The best books to help women find more fulfillment in their work and career

Who am I?

Throughout my career, I’ve always been passionate about leveling the playing field for women. I do this through my writing, speaking, and investing. Much of my current work is informed by the 20 years I spent in corporate as both an executive and a mentor to hundreds of women. ​The books I’ve chosen for this list are written by women I admire and who espouse similar approaches to the way I lead and show up at work. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!

I wrote...

Embrace the Work, Love Your Career: A Guided Workbook for Realizing Your Career Goals with Clarity, Intention, and Confidence

By Fran Hauser,

Book cover of Embrace the Work, Love Your Career: A Guided Workbook for Realizing Your Career Goals with Clarity, Intention, and Confidence

What is my book about?

I came up with the idea for this guided workbook when I realized that women all around me were feeling stuck, and there wasn’t a practical yet inspiring resource to help them find clarity and achieve their career goals. The pandemic has driven so many women out of the workforce and left others questioning their paths. My hope is that through simple, inspiring, and actionable tools, Embrace the Work, Love Your Career will help women of all ages thrive in their careers and ultimately live the lives they want and deserve.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Glass Ledge: How to Break Through Self-Sabotage, Embrace Your Power, and Create Your Success

Why did I love this book?

The glass ledge is a metaphor that represents women’s tendencies to get in their own way. As a mentor, I have witnessed this time and time again. Oubou’s book explores the ten themes that are most likely to derail us when we least expect it. By sharing her own personal struggles, along with the strategies and tools that she has used to overcome them, Oubou provides a playbook for women to stop the self-sabotage and own their power.

By Iman Oubou,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Glass Ledge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Empowering Guide for Curing Self-Sabotage and Finding Success by Showing Up as Your Authentic, Vulnerable, and Powerful Self
We’ve all heard of the “glass ceiling”—referencing the external oppression women still experience in the workplace. Yet even for those of us who break through the societal barriers to success, there’s another, bigger danger: internalized oppression or, metaphorically speaking, the glass ledge. “When the very qualities that help us achieve greatness turn into self-defeating behaviors, that’s when we trip over the glass ledge,” teaches Iman Oubou. “Yet we don’t need to lose ourselves to become an ideal image of a hardworking,…

Book cover of Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work

Why did I love this book?

In Pay Up, Reshma Saujani astutely addresses the moment that working women exist in today: a moment when burnout is more common than not and inequality persists both at work and at home. Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and author of Brave, Not Perfect challenges the dangerous myth that women can "have it all" and pushes readers to redefine our notions of success. The book contains bold calls for change and tools for working women and leaders in the corporate space to implement to help achieve this.

By Reshma Saujani,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pay Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The founder of Girls Who Code and bestselling author of Brave, Not Perfect confronts the “big lie” of corporate feminism and presents a bold plan to address the burnout and inequity harming America’s working women today.

We told women that to break glass ceilings and succeed in their careers, all they needed to do is dream big, raise their hands, and lean in. But data tells a different story. Historic numbers of women left their jobs in 2021, resulting in their lowest workforce participation since 1988. Women’s unemployment rose to nearly fifteen percent, and globally women lost…

Book cover of The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America

Why did I love this book?

Based on her own career, Deepa Purushothaman identifies what women of color often experience at work – burnout, microaggressions, and under-representation to name a few – and puts onto the page how corporate structures contribute to these injustices. After meeting with hundreds of women of color across cultures and industries, Purushothaman knew that her own lived experiences were shared by so many others, and The First, the Few, the Only advocates for women of color to recognize their collective power and push back against these workplace inequities to claim the respect they have always deserved.

By Deepa Purushothaman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The First, the Few, the Only as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A deeply personal call to action for women of color to find power from within and to join together in community, advocating for a new corporate environment where we all belong-and are accepted-on our own terms.

Women of color comprise one of the fastest-growing segments in the corporate workforce, yet often we are underrepresented-among the first, few, or only ones in a department or company. For too long, corporate structures, social zeitgeist, and cultural conditioning have left us feeling exhausted and downtrodden, believing that in order to "fit in" and be successful, we must hide or change who we are.…

Book cover of We're Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris: How to Use Your Voice, Be Assertive, and Own Your Story

Why did I love this book?

Have you ever had someone mentor you that you’ve never met? The brilliant Hitha Palepu - author, CEO, and investor - certainly has. Throughout Hitha's career and life, she has captured quotes and “Kamala-isms” in a notebook that served as strength and motivation when she needed it most. We're Speaking weaves together wonderful lessons from Kamala's groundbreaking accomplishments along with Hitha's insights from actualizing these lessons herself.

While there is so much to learn from Kamala, Hitha is a star in her own right. She’s the ultimate multi-hyphenate. She’s the CEO of a pharmaceutical company, author, speaker, investor, social media influencer, and more. Just as Kamala has been a mentor from afar to many women around the globe, I suspect that there is a long list of women who would say the same about Hitha. 

This is the perfct book for anyone who is looking to step into their power, use their voice, and lead.

By Hitha Palepu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We're Speaking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kamala Harris is one of our country's most awe-inspiring political figures, dawning on a new age as the first-but not last-Black and Asian-American female Vice President. Having spent her entire career smashing glass ceilings and influencing the next generation of young women, Harris has completely redefined what it means to be a woman in politics.
In We're Speaking, Palepu connects illuminating stories from Harris' unique biography with tactical advice that will teach you to :
* Own the power of your multitudes
* Act on and embrace your ambition
* Develop your unique voice and style
* Find your North…

Personal History

By Katharine Graham,

Book cover of Personal History

Why did I love this book?

Personal History is Katharine Graham’s memoir. She became the first female Fortune 500 CEO when she took over at The Washington Post. From having Warren Buffet as a mentor to presiding over The Washington Post during Watergate, her life was absolutely fascinating. There is so much to learn about leading, women’s empowerment, and how we show up at work through Graham’s journey. What makes this book unique, though, is that in addition to being a classic in the women’s leadership genre, it’s as juicy and riveting as your best suspense novel.

By Katharine Graham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Personal History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As seen in the new movie The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep, here is the captivating, inside story of the woman who piloted the Washington Post during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of American media.

In this bestselling and widely acclaimed memoir, Katharine Graham, the woman who piloted the Washington Post through the scandals of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, tells her story - one that is extraordinary both for the events it encompasses and for the courage, candour and dignity of its telling.

Here is the awkward child who grew up…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in diversity, self-actualization, and women's rights?

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