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Feminism Unleashed: 10 Must-Read Books for Female Entrepreneurs

books for female entrepreneurs

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Since time immemorial, women have been allotted roles of domesticity and in most civilizations, right to property and education for women are just a century or two old concepts. Imagine the plight of women through the middle ages.

Although western feminist movements over the last few decades have gained momentum and have amassed enough success for us to get complacent; the women continue to remain fundamentally held back in a lot of ways.

Today, women walk shoulder to shoulder with men in almost every field of life but patriarchy is so deep-rooted that it continues to reflect in our accolades.

books for female entrepreneurs

Women are seldom acknowledged a visionary and revolutionary and thought leadership and entrepreneurialism is still the last resort of modern day women.

To celebrate the undying spirit of women entrepreneurs across the world, we have compiled a list of 10 books written by women entrepreneurs/ corporate executives.

These books have broadened our mental horizons by sharing the details of their struggles.

1. GIRLBOSS- Sophia Amoruso

The Washington Post labeled this masterpiece as “Lean In for misfits” and rightly so. This is not just another rags to riches kind of a story.

In fact, it’s a fine portrayal of how a non-conformist and rebellious lass channelized her raw energy to become one of the successful entrepreneurs of modern times.

Amoruso was always unabashed and unapologetic about whatever she did. She spent her teen years hitchhiking and shoplifting and dumpster diving in search of discarded bagels.

In her early 20s, she was lost and directionless with no success to prove her mettle but she didn’t give up on her big ambitions. It was when she was working as a clerk in art school that she decided to sell vintage clothes on eBay.

Today, Sophia Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal and CEO of Girlboss. Sophia was never orthodox in her approach, nor is she a typical CEO.

She has written #GIRLBOSS for girls like her who want to carve out their way to success despite hundreds of naysayers.

#GIRLBOSS proves that not only those who are born with a silver spoon can make it big. The book professes that success comes to those who follow their gut feelings and exhibit and unparalleled determination to make their plan work when they have set their eyes on something.


2. Thrive- Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington creates a fine piece on why there is a critical need to redefine what ‘success’ truly means in today’s world.

Arianna Huffington the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Huffington post; one of the most acknowledged and fastest growing publication houses of the world.

Arianna was alarmed by her health concerns when thing turned grave. She had a nasty gash on her eye and she started experiencing high levels of fatigue.

It was then that Arianna realized she too was human and that burnout was a serious concern which everyone in today’s world of hurly-burly is facing (at least to some extent).

It was Arianna’s first tryst with serious illness and by that time Arianna had already amassed insane popularity by making it on the covers of most reputed magazines worldwide.

She went through brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond exhaustion; she wondered if success tasted like this.

In Thrive, Arianna has beautifully depicted how our unquenchable thirst for power and money is making us less human.

Amid the bustling rat races and in pursuit of getting connected to the world, we are losing our family lives, missing the sense of belongingness. Thus, feeling incomplete and ultimately facing the erosion of quality in our work.

Thrive talks about the ignored side of the basic human instincts; our wellbeing, our ability to draw on our intuition, our sense of wonder, and our natural inclination towards compassion and giving.

Arianna also points in Thrive, that the contemporary definition of success in the society is in contrast to our accolades. Our society is obsessed with promotions, PowerPoint presentations, the amount of wealth we need to amass before kicking the bucket.

However, there is more to life; cherished memories, adventures, small acts of generosity, lifelong passions, and the things that make us laugh.

Arianna also talks about her personal struggles, how she managed her personal and professional life whilst juggling between business deadlines and family priorities.

The book also talks about the virtues of unplugging, meditation and yoga, in so doing, showing us the way to strike a balance in our personal and professional endeavors.


3. What I Told My Daughter- Nina Tassler

What I told My Daughter, is a powerful account of how successful women from various fields have conditioned their daughter.

The book talks about the hardships of the mothers who had to go through a long, bumpy road to make a mark in their respective disciplines.

It portrays how the struggles of mothers like Madeleine Albright, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more broadened their horizons and made them wiser than ever before.

What I told My Daughter also talks about the values that successful working mothers have instilled in their daughters so that they gain more resilience towards the trials of life.

A powerful and diverse group of women reflect on how they brought up their girls and shaped their character by inculcating in them the understanding of morality.

A bestselling author, who has volunteered for women empowerment for years, puts up a point that the daughters need not be brimming with enthusiasm.

As a matter of fact, they should be taught to stand up again once they fall down. Because, it’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit.


4. A Good Time to Be a Girl- Helena Morrissey

British CEO-turned-entrepreneur Helena Morrissey’s book argues that why do women have to live up to the parameters set by a highly patriarchal system.

In A Good Time to be a Girl, Helena Morrissey puts forth that women are expected to lean in and adapt to an orthodox system of societal and corporate values whereas it’s high time that women should be changing the game.

As a former CEO of City, Helena’s words amass more acknowledgment and open constructive dialogues than a hardliner feminists.

Helena also talks about her experiences as a founder of 30% Club which campaigns for gender-balanced company boards in the UK.

By proposing a manifesto of revision in corporate values, vouching for diversity and nurturing a culture of critical thinking, Helena’s postulates are in the interest of society at large and not just the women.

This book is not a critique of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and wondered. In fact, it’s the progressive version of the book which talks about taking a bigger leap; thinking outside the box.


5. She Means Business- Carrie Green

‘She Means Business’ is like a gospel for women entrepreneurs. In today’s highly digitalized world, business paradigms are changing faster than ever before.

The convergence of technologies has not only brought an unprecedented disruption in the market but has opened new avenues for doing business without even having a physical space.

Today, all you require is a PC and an internet connection to start your business but it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are countless hurdles like envisioning the future and sustainability of your business, understanding your audience, targeting them the right way and channelizing your resources towards organizational goals etc.

In this book, Carrie Green guides you through the entire process of running your business right from ideation, to paperwork, to operations to improvising.

If you are trying to decode the entrepreneurial path; this book will help you in actualizing your dreams.


6. Shark Tales: Barbara Corcoran

This is not your regular rags to riches story. This book sheds light on the sheer power of your dreams and how everything falls into place when you start to chase them.

This awe-inspiring story is as dramatic as it gets; a low salaried woman raising a grand as credit and leaving her petite job to go no holds barred with life.

Barbara Corcoran had no practical knowledge or experience of the real estate sector when she ventured into it. Using the wisdom that she inherited from her mother, Barbara built that humble real estate business into a $6 billion dollar business.

Barbara’s stint with Shark Tank – an American business-related TV made her utterly popular amongst the American households.

Shark Tales engulfs the readers completely and more often than not they are startled thinking ‘If Barbara can, why can’t I’.


7. Broken Open – Elizabeth Lesser

This might seem like a misfit, but Lesser’s Broken Open has been a life changer for thousands of women across the world. This book helps you win big at Perception in life. How is this possible?

It’s because it helps you channelize the shock and outrage into positive behavior. Basically, the book is about being vocal about your emotions and putting that emotional toolbox to conquer your mental blockades and turn failures into a stepping stone for success.

This is a priceless skill for a businesswoman because setbacks are everywhere and the world is very unforgiving to women with dreams.

The author tells that you will be hindered, conspired against and even humiliated, but you should not get dissuaded by all this, instead, fuel your motivation by this negativity.

Broken Open talks about escaping the prison of mind and attempting the impossible.


8. Become an Idea Machine- Claudia Azula Altucher

How Do I Transform My Life is about flexing your idea muscle. We all have an impression in our subconscious mind that ideas can be produced at will.

As a matter of fact, this widely held belief is just a delusion. Ideas don’t come easy and this book will teach you to push the limits of your idea muscle by asking you to come up with 10 ideas every day.

It’s when you have produced 3 ideas, things will start to get tough and you will feel soaked up. As you burn yourself out daily. Your idea muscle would have gained the endurance to work at will, thus transforming yourself into an idea machine.

Ideas have changed the world in the past, and ideas continue to change the world even today. Look at the startup eco-system of today; it’s ideas that are amassing believers and getting funded by the millions.

Harnessing the power of ideas is something that can push you beyond your shortcomings and give you unfathomable levels of energy to execute your ideas. This what serialpreneurs do all the time.


9. Daring Greatly- Brene Brown

We tend to succumb to various kind of pressures every now and then. We feel weak, we have urges of giving up and fear of losing.

Brene Brown disavows the cultural myth and puts forth a point that feeling vulnerable is sane and a measure of courage.

Daringly great is about winning or losing, it’s about having the guts to attempt, getting your face marred by extremities and looking life in the eye.

Daringly great detests playing safe, standing outside the arena and wondering what it would like to be in the battle zone against a ruthless enemy.

It’s about facing calamities; sour and jaded relationships, plummeting business or broken ties of kinship in the family. It says the worst part is not trying and not failing.


10. Radical Candor: Kim Scott

Radical Candor talks about the irony that we are taught to speak well since our childhood. However, when you lead a team in a company, it’s your duty to not always be very gullible.

The book says that you have to be both empathic and agile at the same time. When you challenge without caring it’s ruthless when you care without challenging you are incompetent and when you are caught up between the two, you are a disaster.

Radical Candor offers a great perspective to corporate leaders who are caught between management’s expectations and building trust in the team.

It carves out a way where once can be an agile leader alongside being compassionate and creating an environment where people develop a sense of belongingness with the company and with one another.


Hope these books enlighten your senses and rekindle the fire inside you so that you may spread your wings and reach for the stars.


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