The best books about employment

1 authors have picked their favorite books about employment and why they recommend each book.

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Advice for Working Dads

By Harvard Business Review, Daisy Dowling, Bruce Feiler, Stewart D. Friedman, Scott Behson

Book cover of Advice for Working Dads

While there’s been a generational shift for dads at home, so much workplace culture still treats dads as a secondary parent, and our own research with Deloitte show’s just how many tensions with colleagues, line managers, and the whole organisation are still facing dads today. For so many dads, they’re stuck in the middle of wanting of be a great dad and having a great career. This book deals directly with that emerging fatherhood penalty, and carries great advice on how to manage that, no matter where you are in the organisation. It’s packed with tips, insights, and learnings from experts on dads at work, and is my dads at work bible.

Advice for Working Dads

By Harvard Business Review, Daisy Dowling, Bruce Feiler, Stewart D. Friedman, Scott Behson

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Advice for Working Dads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You can have a successful career and be the dad you want to be.

Finally, we've moved past the days when providing for your family meant taking a backseat role in your children's lives. Still, many of us aren't finding the support and flexibility we need, and the time-management challenge of performing at work while being a present dad at home can feel impossible.

Advice for Working Dads will help you balance and integrate your career and fatherhood, navigate always-on work cultures, and find success and fulfillment in one of the toughest&#8212and most important&#8212jobs you'll ever take on.

You'll learn…


Who am I?

I’m the founder of DaddiLife—the leading online platform that focusses on modern day dads, who are becoming more equalised in their day to day parenting. We’ve covered a range of different areas from early stage post partum and mental health for dads, through to new research projects on dads at work and young fathers. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over my time as a father myself is that there’s no such thing as perfect parenting, but there are lots of insights that can challenge our fatherly approaches for the better, both at home and at work.


I wrote...

You’re Going to Be a Dad!

By DaddiLife Books,

Book cover of You’re Going to Be a Dad!

What is my book about?

This book is my proudest achievement of DaddiLife so far, and was undertaken after finding that so many pregnancy books for dads still treat us as a secondary parent, and don’t go much further than ‘just don’t forget to put the beers away.’ This book is designed to be the ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ for a modern generation of dads. 50 new dads and dads-to-be were interviewed as part of the book and it provides a whole community of dad’s experiences that goes deep into the challenges, joys, milestones, and events that dads will experience (e.g. early day nerves, preparing for labor, postpartum challenges, and more), as well as shining a light on what’s happening for partner and baby from pregnancy through to the first full year. 

An Intimate Economy

By Alexandra J. Finley,

Book cover of An Intimate Economy: Enslaved Women, Work, and America's Domestic Slave Trade

The domestic slave trade business was operated predominantly by white men, but the labor of Black women was critical to making it profitable. Here, Alexandra Finley recovers the stories of Black women who fed and clothed the enslaved in pens and jail, who kept the houses of slave traders, who were commodified for purposes of sexual slavery in the so-called fancy trade, and who sometimes even lived as the concubines and “wives” of traders. Putting enslaved women and their work at the center of the story yields an entirely new angle of vision on the trade.

An Intimate Economy

By Alexandra J. Finley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Intimate Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alexandra Finley adds crucial new dimensions to the boisterous debate over the relationship between slavery and capitalism by placing women's labor at the center of the antebellum slave trade, focusing particularly on slave traders' ability to profit from enslaved women's domestic, reproductive, and sexual labor. The slave market infiltrated every aspect of southern society, including the most personal spaces of the household, the body, and the self, Finley shows how women's work was necessary to the functioning of the slave trade, and thus to the spread of slavery to the Lower South, the expansion of cotton production, and the profits…

Who am I?

I have taught history at the University of Alabama since the year 2000, and I have been working and writing as a historian of American slavery for more than twenty-five years. It is not an easy subject to spend time with, but it is also not a subject we can afford to turn away from because it makes us uncomfortable. Slavery may not be the only thing you need to understand about American history, but you cannot effectively understand American history without it. 


I wrote...

The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America

By Joshua D. Rothman,

Book cover of The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America

What is my book about?

The three men at the center of my book ran the largest and most important domestic slave trading firm in American history. By tracing the stories of their lives and careers, as well as those of some of the thousands of people they trafficked, I am also able to tell the broader story of the domestic slave trade itself. I explore the evolution over time of a cruel business that sat at the heart of American slavery, was central to American economic development, and made fortunes for its practitioners while devastating the lives of millions of enslaved people. While the domestic slave trade is something often imagined as a sideshow of American life before the Civil War, in fact it was everywhere. Its legacies remain to this day.

Just One of the Guys?

By Kristen Schilt,

Book cover of Just One of the Guys?: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality

I have always thought that we desperately need to hear from transmen and transwomen to help distinguish the effects of biological sex from those of cultural gender conditioning—more specifically, to illuminate both the influence of our respective high levels of estrogen or testosterone) and, in a word, sexism. Using interviews with transmen, Schilt very much does the latter. Consider this book a thorough precursor (2010) to the much-publicized experiences of Martin and Nicole (Google it); Martin concludes, about his experience being treated as Nicole, "It sucked." Indeed. (And the surprise experienced by so many transmen at their post-trans experiences supports the view that most women have no idea how easy men have it.)

Just One of the Guys?

By Kristen Schilt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just One of the Guys? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fact that men and women continue to receive unequal treatment at work is a point of contention among politicians, the media, and scholars. Common explanations for this disparity range from biological differences between the sexes to the conscious and unconscious biases that guide hiring and promotion decisions. "Just One of the Guys?" sheds new light on this phenomenon by analyzing the unique experiences of transgender men - people designated female at birth whose gender identity is male - on the job. Kristen Schilt draws on in-depth interviews and observational data to show that while individual transmen have varied experiences,…

Who am I?

I am the author of several novels—in addition to the one featured here, Impact, It Wasn't Enough (Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award), Exile, and What Happened to Tom (on Goodreads' "Fiction Books That Opened Your Eyes To A Social Or Political Issue" list).  I was a columnist for The Philosopher Magazine for eight years, Philosophy Now for two years, and the Ethics and Emerging Technologies website for a year ("TransGendered Courage" received 35,000 hits, making it #3 of the year, and "Ethics without Philosophers" received 34,000 hits, making it #5 of the year), and I've published a collection of think pieces titled Sexist Shit that Pisses Me Off. 


I wrote...

Gender Fraud: a fiction

By Peg Tittle,

Book cover of Gender Fraud: a fiction

What is my book about?

In a near future, 'gender recognition' legislation is repealed, and it becomes illegal for males to identify as females and females to identify as males. However, due in part to the continued conflation of sex and gender and in part to the insistence that gender align with sex, it also becomes illegal for males to be feminine and females to be masculine. A gender identity dystopia.  

Gender Fraud: a fiction was a Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award 2021.

When She Makes More

By Farnoosh Torabi,

Book cover of When She Makes More: The Truth about Navigating Love and Life for a New Generation of Women

I know (and research backs it up) that when women earn more money (and have more money) the world will be a better place for it. We all win. But in today’s society being the breadwinner also comes with a higher risk of burnout, infidelity, depression, and divorce. In When She Makes More, Farnoosh shares the ten rules for a fulfilling and wealthy life at home and work.   

When She Makes More

By Farnoosh Torabi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When She Makes More as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As seen on CNBC's Follow the Leader

“Farnoosh’s ground-breaking book will save more relationships than couples counseling ever could.” —Barbara Stanny, author of Secrets of Six-Figure Women

Today, a record number of women are their household’s top-earner. But if you’re that woman, you face a much higher risk of burnout, infidelity, and divorce.
In this important and timely book, personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi candidly addresses how income imbalances affect relationships and family dynamics, and presents a bold strategy to achieving happiness at work and home. Torabi’s ten essential rules include:


   •  Buy Yourself a Wife: Outsource as many household…

Who am I?

I started my company The Fiscal Femme and have written two personal finance guides because I needed them myself. I studied finance in college and worked in finance but still knew nothing about my own money. I do what I do so that others don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. Plus, when I started financial adulting, it gave me so much more power and freedom over my choices – career and personal – and I want that for others. 


I wrote...

Financial Adulting: Everything You Need to Be a Financially Confident and Conscious Adult

By Ashley Feinstein Gerstley,

Book cover of Financial Adulting: Everything You Need to Be a Financially Confident and Conscious Adult

What is my book about?

Financial Adulting is the fun and approachable guide that I wished I had when I got my first paycheck. It breaks down everything you need to be a financially confident and conscious adult.

In it, I cover all the finance topics with humor and compassion - everything from budgeting and consumer activism to investing and taxes. And while it's a how-to guide, I also talk about the inequities in our financial systems for women and especially women of color. I interviewed 35 amazing experts to help me do that.

Book cover of Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880

Black Reconstruction places the struggle for African American equality at the center of American democracy. Written a century ago, it remains among the best books - not just on the period after the Civil War when the end of US slavery made the ideals of US democracy potentially realizable - but on the founding of the nation. Generations of scholars have followed the pioneering path that W.E.B. Du Bois forged documenting the ways in which the “failure” of Reconstruction was in fact the failure of the state to intervene when groups of white Americans violently excluded Black Americans from the body politic. Du Bois warned that we should not permit the history of slavery and the realities of racism to be “explained as a sort of working out of cosmic social and economic law”.

Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880

By W.E.B. Du Bois,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

W. E. B. Du Bois was a public intellectual, sociologist, and activist on behalf of the African American community. He profoundly shaped black political culture in the United States through his founding role in the NAACP, as well as internationally through the Pan-African movement. Du Bois's sociological and historical research on African-American communities and culture broke ground in many areas, including the history of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. Du
Bois was also a prolific author of novels, autobiographical accounts, innumerable editorials and journalistic pieces, and several works of history.

Black Reconstruction in America tells and interprets the story of…

Who am I?

After growing up in South Florida, a longstanding crossroads of Southern, Latin, and Caribbean culture, I became a student of the African Diaspora in the Americas. I learned that Africans preceded the English in the Americas and arrived in greater numbers than Europeans until 1820. As a history professor and researcher, I continually came across the stories of Black men and women, enslaved and free, who started independence movements, fought in revolutions, established schools, businesses, newspapers, and political organizations - men and women who challenged slavery and discrimination and championed freedom at every opportunity. The number of individuals was overwhelming and fundamentally altered how I understand American history and democracy.


I wrote...

American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World

By Christina Proenza-Coles,

Book cover of American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World

What is my book about?

Spanning 1500-1950, American Founders reveals men and women of African descent as key protagonists in the story of American democracy. Sixteenth-century Africans and Afro-descendants accompanied campaigns from Canada to Chile, inaugurating a continuous tradition of Black military service. Seventeenth-century Afro-Americans continued to shape American history as explorers, soldiers, servants, slaves, cowboys, pirates, priests, proprietors, artisans, rebels, and maroons.

While resistance to slavery began in the 1500s, the 18th century saw major military and legal actions for freedom – Afro-Americans paved the way for and participated in the independence wars of the Age of Revolution. Nineteenth-century Afro-Americans negotiated citizenship as soldiers, entrepreneurs, educators, journalists, professionals, and activists. Twentieth-century Black Americans continued to champion universal rights, equality, justice, and civic engagement through endeavors and innovations in politics, law, academia, science, medicine, business, journalism, and art.

Factory Girls

By Leslie T. Chang,

Book cover of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

A portrait of some of the millions of workers who toil in factories in southern China, most of whom are young women. They leave behind their families and work long hours for little money in boring, repetitive assembly line jobs, making mobile phones, toys, purses and other items for the rest of the world. The realities and challenges for the young women behind the goods we buy daily make this a compelling read.

Factory Girls

By Leslie T. Chang,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Factory Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eye-opening and previously untold story, Factory Girls is the first look into the everyday lives of the migrant factory population in China.

China has 130 million migrant workers—the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China’s Pearl River Delta.

As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a…

Who am I?

I have specialized in writing about Asia since first moving to Hong Kong as a journalist in 1989, and spent the past three decades trying to improve understandings between East and West. My Asian women friends repeatedly asked me why Western men expected them to pour their drinks and serve them food. I answered “because that’s what they saw in the movies.” The James Bond films perpetuating these images of servile Asian women scrubbing white mens’ backs in the bathtub were pervasive when they were growing up. I decided to uncover and explain where this history of imagery and the stereotypes they result in come from – and, as someone with an anthropological background, also explain cultural practices that foster misunderstandings. 


I wrote...

The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient

By Sheridan Prasso,

Book cover of The Asian Mystique: Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, & Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient

What is my book about?

Why do stereotypes about Asian women persist in Western culture: as submissive and servile, or the opposite – as kick-ass, kung-fu Dragon Lady dominatrix? Despite recent progress in Hollywood, these images remain pervasive in film, TV, advertising, and other imagery. Where do they come from, and what are the realities behind them?

This important, acclaimed book tackles the perceptions and the realities, recounting the history of East-West interaction that led to these images and their persistence, and the cultural factors and market forces that help them persist. It is ideal for people looking for understanding, and for people looking to help others  – like guys with an Asian fetish– understand.

Pay Up

By Reshma Saujani,

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

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.

Pay Up

By Reshma Saujani,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER

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…

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.

Enchanted, Inc.

By Shanna Swendson,

Book cover of Enchanted, Inc.

Katie Chandler has moved to New York City hoping for a life of glamour and excitement, only to find herself lonely, frustrated, and deeply baffled that those jaded New Yorkers keep ignoring all the weird things that keep happening. Then she discovers that the average New Yorker can’t see what she sees—she is the rare true mundane, completely unaffected by all magic, including magical camouflage. Her special abilities lead her to a new job for a magical company, and the book leads the reader into a delightful series of adventures that hilariously combine wizardry and enchantment with corporate intrigue and the tropes of Chick Lit.

Enchanted, Inc.

By Shanna Swendson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A totally captivating, hilarious, and clever look on the magical kingdom of Manhattan, where kissing frogs has never been this fun.”—Melissa de la Cruz, author of The Au Pairs

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets…

Who am I?

I’m Mary Sisson, award-winning writer blah-blah-blah, and when I need to pry myself off the feeds before my head explodes, I reach for a particular sort of book: story-driven with a lot of adventure, a dash of humor, another of romance, and set in a well-developed, immersive fictional world. While all of these titles can be read alone (I hate books that were clearly written to sell a sequel—600 pages of filler ending with a cliffhanger? No thank you!) they all also form parts of series, because when my head is about to shoot right off my neck, it helps me to know that I have the remedy at hand. Enjoy!


I wrote...

The Weirld

By Mary Sisson,

Book cover of The Weirld

What is my book about?

Treenie is seven years old and loves her doll Bear. She also loves her oldest sister and her brother, Violet and Dougie, who are always sweet and kind—at least on the weekends when they are home. Treenie feels somewhat less love for Becky, her surly, makeup-wearing, bug-fearing, 14-year-old sister who—like it or not—is home all the time.

But Violet, Dougie, Becky, and even Bear have secrets—lots of secrets. An entire world of secrets, as Treenie is about to discover in this young-adult novel. A spell goes wrong, and Treenie finds herself in the magical, strange, and dangerous land her siblings have dubbed The Weirld!

Working Girls

By Patricia Tilburg,

Book cover of Working Girls: Sex, Taste, and Reform in the Parisian Garment Trades, 1880-1919

Tilburg transports us from the world of art and artistry examined in the texts above to examine how new notions of sex and sexuality impacted the lives of ordinary working women. Through the figure of the idealized working Parisienne, the midinette, and the real-life woman worker she represented, Tilburg demonstrates how contemporaries evoked women’s working bodies as symbols of French taste and craftsmanship while also regarding them as potentially dangerous sexual and political subordinates. A painstakingly researched book, Working Girls brilliantly captures the insidious ways in which woman as cultural symbol covers over the socioeconomic hardships and political limitations real women encountered in everyday life.

Working Girls

By Patricia Tilburg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the twentieth century dawned and France entered an era of extraordinary labor activism and industrial competition, an insistently romantic vision of the Parisian garment worker was deployed by politicians, reformers, and artists to manage anxieties about economic and social change. Nostalgia about a certain kind of France was written onto the bodies of the capital's couture workers throughout French pop culture from the 1880s to the 1930s. And the
midinettes-as these women were called- were written onto the geography of Paris itself, by way of festivals, monuments, historic preservation, and guide books. The idealized working Parisienne stood in for,…

Who am I?

Holly Grout is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Alabama. Her research interests include the cultural history of modern France, women and gender studies, and the history of beauty, fashion, celebrity, and consumer culture. Her current project, Playing Cleopatra: Inventing the Female Celebrity in Third Republic France, investigates many of the same themes around sexuality, female bodies, public decency, and spectacle. She chose these works in particular because they exemplify some of the best on sex and the city, and they address many of the same issues that Colette raised so long ago – suggesting that sex and the city was a turn-of-the-century fascination in Paris long before HBO turned it into an international cultural phenomenon.


I wrote...

The Force of Beauty: Transforming French Ideas of Femininity in the Third Republic

By Holly Grout,

Book cover of The Force of Beauty: Transforming French Ideas of Femininity in the Third Republic

What is my book about?

The market for commercial beauty products bloomed in Third Republic France, with a proliferation of goods promising to erase female imperfections and perpetuate an aesthetic of femininity that conveyed health and respectability. While the industry’s meteoric growth helped to codify conventional standards of womanhood, The Force of Beauty shows how it also targeted women as consumers in major markets and created new avenues by which they could express their identities.

This book explores how French women navigated changing views of femininity. Seamlessly integrating gender studies with business history, aesthetics, and the history of medicine, The Force of Beauty offers a textured and complex study of the relationship between the politics of womanhood and the politics of beauty.

The First, the Few, the Only

By Deepa Purushothaman,

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

The First, The Few, The Only is the first book I have read that accurately captures the angst of my day-to-day experience as a high-achieving woman of color in corporate America. I love that the book also proposes empowering systemic and individual actions to enhance those experiences.

The First, the Few, the Only

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.…


Who am I?

I have been an organizational psychologist and executive coach for more than two decades, advising high-level executives, including Fortune 500 leaders, to build workplace cultures in which all employees can flourish. Yet, for many employees of color, the workplace is so challenging that many feel professionally stifled. I realized many years ago that to accomplish my own goals; I needed to take control of my career and not depend upon the vagaries of individual leaders. I needed to set goals, take a long game view, be honest with myself and my leaders, and help leaders understand how changing some habits could help them and me succeed in a disrupted world. 


I wrote...

Leading Inclusion: Drive Change Your Employees Can See and Feel

By Gena Cox,

Book cover of Leading Inclusion: Drive Change Your Employees Can See and Feel

What is my book about?

In this well-researched book, organizational psychologist and executive coach Gena Cox delivers the message that although human variation is normal, true inclusion that embraces these variations remains elusive in the workplace. She argues that this state of affairs will continue until executives lead inclusion from the top of their organizations. Drawing on psychological science, interviews with corporate leaders, the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) experts, and her own experience in corporate America, Gena goes beyond the “business case” and answers the clarion call for human-centered organizational leadership.

Leading Inclusion is not a “how-to” book; it is a “how-to-be” book that educates, challenges, and empowers you and your c-suite and board colleagues to change your organization—and America—one employee at a time. 

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