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The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the BADASS BABE You Were Meant to Be
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The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the BADASS BABE You Were Meant to Be

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  443 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Millennial women are changing what it means to be powerful and successful in the worldfor everyone. Forever. You want The Big Lifethat delicious cocktail of passion, career, work, ambition, respect, money, and a monumental relationship. And you want it on your own terms. Forget climbing some corporate ladder, you want a career with twists and turns and adventure. For you, ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Rodale Books
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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Book Riot Community
Whether were fresh out of college, contemplating a career change, or figuring out how to balance it all; we all have a vision of what our Big Life looks like. Ann Shoket digs deep into the premise of The Big Life; discussing personal and professional relationships, work ethic, and being the badass woman we all desire to be. I read this book in about 2 days, and filled it with so much highlighter than it now resembles a textbook. From the quotable gems of advice to the relatable personal stories ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got this book from goodreads first reads. Despite being the target audience for this book (millennial/woman/in a position of power at work/etc) I could not culturally connect to it at all. The "cultural universals" it talks about - fashion stuff, beauty stuff, big industry names - I didn't know them or know of them. Even the wording had a magazine style feel to it (the author spent a lot of time with Seventeen magazine so that makes sense I guess). I don't think it does a satisfactory job at ...more
Amélie Boucher
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this on audio, and while I absolutely loved it, I think I would have benefited from it more had I read it physically. This book is full of tips and tricks to help young women thrive in their careers and help them conquer the workplace. I was expecting it to be just a memoir narrating Ann Shoket's life story, but it was so much more. Not only did we get her story, but she also shared input from multiple women in different fields and at different stages of their lives, which is why I ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
I kind of liked this the first time I listened and I'm kind of on a self-help reread kick (because reasons). Anyway, this time I realized that despite what the author said, this really only applies to privileged young women who live in New York
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I guess if I were gunning to be CEO of a major corporation in NYC and living out a bunch of Sex and the City fantasies, maybe this would be my Bible, but...
Ann's writing is very conversation, very full of pop culture/style icon references, and yet, it's got so much depth and heart to it, that those things that feel a little superficial (I felt there was an overemphasis on looking good, for one thing) are easy to let go of. I suspect some readers will love those pieces and feel validated by them, which isn't a bad thing.

Some of the ways The Big Life are presented are what makes this book so valuable. I love Ann's method of talking about what she
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was not a book I could really get my head around. I received this book in a giveaway and was actually looking forward to reading it and seeing what it had to offer, but I couldn't connect with much of it and felt it was geared mostly towards a certain part of the working industry.

It's not that it had no good qualities or advice, if anything it had a lot of it, but it didn't do much for me or of help, a lot of the same from other self-help books about working and what's involved, but with
Ryley (Ryley Reads)
Thanks so much to Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.

This book was a little outside my usual realm of reading - it's a collection of essays about life, mostly as a millennial, in today's world, both professionally and personally.

I can definitely see where this book would be really insightful for fellow young women to help guide and reassure. I think my problem with it was it was just a little bit too old for me. I'm still
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was too annoying for me to finish. Her target audience is millennial women in their 20s and 30s, but she uses a tone borrowed straight from the pages of Seventeen, targeted at teenage girls. The whole thing is written in second person, and the assumptions she makes about the lives of her readers are generic and unimaginative stereotypes that paint us as two-dimensional when she's trying to make a case that millennial women are so interesting and badass. It's seriously all #squadgoals ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the "self-help" book that you didn't know you needed. It's like talking to a friend who is a little wiser but wants to do everything in her power to push you forward in your career and life. This life is entirely too short not to be the best you can be and Ann Shocket encourages that to the fullest in this book. Every millennial woman needs a copy of this on her bookshelf.
Very inspiring. This was the perfect book for me to read at this point in my life. This book made me realize that I have been selling myself short and dreaming too small. Highly recommend if you are feeling stuck or unmotivated, or just don't know what to do next.
Deborah Burns
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ann is the former Editor of Chief of Seventeen magazine and she proves once again with The Big Life that she has her finger on the pulse. She is a Millennial guru, and this fine work is fast-becoming their bible. A must read for anyone trying to gain ground in this brave, new world.
Jennifer Danish
Good Tips but ideal audience limited

Most of the tips are very targeted to an audience of those 20-30 years old. There are definitely still good tips though for professional women past 30.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was kind of hard for me to read. It's part guidebook and part memoir or encouragement. It's geared at millennial women (though that is not distinctly defined and seems to cover women from their early 20s to their early 30s) who have strong career ambitions. The whole book had a kind of "Do whatever you have to do to make your dreams happen" vibe, which is great and which I definitely approve of. It encouraged women to pursue side hustles to stoke passions while also working boring ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was a bit disappointed with this book. If you think the "big life" entails working 16-18 hours a day in journalism, editing, or business, then this book is for you. Some parts of the book, especially about side hustling were pretty good. It's important to recognize that a person's primary employment isn't going to lead to a 100% fulfilled life so it's important to branch out in other directions. However, parts of the book were just downright appalling. Shoket wrote about how some of her ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tech, 2017
Imagine a bunch of high-power women at a dinner party -- and then imagine if the hostess was recording the whole thing in order to pull out the best quotes and write that into a book.

So this is that book. And it turns out, successful career women are only great at telling you how THEY were successful. Not always so useful for others, particularly as privilege, debt, socioeconomic class, racism, and sexism are rarely addressed.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very inspirational and up lifting read. She has some worthwhile advice for young women who are focused on their careers.
I can't give it 5 stars because it felt repetitive. At one point, the same sentence about one particular girl had been used three times throughout the book. Also, parts felt very aspirational and less attainable. Not everyone is able to assemble a Taylor Swift style squad.
I'd still recommend it to young modern girl looking for advice after college.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel like this book wasnt written for me. As in, I, a poor black bi woman, was not thought of while this book was compiled. There are a lot of good moments and info but it very much felt like I was listening on a conversation not meant for me ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite
A book not just for young women but for mothers and grandmothers aswell. As a grandmother I so loved this book and highly recommend it.
Natalya | TheIslandReader
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Sigh. I wanted to like this. I really did. The author is admirable in her genuine intentions for uplifting other young professional women - but I just dont think there were enough insights to justify a book. Instead, what fills the gaps is a ton of superficial, feel-good advice.

(I love the genre though - and would recommend wholeheartedly instead: Review for that one coming later.)

The tone/angle of the narrative is certainly enticing - dinner parties
May 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up on a whim after reading an interview with the author on the Forbes website. In the interview, the author seemed to be encouraging women to embrace their financial independence. As a relatively successful millennial with an interest in finance, I was excited to hear the authors take on how women can manage their careers and their money. All I can say after reading this book is that I'm profoundly disappointed.

I initially thought that the author might be an older millennial
Ashlie Elizabeth
Definitely more for a business-career type in her early twenties (and to be fair, the book never promised to be anything but). As an older millennial in her early thirties, I can usually glean inspiring information from books like this, but I found The Big Life to be particularly focused on a certain point in life that I've already passed. I also wasn't a fan of some of the language/advice around dressing and appearance. The concept that the instant you're making more money you should be buying ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I saw the author do an interview and picked up the book as a result. I liked the book but the examples skewed younger than my age group; which considering her experience with Seventeen magazine makes sense. I did get a few takeaways. It can work for anyone at any point in their life as long as they are clear about their goals and make an effort to get there. I appreciated most that Shoket didn't get the life she wanted until her late 30's, that's a much more inspiring story than 20 something ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
There was a moment almost halfway through that I thought I was going to give up. I didn't think this was applicable to my life because I didn't have this dream of a career I wanted or an idea on how I wanted to impact the world. But of course, shortly after the book clicked and I got excited.
It's self-help books like these that share personal stories of a variety of woman that I love. I don't want lists of the top 10 ways to be happier. I want to see how woman have struggled to see their true
William Anderson
From curating your friend groups and advisors to pushing for a promotion, The Big life covers a powerful set of topics in a way that uplifts and empowers. Starting off with narrative appetizers for the stories to come, Shoket establishes her credentials, accomplishments and wit right from the start. Beyond the basics she gives tips for success both when driving your own ventures and while on the corporate ladder.

In particular I loved her mention of "secret office handshakes" such as chatting
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. There were a lot of great insights into what its like to be a career-driven Millennial woman, and validation that you dont have to apologize for that. I enjoyed the examples from real women and how applicable much of the advice was for my own life.

The only reason I gave it a 4 is that, at times, it seems especially geared toward young, early 20s, single women. Some of the content didnt feel quite as relevant (and a bit trivial, at times) for someone older or with more
Cassie Ferguson
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I grew up reading Seventeen when Shoket was the editor-in-chief so when I heard that she wrote a book about helping young women realize their potential and go for their dreams it felt very full circle for me. She offers her wisdom in a unique way. She uses other women's success stories as well as her own to show a well-rounded approach. It really helped me with some of my questions and fears of achieving my own asperations. She is wise without being condescending and it did not feel corny like a ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really like Ann Shoket and have followed her career and trust her insight but I really couldn't relate to the advice in this book. The best parts were her features and interviews specifically with people, where I felt a lot of interesting information was shared, but the rest felt so generic and the language used didn't feel authentic. I didn't really know who this book was for, and while I have a few takeaways, it wasn't enough too justify the filler.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Often very cheesy, it's still an earnest attempt. Overall, I appreciated the author, a Gen-Xer, actually recognizing the positive changes that millennials are bringing and not just using the book as a platform to roll her eyes at how we're doing it all wrong. If you don't live in NYC, a lot of the anecdotes will feel trite. But again, it's an earnest attempt, and I appreciate that for a quick read.
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Ann Shoket has been a key architect in shaping the national conversation about and for millennial women. Over the last 15 years, Shoket brought two major young womens publications to number one across every platform. As Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen from 2007 to 2014, Shoket repositioned the iconic fashion and beauty brand to dominate as the most relevant voice for its 13 million readers. As part ...more

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