Women at Work: Five Books for Leading Ladies

At Impact Hub Vienna we are celebrating the women leaders and founders in our community this month. We wanted to feature some inspiring books written by women to keep inspiring all the female founders and everyone else in our community.  This year we focused on the question of leadership.  C-suites and corporate boards still have few women.  We cannot solve the problem in one day, however, we can inspire our community to act by reading these books.  We put together this list of the best books for leading ladies and female founders.

We have listed five books we know everyone should read to create more inclusive workforces and confident women leaders.  We know you can’t focus on work over the holidays which is why we included some fantastic fiction reads for passive inspiration.

Leading the Way

Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders

Authors Eagli and Carli explore the myriad of issues affecting women becoming leaders today.  The main concept of the book is the glass ceiling is no longer a proper metaphor for women attaining leadership roles.  They admit women have made real progress in this arena, however, there is still a long way to go.  All the way through the labyrinth.  The maze created by prejudice, organizational behaviour, traditional gender roles, and everything else under the sun.  While this book focuses on women in leadership roles, it does highlight the stark exclusion of men from every day family life.  Grounded in vast research with personal stories to illustrate the overall argument, the book is an academic tour de force.

A Good Time to be a Girl  

Helena Morrissey is at the forefront of the campaign for gender balance in the UK.  Morrissey makes the case for diversity in the workforce and a more inclusive society as the only way to move forward.  Achieving gender balance in the workforce, is for Morrissey, a driver of economic success of societies and individuals.   While the book and author do court some controversial views, the message is clear, we need everyone to move forward.

The Confidence Effect: Every Woman’s Guide to the Attitude the Attracts Success

Grace Killelea astutely asks “women are told to step up and lean in, but how?” For Killelea it is not just about a patriarchal work culture.  “Men are prone to overestimate their abilities, while women too often sell themselves short,” and Killilea questions women’s overall confidence in striking out and achieving their goals.  In this essential guide book, she lays down simple strategies for women to bolster their confidence and increase their influence by practicing “the Four Rs of Success-relationships, reputation, results, and resilience-dipping.”  This book is essential inspiration for anyone.

Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World 

Finance is a man’s world and reporting on financial matters is the same.  Joann S. Lublin was among the first women reporters at the Wall Street Journal.  She rose through the ranks to lead a bureau office in London.  She chronicles her success, along with fifty other successful women at the top of their game.  Lublin is an experienced journalist peppering the lessons in success these great ladies learned along the way with concrete strategies and personal anecdotes.  Lublin focuses on the specific dilemmas women experience in the work world.  However, she never forgets women have other identities outside of their working lives, meaning lover, sister, friend, mother are all meaningful roles and deserve time and effort.

A Better Tomorrow

We Should All be Feminists

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes everything; fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and some philosophy.  Really, anything by her is amazing and worth reading repeatedly.  What else would you expect from someone who won the MacArthur Genius Grant.  The book is short and simple.  Its message very clear: we must all change to be equal.  If you don’t have time to read the book, Adichie gave a powerful TedTalk to summarize the book.

Passive Inspiration

The Power 

Naomi Alderman won the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction last year for this novella.  The world is recognizable, it is our own for the most part.  Well, there is one tiny twist.  Teenage girls suddenly discover they have the power to cause indescribable physical pain, even death.  This is speculative fiction at its best, forcing readers to see our current world through new perspectives.

Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur

Who is Marvel’s smartest superhero?  Tony Stark is likely what you answered, however, you are wrong.  It is Lunella Lafayette, she is nine years old, sports a backpack, and her side kick is a giant red dinosaur.  The comic tackles gender issues, social inclusivity, and race issues all through the eyes of a child.  The art is beautiful and the stories are action packed.  They are also perfect for any clever girls in your life which you wish to see grow up into confident women.

Need more inspiration?  Check out our post from last year: Inspiring Women at Work: Five Best Books for Women Entrepreneurs.

Jennifer Cornick Impact Hub Vienna
Jennifer Cornick Freelance journalist and blogger for various publications in Vienna. When I am not writing, I can generally be found with a book (or anything with words on it - even […]

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