Oct. 5th, 2016

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My work has a women's group that has a book club. I recently asked the local bookstore guy what books would be a good pick for such a group. Which is how I ended up reading

Title: #Girlboss
Author: Sophia Amoruso
Summary: Founder of Nasty Gal and millionaire in her thirties writes about...stuff.

I am giving up on this book. It is extremely short. It is nonetheless extremely annoying. The author's problems are threefold:
1 - She cannot write.
2 - She has no idea why her business succeeded and thus cannot share any useful insight.
3 - She has a stunning amount of unchecked privilege.

Point the first
I give you a passage from her description of some of the jobs she worked before Nasty Gal:
Part of my job was to wear gloves and massage mayonnaise into the tuna. Sexy! I'd slap the tuna into a bowl and pour out half a gallon of mayonnaise, put gloves on, and massage the mayo in with my hands.

That is two sentences (three, if you count "Sexy!") that say the exact same thing. This is how I know this book wasn't ghostwritten. No decent writer would set up that second sentence with the first one.

Point the second
It's really hard to chart the path that led here, but it happened, and I did it.

If that's literally all the insight you have into how you built a successful business, why the fuck are you writing a book about it? All Amoruso seems to understand about her success is that she just seems to be good at this.

Yes, it's true: Hundreds of thousands of businesses fail. Mine succeeded. Was that all just because I "got lucky"? I don't really think so.

This passage continues with a description of how it wasn't luck, luck would imply she did nothing, and she worked a ton. Thus missing the point that the owners of those other hundreds of thousands of businesses also worked a ton and failed anyway.

She then starts talking about the power of magic and how if you write a sigil with what you want and carry it around with you you'll succeed cause... ??? Obviously this has objectively worked, cause look at where she is! She keeps saying she knows it's not reeeeeeal (airquotes), but it's totally real. It's not the Secret, that's bullshit, it's a totally different theory that if you think positive thoughts you'll get everything you want. This is the point where I stopped reading.

Point the third
I'll just let Amoruso lay this one out for you:
When you're asking for a raise, [f]irst, be really honest with yourself and make sure that you deserve the raise that you're asking for.

Thank you, the anti-Sheryl Sandberg.

When I returned from Hawaii...I found out that someone had ordered brand-new Herman Miller Aeron chairs for the entire office. ... I happened to have a Herman Miller Aeron chair in my office. To me, it was a rite of passage. ... There was no way that I was going to have interns rolling around on these things!

Oh, fuck you.

When your time spent making money is significantly greater than your time spent spending money, you will be amazed at how much you can save without even really thinking about it.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck yoooooooooooooooooooooou.

She also has a whole section on how she used to be a shoplifting anarchist, and she still really is an anarchist, she just likes nice stuff, you know, so she's an anarchist with millions of dollars and a Porsche. Fuck the system. Right.

To top it off, she has a lot of epigraphs, including this one:
There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.--Calvin Coolidge

Did you really just quote Calvin Coolidge on fiscal responsibility? Calvin Coolidge. The guy who presided over the start of the Great Depression and probably said that in a speech to some people in a bread line. That's the guy you want to quote on the importance of budgeting.

I'd also like to point out that her entire business is built on women paying ridiculous mark ups for clothes they don't need. And then she's going to write a book lecturing about how you don't really need to buy those shoes? Dear lady, you realize it's probably your biggest customers reading this book, right? Maybe you don't want to call them idiots for their spending habits.

In conclusion. Do not read this book. Do not recommend it to friends. Especially don't recommend it to women. This book is the opposite of feminist. Unless it proves that women entrepreneurs can be clueless privileged windbags just like men. In which case...progress?


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