#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso [BOOK SUMMARY & PDF]

#GIRLBOSS is written by Sophia Amoruso, the successful owner of popular brand Nasty Gal. She tells the story of her road to becoming a GIRLBOSS, and aims to teach you how to learn from your own mistakes and from other people’s mistakes. To help you realise when to quit and when to ask for more. To encourage you to ask more questions and when to either follow the rules or re-write them. A guide to becoming a boss from a women’s perspective that is equally relevant in the man’s world.





Who is this summary for?

This book is essentially a guide to becoming a boss from a women’s perspective that is equally relevant in the man’s world. This book is a great read for woman and men alike looking for some guidance in the ever-adapting business work. Amoruso tells the story of becoming a #Girlboss and aims to teach you how to learn from not only your own mistakes but also other people’s mistakes. Amoruso shows you how to realise when it’s time to quit and when you should be fighting for more. She encourages you to ask more questions and when it’s important to follow the rules, and when it’s important not to.

About the author

American Sophia Amoruso started an online eBay store at the age of 22 where she sold vintage clothing. Named Nast Gal Vintage, the Nasty Gal empire was born, moving on to be a global fashion label and retailer. Dubbed one of the fastest growing companies in 2012 by Inc. Magazine & named one of the richest self-made women by Forbes magazine. After a few years of struggling Nasty Gal has since closed its doors, but this book doesn’t lose any of its effect. The story of Nasty Gal is still as inspirational as ever, Netflix released a comedy series based on the 2014 book #Girlboss and has been well received.

In this summary

In this summary, we’ll first examine what Amoruso thinks it takes to be a successful #Girlboss and discuss why she believes those shitty jobs you do at high school are so important. We’ll discuss her thoughts on rules, balance and when to spend your money and when to save it. Next, we’ll summarise the importance of magical thinking and why being an introvert is not the end of the world. We’ll wrap up this support with a discussion about the process of getting a job and what to do if you’re the hirer.



Amoruso explains that a #Girlboss is so much more than someone who runs a business. They are in charge of their own lives and they get what they want. But not due to luck, because they work hard, they fight when they need to. A #Girlboss is capable of accepting responsibility and taking control when necessary.

Amoruso explains that a #Girlboss is someone who knows when rules need to be followed, and when they need to be broken. That honesty is a more valuable trait than perfection. And a #Girlboss knows when being serious is important, but they aren’t going to take themselves too seriously.

”You’re going to take over the world, and change it in the process. You’re a badass.”

3 Tips to becoming a #Girlboss

  1. Question everything
  2. Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back.
  3. Learn to create your own opportunities
”A #Girlboss is someone who’s in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works for it.”Click To Tweet


We’ve all had at least one shitty job in our lives, whether it be a paper-run or the night-shift at McDonald's or the dishwasher at a restaurant. It’s not glamorous, but it got you your first paycheck. And that’s what counts.

”The shitty jobs make the good ones more meaningful.”

Amoruso explains that the likelihood of landing your perfect job or walking into a successful career first time is highly unlikely. And when you do reach that point in your life, you’re only going to appreciate it more when you compare it to the shitty jobs you did first. Without those experiences, you might not realise just how good you’ve got it.

Amoruso points out that at each shitty job you probably learned something useful that you take to your new job, whether it be a new perspective or a better understanding of diversity. Or the fact that you know you can get the job done, regardless of how shitty it is. You have the ability to dig deep when necessary.


It’s assumed that you attend school between the ages of 5 to 18, that you fit in, do your homework and leave with some qualifications. However, Amoruso points out that schools treat students as a one-size-fits-all, when in fact, some students are just not wired to succeed in the school system. And if that’s you, you might feel as if there’s something wrong with you. When the reality is, that the school system is generic, and there’s no way everyone is going to thrive in the same environment.

”So, GIRLBOSS, if you suck at school, don’t let it kill your spirit. It does not mean that you are never going to succeed at anything. It just means that your talents lie elsewhere, so take the opportunity to seek out what you are good at, and find a place where you can flourish.”


Rules are everywhere, you literally can’t escape them. And regardless of how hard you try, it’s impossible to consistently stick to the rules. Amoruso explains that some rules are there for a reason and need to be abided, e.g. paying for items rather than stealing. However, there are rules that are enforced by society, that everyone seems to blindly follow without really knowing why. And these are the rules Amoruso recommends you have fun breaking.


Everyone always seems to be looking for the magical work-life-balance. To find that magical place where your work-life and your personal life are both optimal and nothing every takes over the other. Amoruso stresses the importance of finding your own work-life balance, especially as someone who is a freelancer, without the structure or a normal 9-5 you might find your work imposing on your personal life and vice versa. Amoruso recommends establishing a schedule, something that tells you when it’s time to work when it’s time to eat or see friends or exercise. You need to make sure you’re getting enough of each in order to lead a maintainable lifestyle that you enjoy.

”Create boundaries and structure! You have to be your own parent!”


As Amoruso so eloquently puts it; “money looks better in the bank than on your feet.”

Learning to understand and control your finances is a skill that Amoruso highly recommends. You need to master this in order to lead the lifestyle you desire. Otherwise, you’ll be in dead-end jobs you hate simply because you can’t afford to leave. Figuring out your finances is really the key to any kind of freedom. Nobody enjoys having no money, living pay-check to pay-check gets old pretty quickly and the thrill dies off. Learn how to be smarter with money and reap the benefits.

Amoruso acknowledges that bills are inevitable, and these are never going to simply stop appearing. You’ve got to pay your bills and pay them by the due date. This one is entirely necessary, it’s not an optional expense!

Amoruso’s top saving tip is to pretend your savings account is simply another billing account. Just like your power and phone bills, pay a sum of money into your savings account monthly. Don’t ever skip it. Or even better, set up an automatic payment so whenever you receive your salary a portion is automatically diverted to your savings. If you never see it, you never know you’re missing it.


”There’s the everyday kind of magic that we make for ourselves. And that’s really not magic at all. It’s just recognizing the fact that we control our thoughts and our thoughts control our lives.”

Amoruso explains that although the idea that we control our thoughts is simple enough, it’s hard to totally understand and embrace. She explains that the universe works in a funny way, and you get back what you put out there. So why not be positive. Amoruso explains that by visualising your dreams and goals is only going to get you closer to where you want to be. The universe will likely respond and give you exactly what you desire.

To some, visualisation may simply sound like rubbish, something that’s too good to be true. But Amoruso truly believes in the power of visualisation and it’s ability to get us moving in the right direction.

Create momentum

Amoruso explains that creating momentum is crucial. Making good decisions one at a time will lead to more and more good decisions. Each time you do something that is going to benefit your long-term goals such as showing up to work and doing your best, you're creating a momentum that is going to grow and help you reach your goals. Amoruso explains that you can’t forget about the littlest things, don’t leave any stone unturned. And she promises that your future will be brighter if you put in the hard yards now.

”Focus on the positive things in your life and you’ll be shocked at how many more positive things start happening. But before you start to think you just got lucky, remember that it’s magic, and you made it yourself.”


Believing that you need to be an extrovert to be successful in this world, whether it’s school or work is an easy assumption to make. But Amoruso explains that it’s not accurate. Although being an introvert makes you feel as if you can hide in the shadows and be overlooked, this doesn’t directly correlate to success. Just because you’re not the loudest voice in the room doesn’t mean your ideas don’t hold value.

Networking is something often discussed in business, and Amoruso believes that there is actually too much importance placed on this aspect of work. Just because being in a large group of strangers isn’t your thing, doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Amoruso explains that introverts are likely the ones to sit in the back of a meeting and not speak up, therefore their peers may not view them as leaders. However, Amoruso points out that introverts usually have more empathy and can make better leaders.

Amoruso discusses a few other traits of an introvert that are beneficial in this business world:

  1. Introverts don’t make risky financial decisions.
    1. Introverts usually try harder with problems and are more persistent.
    2. They can be extremely creative.

”A lot of the world’s great artists, thinkers, and even businesspeople are and were introverts (Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, and J. K. Rowling, to name a few), so in no way does being an introvert doom you into a life in the shadows.”




”The first rule of hiring: Although playing hard to get might be cute in the dating world, it won’t fly with potential employers. They don’t have time to court you, so you had better romance the hell out of them.”

Amoruso explains that when you are applying for a job, there’s going to be tough competition out there. The job market is a rough playing field. You have to impress and stand out if you want the job. The best way to do this is to apply for a job you truly want, one you think you can be passionate about and thrive in. And Amoruso has one piece of advice if you don’t know if you’re passionate about the job yet: “fake it till you make it.”

Cover letters

Writing a cover letter is a tough gig, but Amoruso points out that it’s literally your future boss’ first impression of you. It’s the first time they experience who you are and what you can make of the job.

A couple of tips from Amoruso on writing your letter:

  • It shouldn’t be about what you want out of the job. A good cover letter will express what you will bring to the job and what you will do for your boss-to-be.
  • Explain why what you’ve been doing prior to this is going to help you in this new position, and explain where you want the new job to take you.
  • Spell check. It’s the first impression so try to impress. Spelling should be simple.


Amoruso explains that your resume is the one place where you need to actually brag. Explain what you’ve done in the past and why it was successful. Show your future employers that you can make stuff happen and follow through. Don’t be too modest.


So you’ve got through to the interview stage, this is where it gets scary. As Amoruso points out, no two interviews are ever going to be the same. And it’s hard to know exactly what they are looking for. It’s a good idea to do a little bit of research about the company and the position you are applying for, try to explain why you are the perfect fit.

If you don’t get the job, it’s not necessarily because you didn’t interview well or you didn’t make a good impression. Sometimes it means that you simply didn’t fit the bill, or there was someone else out there who was just that little bit better. Amoruso reminds us that you’re not necessarily going to get the first job you apply for, and that’s OK. Keep going, you’re only going to get better at the process.

So you got the job, time to make sure you keep it!

So if you think that getting the job was the hard part, you’re probably wrong. Now you have to keep the job. And the way to do that is to do more than just your job. Amoruso explains that although you have a job definition, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever do anything outside of that specific definition. Everyone at your company should have the same goal; to help the company thrive – and you are there to do whatever it takes to make sure that happens. And having the can-do attitude is going to get you further than one who’s not willing to get their hands dirty.

”Boundaries are there for a reason. Your boss is not your friend and if you’re the boss, your employees aren’t your friends.”


Being a boss is difficult, and the hardest thing you’re ever going to do is fire someone. Amoruso has a few tips for facing this difficult task:

  • Don’t explain that you are finding this hard to the person you are firing. It’s much harder for them.
  • Try not to over-explain.
  • Avoid apologising.
  • Don’t make it too personal.
  • Make it a quick experience, there’s no point drawing out the pain for either of you.
  • Before you begin, put yourself in your employee’s position, consider their feelings and take that into account.

”If you’re the one being fired; it can be a much-needed wake-up call, a push in the right direction, or an escape route. Or it can just plain suck. But no matter what the details of the situation, how much you learn from it is entirely up to you. Learn from your mistakes.”


”Starting a business also takes a lot of personal sacrifices. If you start a business, expect that you’re probably going to be broke for a long time. If you’re not broke, consider yourself broke.'Click To Tweet

Amoruso explains that there are two different breeds of entrepreneurs. The ones whoa re well educated and make the decision to start their own business. And the ones who don’t see any other choice.

Amoruso explains that a lot of people put a lot of time and effort into a business plan, and they may spend a long time waiting to finish it, or waiting for some validation to their ideas. And sometimes this will never come, or you’ll never feel like your finished. Amoruso believes that just getting started is the best way forward, a business plan is just a guide, it’s not the law. And if you are a real entrepreneur you’ll be able to adjust and amend things as you go. Don’t get caught up in the little details.

Amoruso appreciates just how risky starting your own business can be. And when there is money involved whether it be your own tied up in overheads or investors waiting for their return the risk and stress can be immense.

”Starting a business also takes a lot of personal sacrifices. If you start a business, expect that you’re probably going to be broke for a long time. If you’re not broke, consider yourself broke. Dream big all you want—that’s what this entire book is about!—but know that the first step toward those dreams is probably going to be a small one.”


In her final chapter, Amoruso poses the question; “what are the chances?” The question nearly all new businesses will ask themselves, what are the chances of success?

In the US alone, over half a million new businesses launch each month, and Amoruso explains that within the first 2 years, 80% will not make it. So yeah, the chances aren’t great. But no matter how you look at it, if you don’t try, you’ll never know. Maybe you are in the 20%

”Regardless of what your dreams are, if you listen only to those around you, the chances of your dreams coming true are very small. But, here’s the real shit: You can’t have it all, and nothing comes easy. You will make sacrifices and compromises, get let down and let other people down, fail and start over. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible, and you can control is how hard you try, and if or when to pack it in.”


Key takeaways

  • Being a #Girlboss means being in charge of your own life, making things happen not letting things happen to you.
  • The jobs you while you’re in high school or college may seem shitty, but they are helping you in the long run. When you land that dream job, you’ll be grateful for the hard yards you put in.
  • If you don’t feel like you fit in at school, don’t worry, it’s not for everyone. It doesn’t mean you won’t be successful.
  • Some rules need to be followed such as paying bills, but rules that society expects you to follow are sometimes there to be broken. Stretch the boundaries.
  • It’s important to find a work-life balance that works for you.
  • You also really need to learn about and understand your own finances. Know where the money comes from and where it goes out. Work with what you’ve got.
  • It’s OK to be an introvert. Introverts make good leaders too.
  • The job market can be difficult, ensure your cover letter and CV are up to scratch and practice your interviewing skills.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed this book, then check out Jen Sincero’s first book; You are a Badass for an enjoyable insight into how to empower yourself, banish your self-doubt and live your best life. Also by Sincero is You are a Badass at Making Money, Sincero will help you stop letting your doubts, fears and excuses get in the way and show you how you too, can be as wealthy as you want to be.

Another enjoyable book is The Subtle Art of not Giving a F^ck by Mark Manson. An interesting read that will empower you and give you a new lease on life.

The Lean Start Up by Eric Reis is a great read for budding entrepreneurs wanting to get a head start on their own business. The Lean Startup defines a scientific methodology for running startups and launching new products. This new approach has been adopted around the world within startups and established organisations. Regardless of your role or company size, this is a must-read for entrepreneurs, marketers, developers and business leaders.

Guidelines is my eBook that summarises the main lessons from 33 of the best-selling self-help books in one place. It is the ultimate book summary; Available as a 80-page ebook and 115-minute audio book. Guidelines lists 31 rules (or guidelines) that you should follow to improve your productivity, become a better leader, do better in business, improve your health, succeed in life and become a happier person.

Action Steps

  • A really useful tip from Amoruso was to understand your finances. Check out my blog post on how I manage my personal finances using PocketSmith.
  • Download the complete book on Amazon.
  • Take a look at your CV, is it up to date? Give it a look over and add any achievements.
  • Practice the power of visualisation. Visualise what you want and you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goals.



This summary is not intended as a replacement for the original book and all quotes are credited to the above mentioned author and publisher.