For years – women’s contributions (From Rosalind Franklin to Cecilia Payne and Kathryn Johnson) have been glossed over in science.
It was the same in the world of entrepreneurship – until women started breaking the glass ceiling in Business and entrepreneurship.
Today, more women are stepping forward and putting their names firmly in the business world.
Consider this – across the globe, women own 36% of businesses, and in the last 20 years, businesses owned by women have increased by 114% (source: Whattobecome)
Some of these women entrepreneurs have shared their thoughts and nuggets of wisdom about life and work in books.
In this blog, I review ten such books that will motivate and inspire young females to think about making the jump into entrepreneurship.
On a side note – having personally led a small eCommerce startup, I have learned the challenges of running a small business as a woman myself. I hope the blog does justice to the topic.
Here is the list of best books for female entrepreneurs:
1. Thrive by Arianna Huffington
Ms. Huffington has built a formidable media business after a brief foray into public life.
Her eponymous media website was one of the first online news website success stories many have emulated.
Undoubtedly, Huffington is a pioneer in her space.
In her book, Huffington shares her ideas about maintaining a balance between work demands and what you truly value in your life, including being happy. Mindfulness and meditation make a due appearance.
A good read for aspiring female entrepreneurs as they start on an arduous trek that Huffington has already been on.
“Lays out a path for each of us to look within and make our lives more authentic and fulfilling,” says Sheryl Sandberg about the book. Anne Marie-Slaughter says it’s a book of “wit, wisdom, and practical advice for changing our lives by changing our values.”
I say, ‘This book is a must-read for every female entrepreneur, which is why it occupies the top of my recommended book for women entrepreneurs.’
2. Make The First Move by Whitney Wolfe Herd
Acquiring a billion-dollar net worth by creating a women-friendly online dating app is a compelling and unique story.
Ms. Herd is one of the few woman startup billionaires and an inspiration to all females across the globe looking to succeed in the mobile app/tech / social media space.
Her book details her techniques, insights, and values.
Like Sheryl Sandberg in Lean In, Herd makes a case for women to be more assertive about the value they provide to the organization that employs them.
Yes – you read it right! As a woman, you need to be more assertive about things because there is an unseen industry bias.
The sheer audacity shown by people like Wolfe Herd, Sandberg, and Marissa Mayer to carve out success for themselves in a male-dominated tech industry offers lessons to us all and professional women in particular.
Make the First Move offers details of the bylanes, Herd had to travel.
The book also details the battles she had to fight and how she won those battles and the war.
This book talks about jumping the hurdles to achieve your ambitions and how to have a community of friends.
My take – Online dating space is not an easy industry to succeed in, and Herd just achieved the unthinkable in a tough industry.
This book is a must-read for every female looking for that extra dose of inspiration.
3. She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Carrie Green
Women can often have the germ of an incredible entrepreneurial idea.
Still, they may hold themselves back for various reasons, including lack of avenues for funding or failure to persist.
Women may be hesitant to pursue any new business ideas if they have failed once.
She Means Business offers almost a step-by-step guide on how to vault over these usual hurdles.
Ms. Green provides meticulously detailed instructions on how to go about dreaming big dreams and then how to persist so that those dreams turn into reality.
She has a proper checklist at the end.
Her book uses inspirational quotes from Oprah to Woody Allen, and she also uses her own life story as an example and a template of success.
She challenges women never to hold back and to dream big dreams.
The book can be inspirational if you found the idea of achieving your childhood dreams to be inspirational, as described by Dr. Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture video.
In my opinion, this book is a fantastic read and would appeal to every woman who wants to be an entrepreneur but is held back by the challenges that come with ‘entrepreneurship.’
4. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran
Ms. Corcoran focuses on her own life story in real estate and draws deeply from homespun wisdom to weave her tale of success.
Her book reminds readers of all the values and techniques moms have tried to instill in their kids.
Corcoran’s lessons remind us about the value of focusing on what you have and the value of kindness and sharing.
Moms have been multitasking in their own way for ages; the successful YouTubers of today are not all that special when seen in that light.
You, too, can be a pilot or just a woman with a dog (or many dogs) or a wannabe actress or movie star or an American girl in a ‘foreign’ land … all these scenarios are ripe with possibilities for YouTube channels.
Moms don’t quit, and neither should aspiring entrepreneurs.
Whereas other business books have looked to Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, or Jack Welch to impart some critical business lessons about innovation or persistence or marketing secrets – Ms. Corcoran covers the same ground while using domestic scenarios.
I am a mother of two kids and found the book relatable and full of some actionable advice.
5. Dear Female Founder: 66 Letters of Advice from Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Made $1 Billion in Revenue by Lu Li.
Ms. Li moved from China to Berlin when she was young and grew up, and had excellent corporate careers at Procter & Gamble and McKinsey.
But she decided to chuck all that to build a company on her own.
She realized the problems of female entrepreneurs when she faced them herself.
Ms. Li found Blooming Founders in London, which aimed to support female founders and entrepreneurs.
In this book, Li collects advice from successful women entrepreneurs who might serve as role models for young women or women who want to be entrepreneurs.
You will learn a great deal of detail about the fantastic variety of successes female entrepreneurs have already achieved in a staggering variety of entrepreneurial activities.
The story of Ms. Li personally moved me. I am an immigrant and know what it takes to stand out in a new country as a female.
The collection of advice from all successful entrepreneurs worldwide makes it an exciting read for every entrepreneur.
6. Digital Goddess: The Unfiltered Lessons of a Female Entrepreneur by Victoria Montgomery Brown
Entrepreneurship in the digital domain involves not only new ideas but also knowledge of VC funding insider baseball and being on the same wavelength – with the men with the money.
For women, this presents a tricky problem; or several tricky problems.
Montgomery Brown has navigated these waters successfully and offers vignettes from her journey in founding Big Think.
How do women entrepreneurs run a startup while also needing to breastfeed or toilet train the babies?
Women cannot ‘outsource’ child-rearing responsibilities as quickly as men.
What about co-founders?
How much should investors know … about cancers or pregnancies, or DUIs?
Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos favored an attitude of secrecy in general.
Ms. Montgomery Brown believes in being transparent.
This book is a good read for aspiring female entrepreneurs who will indeed have to travel the same roads and face the same hurdles as this self-described digital goddess.
7. Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts And Doubters by Kara Goldin
When you build a successful company, you face challenges along the way and manage to overcome them.
With her credentials as the founder of Hint water, Goldin has important lessons to offer to women entrepreneurs who want to venture into entrepreneurship’s risky waters.
But more than just business lessons, Goldin also chooses to share her experience in trying to effect changes in people’s lifestyles.
It’s a book that’ll help you stay the course when you face setbacks on your entrepreneurial journey and help you deal with personal challenges such as improving your fitness routines or how to quit addictions.
We probably don’t realize how much time we waste on social media with very little return.
In my opinion, the book teaches you more than entrepreneurship – it teaches you discipline and time management – two essential ingredients to succeed as an entrepreneur.
8. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
Bill and Melinda Gates’ husband-and-wife team have made a remarkable difference to the world through their philanthropy.
In this book, Ms. Gates focuses on women’s key role in shaping societies.
She spends some time discussing US healthcare policy and specific US government policies such as the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit.
There is a peculiarly American awkward relation that Americans have with contraception, which is all the more peculiar for having takers in a country in which people are supposedly reasonably well-educated.
People in Africa and Asia – women in particular – are eager to partake of simple things like contraceptive use.
The book is sobering at many levels.
9. Boss Up!: This Ain’t Your Mama’s Business Book by Lindsay Teague Moreno
Ms. Teague Moreno has written a part-memoir, part-business/motivational book combing practical life advice and business lessons.
This is her second book.
Teague Moreno has a background in MLM and selling essential oils.
In this book, she focuses on moms who want to be entrepreneurs.
Luckily, those who are not moms can also find some things in this book that help the real world.
This book is for those who don’t like the typical business books.
Even if you don’t plan to start a new business, this book will help you with your self-confidence.
I think many of you (especially, Mompreneurs) will love her breezy writing style.
10. Winging It by Emma Isaacs
Ms. Isaacs runs Business Chicks, which helps women start and grow their businesses.
Isaacs has experience running her own business when she was in her 20s.
Originally from Australia, she now lives in Los Angeles with her five kids.
She knows about work/life balance and shares what has worked for her and how she did it in this book.
From her vantage point of interacting with successful men and women, she says that you cannot wait for everything to become perfect or for everything to fall into place before doing something such as starting a business.
You have to take the plunge now and learn the rules of the game while playing it. That’s how successful people do it and have done it.
I loved the way Emma gives straightforward advice.
As a woman entrepreneur, you will like the book and find it relatable with straightforward advice on building a successful business.