The business books that land on must-read lists year after year, heavily recommended by CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs, usually have one thing in common: they’re written by men. Of the 49 books on these lists from CNBC, Inc., and even Insider, you’ll count just 10 books that have female authors.
So we asked female founders and business leaders what books they recommend on leadership, entrepreneurship, and running a company. There was only one guideline: at least one woman must be an author of the book.
What we found is that these female entrepreneurs and executives have a broader understanding of what constitutes business advice than traditional topics such as funding, pitches, capital, scaling, business plans, and board meetings.
Traditional business strategy was still on the list, but many leaders also pointed us to books about psychology, feminism, and mental health. Best-sellers from leading ladies like Michelle Obama and Sheryl Sandberg made the list as well as books from authors Jessica Joines and Kim Scott. The resulting list reflects a step forward in the ever-evolving story of female entrepreneurialism, and how women have different experiences and insights to share, often adding up to a different leadership style.
As Stephanie Nadi Olson, the founder of We Are Rosie, put it, “Women like me are much more drawn to books written by women leaders and founders simply because women lead from intuition and compassion,” she told Insider. “It’s less about competition for us, and more about how we can build and manifest our visions into a business that serves humanity.”
‘Dare to Believe,’ by Jessica Joines
“Jessica’s book focuses on clearing out self-limiting beliefs that can keep women from achieving their full potential in life and business,” Nadi Olson told Business Insider.
She explained that in order for women to succeed in business and chart their own courses, we must first reprogram the collective female psyche from telling ourselves we’re not good enough or don’t belong in a room.
“These are storylines that are unique to women and they must be addressed in order for women in business to make an impact that is both unique and long-lasting on business,” she said.