Do you ever really look forward to something just to have it turn out to be a massive disappointment? That’s what happened to me after I finished reading #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. As a self-proclaimed girl boss myself (I have an LLC which basically makes me a boss of some sort, right?), I was looking forward to being inspired with real-life, no bullshit tips from a very successful woman in the fashion industry. Instead, I ended up realizing that Ms. Amoruso is extremely unlikable and that the book offered no actionable tips or inspiring stories at all.
Her writing style is contrived — she often comes off as “that” girl we all know who tries a little too hard to be in your friend group. Although I applaud her trying to connect with her audience of future girl bosses, it’s too forced and too conversational. She references inside jokes without providing context and goes off on tangents that never really relate back to the point of the story, which I find hard to keep up with. It’s almost as if she’s writing the book for her fangirls and not for future female entrepreneurs. If that’s the case, then the title should be changed to, “So You Want to Wipe Sophia’s Ass?” or “The Childhood of Nasty Gal’s Founder”.
My biggest problem with the book is the narcissism that leaks off of every page. The amount of humble-bragging, and sometimes not-so-humble-bragging, that goes on in the book is incredible. From talking about how ~awesome~ her Myspace skills were (seriously, is this something people brag about still?) to every event that led up to her purchasing her Porsche, no chapter is completed without a little self-aggrandizing glory. She presents herself as a role model for women, proving that “anyone can do anything if they work hard”, but then fails to acknowledge anyone who helped her get to the top. Instead, she focuses on how she did it all herself (and in not-so-great ways, like failing to pay her models and instead paying them “in burgers”) which isn’t really what an inspiring CEO should be preaching.
Another issue with Amoruso, and the book itself, is how contradictory her messaging is. She says, “I’m here to tell you that the straight and narrow is not the only way to success”, which is an empowering message in itself. However, the path she took isn’t anything that a young woman should try for herself or relate to as girl boss behavior. She spends the majority of the book talking about her past (which is a huge red flag in itself), and how she couldn’t hold a steady job, had no work ethic, didn’t really care about anything other than rebelling — and then switches over to how hard she worked growing up. Um, no you didn’t. You slacked off for 90% of your life, opened up an Ebay shop and played around on Myspace and got famous from selling vintage clothes on pretty models. Working hard for 1% of your life should not equal 100% success. The math just doesn’t add up.
All of the women out there who actually spend their days working their asses off to become the next entrepreneur should be the ones succeeding- and the book just reinforces that. Maybe that’s why I was so upset and uninspired by the book. As someone who has never been handed anything and works hard for her successes, it’s cringe-worthy to see someone who didn’t put that work in succeed and then have the guts to write about it. Amoruso essentially bought vintage clothes, put them on her pretty friends, and then got her Myspace followers to spend their money on them. If that’s called “working your ass off”, then we’d all be rich.
When she’s not writing about how “hardXcore” she was by stealing things and rebelling against society as a teenager/grown woman, Amoruso invites some of her girl boss friends to write about their journeys. “This should be promising. Maybe I’ll give this book another chance”, I thought. Nope. If she included anyone inspiring (she includes a blogger with an embarrassing domain name and a writer for an often-criticized fashion company), and if the stories were more than ramblings about how cool nail polish is, then maybe.
For a book that is supposed to be filled with “honest advice that’s useful for women in any industry”, it lacks any sort of business advice. She tells you how to create an eBay shop, how to write a cover letter (she says not to brag about yourself in your cover letter, but oddly enough that’s all she does in the book), and how to steal clothing. Seriously. I’m so glad I now know that I should spell-check my resume — groundbreaking advice!
I have nothing personally against Amoruso or her company, Nasty Gal. Their clothes are cute. Sort of slutty and grungy, and not different than what any other company is doing, but still cute. I admire any woman who runs her own business and has a no-bullshit attitude, and Amoruso does fit that description. I really looked forward to reading — and enjoying — the book, but I just didn’t. Don’t waste your money on this one.
Have you read Girl Boss? What did you think?