Best 10 Books Every Female Must Read to Stand Out

 

Gone are the days when self-help books for women were cheesy, unrelated, and boring. Now, if you know where to look, you’ll find empowering, genuinely useful self-help books designed to make you feel good like you’re receiving advice from a trusted friend or an inspiring mentor.

 

Sometimes we all need a boost from a brave female historical figure, a bold female industry leader, or a badass female character to remind us of all the things that women have accomplished and can achieve when they aren’t pushed to the margins and can claim their rightful space in the spotlight.

In the list below, we recommend some of our favorite inspirational books (nonfiction as well as fiction) for women though people of all genders will enjoy these powerful stories. 

 

You’re bound to find some uplift and motivation as these reads spark joy, outrage, entrepreneurial ambition, or some combination of them all. 

 

Self-help

Self-help books are also handy for anyone interested in growing in terms of their creativity, career, emotional maturity, or spiritual life.

No matter what you’re going through in life or even if you’re just looking to grow and learn, we can all use a little self-help and learning from time to time. Ahead, check out some of the self-help books for women that made our required reading list.

 

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Over the past century, women have pushed for their voices to be heard. Check out these top 10 notable books that shine a light on gender inequalities and reframe what we think it means to be a woman today.

Some are narrative nonfiction or graphic novels, while others take the form of a memoir or manifesto. But each work highlights the progress that still needs to be made.

 

Leadership

Leadership books for women are guides that help women obtain and excel in management and executive roles. This genre covers topics such as dealing with discrimination, speaking up and being heard, and earning the respect of direct reports, colleagues, and supervisors.

The purpose of these books is to identify techniques, characteristics, and behaviors that improve professional women’s chances of becoming good leaders.

 

1. Invisible Women: By Caroline Criado Perez.

 

It controls our digital environment and has far-reaching implications for everything from healthcare to education to public policy.

The book reveals that the gender bias in the collection and implementation of this data render women invisible. Caroline Criado Perez also reveals how the very systems that we encounter daily have inherent biases against women and support a cis-male-biased perception of the world

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2. Communion: The Female Search for Love by bell hooks

At first glance, it may seem like this book is purely about looking for romantic love, but guess again: Written by renowned intersectional feminist bell hooks, Communion is the third in a series about living through love as a woman of color.

Although it does discuss romantic love at length and compellingly dismisses the notion that romance and feminism are mutually exclusive, it also teaches readers how to foster self-love, friendship, and psychological peace 

 

3. Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

 

Women and Leadership explore the challenges females face while chasing or holding high positions. The book analyzes the lack of gender representation in modern leadership and delves into obstacles women who do manage to head countries encounter.

This guide gathers interviews with major global leaders like Hillary Clinton, Jacinda Arden, and Theresa May.

Authors Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are also trailblazing female politicians and bring firsthand experience to the conversations about the struggles women must surmount while navigating the political landscape.

Women and Leadership are full of perspectives of powerful women and are a call to action for women to outlast discrimination and overcome the odds.

 

4. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office.

 

Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P. Frankel Ph.D.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office seeks to overturn the myths that the key to female success is being agreeable, taking care of others, and never causing trouble. From childhood, women are taught to be likable and hyperconscious of the opinions of others. 

This book exposes the ingrained habits and beliefs that prevent women from advancing career-wise and lays out strategies to overcome these roadblocks.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office targets self-sabotaging behaviors like taking on too many responsibilities, expecting to be acknowledged automatically, or failing to stand up for yourself and offers more effective alternatives.

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5. Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space.

By Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin. From the same talented hosts of the podcast “Unladylike,” Conger and Ervin’s field guide.

A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space” is a must-read. The illustrated field guide is a hilarious yet informative book on how to advocate for women’s rights in the modern world.

Beginning with defining which qualities in women the patriarchy emphasizes, the authors address step by step how to rewrite the narrative. Embedded with vivid graphics, Conger and Ervin address intersectional feminism seamlessly.

 

6. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

We Should All Be Feminists is not strictly a business book, yet ranks among the books every professional woman should read.

Inspired by the powerful TED talk of the same name, We Should All Be Feminists takes a deep dive into how culture limits both men and women through ingrained misogyny. 

 

The book lays out arguments for why all people can benefit from feminism and should proudly embrace the label of feminist, while also empowering women to rise above the expectations society lays upon them.

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7. Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling.

Is there anything Mindy Kaling can’t do? She wrote for beloved TV shows like The Office, created and starred in The Mindy Project, and somehow still manages to feel like a completely relatable confidante despite her incredible success.

Her collection of essays Why Not Me? is a bitingly funny look at the weirdness of Hollywood and her strange encounters working in television, yet it is also an account of feeling like an outsider in an industry famously unfriendly to women and people of color.

Why Not Me? will leave you cracking up on every page and asking yourself the same question as you consider your obstacles, why not me? 

 

8. Becoming by Michelle Obama. 

Becoming is one of the bestselling biographies of women leaders. In this memoir, former first lady Michelle Obama traces her life journey from the South Side of Chicago to the White House, relaying the leadership lessons she learned along the way.

The book touches on themes like race, motherhood, and female achievement and explores shortcomings as well as triumphs. Becoming is as inspirational and honest as it is informative.

Michelle serves as an example for bold women and teaches readers how to follow in their footsteps yet forge their paths.

 

9. Brown Girls” by Daphne Palasi Andreades.

Brown girls are American but they’re also something else. They’re Haitian, Pakistani, Filipina, and Chinese, to name but a few, but they’re all the same to their teachers who can never get their names straight.

They’re clever, or not so clever, and work hard to please their parents or disappoint them.

As they grow up, they discover boys or girls. They win scholarships to smart Manhattan schools or stay in Queens. They head off to Ivy League colleges or find a job in the neighborhood.

They fall in love with white boys, always wondering about the brown boys their mothers warned them off. They have children or not.

They suffer pandemic losses as their mothers care for the sick. Some die, and some are killed. The girls who started life in Queens are all very different but they’re all bound together by one thing: the color of their skin and the reaction of white society to it.

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10. The Confidence Code

 

What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman? The Confidence Code is a masterclass in self-esteem.

The book stresses the importance of confidence in professional settings and shares strategies to help women believe in themselves and advocate for themselves at work.

The authors explore the neurological aspects of confidence and conclude that some elements of confidence are genetic, environmental, and habitual.

There are actions individuals can take to improve and increase self-confidence, for instance, facing the fear of failure and taking risks. 

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The Confidence Code explores the roots of low confidence in women and suggests tactics for rewiring the brain and becoming more self-assured. This book helps women grow the self-conviction needed to become workplace leaders.

 

11. In Nita Prose’s The Maid. 

 

25-year-old Molly navigates life with the help of her beloved grandmother. After her grandmother dies, however, Molly feels somewhat adrift. She channels her energy into ensuring that every detail is perfect and tidy at her job as a maid in a glamorous hotel.

One day, her life spirals out of control when she walks into a guest room to find a dead body. She’s immediately accused of the crime, with police mistaking her demeanor as suspicious.

Molly’s friend’s band together to solve the crime and find the real murderer before her life is ruined for a crime she didn’t commit.

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Conclusion

Although women have made major strides throughout the last century, there is still more work to be done before women achieve professional equality.

A large disparity between the number of men and women in leadership positions still exists, in part because many women are still taught to follow and be supportive instead of shaking up the status quo.