I’ve read so much comments about Sophia Amoruso’s book, mostly all of them praises, that I was pretty sure it’s not your usual self-help book. And indeed, it’s actually somewhere midway between a biography and a self-help book for women who want to take ownership of their carreers or even pursue one as entrepeneur.
But what differentiates it from your usual self-help book is the entire tone of the book – think of it as a street version of Sheryl Sandberg’s famous Lean In, with a fresh style and so much ,,shit” words inserted it will make you feel like you’re having a casual conversation at a beer with Sophia.
This stems from the personality of the author itself, who truly has an amazing life-story : most of her teenage years and beginning of adulthood, she was a rebel ,,just because”, diagnosed with depression and anxiety, who not only did not go to college, but abandoned high school, couldn’t keep a steady job, was shop-lifting numerous times, and was even living out of dumpsters (yeah, you heard me right about the last two.) So how did she end up in just 7 years from that time by owning a 100 million dollars company, Nasty Gal?
Well, that’s what the book is all about. With absolutely no pretention of being your classical ,,How to be a billionaire in 7 years”, Sophia explains how she started her business – Nasty gal – as a simple Ebay store for vintage clothes that she was thrift-shopping, by exploiting her only two things that she both liked and was good at – photography and vintage clothes – so that she would have a source of income while working from home, so she would not have to deal with anyone, because she was such an introvert. From there on, she explains how she managed, for the first time, to find dedication in what she did, to pay attention to every small detail of the business, be in constant communication with her customers, learn from her success and mistakes with the online shop, so that she managed to take it to the next level. And the next one. And the next one. Until she became one of America’s best examples of a self-made person.
But what is truly so great about the book is the personality of Sonia herself – she is the most unapologetic person I ever read. She doesn’t try to hide her past as a thief and as a person who had no clue what she wanted in life : she just makes a point that literaly everyone can become as big as they want them to be, as long as you work hard, stay true to yourself, and do something you love.
The book also has some great sketches, by the way:
And since I enjoyed the book so much , I even wrote down a few quotes (highly unusual for me) , which you can find below; and since I read the book in English and the quotes were too long for me to translate, I though it would make more sense to make the whole post in English – my first one, yeey!
- Each time you make a good decision or do something nice or take care of yourself; each time you show up to work and work hard and do your best at everything you do, you’re planning seeds for a life that you can only hope will grow beyond your wildest dreams. Take care of the little things – even the little things that you hate – and treat them as promises to your own future. Soon you’ll see that fortune favours the bold who get shit done.
- It’s been rough getting used to the fact that what I say matters, whether it is good or bad, and holy shit, people actually want to talk to me. When we have our all-hands meetings, I am required to stand in front of two hundred people and talk about everything that’s happening within the business while simultaneously seeming like I didn’t have a bad morning and also possess every answer to the company’s problems. I’ve asked myself, Who am I to hold all of these other people captive while I bather and make bad jokes? Oh shit, I’m the boss, that’s who. Some people become CEO’s for this exact reason – because they like to be in the spotlight – but it doesn’t come naturally to me, and I don’t know that it ever will. I no longer expect anyone to throw a rotten tomato at me and yell ”Off the stage, freak!”
- Finally, though, I arrived at a point where I decided this (NB. feeling of inferiority) was bullshit. I stopped feeling as if I didn’t belong anywhere, and realized that I belonged anywhere I wanted to be – whether that was a boardroom, business class, or on stage at a Women’s Wear Daily CEO Summit.
- Quote from Manrepeller.com founder : ,, I remember when I was younger that every time my mom wanted to buy something expensive, she had to run the purchase by my dad. I knew I never wanted to ask anyone to appease my indulgences, so that was a point of motivation to work hard. If you’re working, you’re working hard, and if you”re not doing that, what are you doing? I also think you age a lot quicker if you can’t keep yourself busy and under the right, healthy dose of stress. Too much of anything obviously isn’t good, but as my dad always said : Overwhelmingly busy is a much better state to be in than overwhelmingly bored.”
- In a famous commencement speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs urged the graduating class to ,,stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Never let go of your appetite to go after new ideas, new experiences, and new adventures. Compete with yourself, not with others. Judge yourself on what is your personal best and you’ll accomplish more than you could ever have imagined. Life stops for no one, so keep moving. Stay awake and stay alive. There’s no AutoCorrect in life – think before texting the universe. Breaking the rules just for fun is too easy – the real challenge lies in perfecting the art of knowing which rules to accept and which to rewrite. The more you experiment, take risks, and make mistakes, the better you’ll know yourself, the better you”ll know the world, and the more focused you will be.