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About The Book

Fully Alive tells the story of an astoundingly successful young entrepreneur’s immersion in Amazonian indigenous spirituality, its life-changing impact on him, 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.

Building a start-up is like being thrust into the middle of the Amazon rainforest: living every day on the edge of your comfort zone, vulnerable to the unexpected challenges constantly being thrown your way, and constantly shifting to meet daily demands and do everything and anything you can to survive, let alone thrive.

Vulnerable, raw, and deeply transparent, Fully Alive reveals powerful tools and lessons that can teach all of us how to grow toward and beyond our personal edges, no matter our circumstances.

Tyler Gage shares his spiritual adventures and the business savvy that helped him create RUNA, a pioneering organization that weaves together the seemingly divergent worlds of Amazonian traditions and modern business, demonstrating how we can dig deeper to bring greater meaning and purpose to our personal and professional pursuits.

From suburban youth to immersion in the Amazon to entrepreneurial success, Tyler’s journey clearly shows that passion and opportunity can be found in the most unexpected places. Captivated by a rare Amazonian tea leaf called guayusa that had never been commercially produced, Tyler started RUNA to partner with the indigenous people of Ecuador to share its energy and its message with the world.

Using the spiritual teachings, lessons, and healing traditions of the Amazon as his guide, Tyler built RUNA from a scrappy start-up into a thriving, multimillion-dollar company that has become one of the fastest-growing beverage companies in the United States. With the help of investors such as Channing Tatum, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Olivia Wilde, RUNA has created a sustainable source of income for more than 3,000 farming families in Ecuador who sustainably grow guayusa in the rainforest. Simultaneously, RUNA has built a rapidly scaling nonprofit organization that is working to create a new future for trade in the Amazon based on respectful exchange and healing, not exploitation and greed.

Practical tools and lessons are woven throughout the story of Gage’s successes and failures, offering guidance on how to relate to obstacles as teachers and how to accomplish our personal and professional goals in the often uncertain circumstances we find ourselves in.

About The Author

Caroline Bennett

Tyler Gage is the cofounder and CEO of RUNA, a social enterprise that makes energizing beverages with guayusa, a rare Amazonian tea.  RUNA now supports more than 3,000 farming families in Ecuador who grow guayusa organically, and RUNA products are sold in over 10,000 stores across the U.S. and Canada. For his work on RUNA, Tyler has been named a Forbes “30 Under 30 Entrepreneur” and the Citizen Leader of the Year by the Specialty 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 by ABC’s Nightline, National Geographic, Fast Company, and in Richard Branson’s book Screw Business as Usual.  

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (August 1, 2017)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501156045

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Raves and Reviews

"A must-read story fueled by adventure, passion and purpose.” —Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes

"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

“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

“Engaging, fun, and insightful, Fully Alive vividly illustrates the exhilarating, frustrating, exhausting, and rewarding process that is starting a social venture.” —Russ Siegelman, professor at 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 and CEO of 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 of 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.” —José 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 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

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 cliché. 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

“A refreshingly honest story of young entrepreneurs with a unique mix of social purpose, grit, and creative strategy.” —Tom First, Castanea Partners

“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 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

“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 at Yale University

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