In this newly revised 10th anniversary edition, Yvon Chouinard--legendary climber, businessman, environmentalist, and founder of Patagonia, Inc.--shares the persistence and courage that have gone into being head of one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on earth.
I'VE BEEN A BUSINESSMAN for almost 50 years. It's as difficult for me to say those words as it is for someone to admit to being an alcoholic or a lawyer. I've never respected the profession. It's business that has to take the majority of the blame for being the enemy of nature, for destroying native cultures, for taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and for poisoning the earth with the effluent from its factories. Yet business can produce food, cure disease, control population, employ people, and generally enrich our lives. And it can do these good things and make a profit without losing its soul. My company, Ventura, California–based Patagonia Inc., maker of technical outdoor apparel and gear, is an ongoing experiment. Founded in 1973, it exists to challenge conventional wisdom and present a new style of responsible enterprise. We believe the accepted model of capitalism, which necessitates endless growth and deserves the blame for the destruction of nature, must be displaced. Patagonia and its thousand employees have the means and the will to prove to the rest of the corporate world that doing the right thing makes for good, financially sound business. One of my favorite sayings about entrepreneurship is "If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent." The delinquent is saying with his actions, "This suck. I'm going to do my own thing."