Female entrepreneurs have accomplished incredible things. While running businesses, they also are more likely to oversee their homes, earn higher levels of education than their male peers, and work to hammer glass ceilings in industries traditionally ruled by men.
Pushing boundaries is difficult, and often it can be very lonely. As a small business owner, it’s crucial that you find ways to invest in yourself, and one way to do this is to read business-focused books.
Whether you’ve experienced a setback or are unsure about your future, you can learn from the books in this list, which all provide insights into the struggles of being a female entrepreneur.
The 10 Best Small Business Books for Women Entrepreneurs:
By Cara Alwill Leyba
Often touted alongside other 'girl power' books like "#Girlboss," this book by life coach Cara Alwill Leyba emphasizes the importance of women empowering each other.
As the author writes, "Wisdom is meant to be shared, so let’s start sharing what we’ve learned to make each other better."
In a society that often pits females against each other, Leyba’s message is as refreshing as it is poignant. An important takeaway for women business owners is that networking and collaborating can lead to great success.
By Lois P. Frankel, PhD
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office is a must-read book for female readers that want to build their careers.
Frankel points out that women often neglect to advocate for themselves in this book. She says this occurs because they confuse negotiation with confrontation and consider it something to avoid.
Her list of over 130 “nice girl” gaffes serves as a gentle reminder that women are often raised differently from men. Plus, she provides tips on how to correct it in the future.
If you struggle with self-confidence or want to push yourself as a woman business owner, this is a great book to read.
3. Option B
By Sheryl Sandberg
Women who have experienced setbacks in their personal or professional lives may find comfort in Sheryl Sandberg’s latest book.
You may be familiar with her first book "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," which incited controversy with its radical views on balancing careers and motherhood.
Now the Facebook COO is opening up about the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Like her first book, Sandberg is using her struggles as a platform to inspire others.
As Sandberg eloquently notes, "Life is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B."
By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Many female business owners are already strong, confident figures in their communities just by nature of their job alone. Yet, some may still be prone to damaging habits like perfectionism or extreme risk aversion.
This book clarifies the mechanics behind self-doubt that could be holding you back in your career.
Part clinical exposé, part female empowerment pep talk, this book combines anecdotal and empirical research to argue why women can close the professional gender gap by adopting the self-assurance that society typically celebrates in men.
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By Daniel Goleman
There’s a reason that the term “emotional intelligence” is still common in public vernacular, although it has been over two decades since this book was published.
Interpersonal relationships are still the foundation of business success – as necessary now as in 1995. Goleman’s guide to understanding our emotions to maximize productivity is beneficial for any entrepreneur.
If you want to focus on personal growth, we suggest reading Emotional Intelligence. It will help you with your personal and business development, which is a win-win!
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Countless studies have shown that fear of failure affects women in business more than men. This phobia often manifests itself in self-sabotage — like giving up too soon or not applying for deserved promotions. If you don’t learn how to combat this feeling, you may hurt your business prospects in the long term.
Bestselling author of “Eat Pray Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert, has opened up before about pushing through the fear that held her back. “Big Magic” is her manual to living a creative and more fulfilling life, regardless of your profession.
Running a business is an exciting adventure, so get inspired by reading this book!
By Robert Greene
“The 48 Laws of Power” references ideas from some of the greatest philosophers. Due to this, it’s a great business book for both ambitious female entrepreneurs building their empires.
By Tiffany Dufu
One thing that distinguishes this book from other top business books for women is that it doesn’t proclaim that you can have it all. In fact, the Chief Leadership Officer of Levo is telling women to drop the ball.
Her inspiring memoir chronicles her thorny path of running a business and having a home life. She explains how you don’t have to do it all to have it all and that avoiding burnout will lead to success.
For female entrepreneurs who struggle with their work/life balance, Dufu has plenty of advice for you!
By Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso’s book follows her nonconforming path to success as head of a fashion empire she built herself. It has even inspired an eponymous Netflix show if you’d like to experience the book in a different medium!
Although the Nasty Girl brand eventually closed, Amoruso’s journey from petty thief to fashion visionary continues to inspire spunky female entrepreneurs seeking their paths to success.
10. Good to Great
By Jim Collins
This award-winning book is a manual that transcends gender, industry, or company size. It documents research that details the differences between merely good companies and those that attain sustained, distinguishable greatness.
Due to its groundbreaking insight into building successful businesses, this is one of the best books for women in business.
Conclusion: Start Reading Books Written for Women Entrepreneurs!
There was a time when bookstore business sections were stocked with books catering to men. However, with the explosion of female-led companies and trailblazing lady leaders, there’s no shortage of business books written either by women writers or women in business.
If you’re a female entrepreneur, these books for small business owners are a perfect addition to your reading list.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in May 2022.