Inspiring Career Books For Women
As women continue to break the glass ceiling and become girlbosses at work, there are a host of books to help put things into perspective, whether it’s navigating your career path, climbing the corporate ladder, starting your own business, or juggling freelance gigs and kids. Grab a coffee and a seat on the subway—here are just 10 books that every hustling girlboss navigating her career needs to put on her summer reading list.
1. You Are A Badass
Author | Jen Sincero
Kick your doubt to the curb and get ready to be inspired by Sincero’s refreshingly funny yet direct book on how to own your “badassery” in life, work, or relationships. Featuring chapter titles to the ring of "Gratitude: The Gateway Drug to Awesomeness,” Sincero’s book is like a SoulCycle instructor but on paper (complete with the bright yellow cover), and has already spun off into a sequel—if you’re ready to tackle money challenges next, check out You Are A Badass At Making Money.
Perfect If You Are | Seeking a motivational self-help book (without wanting to take yourself too seriously), or just want a good laugh.
Price | $10
2. In The Company of Women
Author | Grace Bonney
This anthology of interviews with over 100 diverse women features anecdotes from how they embraced creativity, overcame diversity, and hit their stride as an entrepreneur. Compiled by the founder of Design*Sponge, this book doubles as a coffee table staple and features everyone from media titans and ceramicists to tattoo artists and architects.
Perfect If You Are | Navigating having a meaningful career as a creative entrepreneur, and need a fresh dose of inspiration.
Price | $23
3. I Am Malala
Author | Malala Yousafzai
The youngest nominee to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was living in Pakistan and fighting for girls' right to education when the Taliban targeted her and shot her in the head when she was riding the school bus back home. Since, Malala has become a global advocate for girl’s right to education, a symbol of peaceful protest despite being uprooted by terrorism, and started the Malala Fund to fund programs such as providing a STEM education to girls in Syria. The UN even officially named July 12 as “Malala Day,” meaning it’s the perfect time to pick up her autobiography and get reading.
Perfect If You Are | Looking to be inspired to pursue a greater purpose at work, and being reminded of the bravery that the fight for justice often requires.
Price | $12
4. Power Your Happy
Author | Lisa Sugar
From the founder of POPSUGAR, this sweet treat from Lisa Sugar dives into the beginnings of how the successful digital lifestyle publication all started—yes, the glittery (and not so glittery) beginnings of what it takes to start a company and make it grow. The book is filled with bite-sized advice about how to create your dream job, while making hard decisions like ditching relationships that aren’t working and being available for your family. Sugar, yes please.
Perfect If You Are | A POPSUGAR lover, are starting a new venture, or want to get into the brain of someone who seemingly knows how to “do it all.”
Price | $12
Author | Emily Chang
If you’re living in the vicinity of the 415 area code and have experienced the toxic Silicon Valley “bro” culture that’s coming to light, you’ll want to pick up Brotopia and give a good cheer. In this powerful exposé, Bloomberg journalist Emily Chang investigates the tech mecca's male-dominated culture (from venture capital to startups and titans), and interviews some of the Valley's most powerful women on what it takes to change “brotopia.” Everyone from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki give their take, and guarantees are you’ll have your take by the end, too.
Perfect If You Are | On your way to breaking the glass ceiling, but have ever faced "bro culture" and want to say "enough.”
Price | $14
6. Bad Girls Through History
Author | Ann Shen
Ann Shen’s Bad Girls Throughout History is “bad in the best sense of the word.” With incredibly rich watercolor illustrations and intriguing essays, 100 revolutionary women are recognized and celebrated for challenging the status quo and making the world a better place. Each page reveals the successes and stories of women from all different eras, areas, and fields of interest. The book is as inspiring and informational as it is aesthetically pleasing.
Perfect If You Are | Looking for a brilliant and inspiring read about women who have paved the way.
Price | $13
7. Creative Confidence
Authors | Tom Kelley & David Kelley
Written by the founders of world-famous design firm IDEO, known for designing Apple’s iconic computer mouse (and so much more), Creative Confidence is a book written by the founding brothers to get anyone to pick up a pen and unleash their creative potential—”creative type” or not. Full of anecdotes and case studies, ultimately the Kelley brothers prove that great design is about form and function, solving complex problems with intelligent design.
Perfect If You Are | A design lover—interior, graphic, industrial, or UI/UX design—but have been hesitant about turning your creative affinities into a part of your own personal toolkit.
Price | $14
8. I Am That Girl
Author | Alexis Jones
For the girl who's ever felt a little lost in the crowd, trying to discover what is exactly is her “purpose” and “passion,” this book gives a down-to-earth take on how to take ownership of your own life. Whether it’s not feeling like “that girl,” feeling like others are drawing your boundaries, or simply uninspired, Jones finds the words to push young women to live fearlessly and leave the world a better place.
Perfect If You Are | Just starting out or need a pep talk about dreaming big, being “that girl,” and owning it.
Price | $10
Author | Arianna Huffington
In Thrive, Arianna advocates for a third metric of success (not just money and power), but the ability to “draw on our intuition and inner wisdom, our sense of wonder, and our capacity for compassion and giving.” As the eponymous founder of The Huffington Post, one of the most successful media companies in the world, Arianna “had it all”—yet one day was faced to question herself, after exhaustion at her desk led to a broken cheekbone and gash over her eye. For the fact-persuaded, Arianna draws on plenty of groundbreaking research and scientific findings to prove the effects of mindfulness, giving, and finding plenty beyond climbing the ladder.
Perfect If You Are | Tired of chasing “success” and want to learn how to infuse wellness into your life to thrive.
Price | $12
Author | Sophia Amoruso
To read the original text that started a movement, #Girlboss is the sassy part-memoir, part-business biography of Nasty Gal’s Sophia Amoruso, a modern-day fashion entrepreneur who started selling vintage clothing on eBay while work security at an art school in San Francisco. Since the takeoff of Amoruso’s book, the Girlboss movement has now spun off to include an online publication and a Netflix series starring Britt Robertson.
Perfect If You Are | A hustler on the rebellious side who wants to learn how to be a #GIRLBOSS, from the original #girlboss herself.
Price | $11
Alice is a California-based writer thinking on the things shaping urban living, the modern woman’s experience, and living a conscious life of impact in light of a bigger world. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, she recently spent a year abroad in Peru working with a microfinance project. You can follow her latest creative endeavors and musings at Mine Felicity or on Instagram at @alice.zhng.