By Bea Wray, chair of the entrepreneurial practice at Forbesbooks | Advantage Media Group
As a binge-reader and woman entrepreneur, I devour business books like my 6’1” teenage son consumes everything in my refrigerator. Voraciously. And when I find a book written by a woman entrepreneur for other women, it’s even more delicious. Books like Angela Duckworth’s Grit, Jessica Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club and Kay & Shipman’s The Confidence Code impart an understanding and insight I find invaluable.
My bookshelves have been bursting at the seams in 2017.
Books that every woman entrepreneur should read
These are some of the books by women and for women from this past year that I’ve found most useful:
Power Up: How Smart Women Win in the New Economy by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Magdalena Yesil. Yesil is the first investor and a founding board member of the now-multibillion dollar company Salesforce. In other words, she knows what she’s talking about. Yesil has been through the trenches in her path to get to where she is today. She shares stories most working women can relate to along with useful advice on everything from claiming credit for your work and creating a network of support within your company to dealing with sexual harassment. This is a particularly timely book with hard-learned lessons women would be smart to heed.
Money on the Table: How to Increase Profits Through Gender-Balanced Leadership by Finish Line COO Melissa Greenwell. Greenwell argues that having women in leadership roles isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. She discusses the financial and strategic reasons for gender-inclusive leadership and shares research that shows that businesses that bring women into leadership positions will have a decisive competition edge in the future.
Live Your Best Day Ever: Thirty-Five Strategies for Daily Success by Brambleberry founder Anne-Marie Faoila. Faoila shares insights she gained building her soap-supply company from a booth at a local farmer’s market to a multi-million dollar business. The book is a collection of bite-size strategies aimed to teach readers how to use their power and resources more effectively, such as ‘Feet First, not Head First’ – trying things on a small scale until you’re ready to take the leap. Practical and provocative nuggets like that make the book particularly user-friendly.
Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves by entrepreneur Christy Wright has been called “a recipe book on how to start and grow a business.” I think that’s a fair assessment. This is a self-described ‘handbook’ for the early entrepreneur on turning ideas into business, including advice on creating a step-by-step, customized start-up plan and understanding the less-sexy stuff like pricing, taxes, and budgeting.
As a working mother, I was particularly thrilled with Pando.com founder Sarah Lacy’s A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy. Lacy fiercely champions the working mother, illustrating both anecdotally and statistically their asset to any business. Kirkus Reviews calls the book a “persuasive call to action that demands women, especially millennials, rethink the relationship between maternity and career ambitions.” She discusses the ‘Maternal Wall,’ the unconscious bias that working mothers are less committed to work and less productive — and the fallacy of it. I mean, there’s a chapter in the book called, ‘If You Don’t Hire More Women After Reading This Chapter, You’re Just Sexist.’ How can you not love that? Lacy’s no-holds-barred spotlight on the issue is both illuminating and powerful.
The list could go on: Cara Alwill Leyba’s Girl Code, Carrie Green’s She Means Business, Sallie Krawcheck’s Own It. There’s a lot of woman wisdom out there. I intend to soak it up.