You know a book is good when you stay up until 4am to finish it in one sitting.
I remembered Ann Shoket not only from her time with Seventeen Magazine, but also from the appearances she often made on America’s Next Top Model. Anyone else remember those days? Definitely a throw back.
When I saw that she was releasing a book, I knew I wanted to pick it up. I’ve been trying to read more and more non-fiction, especially by women who’s lives or careers I admire. This one also cam highly recommended from friends who had read it first and found it super impactful.
I think the night I pulled it off of my shelf was the absolute perfect moment for me to dive into this book. I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can up play my personal projects and expand my brand. I found Ann’s advice realistic, encouraging and super motivating. I annotated this book like crazy!
First things first, the representation of millennials, especially millennial women, was so refreshing. I don’t know if it’s just me (though I doubt it) but in my daily life I’m reminded that I’m an entitled, impatient, short attention-spanned millennial who will never be satisfied. I get shocked looks when I tell people I not only read physical books but I *gasp* have a library card! It’s so frustrating to be constantly typecast by the year I was born.
This book reminded me that those sentiments are exaggerations and that millennial women are smart, powerful and have a place in high power spaces.
The forward to the book is written by YouTube and beauty maven Michelle Phan who I’ve admired for so long. She shares how went from recording videos on a webcam to building a wildly successful beauty empire. Her story definitely got me fired up. A good reminded that your favorite and most celebrated entrepreneurs all started somewhere.
The rest of the book goes on to include other women’s stories who have gone to create their Big Life. If you’re worried this is just a book about how Ann rose through the ranks in editorial, don’t fret. This isn’t a memoir, though she does share helpful stories from her own career and personal journey.
This book is truly a guide to areas you should focus on, habits you should form and steps you should take to have your big life. I know that some of these books can skew more how I did it and less how YOU can do it. The Big Life strikes the perfect balance of anecdote and action items.
Ann also chose to focus on parts of owning and claiming your big life that aren’t as glamourous, which I really appreciated. Some of my favorite chapters were Bye-Bye Carrie Bradshaw, The Journey: You Can’t Fast Forward to the Spoils and Embrace Your Mess. Things are hard, and they aren’t always pretty and Ann totally supports that and reminds us that how it looks isn’t a measure of success.
The writing style and format of the book makes it super easy to consume (and take notes on, if that’s your thing). Each chapter has sections called out, interviews or stories within the story to help bring certain topics to life.
Some of my favorite women and entrepreneurs are included in the book like Gabi Gregg of Gabi Fresh and Jennifer Hyman, CEO of Rent the Runway. These sections are called The Big Life Conversations and included Q&A on an aspect of their journey that corresponds to the section of the book. I think it was so smart to align these sections to a real person who can speak to how it worked out in their life.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone looking to go further and jumpstart their personal/professional journey. I gave it a 4/5 stars and have sections I know I will return to over and over again.