These female entrepreneurs aren’t here to gate-keep the secrets to success as a woman in the business industry, nor will they sugarcoat the hardships and failures they’ve endured. Instead, they’re here to show their readers that anything is possible if you’re dedicated to your own success.
Books by female entrepreneurs are perfect sources for career guides written by and for women in the workplace. These works cover topics such as gender discrimination, work-life balance, and self-advocacy. They also go on to tell the inspiring stories of female CEOs, business owners, start-ups, and the struggles overcome by powerful women. The purpose of these books is to empower and provide women with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to thrive in the business world.
1. #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal, decided to share her rags-to-riches story to empower young girls to follow in her footsteps. She went from committing petty theft and dropping out of school to becoming the founder and executive chairman of a $250-million-plus fashion retailer with more than four hundred employees. Her book proves that success doesn’t just come from education or who you were in the past. Every person has their own unique path to success, and Amoruso wants to simply provide suggestions and a loose guide for people like her, underdogs looking to turn their lives around.
A perfect nightstand read to empower young girls and aspiring entrepreneurs.
2. The Glitter Plan by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor
The Glitter Plan explains how these two women started Juicy Couture with just $200 and turned it into a global brand. The book is part memoir and part-business manual about the business that spawned from Pamela and Gela’s opinion that it was impossible to ever find the perfect T-shirt. They were determined to create comfortable, fitted T-shirts, setting up shop in Gela’s one-bedroom Hollywood apartment with one rule: whatever they did, they both had to be obsessed with it. Theirs is a true self-starter story, using themselves as models to build their patterns and placing their merchandise by storming into stores and handing out samples.
From there they went on to create a whole new genre of casual clothing that came to define California cool. In 2003, they sold their company for $50 million.
3. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
You would never guess that the genius creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and now Netflix’s Bridgerton, is a shy introvert. Constantly bombarded with invitations to premieres, speaker events, and interviews, Rhimes always found an excuse not to go. In this book, however, she expresses how much finally saying “Yes” changed her life. And so she set a goal for herself: for one year, she would say yes to everything that scared her. The book explores her life before and after her “Year of Yes”, from being a shy kid in middle school to walking out on stage loud and proud.
It was during her time saying yes that she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. And this book does the same for anyone that reads this inspiring tale of bravery.
4. What I Told My Daughter by Nina Tassler
In this book, entertainment executive, Nina Tassler brought together a powerful, diverse group of women to reflect on the best advice and counsel they have given their daughters either by example, throughout their lives, or in character-building, teachable moments between parent and child.
Over 50 essays written by women like Madeleine Albright, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dr. Susan Love, Whoopi Goldberg, and more explore the ways in which they felt empowered by the women who came before them, as well as how they wish to and have inspired the next generation to follow in their footsteps. All contributors focus on the importance of young women striving for resilience over perfection.
In a time when childhood seems at once more fraught and more precious than ever, What I Told My Daughter is a book that can help any mother and daughter connect and empower each other.
5. A Good Time to Be a Girl by Helena Morrissey
Morrissey sets out to empower businesswomen to change the industry rather than lean into outdated ways. In this book, she makes a powerful case for diversity and difference in any workplace, showing how readers can develop smarter thinking and broader definitions of success. Gender balance, in her view, is an essential driver of economic prosperity and part of the solution to the many problems of today’s society. Instead of training women on fitting into already set business practices, she intends to teach women to reinvent the business world, not at the expense of men, but for the betterment of the industry as a whole.
Her influential 30% Club campaigns for gender-balanced UK company boards, and represents her manifesto for new ways of working, living, loving, and raising families for everyone, not just women.
6. In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney
Bonney’s book is full of inspiration and advice from over 100 makers, artists, and entrepreneurs that will empower any woman to get up and go. While the format is not a guide, the women Bonney collects together explore how they embraced their creative spirits, overcame adversity, and sparked a global movement of entrepreneurship. Featuring creative women from all ages, races, backgrounds, and industries you will read a book chock-full of practical, inspirational advice for those looking to forge their own paths, with interviews detailing the keys to success.
Bonney also recognizes that the visualization of goals is a major key to inspiring others. That’s why the book is rounded out with hundreds of lush, original photographs of the women in their workspaces, showing readers that success truly is possible.
7. Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu
In today’s world, girls think they have to do it all. But success doesn’t entail working until you physically can’t anymore. Dufu knows the struggle of taking on too many responsibilities in an attempt to prove herself. In her book, she explains how she achieved her goals by limiting her priorities and responsibilities to what she knew she could handle and succeed in. Dufu shows readers how she was able to free up the space she needed to flourish at work and developed deeper, more meaningful relationships at home. This book is a great guide for women who feel overworked and yet still under-accomplished.
Drop the Ball urges women to embrace this imperfection, to expect less of themselves and more from others. Only then can they focus on what they truly care about, devote the necessary energy to achieving their real goals, and create the type of rich, rewarding life we all desire.
While the road to success is long, the reward is worth the fight. Even though 50% of today’s workforce is women, we are still struggling for equal opportunities and compensation. The battle will be long but as the women above can attest, change is possible. All you have to do is believe in and prioritize yourself. Instead of leaning into a business structure built by and for men, follow the advice and guidance of women for women, and inspire others to follow you into a new world of equality and genius.
If you’re looking for more inspiring stories by female entrepreneurs and businesswomen, click here.