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  1. Blog
  2. Reading

12 Female Leadership Books to Pump You Up

Follow her lead!

leadership books
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Farmer

It’s time for a reading-list refresh. Why not stock your shelves with books from female leaders who have some truth to speak into your life?

1. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Author: Caroline Criado Perez

English journalist Caroline Criado Perez lays out the numbers on how the world we live in was not built for women to succeed, and even actively omits them at times. This is a book that will motivate the leader in you to notice what has not yet been noticed and take action.

2. This Is Me: Loving The Person You Are Today

Author: Chrissy Metz

The Golden Globe– and Emmy-nominated actress, Chrissy Metz, from the beloved TV drama This Is US, shares her incredible story of struggle and overcoming as she navigated her way from a rough childhood through the entertainment industry and eventually landed on one of the most popular shows of the year. Metz provides insight to self-love methods that have gotten her to where she is today.

3. Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

World-famous author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie hits us again with her wisdom again in this book, which was originally a letter to a friend who asked her how she should raise her daughter to be a feminist. This essay is packed full of valuable advice, like be a full person, never speak of marriage as an achievement, teach her to question language, teach her to reject likeability, and give her a sense of identity.

4. Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family

Author: Anne-Marie Slaughter

Anne-Marie Slaughter is known for her lengthy and impressive CV, which includes stints at the state department and Princeton University, University of Chicago Law School, and Harvard Law School, and for her famous 2012 essay, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” In Unfinished Business, Slaughter lays out a vision for what true equality between men and women looks like, and how we get there.

Read more: 9 Essays All Working Women Should Read

5. Bossypants

Author: Tina Fey

Actress, comedian, playwright, and author Tina Fey explores why being called “bossy” as an insult might have been what actually motivated her to chase her dreams. Hilarious, real, and down to earth, this memoir will leave you inspired and in stitches.

6. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Author: Jen Cincero

If there’s any self-help book you should own, it’s Jen Cincero’s You Are a Badass. Through inspiring stories, recommended exercises, advice, and humor, Cincero offers insight into how to defeat self-doubt and move through the world with a confidence you never thought you could keep alive. Whether you’re trying to get ahead in your career or just looking for ways to boost your self-esteem, this book will guide you to all the right places.

7. I Am Malala

Author: Malala Yousafzai

In her moving autobiography, the young Nobel laureate uses her voice to show the world that revolution can begin with just a single person. Known as one of the most prominent voices rallying for women’s education all over the world, Yousafzai’s words are a force that will inspire bravery in any woman who reads her story.

Read more: 37 Quotes from Badass Women to Remind You How Awesome Women Are

8. The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote

Author: Elaine Weiss

Journalist Elaine Weiss tells the story of how American women fought for and won their own freedom and how the battle for suffrage ushered in a new kind of movement for civil rights in the United States.

9. In The Company of Women

Author: Grace Bonney

Author, entrepreneur, and blogger Grace Bonney put together an amazing collection of 100 female creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs from all over the world who share their stories of struggle and success. Women all over the globe stand at the forefront of their own businesses, studios, and organizations, but how each of them got where they are is a unique story.

Read more: Books to Read if You're Working in a Boys' Club

10. ain’t i a woman

Author: bell hooks

In this famous book, hooks examines the long-term effects of racism, sexism, and classism on black women. hooks calls out the twentieth-century suffragists who excluded black women from their fight for representation and white women who have left black women behind in their fight for rights.

11. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know

Author: Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

From a young age, girls are taught that their value is in how they look, to downplay accomplishments, and underestimate their abilities. These lessons follow many women into adulthood and therefore, into their work. The Confidence Code is a lesson in how to shatter that doubt and unlearn those myths that might be holding you back.

12. Daring Greatly

Author: Brené Brown

Storyteller, thought leader, and researcher Dr. Brené Brown encourages her reader to embrace vulnerability, failure, and imperfection. In Daring Greatly, Brown shares her vision that being vulnerable does not weaken us, but helps us grow into our best selves. Check out this book if you’re in search of a new kind of motivation.

Read more: 11 Motivational Books for Working Women, by Working Women

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