Jen Rubio is the Co-Founder, President, and Chief Branding Officer of Away, a direct-to-consumer smart luggage startup. As a world-class traveller, Jen was struck by the idea for Away when her luggage broke and she had to shop for a new one at Zurich Airport. She was shocked by the fact that “you could buy a $500 or a $40 bag and they’d be sold next to each other with no discernible difference”. Jen definitely found the perfect gap in the market as Away has rapidly grown and raised $108M in just a couple of years.
Jen is a branding mastermind in the fashion space. Before founding her current company, she worked as Head of Social Media at popular direct-to-consumer eyeglasses company, Warby Parker, and Global Head of Innovation at AllSaints.
“It is a collection of Rilke's correspondence to a young, aspiring artist and offers candid thoughts on what it means to be a creatives. It's a little overwrought, but full of sage advice -- every time I've read it, new pieces of advice jump out at me depending on what's going on in my life and career.” (Jen in Entrepreneur)
“I think it's a great story about unconditional giving, but it's also a good reminder to not be that selfish little boy.” (Jen in Entrepreneur)
Jenn Im is a YouTube personality with 2.7M followers on YouTube. She is a Korean-American fashion and beauty vlogger who has been building her brand on the internet since the days when YouTube was a new phenomenon. She is listed as one of the top influencers in fashion on Forbes.
She has worked with multiple brands in addition to launching her own makeup line, “Jenn Ne Sais Quois” with ColourPop. Jenn has also launched her own fashion line called Eggie, incorporating Korean fashion and unisex design into its clothing. Its first line was sold out within minutes of its initial launch. The name is in reference to her being the youngest daughter in her family, meaning “baby” in Korean.
She’s an avid reader and has many favourites on her list but this is the most recent one:
I know I’m not the only one with that voice in my head that is constantly making commentary on life. Sometimes it’s pretty funny and helpful but the majority of the time, it’s just noise. Singer does a really good job of explaining that, that voice inside of your head is not you. He calls it your roommate and you are just listening to it. I like to re-read this book when I’m feeling anxious about my life or when I’m over thinking about something. I’ll just bust open a chapter and it really grounds me." - Jenn Im
“This is a book I really wish was assigned in school because I feel like it would have made me a lot more centred and confident. It explains 4 rules that we should all live our lives by: (1) Be impeccable with your word, (2) Don’t take anything personally, (3) Don’t make assumptions, (4) Always try your best. I find that any life problem can be redirected to any of the four agreements.” - Jenn Im
“Over 65% of the things you do in your day to day life is run on autopilot, aka your habits. So if you have positive habits that you can just daze throughout life and be productive without even trying. The author does a really thorough job of describing how habits are created. It is a chain reaction of three events: (1) The queue, (2) The routine, (3) The reward. If you are looking to change a habit, it’s all about changing the routine.” - Jenn Im
“I was obsessed with thrillers last year and the queen of suspense. I read all of her books last year but my favourite one was by far, Dark Places.” - Jenn Im
“This is my gateway book that got me sucked into thrillers.” - Jenn Im
“This is by far the most uniquely written book that I’ve ever read.” - Jenn Im
“It was one of those reads where after I read it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. This was a historical fiction that takes place in Korea under Japanese rule. I think this book does a really good job of explaining what it was life over 4 generations.” - Jenn Im
“I fricken love Oprah and everything she stands for. This is a book of all the life lessons that she knows for sure. Whenever I’m feeling uninspired or unmotivated, I pick up this book.” - Jenn Im
“My mind completely changed when I heard his story on Oprah’s podcast.” - Jenn Im
“This memoir is the ultimate story of the underdog getting justice.” - Jenn Im
Justin Hein is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rose Rocket, a venture-backed Y Combinator (Summer 2016) alumnus company. Rose Rocket is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software used by trucking companies to manage critical steps in their ordering process. It works in a multi-billion dollar industry that we don’t really think about but YC partners do:
“Trucking is one of the largest industries in the US and it is one of the last large industries not to be disrupted by technology. Do you know the app that Uber drivers use? Amazingly, truck drivers still don’t have anything like that – in some cases, they still communicate with their base over the radio. Rose Rocket is the right solution. It’s modern software that makes trucking companies better without trying to replace them. Even when trucks become driverless, trucking companies will still need to manage their operations, and they will use Rose Rocket to do it.” – Jared Friedman, Partner, Y Combinator
Read hilarious stories with serious lessons that Michael Lopp extracts from his varied and sometimes bizarre experiences as a manager at Apple, Pinterest, Palantir, Netscape, Symantec, Slack, and Borland. Many of the stories first appeared in primitive form in Lopp’s perennially popular blog, Rands in Repose. The Third Edition of Managing Humans contains a whole new season of episodes from the ongoing saga of Lopp's adventures in Silicon Valley, together with classic episodes remastered for high fidelity and freshness.
No single book could represent such a singular, widely curious figure as Farley Mowat, but Lost in the Barrens, the classic adventure tale that has introduced his work to generations of Canadians, is an excellent place to start. Set in the icy North that has been Mowat's continuing source of inspiration, Lost in the Barrens is a thrilling example of the gift for storytelling that makes almost any story Mowat wants to tell worth a listen.
Katrina Lake is the Founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, an online subscription and personal styling service. You may have seen the iconic photo of her at Nasdaq MarketSite taking her company public with her then 14-month-old son at her hip.
Katrina is the youngest female founder to take a company public, and she herself never saw it coming. In an interview with Elle Magazine she joked she was always the “master of the A-minus. I’m not somebody that people looked at and said, ‘Oh, she’s going to be a CEO someday.’”
But Katrina has earned that title with all of the hurdles she has jumped through. Having always had a passion for the intersection of fashion and tech, Katrina started Stitch Fix as a school project while attending Harvard Business School. She has had to deal with professors calling her idea an “inventory nightmare” to convincing mostly male Venture Capitalists to fund an idea they just couldn’t wrap their heads around. With all of her triumphs, Katrina Lake is now a powerful name giving strength to female founders everywhere.
“I read it before I started Stitch Fix. It had a really big impact on me and how I approached company culture. In Howard’s book, he talks about how the company culture of Starbucks is one where he felt like he could be the same person at home and be the same person at work. And that the values were consistent in both worlds.” - Katrina Lake
“I love cooking. It’s what clears my mind, since it’s pretty hard to multitask when you’re chopping vegetables.” - Katrina Lake
“It’s talking about natural selection. We know about survival of the fittest and how the strongest animals win. But the reality is there are all these traits that evolve that don’t really make sense from a natural selection standpoint. There’s all these traits that have evolved because species find them to be beautiful. It was part of Darwin’s original theory, but it was one that was kind of lost in history and so it kind of revisits that.” – Katrina Lake
Tobi Lutke is the founder and sitting CEO of Shopify, a Canadian e-Commerce software-as-a-service unicorn startup. Tobi was born in Germany, dropped out of school to join the Kblenzer Carl-Benz-school apprenticeship to become a computer programmer after the tenth grade.
He then moved to Canada and started a company called Snowdevil, an online snowboard shop. The lack of e-commerce platforms available that made it easy for merchants to create online stores is what prompted Tobi and his co-founders to create Shopify which now helps over 300,000 merchants to conduct over $20 billion dollars of gross merchandise sales (as of 2006).
In 2014, he was listed as The Globe and Mail’s CEO of the year and he is also an advocate for digital literacy in Canada and sits on the board of Canada Learning Code!
"He’s one of us entrepreneurs who would absolutely be on your podcast if he would be alive right now because he spent the first money out of college on buying a truck. He started a trucking company and tried to get things shipped across the country or even to Europe and realized we can make the most efficient trucking system, or the train guys have the most efficient trains, and the boat guys have ships all over the world... (Tobi on the Tim Ferriss podcast)
“So Andy’s book is unapologetically almost a how to manual, but kind of deconstructs the world of business into first principles. It’s like, ‘Here’s what matters. Here’s how to think about it. No one needs a degree. There’s a little bit of circumstantial contextual understanding that you just have to have.’ But basically, at the end of the day, making business is an engineering exercise, which is brilliant for me because that actually made the whole thing about becoming CEO significantly less scary to me because engineering I understand.” (Tobi on the Tim Ferriss Podcast)
“Influence was just the most mind-bending book you can imagine, because it essentially taught you always humans are flawed and influential and how, yes, computers are predictable. And you can deal with it.” (Tobi on the Tim Ferriss Podcast)
Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others).
“I’m a big fan of the book. It talks you through the theory. And what I’ve observed is even with a very, very high super successful executives who come to Shopify and have worked at Shopify for a very long time, they end up reading the book. And they say, 'You know what? I was actually fixed mindset on all of these three things. (Tobi on the Tim Ferriss podcast)
“The most frequently gifted book is The Elements of Style because I like good writing.” - Tobias Lutke, Founder of Shopify
One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.
“It is probably the best book I’ve read in the last couple of years. [...] It’s an introduction to Adlerian psychology, which is sort of anti-Freud. [...] Clearly a student of Stoicism, but I think he took it further. His concept of the separation of tasks is probably – maybe that would be another thing I would put on a billboard. But I think it requires a little bit of context and explanation...(Tobi on the Tim Ferriss Podcast)