Book-Talk with Nicolas Jouvenceau, CEO of PINK Diamonds Boutique
Nicolas Jouvenceau is the CEO of PINK Diamonds Boutique, a diamond dealer specialized in the most rare colored diamonds in the world. It started as a passion and turned into a business.
Nicolas has a polyvalent background. He studied engineering, specializing in Energy and Environment. In 1999, he went to China to work in the textile industry, with a mission to develop a Chinese startup’s international market. He moved for a while to Sweden to finish his studies, and returned to China after he graduated. Nicolas took a job in Shanghai as a Technical Director, working for a company that was designing and selling industrial technology for indoor air quality.
His next experience was a big jump from his education, but nonetheless valuable on the long term. He worked as a Sales Manager for a musical instruments manufacturer, and in 6 months he was managing the whole subsidiary in China – this helped him gain a sharp commercial instinct.
On the side, Nicolas started to nurture a passion for gemstones and minerals. It was more about the colors, so diamonds weren’t appealing to him at first, since they were colorless (colored diamonds are extremely rare). In 2009 he decided to go back to school and study to become a gemologist. He graduated two years later, from the Gemological Institute of America.
That’s when Nicolas created PINK Diamonds Boutique, a diamond dealer specialized in the most rare colored diamonds. It has a wide collection of very rare gems, unmatched passion and expertise, but also sells them as investment products. Nicolas made education a top priority in his business.
Keep on reading to find out what books inspired him and left deeper marks than others, and whose words helped him better understand the creative process.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
I would not say I have a favorite, I liked many books but there are some that inspired me or left deeper marks than others. Many inspired me in different way. Non Business I would say the “Lucifer Principle” by Howard Bloom. His views and description of society as a group of super organisms organised in a pecking order competing against other to transmit their “Cultural genes” left a profound mark on my view of society.
Business wise, I would say “Borrowing Brilliance” by David Kord Murray. It opened my eyes that you don’t really need to be born with a “talent” to actually become creative, that creativity is a process that can be learned, and this is something I did apply.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
One book that actually helped me a great deal in the way I was communicating with my products and marketing, is Contagious by Jonah Berger, in which he describes “why things catch on” or “how to create viral content”. I did apply lots of his ideas and even inspired my team to work on those principles both online and offline. I remember reading it and taking notes (things I actually rarely do when I read, I like to be in it and absorb without being distracted by anything) and really trying to soak in those principles and I think I did.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
The one I just mentioned earlier did help me change a lot in my career as a Bespoke Jeweler. I was trained and educated as an engineer, hardly ever groomed for creativity. That book did show me that even me, an engineer, could create, by following a creative thinking process. Today people call me designer, but I became creative by reading and understanding better the process of creativity. It did change me.
What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
“How to Talk to Anyone” by Leil Lowndes. In my career I spend a great chunk of time dealing with clients and people in general. Our environment today is different from what it was before, we spend a lot of time communicating via electronics that we actually lost some great deal of knowledge in human communication, things that we don’t really learn at school (we actually should), but which I believe are essential to communicating with our peers. Leil did a great job in that book to explain simply those tricks of communication, some of which I am sure lots of people will think trivial and already do, but many that we probably don’t realize we can use.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I like the good old fashion paper books… I can’t get myself to read from electronics. Besides I mostly read a lot when I am in holidays, every 2-3 months I would read seriously. I just go to bookstore and buy everything that inspires me and then pick one, then another, I can eat them quickly, but there can be quite some time between my reading episodes.
How do you make time for reading?
In my everyday week, I don’t read much, I mostly do when am in holiday, I need lot of calm to read and focus.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
No, I rarely do that, I will read and try to focus on the ideas, meaning, really soak in it, if I don’t retain it quickly then it might not be that important. Sometimes I do read again a book or chapter in which am seeking information.
How do you choose what books to read next?
There are subjects that attract me more than others and I have periods. I had a creative period, where I really wanted to know all about creativity, another about neuro-sciences and the way brains operate, psychology, sociology etc. Some authors also sometimes catch my attention, like Malcolm Gladwell, when I see one of his book, I’ll just buy it.
Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?
No, I actually never did, I was oriented by my own interests and choices, but am starting to do this.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, because I tried many times to stop smoking and did not manage it, and am also interested to understand how we form habits. Am half way in this one and “Small is the new big” because I am looking for ideas, inspiration… business wise.
Links where you can follow Nicolas Jouvenceau or find out more about his projects:
Books mentioned by Nicolas Jouvenceau in this interview: