The best books about impostor syndrome

Who picked these books? Meet our 10 experts.

10 authors created a book list connected to impostor syndrome, and here are their favorite impostor syndrome books.
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By Nikki May,

Book cover of Wahala

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Author Of Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

From the list on that pay homage to south London.

Who am I?

Having grown up and gone to school in south London, it will always have a special place in my heart. Call me biased, but I think it’s the best place in the capital. Hands down. I love that it’s home to many Afro-Caribbean families and how its cultural presence can be felt by just walking down any street. From the bustling markets selling plantain, yams, and hard dough bread to the throng of aunties wearing brightly-coloured, patterned lace as they make their way to church. With south London being so atmospheric, I knew I had to include it as a setting in my novel. It will always be my first home.  

Lizzie's book list on that pay homage to south London

Discover why each book is one of Lizzie's favorite books.

Why did Lizzie love this book?

I flew through Wahala. Pacy, suspenseful, and binge-able, this novel did not disappoint; it delivered in all areas. Zany, memorable characters – tick. Messy, complicated entanglements – tick. Tantalising, mouth-watering descriptions of Nigerian food served in south London restaurants – tick, tick. (The author kindly included a few recipes at the back of the book!) Wahala reminded me of how enjoyable reading can be when you find a widely-entertaining book that you can kick back and sink your teeth into. An engrossing, riveting read that explores the complexity of adult female friendships, I highly recommend it. 

By Nikki May,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fabulous friendship novel with a killer edge for fans of BIG LITTLE LIES and EXPECTATION


'A journey of friendship, revenge and finding your true self. Gripping' STYLIST MAGAZINE

'I would definitely recommend this book to friends. I already have!' BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB

'What makes this slow-burn story of friendship and vengeance refreshing and original is the exhilarating ease with which it portrays a London steeped in the colours and sounds of Lagos' THE TIMES, Best Popular Fiction Books of 2022


Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in…

Book cover of We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman's Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power

Keisha Blair Author Of Holistic Wealth Expanded and Updated: 36 Life Lessons to Help You Recover from Disruption, Find Your Life Purpose, and Achieve Financial Freedom

From the list on building a wealth mindset.

Who am I?

I'm a trained Economist and Harvard Trained Policy Expert. I was part of the Prime Minister's supporting delegation to the World Economic Forum, ASEAN and APEC Summits in Singapore. I'm the Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth and I am the host of the Holistic Wealth podcast. I wrote a viral article entitled "My Husband Died At Age 34. Here Are 40 Life Lessons I Learned From It". The article was viewed by more than 50 million people globally and led to the publication of my first book on Holistic Wealth, where I coined the term "Holistic Wealth". I have now written three books on Holistic Wealth that have been published globally.

Keisha's book list on building a wealth mindset

Discover why each book is one of Keisha's favorite books.

Why did Keisha love this book?

I interviewed Rachel Rodgers on the inaugural episode of the Holistic Wealth podcast, where she shared her story of doubling her income from $2 million to 5 million during a global pandemic.

The interview struck a cord and is still one of the most popular podcast episodes today. I read the book and really liked the focus on wealth mindset for women. Rachel has also had to overcome the death of her father as a child, and that also resonated with me as I stated in my book how my kids also lost their father at a young age.

Whatever struggles we all go through in life, we can rest assured that there is always hope. I love books that outline these struggles and victories. 

By Rachel Rodgers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Should All Be Millionaires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you ready to fill your life with more peace, power, and joy?

We Should All Be Millionaires details a realistic, achievable, step-by-step path to creating the support, confidence, and plan you need to own your success and become the millionaire the world needs you to be.

Only 10 percent of the world's millionaires are women, making it difficult for women to wield the economic power that will create lasting equality. Whatever is stopping you from having seven figures in the bank-whether it's shaky confidence, knowledge gaps when it comes to wealth building tactics, imposter syndrome, a janky mindset about…

Medical School

By John Lawrence,

Book cover of Medical School

David Z. Hirsch Author Of Didn't Get Frazzled

From the list on painfully honest training to become a doctor.

Who am I?

I think our collective fascination with medical training is understandable. What bizarre sorcery molds otherwise sensible college graduates into fully functioning physicians? Is it possible to maintain your humanity in the process? Or any semblance of a normal relationship? While my book remains the only novel about medical school training, many great physician memoirs detail the typically exhausting, frequently bizarre, and ultimately gratifying experience of becoming a doctor. After graduating from Wesleyan University, I obtained my medical degree at New York University School of Medicine and trained in the primary care internal medicine program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. I live in Maryland with my wife and two children.

David's book list on painfully honest training to become a doctor

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

The future Dr. Lawrence sustains two traumatic brain injuries right before starting medical school. After inexplicably not taking any time off to recover, he trundles ahead despite short-term memory loss. What follows is an entertaining and chaotic four years of surmounting formidable obstacles while suffering an imposter syndrome that lingers throughout his training.

I think every medical student aside from the most incurable narcissist feels they are playing doctor much of the time. This memoir is highly relatable.

By John Lawrence,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ready to learn how to be a doctor? Well, neither was John...

#1 Best Seller " I stayed up far too late, often crying with laughter, reading about the medical mishaps and blunders..." - #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Lauren Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada and When Life Gives You Lululemons)

Playing Doctor is a medical memoir full of laugh-out-loud tales, born from chaotic, disjointed, and frightening nights on hospital wards during John Lawrence’s medical training and time as a junior doctor. This candid autobiography will demystify medical education and inspire you. Equal parts heartfelt, self-deprecating humor, and irreverent,…

The Practice

By Seth Godin,

Book cover of The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

Allen Gannett Author Of The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time

From the list on creativity and how to harness it as a skill.

Who am I?

I have been addicted to reverse engineering things since I was a kid. I wrote The Creative Curve to reverse engineer the science of creativity. What could academic research teach us about creativity? If we talked to some of the world’s leading creatives, what would they tell us? My goal is to help readers unlock the part of them (that, as I argue, we all have) that is creative. When I’m not writing, I invest in tech startups that I think will leverage the principles from my book. I live in New York City with my mischievous, but incredibly adorable corgi Maven. 

Allen's book list on creativity and how to harness it as a skill

Discover why each book is one of Allen's favorite books.

Why did Allen love this book?

In The Practice, Godin successfully does that “thing,” that he is so uniquely good at: sharing wisdom with panache and joy, not condescension or cliché. He artfully argues for the creative to better empathize with their audience, and in doing so, create better art. Since, creativity is nothing without impact.

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Purple Cow and This is Marketing comes an elegant little book that will inspire artists, writers, and entrepreneurs to stretch and commit to putting their best work out into the world.

Creative work doesn't come with a guarantee. But there is a pattern to who succeeds and who doesn't. And engaging in the consistent practice of its pursuit is the best way forward.

Based on the breakthrough Akimbo workshop pioneered by legendary author Seth Godin, The Practice will help you get unstuck and find the courage to make and share creative work. Godin insists that…

Book cover of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

Shannon Karels and Kathy Miller Author Of Steel Toes and Stilettos: A True Story of Women Manufacturing Leaders and Lean Transformation Success

From the list on real talk by women authors.

Who are we?

We are relatable women who have successful careers in a predominately male industry.  We have run businesses, built teams based on trust and inclusion, become authors, speakers, and advisors, while simultaneously raising children with our also working husbands.  This is not done with ease or without making trade-offs, but we will share our stories and hope to inspire other women.  We believe in supporting women in all areas of our lives and we love to lift up the ones who have impacted us.

Shannon's book list on real talk by women authors

Discover why each book is one of Shannon's favorite books.

Why did Shannon love this book?

If you suffer at times from Imposter Syndrome, as many women do, including Shannon, then you should pick up this book! 

Valerie provides insights into why we often think we are fooling others with our success. She asks thoughtful questions to help you become more self-aware of your competence type and how that affects your own self-sabotage and self-doubt.

She opened Shannon’s eyes to how women perceive and project their failure and provides incredibly helpful suggestions on how to flip the script on your thought process. Valerie created a safe space to help us all do some reflection, recognize we aren’t the only one’s carrying around this Imposter Syndrome and explains how to overcome it!

By Valerie Young,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young.  

It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.
If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not…


By Sandeep Jauhar,

Book cover of Intern: A Doctor's Initiation

Adam Stern Author Of Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training

From the list on medical memoirs that will make your heart ache.

Who am I?

I used to think one had to choose a career and work at it, giving up the parts of himself that didn’t fit neatly into that category. I was wrong. As a man in my late thirties, I am an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, but I’m also a writer. It’s books like the ones I’ve recommended here that convinced me that one does not need to turn off the parts of himself that are creative in order to be a doctor or even a grown-up. In fact, cultivating those same parts can be additive to this whole experience of being an adult. 

Adam's book list on medical memoirs that will make your heart ache

Discover why each book is one of Adam's favorite books.

Why did Adam love this book?

Intern is the realest account I’ve ever read of what it’s truly like to start working after leaving the nest of medical school. Jauhar’s writing is crisp and human, while the content gives the reader a true glimpse into the life of a new doctor. This book taught me that it was okay to experience impostor syndrome, to feel overwhelmed, and to express yourself creatively even as a doctor. This author has gone on to write regularly in The New York Times and has become one of medicine’s most treasured physician-writers.

By Sandeep Jauhar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"In Jauhar's wise memoir of his two-year ordeal of doubt and sleep deprivation at a New York hospital, he takes readers to the heart of every young physician's hardest test: to become a doctor yet remain a human being." ― Time

Intern is Dr. Sandeep Jauhar's story of his days and nights in residency at a busy hospital in New York City, a trial that led him to question his every assumption about medical care today.

Residency―and especially its first year, the internship―is legendary for its brutality, and Jauhar's experience was even more harrowing than most. He switched from physics…

Book cover of Nightfall in the Garden of Deep Time

E M Graham Author Of An Ignorant Witch

From the list on fantasy with flawed main characters.

Who am I?

I’m a multi-genre writer, a passionate reader, and, like all of us, a flawed human being. The stories that truly speak to me are the ones with a main character who is imperfect. I may not like the protagonist at first, but as the author develops the story and the hero’s challenges, the character grows, we see inside them and learn to love them, as they also learn to love and accept themselves, flaws and all. They use this growth to make a better world. And that’s what fiction is all about. Of course, it helps if they’re funny too. I love humor.

E M's book list on fantasy with flawed main characters

Discover why each book is one of E M's favorite books.

Why did E M love this book?

Kelsey stifles her creative side, for she’s struggling to pay the bills and has to be practical. But in the hidden garden next door, she finds the answers to who she really is, and learns to embrace her creative side and value her gifts. I want to give a copy of this book to every creative person I know, to everyone who has been touched by the imposter syndrome (it’s a real thing with all artistic endeavors!) In this exquisite book, Higley shored up my inspiration as she gently shows us that all of our gifts are welcome.

By Tracy Higley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nightfall in the Garden of Deep Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kelsey dreams of a life filled with creativity.
She's about to stumble into far more than she imagined...

Kelsey Willoughby doesn’t have time to pursue her dream of writing a novel. Imagination doesn’t pay the bills, and she’s busy saving her beautiful bookshop from online competition, hotel developers, and the sneaking suspicion that nobody reads anymore.

Not to mention all those voices telling her she doesn’t have talent.

But then the vacant lot of weeds next door starts to shimmer.

When Kelsey stumbles into a luminous nighttime garden party, larger than the vacant lot that holds it and filled with…