The best books about women leaders

Who am I?

I am a physician with over 30 years as a healthcare executive recruiter and consultant. I have been responsible for launching the careers of future leaders—many are women who have defied the odds to become senior executives In every area of healthcare. Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders is actually the third iteration of a project that has followed the careers of women physician leaders over almost 3 decades. In the version, 33 women share the lessons they have learned along the way.


I wrote...

Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders

By Deborah Shlian,

Book cover of Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders

What is my book about?

33 exceptional women physicians who have defied the odds share their personal and compelling stories—including obstacles and challenges faced in balancing work, family, and personal life—as their career paths take them from clinical medicine to leadership within government, academia, hospitals, provider groups, managed care, pharma, consulting and entrepreneurial ventures. The lessons they learned are relevant not only to women and are not applicable just to healthcare—they are universal.

The books I picked & why

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Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want

By Linda Babcock, Sara Laschever,

Book cover of Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want

Why this book?

I love this book because one of the biggest barriers to pay equity for working women (from entry-level to CEO) is the fact that so many of us are uncomfortable negotiating for ourselves. The authors’ step-by-step guide can be used not only in our professional, but also our personal lives.

How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life

By Joanna Barsh, Susie Cranston, Geoffrey Lewis

Book cover of How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life

Why this book?

Despite the fact that women make up more than half of workers in this country, they still are underrepresented in leadership roles. One of the reasons is gender bias that sees a good leader as having so-called “male” attributes. I like this book because after carefully studying the issue for 5 years, the authors describe a new model called Centered Leadership which is not only suited to women, but is positive for organizational health. I especially like the fact that the book is filled with anecdotes from women with strong leadership experience in a variety of disciplines.

Time's Now for Women Healthcare Leaders: A Guide for the Journey

By Patricia A. Gabow,

Book cover of Time's Now for Women Healthcare Leaders: A Guide for the Journey

Why this book?

I have known Dr. Patricia Gabow for over 30 years and have had the opportunity to watch her personal leadership journey from practicing physician to CEO of Denver Hospital. I really like that in this book Patricia has interviewed healthcare leaders who share the various obstacles and challenges they have faced as they defied the odds (today less than 20% of women physicians become senior leaders in any area within the healthcare system). I think personal stories are always more compelling than data.

Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business

By Pat Heim, Tammy Hughes, Susan K. Golant

Book cover of Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business

Why this book?

While some of the ideas in this book may seem dated (e.g. women sometimes should let the boss believe that their ideas are his to get them implemented), I still like the overall advice to women who aspire to leadership roles. For example, despite old stereotypes, being assertive and showing confidence are every bit as acceptable traits in female as in male leaders. Just as with some of my other book recommendations, the authors use real-life examples to make their points which I think is very effective.

7 Rules of Power: Surprising--But True--Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career

By Jeffrey Pfeffer,

Book cover of 7 Rules of Power: Surprising--But True--Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career

Why this book?

I like this book because it provides proven strategies that have helped individuals advance their careers within various organizations. The examples the authors use are good guides for readers who need to learn how to leverage their power to accomplish career goals. I think this is a good book not only for entry-level workers, but seasoned executives as well.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in leadership, power, and success in life?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about leadership, power, and success in life.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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