I wanted to share with you the top books I have discovered and read on female empowerment and business success. Hopefully, they’ll be more relatable and helpful to female entrepreneurs out there.
1. The Martha Stewart Rules
Self explanatory. This woman is a billionaire, celebrity, and doing what she loves. Learn her rules for success!
2. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
This is a version of Sheryl’s books for new college graduates.
I think it’s a great read, but it’s incredibly long and severely focused on female empowerment. I think a lot of is rather drawn out, though you’ll learn a lot about mindsets and the mental shifts you can make to improve in the workplace. I did find myself getting disengaged since it kept repeating the same ideas and issues to the point where I thought “I get it.”
Having said that, she has spread the torch of her #LeanIn movement far and wide for years.
She really emphasizes the point that there is still a glass ceiling that needs to be broken.
During recent times, she has reached numerous top-level celebrities with her movement, all of which have spread a message about furthering the equality for women. This includes top influencers like Selena Gomez.
The two biggest takeaways I got from Sheryl are:
- Gender equality is still not fixed. Even in first world countries. Like Sheryl, I assumed this was already fixed, but it truly isn’t when you look at the facts. Jennifer Lawrence’s discussion of Hollywood’s gender pay gap is just one example.
- We have tons of potential that we’re keeping bottled up because of gender inequality. Many women still have many limiting beliefs about their potential and their income because of these cultural norms of the past.
I think this #LeanIn movement is a great thing because, like Warren Buffett said, it’s unleashing half of the potential of our nation that we’ve bottled up. Imagine how much more we can accomplish as a society over time.
Overall, I think this is a great thing in the right direction. There are biological reasons why this difference was there in the past. Men have built in biology to make them better at physical activities.
Melinda Gates did a great job bringing up this reverse discrimination issue in The Huffington Post’s #TalkToMe series where successful people talk to their children.
She mentioned how she caught herself from assigning more physically strenuous chores to her sons.
Just by the name, you can tell that this one has a different tone.
It’s a different read and this girl, Sophia Amoruso, definitely has her own flavor to her personality.
She started as a hippie anti-capitalist girl that hitchhiked around the world. She ended up getting a desk job to survive.
She eventually stumbled into a clothing business through eBay that exploded. She bootstrapped it to a company called Nasty Gal, which is valued at north of $100 Million.
It’s a quick read and more of a memoir. It’s relatable in a different way. It’ll teach you about the importance and use of capitalism. It’ll show you how someone you didn’t expect to succeed did so.
Sophia always had the passion, drive, and work ethic to succeed. But she just never was given an outlet that she cared about it enough to express it.
This one’s not going to give you action steps. I left the book kind of at a loss on what I myself can do to emulate what she’s done. The book is more qualitative and focused on her feelings/experiences than a practical step by step book, like Pat Flynn’s Will It Fly? on how to start and validate a business. If you want a break from the dry, tactical books, this one may give you that by telling a real story about her life.
I felt like she stumbled into it. She liked thrifting and reselling vintage clothes. And her style of clothes just took on a lot of demand because of trends, so she started to scale quickly. It probably won’t give you the blueprint to do the same. It will give you some inspiration to show you it’s possible. So, I did worry about if she’ll sustain it or it’ll go away. But to this day, Nasty Gal is still in operation.