• Authentic

  • A Memoir by the Founder of Vans
  • By: Paul Van Doren
  • Narrated by: Tony Alva
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (250 ratings)

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Authentic  By  cover art

Authentic

By: Paul Van Doren
Narrated by: Tony Alva
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Publisher's Summary

In the tradition of best sellers such as Shoedog, Authentic is a surprisingly candid, compelling memoir by a high school dropout who went on to establish one of the world's most iconic brands

Paul Van Doren is the founder of Vans - the shoe company beloved by skateboarders, creatives, and fans everywhere for its laid-back, colorful SoCal vibe, and famous for its people-oriented company culture. How did Van Doren, who started as a 16-year-old "service boy" at a local rubber factory, establish a family shoe business that evolved into a globally recognized brand with annual revenue of more than four billion dollars?

A blue-collar kid with no higher education and zero retail experience, Van Doren leveraged a knack for numbers, a genius for efficiency, and the know-how to make a great canvas tennis shoe into an all-American success story. In 1966, when the first House of Vans store opened, there were no stand-alone retail stores just for sneakers. Paul's bold experiments in product design, distribution, and marketing (Why not sell custom shoes? Single shoes?), aided by legions of fans - skateboarders, surfers, even Sean Penn wearing Vans' famous checkerboard slip on shoe in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High - made Vans a household name. 

But there was also back-breaking work, a shocking bankruptcy, family turmoil, and a profound shift in how customers think about athletic shoes. Authentic details Van Doren's personal life, but also hard-won business lessons learned over six turbulent decades in the shoe trade: the importance of deep-rooted values, of improvisation, of vision (and revision), and above all, of valuing people over profits. Refreshingly forthright and totally entertaining, Authentic is a business memoir by an American original.

©2021 Paul Van Doren (P)2021 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Authentic

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Van Doren

this is my grandpa so I might be a bit biased. RIP grandpa love you and glad I have this...

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Amazing story, not the greatest reading

Huge Tony Alva and appreciate his contributions to skateboarding, but spoken word isn’t his strength. His bouncing over words and hitting incorrect intonations ruins some sentence structure and make sit hard to listen to at times

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Insightful and Inspirational.

I'd always been a fan of Vans shoes, but I never knew the origin story of the company, or just how much their culture of mutual respect with both customers and staff helped revolutionize several industries over the decades. I genuinely shed a few tears at points, especially because I started listening to this a few days before Paul passed away. Excellent read, and the fact that Tony Alva honored his longtime friend by reading the audiobook, was the icing on the sentimental cake. Well done.

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Insightful story about the authors whole life

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. At first, when the story started out before Vans began, I didn’t really understand but after hearing the experience and Paul’s problem solving skills at Randy’s, I understood. This is a great read full of entrepreneurial lessons and just a great overall, wholesome story!

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interesting read and good advice

if your looking to start a clothing brand definitely pick this book up the advice isnt typical bullshit other entrepreneurs spew out.

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Listen to your customer

This is an amazing story, i really enjoyed it. If you belive in hard work and doing the right thing this one's for you

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Very Interesting

I’d recommend this book to first time entrepreneurs as it covers the different stages and roadblocks one would come across while building a business. The book has a couple of nuggets that would work in this day and age.

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GREAT READ

I have never owned a pair of Vans but this story made me want to go out and get a pair. Paul Van Doren was a true businessman where a handshake and your word meant something. The book has a great storyline as well as plenty of insight of how business owners should operate. Cheers to you VANS!

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Great read

man re-read aspiring to be in the freeway in this you myself this is a definitely a good inside of the ins and out of the industry and also what makes a brand a culture rather than just powder definitely would recommend RIP Paul Van Doren

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Full understanding of Vans

This is a great read — I truly enjoyed learning so much about the company- creator and family

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stewart Main
  • 05-14-22

Not just for skaters

I love vans so I was looking forward to learning more about how the business came to be.
I wasn't dissappointed.
it takes a good look into how vans was founded and what a solid company culture can do, even in times of desperation and recession.

definetly recommend if you enjoy the brand or business in general.

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  • Fred
  • 05-03-22

An authentic story

In a similar style to Shoe Dog. Not quite as well written, but it felt more authentic. A really engaging book.

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  • waqas t.
  • 06-28-21

great story about a cultural brand

if you live shoe dog, you will love this. its a very different brand with a completely different ethos.