Autumn has finally arrived and whilst I am currently in a tropical climate, I think of those of you who are now going to start cozying up, reading a book and looking outside of your window into the colourful autumn. I hope you enjoyed my summer edition of travel reads. And if you are in need for some motivation to make it through the cooler season, I have compiled my four favourite books that you should read in October.
Either you hate her or you love her – when it comes to Sophia Amoruso, there is nothing in between. I picked up her book not knowing anything about Nasty Gal, Amoruso’s way of running businesses or running “herself”. I highly recommend reading the book before you watch the Netflix series (a lot of the story is lost in the series I think).
Sophia Amoruso started her company Nasty Gal while she was on and off jobs in San Francisco. She started by selling vintage clothing on eBay. I loved how she described how much attention she puts into the details. When she started out, Amoruso did everything herself – the pictures, makeup, sometimes even the modelling. What I found most inspiring was her hands on approach – Amoruso started the business because of the passion for the product, not because she wanted to raise money and focussed on business plans and pitch decks. As a founder myself, I have to admit that it is very easy to get caught up in calculating the value of your company and making beautiful Powerpoint slides. Sometimes it might be easy to forget about why you are actually doing it. This book is a great reminder to focus on your desire to build a great product. Do not over-theorize, just get sh*** done.
Another great piece of advice was that Amoruso only sought funding once her company was established. The reason for funding was not to make the company work but to expand. By this point in time, she was already generating more than USD 25 Million in revenue. Apart from that her way of kicking your ass is not only motivational but also really fun.
At first, I was a bit hesitant to read the book but I have to say it was an eye-opener. I found it very captivating to read about how long Arianna Huffington tricked herself daily into performing at her career. She did not even listen to advice from doctors warning her of the long-term consequences of her stressful lifestyle. Only when she fainted and hit her head did she start reconsidering the way she treated herself. Her book offers plenty of advice on how to better lead your life, focus on the important things and how you can make a waiting line or your commute a mediation space.
This is one of my favourite books I have read recently. Wednesday Martin, an anthropologist, moves to the Upper East Side. She describes the transition from the life of a Boho mum to living in Manhattan’s most prestigious areas. It is a really funny mix of memoir and (pseudo)-anthropology and research. Martin shares how she ended up at Barre class with the Upper East Side mum’s, buying a Birkin bag and about building up power in a social setting where she started as an outsider. I have read the whole book over a weekend because I could not stop. I really loved it – apart from the ending which seemed a bit like she needed to apologize to all the people she depicted in her book. But definitely a good read on a rainy day!
You are not a lover of contemporary art as yet? Or even more extreme: you do not like contemporary art at all? You think it is stupid and useless? Maybe you should give Will Gompertz’s book a try. After reading “Ist das Kunst oder kann das weg?” (a critical view on contemporary art which I have discussed in spring), I have been critically asking myself similar questions whenever I explore contemporary art. The BBC arts correspondent’s book aims at making contemporary art more accessible and showing it from different angles. For people who are already familiar with or have a rough idea about contemporary art, this book might apply an approach which is a bit too simplified. However, I think it is a great read – even for avid art insiders, it is a refreshing view on 150 years of recent art history.