It is said that a “woman’s work is never done”. For a working woman, that classic proverb is all the truer. Adding the burden of a full-time job or entrepreneurial endeavor to the never-ending responsibilities of motherhood is immensely challenging. Thankfully, these seven books serve to motivate, inspire, and keep the working mother working towards her highest and best purpose.
1. “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg (2013)
Written by the COO of Facebook, this manifesto expands on Sandberg’s 2010 TED talk in which she identified ways in which women are unwittingly held back in the workplace in comparison to their male peers. “Lean In” expanded upon that talk to dive into the statistics behind women’s lag in the workplace, and then goes further to draw on her own success to advise women on how to advance their own careers.
2. “#Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso (2014)
Sophia Amoruso is a young entrepreneur who has eschewed the traditional model of higher education as her path to success. Correctly labeled a trailblazer, Amoruso has founded an online retailer called Nasty Gal that embodies her feisty personality. “Girlboss” offers women straight talk on how to overcome insecurities and how to nurture your passion with hard work.
3. “Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know” by Emily Oster (2013)
In this contrarian look on pregnancy, Oster challenges traditionally-held ideas and offers a different take on what were previously considered facts. Using her background in economics, Oster refuses to accept the one-size-fits-all approach that she sees in the market for pregnant women. In doing so, she liberates the pregnant woman from being confined to the endless rules of child-rearing and shifts decision-making back to the hands of the mother.
4. “Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want”, by Sara Laschever (2008)
“Ask for It” uncovers a troubling fact: even women who are deft negotiators on behalf of others are not as effective when negotiating for their own benefit. The problem, according to Laschever, is that women don’t ask for what they want, even though their male counterparts seem to do so innately. The book teaches women how to bring themselves to the table in a way that is comfortable for them. Once there, Laschever offers a step-by-step guide on how to maximize your potential.
5. “How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life”, by Joanna Barsh, Geoffrey Lewis, Susie Cranston (2009)
McKinsey & Company consultants wrote this book leveraging their experience to retell the stories of inspiring women entrepreneurs and business leaders. Artfully linking the stories of their subjects, “How Remarkable Women Lead” teases out the common traits in the women that are highlighted in the book to present a set of traits that are key to success as a leader, whether male or female.
6. “What Works for Women: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know” by Joan C. Williams, Rachel Dempsey, Anne-Marie Slaughter (2014)
Geared towards women who are navigating the complex corporate world, this book demystifies office politics and offers advice on how a woman can navigate the pitfalls and snarls therein. Written by an oft-cited expert on women and work, Joan C. Williams and her daughter Rachel Dempsey, “What Works for Women” offers a multi-generational perspective and draws on interviews from over 127 women who give optimistic, positive advice.
7. “Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life” by Barbara Stanny (2004)
As relevant today as it was when published in 2004, “Secrets of Six-Figure Women” sets out to empower more women to close the pay gap in today’s society. Stanny drew upon the stories of a diverse group of successful women and pulls out their common characteristics. Stanny offers practical tips to help women identify themselves as under-earners and work to address that problem.
These seven titles will help working women identify what is most important to their success and inspire them when motivation is lacking. Now, you just need to find the time to read, right?!