The 10 Best Business Books for Women
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 herself writes, “Wisdom is meant to be shared, so let’s start sharing what we’ve learned to make each other better. Let’s start building each other up. Let’s live up to our potential and start ruling the world.”
In a society that often puts females in competition with each other, Leyba’s message is as refreshing as it is poignant.
By Lois P. Frankel, PhD
If Dale Carnegie’s “Make Friends and Influence People” is the canon for business communication, this book should serve as a much-needed annotation for female readers. While Carnegie recommends avoiding arguments, Frankel points out that women often neglect to advocate for themselves because they confuse negotiation with confrontation, and consider it something to avoid. Her updated list of over 130 “nice girl” gaffes serve as a gentle reminder that women were often raised differently from men – and provides tips on how to correct it.
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 “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 another issue close to her heart: the disorientation she felt after the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Like her first book, Sandberg is using her personal struggles as a platform to inspire others. In the author’s own words, “Life is never perfect. We all live some form of Option B.”
By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Just by nature of their job alone, many female business owners are already strong, confident figures in their communities. Yet some may still be prone to other damaging habits like perfectionism, or extreme risk aversion. This book clarifies the mechanics behind the self-doubt that could be holding you back. Part clinical exposé, part female empowerment pep talk, this book combines anecdotal and empirical research to argue why women can close much of the professional gender gap, if they adopted the self-assurance that society typically celebrates in men.
By Daniel Goleman
There is a reason that the term ‘emotional intelligence’ is still common in public vernacular, though it has been more than two decades since Daniel Goleman’s book was first published. Interpersonal relationships are still the foundation of business success – as important now as it was in 1995. Goleman’s guide to understanding and controlling our emotional lives to maximize productivity is still one of best business books to read for any entrepreneur.
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Countless studies have shown that fear of failure affects women more than men. This phobia often manifests itself in self-sabotage — like giving up too soon, or not applying for deserved promotions. 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 the field you’re in.
By Robert Greene
Referencing ideas of some of the greatest philosophers, “The 48 Laws of Power” is one of the best business books for both ambitious females climbing the corporate ladder, and entrepreneurs looking to build their own empire.
By Tiffany Dufu
One thing immediately distinguishes this book from other business books for women: it doesn’t say 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 own thorny path of mastering business and home life. Her discovery: you don’t have to do it all, to have it all. For female entrepreneurs who are struggling to balance their responsibilities – and beating themselves up over it – Dufu has a few thousand choice words for you.
By Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso’s autobiography follows the Nasty Girl founder’s nonconforming path to success as head of a fashion empire she built herself. It has even inspired an eponymous Netflix show if you are looking to experience the book in a different medium. Although the Nasty Girl brand would eventually be shuttered, Amoruso’s journey from petty thief to fashion visionary will continue to inspire spunky female entrepreneurs seeking their own paths to success.
10. Good to Great
By Jim Collins
This frequent topper of business bestseller lists is a manual that transcends gender, industry or company size. It documents research spanning five years into the fundamental differences between companies that are merely good, and those that attain sustained, distinguishable greatness. For its groundbreaking insight into building successful companies, “Good to Great” will remain one of the best books for women and men in business.
There was a time when bookstore business sections were stocked with books catering to men. With the explosion of female-led companies and trailblazing lady leaders however, there’s no shortage of business books written either by, or for, women. If you are a female entrepreneur, these business books are a perfect addition to your reading list.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.