Book Review: Born to Shine

Kendra Scott, the CEO of her jewelry company with the same name, shares the story of her journey in her new memoir, Born to Shine: Do Good, Find Your Joy, and Build a Life You Love (Worthy Books). It’s an inspiring story of her life experiences that shaped her into becoming the woman she is today. She shares both good things and hard things about her childhood, teen, and adult years as she continued to grow in her passion not only for fashion, design, and color, but in her gift for entrepreneurship as well.

Scott was raised in the midwest with her sisters by loving parents and learned the importance of strong family values and working hard: “As a kid, I learned that all work was meaningful,” she writes. Her caring and hardworking grandparents on both sides of the family also influenced her greatly, as well as an aunt who worked in the fashion industry—inspiring Scott’s love for fashion and accessories. While she had a strong family base in her younger years, she still dealt with some very difficult things growing up, including her parents’ divorce and being bullied at school. But Scott had a strong spirit—and she continued to carry that strength and wisdom from other life lessons with her to where she is now: a designer, founder of her own company, and philanthropist.

Here are some excerpts from the book that I found inspiring:

  • My work is not my purpose, but it powers my purpose: it has empowered me to create beauty, create jobs, create opportunity, and cultivate a culture where the better we do as a company, the more good we do for the world.
  • A life lesson from Scott’s father, who was a lawyer: His employees loved and appreciated him…. His name was on the door, but the success belonged to everyone. He didn’t win cases, he’d remind me, the team won cases.
  • Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who know what they don’t know and are experts in what they are not. Successful women surround themselves with the friends who build them up and stand by them, no matter what.
  • That’s what optimism feels like. I can walk into the reality of a situation, accept it…and see the possibility.
  • Motion does not need to be perpetually forward, and it can’t be. Nature proves to us every year that there are times for growth, and times for rest.
  • You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing to find success, happiness, or peace. Your life and your story are uniquely yours. Why waste it trying to be someone else?
  • Being clear on your core values is like lining up the foundation of who you are…. The power of core values is not to give you rules to live by, but to remind you of who you are and what matters.
  • Success cannot just be limited to the bottom line. Very few people are energized by or inspired to work with companies whose only purpose is growth…. people want to work for people who care, who walk the walk, and who invest in their communities.
  • On giving: Whatever you can give has immense value, no matter the dollar value attached to it. Give what you can, when you can, and know that all of it counts, all of it matters.

Overall, Born to Shine is an authentic, touching, and encouraging story of Kendra Scott’s journey to a fulfilling life that she loves. She was able to turn a hobby she loved, creating beautiful jewelry, into a billion-dollar brand. For those of you who’ve dreamed of starting your own business, you’ll find her story motivating, too. This memoir reminds us that no one leads a perfect, fairy-tale life—we all experience setbacks, loss, and failures. But Scott reminds us we can learn valuable lessons from the hard things we go through, and move on to a life full of joy and purpose. As she writes in her introduction, “Wherever you are, wherever you come from, I believe in my heart and soul that you are here for a reason, that you have immense and innate value, that you—a one-of-kind gem that could never be replicated—were born to shine.”


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