I am not much into reading fiction; I know I am really strange! Non-fiction and especially books that help working women or working moms, especially those of us who are ambitious and driven, are a constant companion.
I love it when I get to hold a real book, open it, and get lost in it. The feel, the smell, and the invitation of a freshly purchased book to dig in and devour in it all give me immense joy. As a working woman before becoming a mom and as a working mom over the past 9 years, there have been many, and I mean many instances when a book helped me keep going.
In particular, there are five books for working women that have inspired me, kept me going when I wanted to stop and helped me feel supported and loved.
These books have helped many working women find the strength and inspiration to keep moving forward and drive positive change. I highly recommend all of these books to all working moms out there.
Find a moment to sit down and read a chapter or two. Or, get the audiobook.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
If you want to feel Liberated
There was a time in my life when I lived in the midwest and I had the perfect “everything” – The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect paycheck, and the perfect title. On paper, everything looked amazing.
But deep down, I was miserable. I felt trapped, undermined, unappreciated. I loved, absolutely loved my boss. But most everyone in that company, I felt, was out to get me, and sometimes they would even verbalize it.
On one particularly difficult day, I left the office at lunch and found myself at a nearby Barnes and Noble. There it was, the book that I needed.
How Remarkable Women Lead is based on 5 years of research from the Centered Leadership Project. I picked up the book and started reading. The first chapter was about “meaning”. There! That was the word I had been searching for. Meaning! It was sorely missing from what I was doing.
This book is devised into five sections: Meaning, Framing, Connecting, Engaging, and Energizing. I loved the chapter about Engaging because it helped me see opportunities beyond the perfection that was making me so miserable.
Months later, I had a big health scare and that was the time I let all of that perfection go and jumped into the unknown. This book had prepared me to be mentally ready, okay pseudo ready to accept the uncertainty and redefine my career the way it was meant to be: full of meaning and joy.
If you want to feel Powerful
We all have had those experiences when we are invited to metaphorically, sit at the table but there is no chair! So what do you do? You read this book!
Lean In is a book for working women to boldly drive their own professional destiny. It does so by sharing the facts out there, as they exist, evidenced by data and research.
Some of these sad facts are: women are liked less by both genders when they are successful, or, doing it all or having it all is impossible and a big slap on the face of every hardworking woman out there. Despite all of that, this book helps you see how you can navigate the maze of work-life integration.
Here is my favorite paragraph from the chapter: Don’t Leave Until You Leave. This paragraph is towards moms who are reentering the workforce after taking time off to be with their children:
“Don’t enter the workforce already looking for the exit. Don’t put on the brakes. Accelerate. Keep a foot on the gas pedal until a decision must be made. That’s the only way to ensure that when that day comes, there will be a real decision to make.”
If you want to feel Purposeful
As a long-time NPR listener, one of my favorite programs was This I Believe. When I found out that there was a book, I rushed to the store and bought 5 copies.
This I Believe is an assortment of short essays written by those who are famous (Albert Einstein for example) and those who are everyday people like you and me. These essays describe the author’s personal philosophy about life and they are profound.
I love reading these essays because they put everything into perspective; they show that there is a bigger and more magnificent purpose in life that while seems grand and unattainable, comes to life in small and simple ways.
Interestingly enough, Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the authors, and here is how he starts his essay: “I believe I have a personal responsibility to make a positive impact on society…I consider my job a gift. It allows me to try and help alleviate the suffering of humankind”.
When life gets messy and complex, I always pick this book up. It has a calming effect on me and it always reminds me that whatever $hit I am going through, will pass. Another favorite essay of mine from this book is Growth that Starts from Thinking by Eleanor Roosevelt.
If you want to feel Invincable
Read It’s About Damn Time by Arlan Hamilton. Many of you know who Arlan is; nonetheless, I will share anyways because I love her story.
Arlan is a black and queer woman who is also a venture capitalist in San Francisco. She did not go to an ivy league school to get a fancy MBA, nor does she come from money. Arlan was homeless five years ago. Yep! Homeless.
But her grit is stronger than iron and her determination is second to none. She set a goal for herself to become a VC and later, to invest in 100 companies in 5 years. She crushed both those goals.
Talk about someone whose odds are almost non-existent. A black, queer, homeless woman is now a celebrated venture capitalist who works with the likes of Marc Cuban and our own Brad Feld.
She is a remarkable human being, down to earth, and kind. She has well over 100 companies in her portfolio and continues to help many entrepreneurs of color and the underrepresented. My favorite quote from the book: “Be yourself so that the people looking for you can find you.”
I love this woman. She is incredible and maybe we would approach her for investing in Call Emmy!
If you want to feel Unstoppable
I recently went to a talk hosted by a wonderful organization called Energize Colorado. The speaker was Shellye Archambeau; I had never heard of her. Her talk was a feast for my brain and my heart.
Here is another woman with next to impossible odds: an African-American woman who was born in the 60s but managed to get to the highest levels of Fortune 500. She is the CEO of a technology company and sits on many boards including Nordstrom, Verizon, and more. So how did she do it?
Well, I am only one chapter into her book, Unapologetically Ambitious and so far, I love it. She talks a lot about making choices and planning.
In this book for working women, she specifically talked about household chores being a detriment to women’s advancement and she also talked about the difference between “owning” and “helping”. Owning is taking the ownership of the chore from someone else and helping is about having them continue with the ownership while you help; even if the outcome is not to your liking.
Since I am early in reading this book, I can’t share a lot about its messages. But I did flip to page 240 and interestingly enough, she is talking about the importance of me-time. Shellye makes a point of asking her readers to prioritize me-time as it is a necessity for all of us.
Final thoughs on my favorite books for working women
With this, I encourage you to try and read these books. If you are not a fan of hardcover books, you can always go for the eBook version or the audiobook itself. I have linked these books for your convenience.
I am sure you will feel more empowered and inspired after reading these books.
But then again, being a working woman or an entrepreneur comes with a lot of responsibilities. Hence, it would be difficult for you to actually find the time to sit down and read or find me time if you are busy cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry.
That’s where Call Emmy comes in to find some time for you so that you can start reading these books. You simply have to download the Call Emmy App and book the required services like home cleaning, laundry, babysitting, etc.
By letting us do your day-to-day tasks, you are ultimately saving a lot of time for yourself and for your family. And hence, you get to enjoy your life as a working woman and advance in your profession.
Besides this, if you have read any other books that are ideal for working women and entrepreneurs then please let us know in the comments section.
Lastly, I leave you with a couple of relevant blog posts –