6 Books Every Woman Leader Should Read

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Diving deep into what it takes to be a female leader in today’s competitive world, here are 6 books you should definitely read! 

Women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading.

-Amy Poehler

Gender has never been a factor in deciding whether or not a person can be a great leader. An individual’s leadership abilities depend solely on their individual strengths and personality traits. However, the world is often an unfair place and when it comes to the professional world, women aren’t encouraged to take on leadership roles as often as their male counterparts. According to the Huffington Post, last year, only 23 Fortune 500 Companies were led by women. But this doesn’t change the fact that women are just as qualified as men are, to lead. This disparity is a result of the gender barriers they have to face in their everyday lives. 

These barriers could be institutional mindsets (includes various kinds of biases and stereotypes at the workplace), individual mindsets (behaviors and conditioning that might hold women back), structural barriers (lack of access to informal networks like a golf course or sporting events), and lifestyle choices (priority to professional or personal life).

Understanding and overcoming these barriers has become very important to both men and women in order to have a more gender-inclusive workplace where leaders are given the right opportunities to excel. 

So if you are a budding fempreneur, mompreneur, momager, boss lady or an aspiring She-E-O, follow the expert advice and insights of the books mentioned below in order to succeed at ruling the world:

1. Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich by Lois P. Frankel

About the author: 

Bestselling author, executive coach, and an internationally-recognized expert in the field of leadership development for women, Lois mixes equal parts of support and empowerment in her books to help women unlearn lessons that become a barrier to their growth in order to succeed at work.

A quick peep: 

Written in Frankel’s distinct tone of no-nonsense, the book is a list of common mistakes women make and how to fix them. Frankel reveals that the things we learned as a girl may be preventing us from becoming financially independent and following our own dreams. The book thus helps you to start working on your pain points and making you financially savvy by changing negative behaviors and making intelligent decisions about the life you aspire to live.

2. Thrive by Ariana Huffington

About the author: 

Co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, Ariana is acknowledged as one of the world’s most influential women!  She is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of fourteen books and since her 2005 launch of The Huffington Post, it has become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and cited media brands online.  She has also made it to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list!

A quick peep: 

The premise of the book is based on Arianna’s real life, when at the peak of exhaustion, Huffington took a nasty fall and realized that her health and life were at stake if she didn’t change. In this book, she discusses how “our relentless pursuit of… money and power have led to an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses’. She thus unapologetically addresses her own struggles while relying on strong research to emphasize the significance of well-being, compassion, wonder, kindness, and laughter.

3. Letters to my Daughter by Maya Angelou

About the author:  

Maya Angelou was an American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist who made literary history by being a pioneer bestselling author from an African American background.

A quick peep:

Dedicated to the daughter Angelou never had, the book consists of essays that feature Angelou’s priceless advice for young women about living a life of meaning. It’s her third book of essays where Angelou pours her heart out to millions of women she considers her extended family. In the book, she particularly emphasizes the power and importance of compassion, courage, and meaningful living.

4. Dare greatly by Brene Brown

About the author: 

A renowned research professor at the University of Houston Brene Brown is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. 

A quick peep: 

In this book, thought leader Brene Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly and to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.

Though this book is not exclusively focussed on business and leadership, yet it is an excellent read for women in leadership and otherwise. The book delves into disproving the myth that vulnerability is a weakness and provides great insights to women who distance themselves from purpose and meaning in their lives due to conditioning by society.

5. In the company of women by Grace Bonney

About the author: 

An author, blogger, and entrepreneur, Grace Bonney lands at #1 in the Home category on Forbes’ first-ever list of Top Influencers, leading a pack that includes blog-turned-business categories.

A quick peep: 

In this book, the celebrated design entrepreneur features intimate portraits of 100 women across industries, ethnicities, religions, sexual preferences, ages, and disabilities. The book celebrates women from around the world who’ve chosen to embrace entrepreneurship and creativity within their professional lives and through their journey, Grace lays out the key differentiators to success with her practical and inspiring advice which is pointed towards women entrepreneurs. 

6. Bad girls throughout history by Ann Shen

About the author: 

A gifted artist and a business-savvy entrepreneur, Ann Shen started as an illustrator, letterer, and went on to create artwork for publications like The New York Times and Bust, and for brands like Mattel and HarperCollins. Courageous about following multiple passions at once, Ann’s bright, colorful style has been put to work on everything from young adult book covers to fashion doll packaging designs.

A quick peep: 

A work of art, Bad Girls Throughout History is a love letter to female trailblazers along with being an actual history book! The ‘bad’ in the book is “bad in the best sense of the word,” as Shen graphically illustrates with informative essays about 100 revolutionary women who challenged the status quo in the history of the world. As each page reveals the successes and stories of women from all different eras, areas, and fields of interest, the book is not just inspiring, but aesthetically informational as well.

As simple as it may sound, the age-old advice ‘leaders should be readers’ is one that we, as women should keep close to our hearts as we keep on treading the path of success!


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