1. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
About: In 2010, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg gave a TED talk on the ways women hold themselves back in business. After an overwhelming response from women across the globe sharing their own stories of this phenomenon, Sandberg decided to write “Lean In,” a book in which the high-power executive shares her personal experience along with research and practical advice regarding gender differences in business.
The goal of the book is to change the way women think about their capabilities and potential — instead of acting defensively, lean in.
Who It’s Right For: This book is an important read for any woman in business, but particularly for those who are affected and disheartened by gender inequality.
It is inspiring to read how a female tech executive beat the odds in a male-dominated industry — and how you can too.
2. Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong
Author: Jessica Bacal
About: To get a better sense of how industry leaders have overcome career hardships, in “Mistakes I Made at Work,” Jessica Bacal interviewed 25 successful women about their mistakes and strategies for recovery.
Interviewees range from Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company, Joanna Barsch to founding member of Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon.
Who It’s Right For: This book could be particularly useful for early-career entrepreneurs seeking wisdom about the future, as well as women who want to work through imperfection productively. The wide variety of interviewees makes the book’s advice industry non-specific.
Author: Sophia Amoruso
About: Dubbed “Lean In for misfits,” “#GirlBoss” is the account of Nasty Gal founder and Girl Boss CEO Sophia Amoruso’s less-than-glamorous rise from rags to riches.
Amoruso started selling vintage clothes on eBay after spending her teenage years dumpster diving, committing petty theft, and working menial jobs. In “#GirlBoss,” she writes honestly about the subsequent struggles she encountered and the risks she took to make it to the top.
Who It’s Right For: The story is particularly pertinent for anyone looking to go into the fashion industry, but it could also resonate with people facing a rocky path forward. Amoruso wants to teach women to take ownership of their situation and succeed despite the odds.
4. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance---What Women Should Know
Authors: Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
About: In “The Confidence Code,” Katty Kay and Claire Shipman argue that the reason men still have an edge on women in the corporate world is not because of education or qualification, but because of confidence.
The duo references new research in gender, genetics, behavior and cognition, along with examples from their own lives and the lives of industry leaders, to show women how achieving confidence can lead to professional success.
Who It’s Right For: Any woman at any age and at any stage of their career could benefit from this thorough breakdown of exactly why confidence is key.
5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Author: Angela Duckworth
About: The daughter of a scientist, Angela Duckworth frequently grappled with feeling inadequate when she was young. Today, a celebrated psychologist and New York Times Bestseller, Duckworth shares her hypothesis on what leads to success. “Grit” — a special blend of passion and persistence” — is the secret sauce and the subject of her book.
Who It’s Right For: Duckworth not only dives into her own path as a psychologist, but goes into the field to speak with high-achievers in tough fields who exemplify “grit.”
The mix of diverse interviews, psychology, and history makes this a great read for anyone seeking inspiration or guidance.
6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
About: In “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of “Eat Pray Love,” delves into the creative process. She explains how to combat fear and focus on the things we love — using our attitudes, approaches, and habits for productivity and creativity instead of letting them control us.
Who It’s Right For: Entrepreneurship requires creativity in every sense of the word. Thus, “Big Magic” could help any entrepreneur, aspiring or established, struggling with creativity, or looking to better hone their approach to creative thinking.
7. Dear Female Founder: 66 Letters of Advice from Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Made $1 Billion in Revenue
Author: Lu Li
About: As its name explains, “Dear Female Founder” is a collection of letters written by 66 trailblazing female entrepreneurs from around the world for the business-women of the future.
In each letter, an industry leader gives the advice that they wish someone had given them when they were starting out, and since they’ve all topped $1 billion in revenue … the advice is probably worth following.
Who It’s Right For: This book is perfect for women starting their entrepreneurial journeys. Particularly for those in industries with limited female representation at the top.
8. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs
Author: Grace Bonney
About: From media titans to tattooists to architects, Grace Bonney talks to the best and the brightest for her inspirational photo-book, “In the Company of Women.”
The profiles center around how each individual overcame hardship and channeled creativity in their respective career, showing how success comes in different shapes and sizes.
Who It’s Right For: Someone pursuing a non-traditional path, who feels alone in their journey, or any entrepreneur who wants to broaden their definition of success.
9. Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms
Author: Amanda Steinberg
About: DailyWorth.com founder Amanda Steinberg wrote “Worth It” with the intention of re-defining women’s relationships with money.
Instead of money being something daunting, she makes the subject relatable — outlining the essential information women need and how to approach personal finance in an engaging way.
Who It’s Right For: Any woman who wants to see money as a source of freedom and independence instead of a burden. Almost everyone can benefit from improving their understanding of personal finance.
10. Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took On Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime
Author: Julian Guthrie
About: “Alpha Girls” tells the stories of four different women who each — through persistence and innovation — rose to the fore of the male-dominated world of venture capital in Silicon Valley.
Despite major obstacles like sexism and betrayal, these women built some of the most important companies of our time.
Who It’s Right For: These stories may be particularly pertinent for women in the tech industry, or entrepreneurs seeking funding from venture capitalists, but the book is ultimately relatable for any woman facing a steep climb to the top.
11. Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life
Author: Barbara Stanny
About: While more and more women are making six-figure salaries, motivational speaker and financial advisor Barbara Stanny still doesn’t think the number is high enough.
Through interviews with over 150 women with earnings ranging from $100,000 to $7 million, “Secrets of Six-Figure Women” breaks down earning a sky-high salary into a science.
Who It’s Right For: Women who want to figure out how to boost their income or better monetize their ventures. “Secrets of Six-Figure Women” can serve as a step-by-step guide for entrepreneurs looking to climb the financial ladder.
12. She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur
Author: Carrie Green
About: As someone who started her first internet business at 20, Carrie Green is the perfect entrepreneur to advise companies in the digital age.
In “She Means Business,” Green gives tips on branding, time management, audience engagement, and other important components of success online.
Who It’s Right For: Green’s internet expertise could be useful for any entrepreneur looking to launch or enhance their online business. Today, digital savvy can be make or break for founders.