Book: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Published: May 6th 2014 by Portfolio
Rating: 4/5 stars
Description: At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS. This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work. She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”
In the past year, I have found a new love for self-improvement books. I like to call them self-improvement books, instead of self-help ones. Firstly because I hate the word “self-help” and secondly, because everyone could use a bit of improvement.
I have been wanting to read #GIRLBOSS for a while, as it was so well received when it released. In fact, it’s a Goodreads Choice Award winner for 2014. However, adult books are not cheap. Adult non-fiction? Even worse. So when I saw this book in my local English bookstore with a 75% off tag during the sales, I was ecstatic. In fact, I read it the day I bought it. That’s not really surprising or a huge feat, as this book is only 256 pages and the font is huge.
I wouldn’t really call this a memoir. Sure, we see Sophia’s life as she started Nasty Gal. We learn about her personal life during the time she built up the business, and a little bit before that. But this book is not about her personal life. It’s about her journey of truly becoming a #Girlboss.
I have to admit that I have never bought anything from Nasty Gal, which is a (online) fashion store if you didn’t know. Their main focus is vintage clothing and styling, although they have branched out into new designers as the business became bigger. Yet Sophia started Nasty Gal Vintage as an eBay shop, selling vintage clothing she snuffed out, bought, restored and styled. But because I have never really bought anything from this store, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to relate to this book. Yet I still found it helpful in so many ways.
I would call this a work of empowerment. That’s really all this book is about. Empowerment. Sophia is telling you that you can really fulfill any dream, even if you didn’t know it was a dream you had. As she was a very anti-capitalist teenager/young adult, she never thought she would become the owner of a multi-million business. Yet here she is. There is one important part of this empowerment message though: you have to work your ass off. During this book, she does not sugarcoat anything. So yes, you can achieve anything you want to. But you’ll have to work incredibly hard for it.
It was nice to see that “disclaimer” throughout the book. A lot of people seem to believe these young entrepreneurs have just had everything thrown in their lap. Not just Sophia, but people like Mark Zuckerberg too. They are so young, yet have already gathered so much money. People never think about the years of hard work it has taken them to get to this level. Nasty Gal didn’t start out as this huge success, and neither did Facebook. It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get there. This is what makes the message of empowerment so motivating to me. By working hard, you can distinguish yourself. That’s a motto I want to strive to.
I honestly loved the fact that she doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Not her “bad” working spirit in her early life, nor her period as a shoplifter. Such honesty is refreshing, especially because she is not ashamed to admit this. It’s a period she has learned a lesson from, and that is what matters to her. I’m not saying she’s proud of the fact she used to steal. But she’s not hiding it out of shame either.
I learned a lot of interesting things from this novel. Aside from the empowerment, there were many tips of making a resume, what to do during a job interview, how to find a workplace you fit in and so on. Because I should be graduating in a few months, those tips are so very welcome. I have never really been on a job hunt, and tips from a person who has hired and fired many people are always welcome.
Lastly, throughout the book there were several “portraits of #GIRLBOSSES”. Every portrait was about 2-3 pages, in which a woman who is most definitely a #GIRLBOSS explains some of her experiences and shares a few lessens learned and tips. For example, there were portraits of one of the executive women of Nasty Gal, an executive woman of Refinery29 and so on. All inspiring ladies.
I genuinely enjoyed this book, and absolutely sped through it. It’s definitely a recommendation from me. I enjoyed the look into the history of Nasty Gal, the portraits of successful women and the tips Sophia shared. An interesting and quick read.