Happy 2018, y’all! It’s taken me a few weeks to put it together, but I’ve finally rounded up a new list of the best business books for women in 2018! Year after year, this is probably my favorite post to write. As an actuarial scientist-turned-blogger, I understand what it takes to be a self-made girlboss in today’s climate. Arguably more important, I understand the struggles many women face in the workforce. Yes, 2017 was a tough year, but Forbes points out that it was also a year of huge progress. As women, we have a massive opportunity to level the playing field in some very interesting ways. Below are 18 business books for women to help us get there.
Some of these books were pulled from my own library, some were recommendations from dear friends and business peers, and some were passionately endorsed by my brilliant boyfriend, Kyle. These eighteen reads will keep you motivated, inspired, and aware that you aren’t alone in any of your personal or professional struggles. If you’re looking for even more books for girlbosses, you can also check out my list of the best Books for Girlbosses in 2017, 2016, and 2015.
Books for Girlbosses 2018
1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Mason
As a textbook over-thinker, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k was recommended to me by several different people. This book is Mark Manson’s remedy for the let’s-all-feel-good mindset that tells us to be positive and optimistic all the time. He states the obvious: human beings are flawed and oftentimes limited. His profane, satirical, and wise advice is that we accept our limited emotional capacity and determine what things are truly worthy of our time and energy. Spoiler: it’s not wealth, mean-spirited influences, or events outside of our control. This book is a must-read for perfectionists, excuse givers, and/or any girlboss hoping to get through 2018 with her sanity in tact.
2. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
If you loved Lean In, Option B is right up your alley. After the sudden passing of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. Option B combines Sheryl’s insights into adversity and resilience with Adam Grant’s research on finding strength in the middle of hardship, whether that hardship takes the form of an illness, loss of a job, sexual assault, or natural disaster. Whether you’re currently facing adversity or you have in the past, this book reminds us that all people can heal. Research shows that some of us even end up in a more meaningful and joyous place afterwards.
3. The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins
If you love TED talks, you probably already love Mel Robbins, and you’ll love her book, too. The 5 Second Rule offers an easy solution to unintentionally holding ourselves back– both in life and in business. Mel Robbins explains that it takes just five seconds to become confident, break the habit of procrastination/self-doubt, beat fear, stop worrying, and share your ideas with courage. The key is one little game-changing tool, which you’ll quickly master while reading this book. Her strategy has dozens of practical applications, like helping you negotiating and curbing negative habit loops!
4. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
My boyfriend Kyle raves about Originals. When I asked for book recommendations for this list, this was his top pick. Not only is the foreward written by the incredible Sheryl Sandberg, but the book itself tackles many of the problems women regularly face in the workplace. Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt without giving into conformist pressure. It’s intriguing, inspiring, and unlike any other “motivational/inspirational” read on this list.
5. You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero
After reading You Are a Badass, I became a huge fan of Jen Sincero. Her no-nonsense humor and honesty just resonates with me. She channels the same relatable sass and comedy into You Are a Badass at Making Money. Unlike so many other financial guides, she gives you practical, actionable exercises to change your thoughts and feelings about money. When you put it down, you’ll have no problem understanding exactly what it will take to reach your financial goals.
6. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
Radical Candor tackles one of the biggest questions boss ladies face– how can I make people take me seriously without seeming like a total wench all the time? Kim Scott talks about her own experiences at Apple, Google, and various start-ups and provides insight advice and practical advice for building better relationships at work and fulfilling key responsibilities as a leader.
7. I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It by Barbara Sher
Yes, this book was written in 1995. However, it came on my radar in the midst of a traumatic What the heck am I doing with my life? meltdown. Ms. Sher’s main point is that a life without direction is a life without passion. This book reveals how you can recapture “long lost” goals, overcome the blocks that inhibit your success, decide what you want to be, and actually get out and live your dreams. A must-read for anyone feeling lost or stuck in your career!
8. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s writing helped me more than I could ever put into words during my eating disorder recovery. When she publishes a new book, I read it. That being said, I don’t consider them all to be equally awesome. Braving the Wildnerness is one of her best. This book unfolds the idea of true belonging in beautiful ways that truly will appeal to every reader, regardless of race, gender, politics, or religion. After reading, you’ll find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.
9. The Go-Giver: A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg
This was another of Kyle’s top book recommendations last year. The Go-Giver is a positive and enriching must-read that brings new life to the old proverb, “Give and you shall receive.” It tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success and learns that changing his focus from getting to giving (putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives) ultimately leads to unexpected returns. It’s a quick read with a necessary message that you’ll want to recommend to all of your friends, family, and coworkers.
10. She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Carrie Green
Carrie Green started her first business, Easy Mobile Unlock, when she was 20. She took it global within a few short years. She literally meant business. If you’re currently on or are contemplating the entrepreneurial path, this book will provide the honest, realistic, and practical tools you need to follow your heart and bring your vision to life. Throughout the book, Carrie Green infuses the pages with her relatable story and contributes cheerful and celebratory words to encourage you throughout your journey.
11. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney
In In the Company of Women, over 100 exceptional and influential women (from media titans to tattoo artists to comedians) describe how they embraced their creative spirit, overcame adversity, and sparked a global movement of entrepreneurship. I absolutely love that this book exists. Whether you want an impressive coffee table book or you desperately need some compelling girlboss wisdom, you’ll find what you’re looking for in In the Company of Women.
12. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative by Austin Kleon
As a Type A math nerd, I keep this book on my nightstand. I’ve always wanted to be creative, but it hasn’t always come natural for me. Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, illustrations, exercises, and examples will put you directly in touch with your artistic side. It’s a super easy read, and it’s filled with bite-sized ideas that are easy to grasp yet still give you lots to think about.
13. Women Rocking Business: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guidebook to Create a Life Doing Work You Love by Sage Lavine
Sage Lavine is the CEO of Women Rocking Business, a consulting and coaching organization that has helped over 75,000 aspiring women entrepreneurs around the globe to build sustainable businesses. In Women Rocking Business, she lays out a specific plan for building a business that honors the idea of a healthy work-life balance. This book is an answered prayer for women who hope to both unleash their life’s potential and make their mark upon the world.
14. The Confidence Effect: Every Woman’s Guide to the Attitude That Attracts Success by Grace Killelea
This statement rings too true for me: men are prone to overestimate their abilities, while women too often sell themselves short. The Confidence Effect helps women speak out, take risks, and assume leadership positions with confidence. Grace Killelea moves beyond research and statistics to focus on how women can practically build up their inner confidence one step at a time. If you’re constantly missing out on promotions or recognize that your insecurity may be hindering your professional growth, this is the perfect book for you!
15. Fearless and Free: How Smart Women Pivot and Relaunch Their Careers by Wendy Sachs
When it comes to getting out of shrinking industries or starting our own businesses, words like “hustle” and “grit” start getting thrown around. We’re told we need to think strategically and market ourselves. But how? Fearless and Free empowers women to take these leaps of faith, showing readers how to use lessons from Silicon Valley to pivot in their careers and unlock a world of possibilities.
16. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett
Feeling unfulfilled in your personal or professional life? Designing Your Life has your name on it. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful, fulfilling, and productive regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are.
17. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
In this 2016 best seller that I regretfully put off on reading until late last year, psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed– parents, students, educators, athletes, or entrepreneurs– that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence called “grit.” She uses cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee as compelling evidence. Glamour Magazine called this “one of the year’s best life hacks,” and I couldn’t agree more. Read it ASAP!
18. Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning the Queen Within by Latham Thomas
I’ll admit that I was skeptical of this one. Latham Thomas is a wellness guru and creator of Mama Glow, a lifestyle brand focused on holistic services for expectant and new mamas. Not that I’m against holistic education, but I’m not a mom, and I’m definitely not her target reader. That being said, I liked the title and design of the book, so I gave it a shot. Own Your Glow proved to be a fantastic and powerful read. She urges all women to stand their truth and use their feminine edge to design a worthy life for themselves. Filled with actionable tips and wisdom, I recommend this to anyone hoping to curate a path to greatness in 2018.
So that’s that– my official list of the Best Books for Girlbosses 2018! Did I leave any of the best business books for women off this list? If so, I may have included your favorite in my reading list for 2017, 2016, or 2015. If I’ve never mentioned it, please let me know! I need some new reading recommendations, and I’m all ears!