business books for women

These Are the Best Business Books for Women by Women

11 min read

When we think about practical advice for business leaders, books authored by men have historically dominated the bestseller lists. It’s a bit of a boys club. However, the tide is shifting. There are so many insightful, empowering, and critically acclaimed works penned by women. These business books by women not only carve a unique space in the genre but also inspire and encourage other women to chase their ambitions without compromise. From overcoming imposter syndrome to mastering the art of negotiation and leadership, these books offer invaluable lessons on navigating the business world.

In this article, we spotlight a selection of powerful books by women that stand out not only for their commercial success but for their profound impact, challenging the status quo and urging women to pursue their goals with unwavering conviction and without compromise. They acknowledge the unique challenges faced by business women in creative fields and the corporate world, providing real-life examples from the experiences of female entrepreneurs who made their mark.

Read on to learn more about these amazing women and what they have to teach readers.

15 of the Best Business Books for Women by Women

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” is a transformative work by Elizabeth Gilbert, the celebrated author of “Eat, Pray, Love.” In this compelling exploration of creativity, Gilbert delves into the mysterious nature of inspiration and the processes that drive the creative life. She proposes that ideas are almost entities in their own right, seeking the right person to bring them to life.

Drawing from her own life as well as those of other artists, Gilbert weaves together personal anecdotes, philosophical insights, and actionable advice to inspire readers to embrace their curiosity, tackle what they love, and face down what they fear. The book is a vibrant call to arms for anyone who has ever felt the pull of inspiration and the desire to create, providing a motivational push towards the pursuit of artistic endeavors without being hindered by the fear of failure.

At the heart of “Big Magic” is Gilbert’s belief in the importance of living a life driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear. She challenges the notion that suffering is a prerequisite for creativity. Instead, she teaches readers to advocate for a joyful and playful approach to artistic expression. Gilbert’s perspectives on creativity are both liberating and grounding, suggesting that while the creative journey can be daunting, it is also deeply rewarding.

Her emphasis on perseverance, self-forgiveness, and the rejection of perfectionism serves as a reminder that the path to creative fulfillment is accessible to everyone, not just the traditionally ‘talented’ or ‘artistic’ individuals. “Big Magic” stands as a testament to the beauty of creative living and offers a refreshing take on how to approach the creative process with openness, bravery, and joy.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

In “The Creative Habit,” Twyla Tharp, one of America’s most renowned and daring creative artists, offers a masterful book that helps readers understand creativity as a habit rather than a gift or an inborn talent. Tharp draws from her rich experience as a choreographer to demystify the creative process, presenting it as a disciplined routine that can be cultivated.

Through engaging stories, exercises, and insights, she guides readers on how to make creativity a daily practice, regardless of their profession or passions. Tharp emphasizes the importance of beginning, the ritual of preparation, and the ways to harness memory and experience for creative momentum.

This book is not just for artists but for anyone who wants to inject creativity into their life, showing that the path to innovation and originality lies in understanding and developing the habits that make creativity possible.

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” has been an instrumental force in unlocking the creative potential within millions since its first publication. This seminal book blends spirituality with creativity, proposing that creative expression is a natural part of life accessible to everyone, not just those who identify as artists.

Through a 12-week self-guided program, Cameron introduces concepts like Morning Pages and Artist Dates, designed to combat creative blocks, recover lost creativity, and rediscover the joy of creation. Her approach encourages deep self-reflection and the cultivation of a spiritual connection to one’s creative works. Cameron’s compassionate guidance helps readers navigate past their fears, insecurities, and societal pressures, to reclaim their creative passions.

It’s a transformative journey that has inspired people from all walks of life to embark on a life-altering exploration of personal creativity and spiritual awakening.

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis’s “Girl, Stop Apologizing” is a powerful call to women to stop living according to the expectations of others and to pursue their own dreams with fervor and without apology. Building on the success of her previous book, Hollis addresses the societal pressures and internalized guilt that often hold women back.

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With a conversational and motivational tone, she shares personal anecdotes and practical strategies for overcoming self-doubt, embracing imperfections, and stepping into a more confident and fulfilled self. Hollis’s emphasis on self-discipline, planning, and the importance of not asking for permission to achieve one’s goals resonates with readers looking for a blend of inspiration and actionable advice.

This book is a rallying cry for women to see their own worth, set ambitious goals, and relentlessly pursue them, all while dismantling the barriers of fear and guilt.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown

Dare to Lead” is a groundbreaking book by Brené Brown, where she applies her extensive research on vulnerability, courage, and empathy to the realm of leadership. Brown argues that the future of leadership lies not in authoritative command but in the ability to cultivate a culture of openness, vulnerability, and mutual respect.

She dissects the anatomy of brave leadership, emphasizing the importance of difficult conversations, the willingness to rumble with vulnerability, and the courage to show up and be seen, even when you can’t control the outcome. Through engaging stories, research findings, and practical exercises, Brown guides leaders and aspiring leaders to embrace their imperfections, lean into fear, and lead with their whole hearts.

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to inspire trust and foster a courageous, ethical, and connected culture within their organization or team.

In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney

Grace Bonney’s “In the Company of Women” is a celebratory collection of interviews and photographic portraits featuring over 100 women across various ages, races, and industries, sharing their insights on what it means to be a creative and successful woman in today’s world. This book stands as a testament to diversity, resilience, and the power of female entrepreneurship.

Bonney, founder of the acclaimed design blog Design*Sponge, curates a rich tapestry of stories that span continents and careers, from artists and architects to entrepreneurs and activists. Each profile offers an intimate look at the challenges and triumphs of creative women, along with practical advice and inspiration for others to follow their own paths.

This beautifully illustrated book is not just a celebration of achievement but a source of motivation and encouragement for women looking to carve out their own spaces in the creative and business worlds.

**In the Company of Women is our editor’s favorite from this list!

Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran

Shark Tales” is Barbara Corcoran’s riveting account of how she transformed a $1,000 loan into a billion-dollar real estate empire. Corcoran’s narrative is both inspiring and entertaining, filled with witty anecdotes about her own experiences and practical wisdom gleaned from her journey from a diner waitress to a celebrated real estate mogul and television personality on “Shark Tank.”

This book demystifies the world of entrepreneurship and real estate, making it accessible to anyone with a dream, self-confidence, and the determination to see it through. Corcoran’s down-to-earth style and sharp insights into the dynamics of business and negotiation reveal the power of perseverance, the importance of personal branding, and the value of turning obstacles into opportunities.

She encourages you to be your own kick-ass boss. “Shark Tales” is a must-read for aspiring entrepreneurs and anyone interested in the story of a true self-made businesswoman.

Women Who Launch: The Women Who Shattered Glass Ceilings by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Marlene Wagman-Geller’s “Women Who Launch” celebrates the audacious women who broke barriers and launched movements, businesses, and inventions that changed the world. From Coco Chanel, who revolutionized the fashion industry, to Julia Child, who demystified French cuisine for American cooks, and Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, this book profiles women who dared to dream big and didn’t take no for an answer.

Wagman-Geller provides a compelling look into the lives of these pioneering women, detailing the challenges they faced and how they overcame societal expectations to achieve remarkable success. Each story is a testament to the power of determination, creativity, and resilience, offering inspiration and valuable lessons for future generations of women entrepreneurs and innovators.

Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck

In “Own It,” Sallie Krawcheck, a Wall Street powerhouse and co-founder of Ellevest, delivers a powerful manifesto on the unique value and potential of women in the business world with radical candor. Drawing from her extensive experience in the traditionally male-dominated finance industry, Krawcheck argues that the future of business depends on women leveraging their distinct strengths—such as risk awareness, empathy, and collaboration.

She addresses the challenges women face in the workplace and offers strategic advice on navigating career paths, making financial investments, and advocating for oneself. Krawcheck’s vision for a more inclusive and equitable business landscape is both inspiring and practical, making “Own It” an essential read for women at all stages of their careers looking to understand and harness their power at work.

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It by Valerie Young, Ed.D.

Dr. Valerie Young’s “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women” tackles the pervasive issue of impostor syndrome, the internal experience of believing that one is not as competent as others perceive them to be. Through her research and work as an expert on women’s leadership, Young dissects the patterns of thinking that lead to feeling like an impostor and offers strategies for overcoming self-doubt.

Her book is rich with stories from successful women who have faced and fought against these feelings, proving that these experiences are common even among the most accomplished. Young provides a roadmap for recognizing impostor feelings, understanding their sources, and ultimately, thriving in spite of them.

This book is a valuable resource for any woman (or man) who has ever felt they didn’t belong or weren’t good enough, offering practical advice for building confidence and claiming one’s achievements with pride.

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

Amy Cuddy’s “Presence” is an enlightening exploration into how our body language can influence our confidence, affect how others see us, and potentially change the outcomes of our personal and professional endeavors. Stemming from her renowned TED talk on “power poses,” Cuddy delves deeper into the science of presence, a state in which we stop worrying about the impression we make on others and instead adjust the impression we make on ourselves.

Through a mix of research, personal stories, and practical exercises, Cuddy demonstrates how adopting powerful poses can lead to increased feelings of confidence and how being present can improve our performance in challenging situations. “Presence” offers insightful and actionable advice on overcoming the nerves that might hold us back, allowing readers to unlock their full potential by embodying their most authentic selves.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth’s “Grit” challenges the conventional wisdom that talent alone is the key to success. Instead, Duckworth posits that the true drivers of achievement are passion and perseverance, or “grit.” Through compelling research and stories from various fields such as business, sports, and education, Duckworth explores the psychology of high achievers and the common traits that contribute to their success.

She argues that grit can be cultivated, regardless of innate talent, through dedication to long-term goals and a never-give-up attitude. “Grit” is a motivational guide that encourages readers to embrace hard work, resilience, and a continuous pursuit of excellence, offering a new perspective on what it takes to achieve true success.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Carol S. Dweck’s groundbreaking work, “Mindset,” introduces the distinction between a “fixed” mindset and a “growth” mindset, profoundly impacting how individuals think about learning, intelligence, and achievement. Dweck demonstrates how adopting a growth mindset—the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—leads to a love of learning and resilience essential for great accomplishment.

Through decades of research, she provides insights into how the mindset we adopt influences every aspect of our lives, from education and sports to business and personal relationships. “Mindset” challenges readers to change their thinking to foster a love of growth and a resilience that is the foundation of great accomplishment and personal fulfillment. While it does not focus on entrepreneurship per say, we also encourage you to read Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado.

The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global Brand by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor

The Glitter Plan” tells the remarkable story of how Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor turned a modest investment into the global fashion brand Juicy Couture. With no formal fashion training but a relentless drive and a keen eye for marketing, they created a brand that became synonymous with the early 2000s fashion scene.

This book is a candid look behind the scenes of their journey, filled with personal anecdotes, business insights, and the challenges they faced along the way. Their story is not just about the glitz and glamor of the fashion industry but also about friendship, intuition, and the power of branding.

“The Glitter Plan” is an inspiring read for anyone interested in fashion, entrepreneurship, or the story of how determination and creativity can build an empire from the ground up.

The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on Your Own Terms by Lauren Maillian

The Path Redefined” by Lauren Maillian is a vibrant narrative that offers a fresh perspective on achieving success and fulfillment in both personal and professional realms. Maillian shares her journey from becoming the youngest self-made winery owner in the U.S. to a recognized leader in marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Her book is a powerful testament to the strength of vision, adaptability, and the courage to forge one’s path in the face of uncertainty. With compelling honesty and insightful advice, Maillian encourages readers to redefine success on their own terms, leveraging their unique strengths and passions. “The Path Redefined” is more than a memoir; it’s a strategic guide for anyone eager to break conventional molds and achieve extraordinary success without compromising their authenticity or values.

Which Books Will Join Your Library?

For women at any stage of their personal or professional journey, these books serve as invaluable guides, providing the tools, motivation, and perspective needed to pursue goals with confidence and clarity. By delving into these narratives and embracing the lessons they hold, women can find the courage to break barriers, the strength to lead with authenticity, and the spirit to live creatively beyond fear

Let these stories inspire you, let the advice within them guide you, and may your path be lit with the knowledge that your dreams are valid, achievable, and waiting for you to claim them. Here’s to a better life lived without compromise!