As any bookworm will tell you, there are countless benefits to reading. But according to Tom Corley, the author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” financially successful people read for “self-improvement, education, and success” as opposed to reading for entertainment. Another research project found that successful people tended to obsess over the biographies and autobiographies of other successful people.
If you’re a woman looking to start a business, or a woman who wants to learn how to be a good manager, you probably want to adopt these reading habits, too. It can be difficult to find women in business books at the local bookstore, but you can take a little inspiration from the world’s most pioneering women in business and see what’s on their bookshelves. Check out these 10 women in business on the books that have influenced them the most.
Best Books for Women in Business
Founders, artists, executives, and more have always been vocal about how some of their favorite books got them to where they are now. All of these women are inspirations and leaders in their fields, so you can consider these some of the best books for women in business right now.
Here are 10 book recommendations from women entrepreneurs across all kinds of industries.
1. “Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd” by Youngme Moon
Who Chose It: Tyler Haney, founder and CEO of Outdoor Voices
Why She Chose It: “There are a lot of other companies in the activewear space, but we really try to keep blinders on and stay focused on our own mission. If everyone is keeping tabs on what others are doing and trying to directly compete, everyone just ends up looking the same if they’re all trying to reach the same goal.”
2. “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts
Who Chose It: Whitney Wolfe, founder and CEO of Bumble
Why She Chose It: “What it made me realize was no matter who you are in life, where you come from or where you live, everyone is fighting their own battle and everyone’s battle is equally important as the next.”
3. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey
Who Chose It: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
Why She Chose It: “Not only did I laugh on every page, but I was nodding along, highlighting and dog-earing like crazy. On page three, she offers amazing advice to women in the workplace: ‘No pigtails, no tube tops. Cry sparingly.’”
4. “The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life” by Shawn Achor
Who Chose It: Melanie Whelan, CEO of SoulCycle
Why She Chose It: “This book opened an ongoing conversation on our team around the relationship between employee happiness and productivity.”
5. “What Will It Take to Make a Woman President” by Marianne Schnall
Who Chose It: Beyoncé, music mogul
Why She Chose It: “It’s a collection of interviews and essays by great women, including Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Melissa Etheridge. They will inspire you to become a better leader.”
6. “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence” by Daniel Goleman
Who Chose It: Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post
Why She Chose It: “I love how ‘Focus’ is a sustained look at our addiction to screens and devices and the countless external distractions that threaten to take us further from ourselves and the people we love.”
7. “The Road to Character” by David Brooks
Who Chose It: Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo
Why She Chose It: “It sparked a wonderful discussion with my two daughters about why building inner character is just as important as building a career. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand—the moral compass of our lives must also be the moral compass of our livelihoods.”
8. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown
Who Chose It: Tory Burch, founder and CEO of Tory Burch
Why She Chose It: “Greg McKeown understands that sometimes less is more.”
9. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
Who Chose It: Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of Glossier
Why She Chose It: “There’s a great chapter in Ben Horowitz’s book called ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ called ‘Nobody Cares’… You can make a million excuses for why something didn’t go well, but ultimately, just fix it and get on with it.”
10. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
Who Chose It: Audrey Gelman, co-founder of The Wing
Why She Chose It: “Jo March is such a difficult and headstrong character, driven but also ambivalent and often the person standing in the way of her own happiness. I love all the different parts of Jo, including her devotion to her sisters.”
Get Inspired by These 10 Best Books for Women in Business
At the end of the day, seeing women in business books or finding business books geared towards women can be difficult. But, if you get a little creative, like these top names in business have, then you’ll see that the best books for women in business can come from every section of the book aisle—and even includes fiction!
With thanks to Tyler Haney and Outdoor Voices for providing us with an original quote for this piece.