Book Review: Some Stories by Yvon Chouinard

Some Stories by Yvon Chouinard is the kind of book that, after even a quick glance, makes you feel like you could have done more with your life.  The book consists of a series of previously published short stories and letters on adventure sports, business and environmentalism that follows the course of Yvon’s life from childhood to present day. 


The stories that Yvon shares with us are broken out into 13 chapters complete with amazing full-page photography.  The book showcases the extraordinary life of Yvon Chouinard who was a pioneer of many of today’s adventure sports and the founder of the Patagonia clothing company.

PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Frost/Aurora

Starting from humble beginnings in southern California, Yvon began rock climbing and forging his own gear to support his lifestyle.  Over time he was able to climb, surf, fish and kayak his way across all seven continents.  Over the course of his life, Yvon developed a deep connection with nature and has been a vocal advocate for environmentalism and our need to take immediate action to address climate change and the global pollution problem.

From simply hand forging his climbing gear by hand, Yvon was able to eventually expand his company into a full-fledged international clothing brand that is known in the adventure world for quality and durability.  Today Patagonia is a household name.

THIS BOOK IS FOR….

This book is for anyone who is a fan of adventure sports or the Patagonia brand.  The book focuses heavily on rock climbing, surfing, kayaking and fishing and emphasizes environmentalism and corporate responsibility.

In addition, this book would make an excellent “coffee table book” as its large with tons of interesting photography that would appeal to adventurists and thrill seekers alike, or anyone who enjoys risk taking or inspirational stories.

As a traveler myself, I found it fascinating to read about all the places that these sports took him.  While reading the book, I consistently found myself jealous that I didn’t grow up in the 1960’s…or have any notable athletic ability.  By the end of the book you feel as if you can do anything you set your mind to.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Tom Frost/Aurora

THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR…

This book is not for the casual reader and probably wouldn’t appeal to a broad audience.  For someone who is not into adventure sports there probably is not a lot of appeal.  Some of the detail in which Yvon goes into about the various sports would be lost on the casual reader.

In addition, some parts of the book come off as slightly promotional, indicating the superior qualities and social responsiveness of the Patagonia brand.  Let’s hope they live up to it.  

SUMMARY:

I wasn’t actually expecting to like this book.  I envisioned it to be a chore to read, having to go through someone’s life stories.  However, I was surprised that it kept my attention and I finished it much faster than I expected.  Over all, I would recommend this book to travelers and adventure seekers of all kinds.  But beware; you may end up feeling that you’ve lived a mundane life in comparison.  In the end, I walked away addicted and inspired. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Rick Ridgeway

CHAPTER LIST:

  1. North America Wall, Yosemite Valley
  2. Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite Valley
  3. Yosemite Valley, California
  4. Patagonia
  5. Doug Tompkins
  6. Flamingos, Patagonia
  7. Sandhill cranes, Nebraska
  8. Fiordo de las Montanas, Chile
  9. Headwaters of Lago Inexplorado, Chile
  10. Bonefishing in the Bahamas
  11. Hatchery fish being released into San Francisco Bay
  12. Coastal Wolves, British Columbia
  13. 12,000 young voters, Washington, DC
October 24, 2019