A Dumpster diver–turned-CEO details her rise to success and her business philosophy.
In this memoir/business book, Amoruso, CEO of the Internet clothing store Nasty Gal, offers advice to young women entrepreneurs who seek an alternative path to fame and fortune. Beginning with a lengthy discussion of her suburban childhood and rebellious teen years, the author describes her experiences living hand to mouth, hitchhiking, shoplifting and dropping out of school. Her life turned around when, bored at work one night, she decided to sell a few pieces of vintage clothing on eBay. Fast-forward seven years, and Amoruso was running a $100 million company with 350 employees. While her success is admirable, most of her advice is based on her own limited experiences and includes such hackneyed lines as, “When you accept yourself, it’s surprising how much other people will accept you, too.” At more than 200 pages, the book is overlong, and much of what the author discusses could be summarized in a few tweets. In fact, much of it probably has been: One of the most interesting sections in the book is her description of how she uses social media. Amoruso has a spiritual side, as well, and she describes her belief in “chaos magic” and “sigils,” a kind of wishful-thinking exercise involving abstract words. The book also includes sidebars featuring guest “girlbosses” (bloggers, Internet entrepreneurs) who share equally clichéd suggestions for business success. Some of the guidance Amoruso offers for interviews (don’t dress like you’re going to a nightclub), getting fired (don’t call anyone names) and finding your fashion style (be careful which trends you follow) will be helpful to her readers, including the sage advice, “You’re not special.”
Career and business advice for the hashtag generation. For all its self-absorption, this book doesn’t offer much reflection or insight.