By Sophia Amoruso
Review by Robert Morris
This is a personal memoir in the picaresque tradition
Some readers could be deterred by a writing style that may seem to resemble narcissism on steroids. Other readers who are not put off by the constant self-references (there are almost 50 in her brief Chronology) and melodramatic assertions (e.g. “The only thing I smoke is the competition”) will find remarkable wisdom as well as candor in Sophia Amoruso’s lively discussion of the various stages of her personal growth and professional development…thus far.
She certainly learned her lessons the hard way. Her epiphany or turning point occurred in Seattle when she was arrested for shoplifting: “Getting caught stealing was the straw that broke the getaway camel’s back…I eventually came to terms with the fact that living free doesn’t always mean living well, and there are certain truths I had to reckon with. I was starting to realize that Liked and wanted nice things, and if stealing wasn’t going to enable me to get them, I was going to have to try something almost too conventional for me — getting another job.” That was in 2005. Today, she is the 30-year-old CEO of a $100-million-plus business, Nasty Gal, that has a fifty-thousand-square-foot office in Los Angeles, a distribution and fulfillment center in Kentucky, and three hundred and fifty employees.
These are among the subjects of greatest interest to me:
o The nature and extent of influence that her childhood had on her adolescence
o The impact of her parents’ divorce (2001)
o The life lessons learned while living in Seattle
o Why and how Amoruso launched Nasty Girl Vintage (2006)
o The most valuable business lessons learned since then
o The extent to which her life prior to 2006 helps to explain the company’s success
o The most valuable lessons that females (i.e. #GIRLBOSS wannbes) will learn from her experiences
o Material that will also be of interest and value to a #BOYBOSS or a male who aspires to become one
The nine “Portraits of a #GIRLBOSS” provide some of the most interesting material in the book: Christina Ferruci, Buying Director of Nasty Gal (Pages 48-50); Madeline Poole, MPNAILS.com, @MPnails (72-74); Alexi Wasser, IMBOYCRAZY.com, @imboycrazy (96-98); Norma Kamali, Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur (146-147); Christene Barberich, Refinery29 Editor in Chief (175-177); Jenné Lombardo, Founder of the Terminal Presents, theterminalpresents.com, @JenneLombardo (197-199); Leandra Medine, Manrepeller.com and author of Seeking Love, Finding Overalls (213-215); and Ashley Glorioso, Senior Stylist at Nasty Gal (228-231).
This material serves to support one of Sophia Amoruso’s themes throughout her book: there is no one profile or job description for a #GIRLBOSS…or for a #BOYBOSS, for that matter. This emphasis on individuality is probably what Oscar Wilde had in mind when suggesting, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Robert Morris. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.