Top Inspiring Books Every Woman Should Read

woman browsing books in library

In today’s fast-paced working landscape, the transition from university to the real world can often times be challenging and a huge step forward for young graduates. Some people seek for mentors to guide them through this transition while others seek for relevant knowledge from books. However, the only problem is that we are in the information age today, and books are being published in bulk that consumers can be spoiled for choice. With women empowerment being widely discussed across the world today and with companies pushing for more women leaders to lead their administrations, this article focuses on recommending meaningful resources for ambitious females. Here we share our top 8 picks for inspiring books that we think every woman should read:

1. Becoming, by Michelle Obama

“Obama emphasizes how important role models are, especially young women of color in a culture that isn’t changing fast enough.” — Jennifer Szalai, Editor at The New York Times

The book is a memoir about the former United States first lady who shares her personal experience from being a young overachiever to one of the most well-known political figures to this date. She talked about what’s it like to be a wife, a mother and how she found her voice while handling the never-ending speeches, campaigns and fund-raisers through times of fear and frustrations.

2. Shark Tales, by Barbara Corcoran 

“Part memoir, part rough guide to business and 100 percent in-your-face glee.” — Working Mother Magazine

“A practical, funny compendium of advice that should stick with any reader.” — USA Today

Corcoran shares her advice in her book about starting a business after she failed twenty-two jobs. The breezy style of writing makes it quick and fun for people to learn from her lessons in childhood that eventually were adopted into her adulthood. Apart from that, she highlights two significant things: common sense and thinking outside of the box.

3. #GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso

“A witty and cleverly told account… It’s this kind of honest advice, plus the humorous ups and downs of her rise in online retail, that make the books so appealing… Amoruso’s unconventional approach to business and her experience as a rebellious teen and creative outcast would also appeal to anyone’s entrepreneurial side.” — Los Angeles Times

This book that turned into a Netflix series in 2017 teaches the readers to work hard to reach their goal and once they do, they need to work harder to remain where they are. The main character, Sophia, is a well-opinionated individual especially when it comes to running a business and she only follows her own rules. From this book, people can also learn how to confront the things that might hold them back.

4. Lean In for Graduates, by Sheryl Sandberg

“I approached it wearing two hats — one as the CEO of a merit-based and highly-driven company, and the other as the parent of a nine-year old daughter. In both capacities, I feel that Lean In is a must-read.” — Mohamed El-Erian, Former CEO of PIMCO

In this Amazon best-seller, Sheryl talked about the topic of women’s career and family struggles in a way that every woman can relate. Relating to her experience as COO of Facebook, she brings attention to a decades-long slog for women in top management. This book also shares some valuable insights for fresh graduates — for example, tips for resume and interview, as well as advice for both professional and personal context.

This book can be very helpful for female Malaysian young professionals and students. She outlines the details on why American business largely remains a male-dominated game, and why women can do to empower and change her mindset.


5. Secrets of Six-Figure Women, by Barbara Stanny

“In Secrets of Six Figure Women, Stanny outlines clear and achievable strategies that every woman can make her own.” – Georgette Mosbacher, CEO of Borghese Cosmetics

Barbara claims that it is not the economy that ultimately depicts our success, rather it is our internal traits and attitude that is more critical. In this book, she clearly articulates her points through meaningful statistics and real-life examples to make it more relatable for readers. Through interviewing over 150 successful and high-earning women, she also shares the key secrets to being successful that are common to most of those female leaders.


6. Nice Girls Dont Get Corner Office, by Lois P. Frankel 

“Any woman intent on getting ahead in the corporate world should read this book. It’s a fascinating crash course in image, influence, and communication, from an accomplished and insightful coach. Terrific stuff!”  Anne Fisher, columnist at CNN

The author highlights 101 mistakes which women do unintentionally that undermine themselves and provides practical solutions on how you can overcome them. According to Lois, many mistakes that women do at the workplace stem from the environment. This is due to the way they were raised in their teenage years and how they were treated differently in society. In general, this books aims to empower and correct the typical female traits that may potentially portray a negative perception of one’s abilities.

Through this book, young female professionals will know why and how to transform themselves into a more credible and respected woman at work. You will also learn how to guide yourself to stop doing all the little things that may sabotage the advancement of your professional career.

Related: Bridging the Gap for Women in STEM: Why Is It Important & What Can be Done?


7. Wonder Women, by Debora Spar

“Debora L. Spar tackles and dispels the myth of perfection with intelligence and humour. Wonder Women is a terrific read.” ― Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

In this book, Debora talks about an interesting perspective on modern feminism. She describes how today’s generation of women have infinitely more freedom than those in the previous generations. In relation, she also discusses the psychological and biological differences between men and women (in the context of professional workplace), and also highlights the importance for young women leaders to embrace their differences in a positive light.

This book will help young female professionals learn to accept that men and women are uniquely different in their own ways, and learn to find the perfect balance in life – both in their professional career and their personal lives (family, social life, and more).


8. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

“A fascinating tour of the psychological research on success. A great service of Ms. Duckworth’s book is her down-to-earth definition of passion. To be gritty, an individual doesn’t need to have an obsessive infatuation with a goal. Rather, he needs to show ‘consistency over time.’ The grittiest people have developed long-term goals and are constantly working toward them.” — The Wall Street Journal

Due to the fact that some high IQ kids don’t seem to obtain great results while those with average IQ do, Duckworth decided to quit her high-paying career as a consultant to become a teacher. She conducted extensive research on what makes people successful and provided a lot of examples in this book on traits and personalities that is fundamental for people who are working towards achieving their goals. This book will put readers on a path to discovering what they are truly passionate in life.

This book is essential for young people, especially those who are just starting out in their career and still discovering their passion. You will learn that while natural talent can come in handy, what matters most in our journey to success is the combination of grit and discipline to put in consistent effort.

Related: Top 4 Leadership Lessons from the World of Football


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