Women want change—in their professional lives, at least. A recent survey from InHerSight found that a staggering 73 percent of women were interested in changing careers, with the number-one reason being a need for better pay.
But making those moves to improve your professional life—whether it’s by searching for a new job, asking for a raise, or working to change your company culture (and the culture of the American workplace)—can feel like near-insurmountable hills to climb. If you’re looking for a boost of inspiration to make changes both big and small in your personal and professional life, check out these motivating books written by fellow working women.
WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams By Jaclyn Johnson
Create & Cultivate CEO Jacyln Smith has been a champion for redefining the modern working woman. In her book, Johnson talks about her moving across the country for her job, only to be let go shortly after. Now, she’s sold and launched a company, written a book, and invested in multiple million-dollar projects.
WorkParty follows her struggles and triumphs, and also features tips and anecdotes from other leading female entrepreneurs.
The Year Of Yes: How To Dance It Out, Stand In The Sun, And Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
If you’ve ever watched TV, then odds are you’ve seen a show by Shonda Rhimes Seriously, she’s created that many. In her book The Year of Yes, the woman behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder challenges readers to just say ‘yes.’ Yes to using your voice, yes to love, and yes to saying no.
How To Be A Bawse: A Guide To Conquering Life by Lilly Singh
YouTuber, actress, comedian, late-night talk show host Lilly Singh has an impressive resume, and her book is all about how she got there. It’s not filled with flowery inspirational quotes and easy tips for success, but is instead a realistic look at the challenges that come with chasing your dreams.
Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu
In Drop the Ball, Tiffany Dufu challenges the concept of “having it all.” The chief leadership officer at Levo and part of the launch team for Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, Dufu emphasizes embracing your imperfections and letting yourself be okay with expecting less—both from yourself and from others.
How To Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything So They Can Achieve Anything by Erin Falconer
If you’re struggling with productivity, this is the book for you. In How to Get Sh*t Done, Falconer—editor-in-chief and co-owner of self-improvement site Pick the Brain—not only talks about the importance of a work-life balance, but also how to navigate workplace politics, personal relationships, and more.
Read more: 9 Essays All Working Women Should Read
Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 Into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran
The TV show Shark Tank is all about titans of business, seasoned professionals who can smell a good business plan from miles away. That’s why it might come as a surprise that a star of the show, Barbara Corcoran, failed at 22 jobs before she finally made it big. In her book, Corcoran lays out all of the mistakes and missteps that she made before borrowing $1,000 from her then-boyfriend and creating her own empire.
The Woman Code by Sophia A. Nelson
Former White House reporter and Congressional Committee counsel Sophia Nelson believes that all women live by an unwritten code—one that either pushes you forward to success or holds you back in the same routines. If you’re looking for a book that can give you a fresh perspective on your lifestyle, give The Woman Code a read.
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
If you want to set things in motion to make big changes in your life, then odds are, you’ll need to change your habits in the process. In Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before, she challenges readers to question their expectations and alter their routines in order to gain control of their habits, AKA the “invisible architecture of daily life.”
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth
If you’ve noticed the articles from Teen Vogue becoming a little more “woke” than usual, it’s likely due to the influence of Elaine Welteroth. The youngest editor-in-chief in the publication’s history, Welteroth has established quite a reputation for incorporating activism, politics, and social issues into her writing, and her book is no exception. More Than Enough focuses on Welteroth’s own rise through the ranks and how her identity as a young black woman affected that journey.
Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere by Ute Ehrhardt
It’s an attention-grabbing title for an attention-holding book. Written by German psychologist Ute Ehrhardt, Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere aims to break down some of the learned passive behaviors of women and offer effective methods for pursuing your goals.
Rushing Woman’s Syndrome: The Impact of a Never-ending To-do List and How to Stay Healthy in Today's Busy World by Libby Weaver
Nutritional biochemist Dr. Libby Weaver is a strong advocate for taking things slowly. In her book, she outlines the biochemical and emotional effects of “Rushing Woman’s Syndrome,” a term she coined for the constant state of busyness and stress in a woman’s life. She offers a few solutions that have helped her slow down and destress, without sacrificing her productivity.