Yvon Chouinard – Patagonia Founder- Speech at UCSB

Financial analysts usually use sophisticated terms – almost another dialect – to describe and analyze businesses. The thing is: in the real world stuff is simpler. The world is made by givers, doers and shakers, not takers.  

Besides, when analyzing a business it’s important to consider the open-ended story with “infinite duration” (using financial wizards’ terms). Sustainability is a key word, not on the environmental aspect solely, but one should understand if the company’s culture is sustainable and what are its drivers – to mention one aspect only. Another buzz-wordy question would be: Is the moat widening or at least maintaining its original width?

His speech is easy to watch due to his sense of humor and amazing story. Main takeaways were: (i) despite his amazing trajectory, most things happened naturally or by accident; (ii) common values among people is key; (iii) sustainability concept came from a financial crisis, not from environmental causes – later on they made the term widespread in different spectrums; (iv) let people free to create and express themselves; (v) do not grow just for getting bigger – grow if it’s the best option for all your stakeholders.

Below follows his two published books:

  • The Responsible Company: What we’ve Learned in Patagonia’s First 40 years


  • Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of A Reluctant Businessman


Mind Expanding Books (from Quora)

Since one of the main ways to develop our brains is to have perspective, reading about different topics grasping various point of views is a great way for us to be less dumb.I found out this suggested reading list which was assembled by Quora’s members. Don’t miss it. (if you want the direct link, click here)


  • From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present: Jacques Barzun. 
  • The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires: Tim Wu. 
  • The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World: Steven Johnson. 
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond 
  • Why the West Rules–for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris (thanks to Kaiser Kuo for recommendation) 
  • A Farewell to Alms by Gregory Clark 


  • A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction: Christopher Alexander. 


  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion: Jonathan Haidt 


  • Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives: David Sloan Wilson. 

Philosophy and Psychology

  • The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch 
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman 
  • Ecological Rationality by Gerd Gigerenzer 
  • The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker 
  • This Will Make You Smarter by John Brockman 
  • Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel Dennett 
  • Just the Arguments by Michael Bruce and Steven Barbone 
  • How to Win Every Argument by Madsen Pirie 
  • History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell 
  • The Truth About Everything by Matthew Stewart 
  • Everything Must Goby James Ladyman and Don Ross 
  • Antifragile by Nassim Taleb 
  • Metamagical Themas by Douglas Hofstadter. 
  • Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis: Eric Berne. 
  • Metaphors We Live By: George Lakoff, Mark Johnson. 
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces: Joseph Campbell. 
  • Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini 

Problem Solving

  • How to Solve It: G. Polya. 

Puzzle Books 

  • What Is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles: Raymond M. Smullyan. 


  • Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships: Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha. 


  • How Children Fail: John Holt. 
  • Wounded by School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture: Kirsten Olson. 
  • Summerhill School: A New View of Childhood: A. S. Neill, Albert Lamb. 
  • Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas: Seymour A. Papert. 
  • Writing Hat Box: The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim: Stephen Sondheim. 
  • Clear and Simple as the Truth: Francis-Noël Thomas, Mark Turner. 


  • A Practical Handbook for the Actor: Melissa Bruder, Lee Michael Cohn, Madeleine Olnek, Nathaniel Pollack, Robert Previtio, Scott Zigler, David Mamet. 
  • The Actor and the Target: Declan Donnellan. 
  • How to Stop Acting: Harold Guskin. 
  • Different Every Night: Putting the play on stage and keeping it fresh: Mike Alfreds. 
  • Notes on Directing: 130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director’s Chair: Frank Hauser, Russell Reich. 
  • Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre: Keith Johnstone. 


  • Thinking Shakespeare: A How-to Guide for Student Actors, Directors, and Anyone Else Who Wants to Feel More Comfortable With the Bard: Barry Edelstein. 
  • Hamlet in Purgatory: Stephen Greenblatt. 
  • Hamlet and Revenge: Eleanor Prosser. 
  • Shakespeare’s Metrical Art: George T. Wright. 


  • If on a winter’s night, a traveller by Italo Calvino 
  • Sense and Sensibility 
  • Pride and Prejudice 
  • Emma 
  • Wuthering Heights 
  • House of Mirth 
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude 
  • Watership Down 
  • Cat’s Eye 
  • Bleak House 
  • Lonesome Dove 
  • Catcher in the Rye 
  • The Queen’s Gambit 
  • 1Q84: Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin, Philip ­Gabriel. 
  • War and Peace: Leo Tolstoy. 
  • The Great Gatsby: F. Scott Fitzgerald. 


  • How to Find a Habitable Planet by James Kasting (more technical) 
  • Scientific Genius by Dean Simonton (more technical) 
  • The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins (more technical) 

Other / Not Yet Categorized 

  • Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence: Hans Moravec. 
  • In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition: Walter Murch. 
  • The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present: Eric Kandel. Gödel, Escher, Bach; 
  • Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely 
  • Darwin’s Dangerous Idea Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking 
  • The Selfish Gene 
  • The Black Swan 
  • The Symbolic Species 
  • The User Illusion. 
  • You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation: Deborah Tannen. 
  • The Little Schemer – 4th Edition: Daniel P. Friedman, Matthias Felleisen, Duane Bibby, Gerald J. Sussman. 
  • Steppenwolf, and The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse 
  • The Wall, by Jean-Paul Sartre 
  • The Bone People, by Keri Hulme 
  • A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking 
  • Godel, Escher, Bach, by Douglas Hofstadter 
  • Confessions of a Mask, by Yukio Mishima 
  • The City and The City, by China Mieville 
  • Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, 
  • Social Systems and the Economic World by Kevin Kelly 
  • The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain by Terrence W. Deacon 
  • At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity by Stuart Kauffman 
  • The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin 
  • Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings by Mark Twain 
  • Irrational Man : A Study in Existential Philosophy by William Barrett 
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter 
  • The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau 
  • Personal favorite: Born to Run – Christopher McDougall 
  • Best quick read: E-Myth Michael Gerber 
  • Best core idea: The Black Swan – Nassim Taleb 
  • Best fiction story: Deception Point Dan Brown 
  • Most inspiring (entrepreneurial): Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson; 
  • Zappos Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh 
  • Most interesting (behavioral): Why We Make Mistakes – Joseph Hallinan 
  • Most interesting (business): Founders at work – Jess Livingston 
  • Most interesting (psychological): Mindstorms – Seymour Papert 
  • Most dense with information: Economic Facts and Fallacies – Thomas Sowell; 
  • Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson 
  • Most valuable (entrepreneurial): Rework Jason Fried; 
  • Four Steps to Epiphany Steve Blank; 
  • Most valuable (growth stage business): Good To Great – Jim Collins 
  • Most empowering: 48 laws of Power Robert Greene; 
  • The art of war Tsu Most 
  • sexual: I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell – Tucker Max 
  • Most disappointing: Eight Weeks to Optimum Health Andrew Weil 
  • Most useless: How I Made My First Million on the Internet EWEN CHIA 
  • Most overrated: Super Freakanomics Levitt & Dubner; The Knack Norm Brodsky 
  • The Power of Full Engagement Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz 
  • The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing (5th Edition) Thomas Nagle 
  • Leaving Microsoft to Change the World John Wood 
  • Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind Shunryu Suzuki 
  • 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing Al Ries & Jack Trout 
  • Strategy for Sustainability Adam Werbach 
  • Why We Make Mistakes Joseph Hallinan 
  • Deception Point Dan Brown 
  • Audacity of Hope Barack Obama 
  • Vagabonding Rolf Potts 
  • A Whole New Mind Daniel Pink 
  • Economic Facts and Fallacies Thomas Sowell 
  • Game Change, James Heilemann 
  • Getting Things Done, David Allen 
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie 
  • Linchpin, Seth Godin 
  • Born to Run – Christopher McDougall 
  • Outliers Malcolm Gladwell 
  • Rework Jason Fried 
  • 4 hour work week Tim Ferriss 
  • The Knack Norm Brodsky 
  • Success Principles Jack Canfield 
  • The Talent Code Daniel Coyle 
  • 10 Faces of Innovation Tom Kelly 
  • The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell 
  • Too Big To Fail Andrew Sorkin 
  • What the Dog Saw Malcolm Gladwell 
  • 4 steps to epiphany Steve Blank 
  • Innovators Dilemma 
  • Paypal wars Eric Jackson 
  • Who Says elephants can’t dance Louis Gerstener 
  • The Big Short (2010 Book) by Michael Lewis
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity & Generosity in a Connected Age – Clay Shirky 
  • The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh 
  • The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely 
  • The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande 
  • The Curse of the Mogul by Jonathan Knee, et. al. 
  • 100 Startup Chris Guillebeau 
  • The Thank You Economy Gary Vaynerchuk 
  • Outsmarting IQ: The Emerging Science of Learnable Intelligence by David Perkins 
  • Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward O. Wilson 
  • The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition–with a new Introduction by the Author by Richard Dawkins Heaven in a Chip: Fuzzy Visions of Society and Science in the Digital Age by Bart Kosko T
  • he Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker 
  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom by Yochai Benkler 
  • The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind by Elkhonon Goldberg 
  • Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist by John Brockman 
  • Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid by Robert J. Sternberg 
  • The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex by Murray Gell-Man 
  • Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics by Eric D. Beinhocker 
  • The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Bryan Douglas Caplan 
  • The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker 
  • Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard W. Wrangham 
  • Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World by Tyler Cowen 
  • Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe by Peter Douglas Ward 
  • Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe 
  • Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart by Ian Ayres 
  • The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic by Dan Ariely 
  • Teaching As a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman 
  • Origins of Genius by Dean Simonton 
  • Mind wars: brain research and national defense‎ by Jonathan Moreno 
  • Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior‎ by Geoffrey Miller 
  • Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life‎ by Winifred Gallagher Snoop: 
  • What Your Stuff Says About You‎ by Sam Gosling 
  • Figments of reality: the evolution of the curious mind‎ by Ian Stewart 
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn 
  • The 10,000 Year Explosion by Gregory Cochran 
  • The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman