Tonic Reads

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard.


The shop floor at Tonic turns up all sorts of recommendations in the form of what those that cross our threshold are watching, listening to or reading. Our recommendation for this month is the autobiography of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia. With the pressing need for everyone to think about the environmental consequences of what we do on a daily basis, this is a great addition to the Tonic bookshelf.

As one of the earliest adopters of an eco-friendly mindset, Chouinard has always taken responsibility of his actions and the impact that it has on the planet. As a self-confessed “dirtbag” due to his estimations of previously spending up to 200 days a years sleeping outdoors, his life has been full of adventure.

Starting out making superior products to replace the cheap, single use climbing products the company has now grown to be worth over one billion dollars. Born of the counterculture, Chouinard describes himself as a reluctant businessman.



His company uses their status as a platform to make a statement about their view of the politics of today, discourage their customers from unnecessarily buying extra stuff for Black Friday and donating extra money to various good causes. They are also a pioneer in developing sustainable materials such as recycled PET bottles in their jackets and organic cottons across their whole range.




You can buy Yvon’s book here and see the trailer for Patagonia’s film Blue Heart here. If you don’t have time to read the whole book there is also an interesting interview with Yvon Chouinard for NPR’s series How I Built This here.


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