Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for women to achieve and maintain influential positions in global organizations. Executive women hold about 4.6% of CEO positions in S&P 500 Companies. This list includes names such as General Motors’ Mary Barra, Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi, and Oracle’s co-CEO Safra Catz. Women are skilled communicators, and their natural ability to build relationships are reflected in their careers, particularly when it comes to expanding their organizational network. They’re wonderful mentors, proficient multi-taskers, and strategic planners. All of these traits contribute to strengthening organizational climate and culture, corporate social responsibility, and brand reputation. However, leadership isn’t achieved overnight. It takes years of dedication, self-awareness, and growth. Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico once said, “Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.” Although it’s difficult to navigate the complex challenges women face in business, some women have managed these challenges and can inspire the leader within you.
Here are some influential books about being a professional woman that you can add to your reading list this October.
1. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Lean In makes a fantastic effort in uncovering issues and concerns of the modern day working woman, backed with anecdotes and some compelling research. In this book, Sandberg recollects her struggles, mistakes, and choices that have made her the woman that she is. The book also provides practical guidance on negotiation techniques and mentorship. It’s a witty and informative read for aspiring women who are willing to bridge the gap between who they are and who they want to be.
2. The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School by Selena Rezvani
This book is an empowering collection of advice by 30 of the most successful women in the highest ranks in their respective fields. Richly illustrated with stories narrated by these extraordinary women, this book strives to inspire the inherent leadership qualities of today’s women. The book offers a foreword by Gail Evans, the highest-ranking woman executive mat CNN. Finally, there’s comprehensive bibliography of relevant reading material that’s just the icing on the cake for readers.
3. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
While not specific to women, this book teaches about networking and relationship-building skills. Since 1936, more than 15 million copies have been sold. This book has inspired and helped thousands of people achieve mtheir maximum potential in their lives.
4. Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
Start Something That Matters takes you on an exhilarating journey of pursuing your passion by citing examples from his own company, TOMS Shoes, and how he discovered his core story of being resourceful without resources.
5. Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life by Barbara Stanny
A journalist and motivational speaker by profession, Barbara Stanny identifies key strategies of these women high-earners in Secrets of Six-Figure Women. Featuring interviews with 150 women with annual remuneration ranging from $100,000 to $7 million, this book successfully captures and converts the traits of these women into strategies that one could use to achieve financial success in their careers.
6. Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders by Alice H. Eagly & Linda L. Carli
Through the Labyrinth discusses a woman’s role in leadership and how they have broken barriers to work at the same level as men. In this book, Alice and Linda thoughtfully explain the correlation between gender and leadership.
7. I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know by Kate White
This book offers straight-forward career advice to women at all levels in their professional lives by combining stories of challenges and successes. Kate’s determination and enthusiasm reflect in this witty and refreshing read.
8. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post writes a striking and deeply personal book in which she discusses her challenges of juggling business while being a mother of two daughters. The book relates to women who struggle to manage home and work every single day of their lives. Drawing on groundbreaking research and findings, Arianna shows us the path to mindfulness and meditation, and its effects on our lives, workplace, and culture.
9. Coach Yourself to Success by Talane Miedaner
This book is a step-by-step guide to achieving personal and professional goals through important aspects like career, relationships, self-care, relationships, money management, and more. Coach Yourself to Success is an interactive book and has exercises and actionables for the readers after each chapter. A professional coach by profession and having coached and mentored hundreds of Fortune 500 employees, Talane provides tips that are easy to follow and live by for any professional woman.