We’ve rounded up some of our top book picks that celebrate women and leadership. Whether you’re just starting out on your leadership journey or are a seasoned pro, these books are essential reading for any woman who wants to lead with confidence and impact.
1. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance––What Women Should Know
by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman
Confidence is crucial for all leaders, regardless of gender, but recent research has revealed a “confidence gap” between men and women. In The Confidence Code, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman argue that this gap is likely one of the key reasons why men still fill most leadership roles, despite women become increasingly educated and more qualified. The book explores reasons why women might lack confidence and provides practical advice on how to build it, drawing upon interviews with successful women, including athletes, politicians, and CEOs, to reveal the secrets of confidence. Learn more.
2. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World
by Melinda Gates
The Moment of Lift explores how empowering women can transform societies and is based on the premise that when you lift up women, you lift up humanity. Authored by Melinda Gates, philanthropist and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the book draws on Gates’ experiences working with women around the world and the impact that gender inequality has on their lives. The Moment of Lift provides insights into the challenges and opportunities for women’s empowerment and how it can lead to greater economic growth, better health outcomes, and a more just and equitable world. The book is a must-read for any woman leader who wants to make a difference in the world. Learn more.
3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain
Extroversion has long been considered the key to success in the workplace and society at large. Writer and lecturer Susan Cain challenges this notion, drawing on research and personal experience to show that introverts bring valuable skills and perspectives to the table, such as deep thinking and empathy. Quiet offers practical advice for introverts on how to navigate social situations and build fulfilling careers that play to their strengths. It’s an important read for women leaders who identify as introverts or work with introverted colleagues, as it offers a new perspective on the power of quiet leadership. Learn more.
4. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters
by Priya Parker
The Art of Gathering explores the power of intentional assemblage to create meaningful connections and spark creativity. Priya Parker, author, facilitator, and strategic advisor, draws on her immense facilitation and consulting experience to provide practical advice on how to design gatherings that foster authentic engagement and creativity. The book offers insights into the psychology of gathering, providing essential context to support women leaders who want to build stronger teams, foster cultures of innovation, and create memorable, transformative experiences for their colleagues and stakeholders. Learn more.
5. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
by Brené Brown
Dare to Lead is a powerful book that teaches us how to lead bravely by cultivating key traits, including empathy, vulnerability, and courage. Written by bestselling author Brené Brown, the book draws on extensive research and interviews with successful leaders to reveal the qualities that make for courageous leadership and how to cultivate those qualities. This book is great for all individuals who aspire to lead with courage, authenticity, and compassion. Learn more.
6. I Wish I’d Known This: 6 Career-Accelerating Secrets for Women Leaders
by Brenda Wensil & Kathryn Heath, Ph.D.
I Wish I’d Known This reveals the six common blind spots that often derail women’s career paths, and provides actionable strategies to overcome them. With decades of experience coaching women leaders across many different industries and career paths, Brenda Wensil and Kathryn Heath, Ph.D., share insights that can help women make the leap to a high-impact career, while also providing strategies for organizations to support women in their leadership journeys. Learn more.
7. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.
Mindset is a classic book that every woman leader should read. Written by renowned psychologist Carol Dweck, Ph.D., the book explores the power of mindset in shaping our lives and careers. Dweck argues that people with a growth mindset are more likely to succeed than those with a fixed mindset. She shows how our beliefs about our abilities and potential can limit or expand our possibilities, a notion we consistently see in our work with women leaders. The book is packed with inspiring stories of people who overcame obstacles and achieved greatness by adopting a growth mindset. Learn more.
8. Arrive and Thrive: 7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership
by Susan MacKenty Brady, Lynn Perry Wooten & Janet Foutty
Arrive and Thrive focuses on the idea that women who arrive at the top should be able to thrive at the top. With the growing pressure to balance professional and personal lives, surviving in senior leadership positions can be challenging. In their book, Susan MacKenty Brady, Lynn Perry Wooten, and Janet Foutty share seven practices that help women leaders flourish in senior leadership roles as their best selves, providing guidance on balancing performance, wellbeing, and a fulfilling life. Learn more.
9. The Influence Effect: A New Path to Power for Women Leaders
by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, Mary Davis Holt, and Diana Faison
To have influence is to make impact, but when it comes to political savvy in the workplace, what works for men doesn’t work for women. In The Influence Effect, these bestselling authors, business leaders, coaches, and consultants draw upon their extensive experiences to offer actionable strategies for women to build their influence for greater impact. Acknowledging the unique challenges women face in gaining influence, such as gender bias and imposter syndrome, The Influence Effect outlines five key strategies to overcome these obstacles, including relationship building, communicating effectively, and cultivating executive presence. It serves as an influence-building playbook for women, offering valuable tools and advice for navigating the complexities of the workplace and leveraging one’s strengths to achieve success. Learn more.
10. Good Power: Leading Positive Change in Our Lives, Work, and World
by Ginni Rometty
In this powerful memoir-meets-leadership book, former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty shares her concept of good power—a redefined concept of power as a way to drive meaningful change in positive ways for ourselves, our organizations, and the world—through the application of five key principles. She recounts the key experiences that helped to shape the idea of good power, starting from her troubled childhood through to her eventual position leading one of the world’s most preeminent companies. Through stories and actionable advice, Rometty reveals how we can all use good power to achieve lasting, impactful change for the betterment of society. Learn more.
11. Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons
by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Women and Leadership is a book by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and current Director-General of the World Trade Organization, former Finance Minister of Nigeria, and economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The book explores the experiences of women leaders from around the world, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, Theresa May, Christine Lagarde, Michelle Bachelet, and others, and the challenges they face in breaking through the glass ceiling. The authors draw on research and personal stories to provide insights into the barriers to women’s leadership and how they can be overcome. The book is a valuable resource for women leaders who are seeking to understand the systemic issues that limit their progress and how to navigate them. Learn more.
12. Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game
by Abby Wambach
The power of the female collective cannot be overstated. When we unite for positive change, we are unstoppable. Written by two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion Abby Wambach, Wolfpack is a rallying call for women everywhere to unleash their individual power, unite with their wolfpack, and change the landscape of their lives and the world. Wambach advocates for women to let go of the old rules of leadership that neither include or serve them and to come together to create a new set of rules that serves all. Learn more.
13. Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual
by Luvvie Ajayi Jones
One of the greatest barriers to success for women leaders is fear—fear of failure, rejection, the unknown, and sometimes, fear of success. This fear keeps us from asking for what we want and deserve. In Professional Troublemaker, bestselling author Luvvie Ajayi Jones upholds the idea that in order to make meaningful change, women need to become professional troublemakers, no longer allowing fear to control their thoughts and behaviors. The intention is not for us to be fearless, but to move forward despite our fears. Learn more.
14. Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward
by Valerie Jarrett
Finding My Voice is a memoir by lawyer, businesswoman, and Senior Advisor to former U.S. President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett. The book details Jarrett’s journey from her childhood in Iran to her leadership roles in government and the private sector. She shares personal anecdotes and insights into her experiences as a woman of color in male-dominated spaces, as well as the challenges and successes she faced during her time in the White House. Her insights provide valuable lessons for women leaders on resilience, mentorship, and using one’s voice to advocate for change. It’s an inspiring read for women seeking to make their mark in leadership roles and create positive change in their communities. Learn more.
15. Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOURS
by Shirzad Chamine
For those who find success and happiness elusive, Positive Intelligence author Shirzad Chamine offers a science-based approach to achieving the career and life of your dreams. As a New York Times Bestselling Author and Stanford Lecturer, Chamine draws on neuroscience and psychology to show that our own thoughts and behaviors are often the biggest obstacles to our success. Positive Intelligence provides practical exercises and tools for developing “positive intelligence” – the ability to shift one’s mindset from negative to positive and focus on what truly matters. Learn more.
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