Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life
In the spirit of Adam Braun's The Promise of a Pencil and Blake Mycoskie's Start Something That Matters, Fully Alive tells the story of an astoundingly successful young entrepreneur's immersion in Amazonian indigenous spirituality and how he integrated the lessons he learned to build a successful, socially responsible company, live a purposeful life, and make a difference in the world.
In Fully Alive, Tyler Gage shares his spiritual adventures and the business savvy that helped him create RUNA, a tea and energy drink company that collaborates with the indigenous people of Ecuador to harvest the "master plant" guayusa, revealing a centuries-old guiding philosophy for building a sacred way of living that he discovered through Amazonian shamanism.
Following these teachings, what began as a humble start-up has now grown into a thriving, multi-million dollar company, selling products in more than 10,000 stores across the United States and Canada. With the help of collaborators like Channing Tatum, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Olivia Wilde, RUNA has created a sustainable source of income for the 3,000 farming families in Ecuador who grow guayusa organically, while also establishing a nonprofit organization dedicated to positively impacting the issues that affect these indigenous communities.
Packed with practical and inspiring lessons, this book offers a comprehensive examination of how we too might become "fully alive," both in business and as individuals.
"Rich with tools and guidance for how entrepreneurs can accomplish ambitious social missions by building thriving businesses, Fully Alive offers important insight for the future of how business will be done." —John Mackey, Founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market
"We need new thinking to tackle the massive environmental and structural problems the world faces today. Tyler Gage points a way forward, using ancient knowledge and practices and lays a foundation for its application in modern business." —Rose Marcario, CEO and President of Patagonia, Inc.
"Fully Alive offers a refreshingly honest, often brutally frank blend of big picture inspiration about how we might achieve truly sustainable commerce that promotes preventative health and fair trade with indigenous cultures along with pragmatic learnings that will help inform any entrepreneur about facing and overcoming challenges, especially with mission-driven businesses." —Gary Hirshberg, Cofounder, Chairman, and former CEO of Stonyfield Farm
"Whether you're an entrepreneur, business person, seeker or lover of adventure stories: Read this book." —Mark Rampolla, Founder of ZICO Coconut Water and author of High Hanging Fruit
"Engaging, fun, and insightful, Fully Alive vividly illustrates the exhilarating, frustrating, exhausting, and rewarding process that is starting a social venture." —Russ Siegelman, Professor, Stanford University
"Tyler Gage represents a hope-inspiring new generation of social entrepreneurs who are proving that conscious business can be a powerful force for good." —Paul D. Rice, President & CEO, Fair Trade USA
"A compelling story of purpose, perseverance, patience, and partnership. Runa is an innovative and sustainable social business that is positively impacting the lives of countless indigenous people in the Amazon." —Ann Veneman, former Executive Director, UNICEF, and former US Secretary of Agriculture
"In this powerful and riveting book, Tyler manages to achieve a rare combination of three distinct things: Vividly conveying an extraordinary hero's journey, while narrating a highly educational text book about business and startups, and expressing a heartfelt, inspiring, no-holds-barred treatise on shamanic practices applied to a modern business. I could not put it down." —Jose Luis Stevens, PhD, author of Awaken the Inner Shaman
"Tyler Gage knows how to tell a story, and he has amazing stories to tell. Readers of Fully Alive will enjoy the journey. You'll discover that powerful answers to profound questions can be found in the most unexpected places." —Doug Hattaway, Founder and CEO of Hattaway Communications and former Advisor to Hillary Clinton and Al Gore
"Tyler's accomplishment as a young, visionary entrepreneur who has built a sustainable social enterprise has been an inspiration to our students. Fully Alive provides a comprehensive understanding for how to optimize social enterprise creation to generate business success while changing lives and sustaining incomes of vulnerable populations." —Scott B. Taitel, Director of Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment, NYU Wagner
"Fully Alive offers many powerful lessons and tools across a range of topics, including leadership, ethics, and strategy—an excellent read for students, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to embark on new ventures (or adventures!) in their life." —Alan Harlam, Director of Social Innovation, Brown University
"RUNA's story illustrates that doing well by doing good is not simply a cliche. It was what motivated its founders in the first place, and is the basis of its continued great success." —Danny Warshay, Professor and Executive Director, Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Brown University
"Exciting and inspirational. Tyler Gage paves the way for the future of business! Spiritual/travel adventure meets business manual—Fully Alive is as entertaining as it is a blueprint for the new wave of business practice." —Anjali Kumar, idea acupuncturist and author of Stalking God
"A beautiful book about how Amazonian plants can teach us to shapeshift our world—a powerful and illuminating message!" —John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
"The case study of how Tyler and the Runa team innovate upon indigenous knowledge and translate it to benefit a diversity of stakeholders has great educational value." —Dr. Florencia Montagnini, Professor, Yale University
" Fully Alive is a great story of how curiosity, tenacity, a little naivety, and a lot of personal growth can be the right recipe for launching a social enterprise. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, from the hills of California, to the halls of Brown University, to the indigenous communities of the Amazon, to the board room in New York." —Lauren Hattendorf, Head of Investments, Mulago Foundation
"Adventure story, a spiritual quest, and a business manual, Fully Alive teaches how passion can be harnessed to improve lives and make an impact that matters." —Yolanda Kakabadse, International President of the World Wildlife Fund; former Ecuadorian Minister of Environment
"A great read for anyone thinking about starting a business fueled by passion and purpose." —Blake Mycoskie, Founder, TOMS Shoes
"A refreshingly honest story of young entrepreneurs with a unique mix of social purpose, grit, and creative strategy." —Tom First, Castanea Partners
"A delightfully honest and insightful account of a mission-driven business and the diverse, sometimes funny, sometimes tortuous trajectory of that venture. His triumphs and mistakes, accompanied by dogged perseverance, make this not only a worthy read, but valuable to any entrepreneur who is willing to get right up to their neck in something worth doing right." —Chris Kilham, Medicine Hunter
Tyler Gage is the cofounder and Chairman of RUNA , a social enterprise that makes energy beverages with guayusa, a rare Amazonian tea. For his work on RUNA, Tyler has been named a Forbes "30 Under 30 Entrepreneur" and the Citizen Leader of the Year by the Speciality Food Association. He is also the founder of PlantMed, an organization dedicated to building the world's first centers for the practice, research, and preservation of Amazonian plant medicine. Gage and RUNA have been featured on ABC's Nightline, in National Geographic, Fast Company, and in Richard Branson's book, Screw Business as Usual.