positive impact in the world through business.

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