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8 Books By Female Leaders to Motivate You at Work

Being a career woman ain't easy. Finding inspiring and relevant books to read about the complexities of being a career woman ain't easy. That's why whenever we come across a particularly insightful tome, we like to share it near and far.

Whether you work in a corporate office or are a freelance creative, diving into everything from how to work alongside men to how to be vulnerable in leadership (and why you definitely should) can boost your business in untold ways. 

Sometimes tiny nuggets of gold are hidden in the depths and once you uncover them, they go on to irrevocably change the way you think about and behave in your workplace

Keep reading for the eights books by female leaders we love.

8 Books By Female Leaders to Inspire Your Career

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

What can you learn from the former first lady about work? Lots, actually. Part memoir, part commentary on ambitious women in the public eye, this is a book that will touch you ways in you don't expect.

Michelle takes us right back to her childhood, detailing the incredible achievements of her life pre-White House. (Reminder: she attended Princeton and Harvard Law.)

Of course, there is also much to read on her life with Barack, including dealing with the stress of being in the spotlight, straight up truths about balancing career and family, and what it means to be an unintentional role model.

Read it here.

2. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

If you're not team Brené, where have you been? The Oprah-approved researcher recently launched what's been described as "the ultimate playbook for developing brave leaders and courageous cultures". According to her new tome, daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are, in fact, teachable.

Expect to have your world rocked by Brenéisms ("Daring is saying 'I know I will eventually fail, and I’m still all in.' I’ve never met a brave person who hasn’t known disappointment, failure, even heartbreak"), and to go away with actionable strategies to develop the way you manage.

Read it here.

3. The Moment Of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

This book has been called “an urgent call to courage” as well as a manifesto for an equal society. Even if you identify as a feminist with a capital F, you’ll take away a deeper understanding of exactly why empowering women in career (and in life) empowers everybody else.

Melinda shares her story to outline gender parity issues that affect even the most privileged women as well as lessons learned from women living in developing countries through her travels with the Gates Foundation. Her personal anecdote about bossing Bill into driving their kids to school is particularly relatable and hilarious.

Read it here.

4. That's What She Said: What Men and Women Need to Know About Working Together by Joanne Lipman

Joanne is a best-selling author but you may know her best for the viral article she penned for the Wall Street Journal in 2014: "Women at Work: A Guide for Men". In this book, she posits that unless men participate in the conversation about closing the gender gap, we'll be leaning in forever.

Since its publication, it's been referred to as a roadmap of sorts, providing businesses with practical tips to eliminate bias. It's jammed with success stories, as well as surprising insights into a broad range of relevant issues ranging from child-rearing (who does it best?) to brain differences between the genders.

Read it here.

5. Superfast: How to Lead at Speed by Sophie Devonshire

Shortlisted for the best leadership book at the Business Book Awards, prepare yourself for a fastpaced commentary on innovation and why the ability to make smart decisions quickly is crucial to your success. Sophie is a self-described "acceleration addict" who is constantly curious about how to speed up results. She hates wasting time and believes that impatience is usually a virtue.

Expect practical ideas for boosting performance in a fast-but-considered way and insights into how the world's most savvy leaders map their way to achievement. If you're a procrastinator, you might like to read this.

Read it here.

6. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Are you all about a personality quiz? This is the book for you. According to Gretchen, we all fall into one of four tendency groups (Upholder, Questioner, Rebel, Obliger) based on how we respond to outer expectations (like work deadlines) and inner expectations (attempting to go to yoga regularly). Knowing which one you are is illuminating but delving into the tendencies of your colleagues can help foster understanding and smooth tension in the workplace.

From a leadership perspective, this information allows you to plan situations that make it more likely for you and your team to achieve.

Read it here.

7. Women and Leadership by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

As the first and only female Australian prime minister and the director-general of the World Trade Organisation, it's hard to deny the footprint that these two leaders have made. This book is inspirational and practical, and shares the experiences of two high-achieving women and their advice to others.

Through conversations with some of the world's most influential women, including Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Michelle Bachelet, and Theresa May, Women and Leadership explores gender bias and puts forward the question of why there aren't more women in leadership roles.

Read it here.

8. The Hospital by the River by Catherine Hamlin

This wonderful book tells the compelling story of pioneering Australian obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Catherine Hamlin who, alongside husband Reginald Hamlin, co-founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. It recounts the 60-years of medical work undertaken by Catherine and how it transformed the lives of 45,000 Ethiopian women.

You will happily walk away from reading this book in complete awe of the determination and compassion of this incredible woman who has inspired others to create genuinely long-lasting change.

Read it here.

Still interested? Here are the eight sleep tips successful women swear by. 


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