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#GIRLBOSS Paperback – September 29, 2015
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"Rather than present a get-rich-quick manual or a list of business tips, Amoruso
teaches the innovative and entrepreneurial among us to play to our
strengths, learn from our mistakes, and know when to break a few of the
traditional rules." —Vanity Fair
"A witty and cleverly told account . . . It’s this kind of honest advice, plus the
humorous ups and downs of her rise in online retail, that make the book
so appealing." —Los Angeles Times
"#GIRLBOSS is more than a book . . . #GIRLBOSS is a movement." —Lena Dunham
About the Author
Sophia Amoruso is the Founder of Nasty Gal and the Founder and CEO of Girlboss. A creative visionary, modern-day entrepreneur, and fashion doyenne, Sophia has become one of the most prominent figures in retail and a cultural icon for a generation of women seeking ownership of their careers and futures. Netflix's forthcoming TV series Girlboss, based on Sophia's life, is debuting in spring 2017.
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Top Customer Reviews
+ This book is incredibly compelling. I finished the entire thing on one 4-hour flight on 3 hours of sleep. She (or her ghostwriter) is a great storyteller.
+ It truly is inspiring to read about a type of success not born of traditional privilege or ambition - I hope this book gets a lot of other young women out there to kick-start their dreams.
+ I really appreciate that she didn't focus on gender at all - this wasn't a "girl power!" book so much as it was an "entrepreneur power!" book written by a girl.
The less good:
+ I had never heard of Nasty Gal before I picked this up. Never mind that I'm a fashion-oriented mid-20s female - I'll assume this is on me. Sophia seems to think her company is God's gift to Earth - I found her completely presumptuous both in her evaluation of her own brand equity, and hyperbolic in her descriptions of Nasty Gal as a "huge, explosive success" (I live and work in Silicon Valley, where nonprofits get $20M in funding annually easy and companies grow from 1 to 350 employees in two years - let's have a sense of scale here.)
+ There was a consistent thread of put-downs and humblebrags in here, which happen to be two stylistic choices I absolutely deplore. Sophia claims to have done poorly in school because of the rigid system and been fired from jobs because she didn't care enough to try (essentially excusing herself from blame). She disses investors/VC culture, MySpace (the original foundation for her business), "boring" people with 9-to-5s, eBay, and several poor unnamed employees of hers. I get it - she loves herself. I just pray to God that no young woman reading this ever thinks it's ok to be this self-righteous.
+ She never once thanks anyone. She had some nice words about some coworkers, but she never acknowledges the support her family gave her even as she was essentially a parenting failure, never thanks her customers for driving awareness of her brand, never admits that some of her colleagues are at least part of the reason behind her company's success.
+ She plays the victim so much but never acknowledges any real failures (and now, hiring someone you thought was right for the role and then having to fire them isn't a failure - it's a rhetorical device used to assert your authority in this book.) She whines about "catty" retailers and petty competitors and never once steps down from her high horse to admit to the very real failures that affect every new business (like screwing up orders, dissatisfied customers, mis-spending capital, etc.)
In sum, I hope I never get stuck in an elevator with Sophia, but I'm glad my flight went by quickly.
Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school—a job she’d taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay.
Flash forward to today, and she’s the founder of Nasty Gal and the founder and CEO of Girlboss. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.
#GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.
My Thoughts: What an inspirational story of one young woman’s determination to find what made her happy, and to go for it.
Being an outsider, not following a conventional path, and chasing her dreams sum up what led to this young woman’s success. Some might have labeled her too much of a rebel to achieve her goals, but those naysayers would soon learn otherwise.
Her attitude and her “out of the box” thinking would be key ingredients in making her company what it became, and would show others how to find their own journey.
Some of what I learned from the author’s stories included that she doesn’t believe in luck, but in the ability to control one’s own fate. She believes in magic, though, which simply means sending your good intentions out to the Universe, and visualizing what you want.
As for following the rules, she believes the challenge is in knowing which rules to accept, and which to rewrite.
I saw the Netflix show and loved it, so I immediately downloaded #GIRLBOSS. I wanted to read the anecdotes, learn her pattern for creating her own rules and her own path, and revel in how she is sharing with others. An interesting story of a unique company and its creator. 4 stars.