Entrepreneurial Game Strong: 12 Books All Girlbosses Should Read in 2015

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Books, Girlboss, Books for Graduates, Books for Women, Books for Entrepreneurs


New year, new attitude. Whether you’re a current girl boss or a future one, we all can use a little professional motivation here and there. These are the books that got me through the recent broker-dealer transition of my financial firm– ie. throughout the most stressful time of my life. I had long hours, a handful of needy reps, and mounds of paperwork every which way I turned. These memoirs– and no, they’re not all written by women, you feminist skeptics—  kept me motivated, positive, and eager for more opportunities… and in dire need of more respect, structure, and support. Also, since this is an old list and dozens of must-reads have been published since, you can also check out 12 Books All Girlbosses Should Read in 2016 and 17 Books All Girlbosses Should Read in 2017


1. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg


Sheryl Sandberg is the definition of a full-fledged lady boss. As of September 2014, she became the position of Chief Operating Office of Facebook before serving as the VP of Global Online Sales for a little company called Google. She’s an American technology executive, dedicated activist, and talented author who produced my absolute favorite memoir of 2014.


Lean In” is a re-read I look forward to every few months. I guarantee it’ll be one of yours, too.


Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg



2. “#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso


She had me at #GIRLBOSS. How could this book not make anyone’s Must Read list? I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know much about Nasty Gal before reading her book, but oh my– now I’m more fascinated than ever by her vintage-inspired clothing and her meteoric rise from friending strangers on MySpace to raking in 8 figures with a national corporation in her pocket. The New York Times actually dubbed her the “Cinderella of tech,” and it isn’t because she’s a technological genius– it’s because of her successful {and lucky} romp with  social media. She’s hilarious, and I read her book in under 3 hours. You probably will, too.


Girlboss, #girlboss, Sophia Amoruso, NastyGal



3. “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know” by Kate White


After an unexpected fainting episode in the airport on my way back from DC, I spent the past few days relaxing with my face buried in this book by Kate White, ie the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine from 1998 through 2012. Just as she promises, this book is filled with gutsy secrets and tips every woman should know and implement in her career.


The best part? If you love her as much as I do, she’s also the author of 8 novels and 3 other non-fiction books offering business advice for women. I’m seeing lots of Lady White in my imminent future.


Kate White, Cosmopolitan, I Shouldn't Be Telling You This



4. “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell


I had zero interest in Malcolm Gladwell’s non-fiction books for the longest time. To be completely honest, they look– and sound– boring. On the recommendation of my pageant coaches, I picked up “The Tipping Point” one day in an attempt to understand the art of little things making a big impact, or in my case, small themes influencing a panel-wide favorable score in an interview room. Gladwell states, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.” True story. Just look at Hush Puppies, which he analyzes and writes about in depth. The trick is to be the kind of influencer who facilitates the spreading of these ideas and products and messages and behaviors.


I read this entire book in one sitting and ran out to buy a few of his other books, as well.


Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point



5. “The Nordstrom Way” by Robert Spector and Patrick McCarthy


I went to an Operations conference for my job this summer, and our “homework” was to read this book. Whenever you say homework, a flip is switched in my brain, and I would rather drill holes in my teeth than complete it. I procrastinated and didn’t actually start my highly-encouraged assignment until other conference goers raved about how interesting it was. But really, before you even open the front cover– who doesn’t want to be the Nordstrom of their industry? They’re one of only five companies to make Fortune’s “best companies to work for,” and this book shows a direct link between empowering your employees and creating a long-term relationship with your clients or customers. From finance to retail to marketing to blogging, The Nordstrom Way how you should tactfully model your business.


The Nordstrom Way, Nordstrom, Robert Spector, Patrick McCarthy



6. “Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life” by Barbara Stanny


The title alone should draw you in. Honestly, you know you’ve wondered to yourself, “What do the female CEOs and 25-year-old retirees do differently than I do?” Fact: If you’re a girl, the odds of forging a successful career are actually in your favor. Quietly and steadily, the number of six+-figure women is increasing and continues to confidently rise at a rate faster than men. This book tells you all about the strategies you can use in any industry, whether you’re a corporate executive or a freelance blogger.


Secrets of Six-Figure Women, Barbara Stanny



7. “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sobotage Their Careers” by Lois P. Frankel


Sorry, Lois P. Frankel isn’t {unfortunately} giving you a free pass to be an unwarranted brat. Her book has been a longtime must-have for any and all female entrepreneurs pursuing a successful business, and it’s given me the most eye-opening advice of any of the other books on this list. Example: She tells you to not avoid office politics, which seems backwards. However, as she puts it, if you don’t play the game, you can’t possibly win. The message here is to stop making “nice girl” errors that can easily become career pitfalls.


In conclusion, read this… and keep a copy on your nightstand. and in your office. and probably in your bathroom, too.


Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, Nice Girls Still Don't Get the Corner Office, Lois P. Frankel



8. “Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business” by Barbara Corcoran


Yes, this is the no-nonsense superstar from Shark Tank, and she wrote an entire book with honest advice for anyone starting a business. I say superstar because she’s just so real.. and because I really like her and her book. She failed at 22 jobs before borrowing $1,000 from a boyfriend to start a tiny real estate office in New York City. Using a handful of unconventional lessons she inherited from her homemaker mama, she built her teeny tiny little start-up into a $6 billion dollar empire.


Plus, she’s on Shark Tank. Why wouldn’t you listen to her?


Shark Tales, How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business, Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran


9. “Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship & Creativity as a Lifestyle” by Victoria Colligan, Beth Schoenfeldt, and Amy Swift



This isn’t actually a book; it’s a narrated compact disc defining the feminine approach to launching a business without compromising creativity. This four-step process aims to give women the courage to follow their dreams while fostering their self esteem and happiness.


Although it’s allegedly available for the first time in book form, I’ve only experienced and really enjoyed the CD version, which I popped in my car during a long road trip.


Ladies Who Launch, Embracing Entrepreneurship and Creativity as a Lifestyle, Victoria Colligan, Beth Schoenfeldt, Amy Swift



10. “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban” by Malala Yousafzai


Books hardly everrrr make me cry. Malala Yousafzai’s did. She won a Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to the Taliban, who shot her in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school when she was 15-years-old, for her right to go to school. She and her family refused to be silenced as Islamic militants turned their homeland in Pakistan into a living hell, and this book vividly captures the daily challenges she faced of trying to lead a normal life in a world transformed by terror.


Her quiet yet powerful voice has literally changed the world. Next time you feel like you can’t deal with your problems, remember hers– and people’s like hers. We’re so fortunate, and “I Am Malala” always serves as a soulful reminder to count your many blessings and to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.


I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize



11. “Why Men Loves Bitches: A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship” by Sherry Argov


No, I’m not married, and yes, I’ve dated some d-bags; however, this book isn’t on this list to mitigate your dating woes. Also, I’d like to point out that I’m not in favor of women acting like B’s just to be B’s. Sherry Argov isn’t either, and her cleverly-titled book actually uses the term “bitch” as a dysphemism for a confident and independent woman, which so many people so ignorantly label in a more defamatory way. I applied all the advice in the book to the workplace, since I work with 98% dudes, and Sherry hasn’t steered me wrong. Kind of like in “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office,” the key mistakes ladies so often make in relationships, whether romantic or professional, are universal and much more common than you think.


Over 1 million people agree with me. Check it out.


Why Men Love Bitches, Sherry Argov



12. “The Glitter Plan: How We Started Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global Brand” by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor with Booth Moore


Juicy Couture… ever heard of it? The Juicy empire started in Gela Nash-Taylor’s one-bedroom Hollywood apartment with $200 and a common goal: become obsessed with whatever they created. Essentially, the savvy and spirited founders, Gela and Pam, formulated The Glitter Plan, ie a multimillion-dollar fashion empire, and tell their story in a bright and cheery voice that characterizes Juicy’s unique style. It’s fun, insightful, and a definite must-read.


The Glitter Plan, Juicy Couture, Pamela Skaist-Levy, Gela Nash-Taylor, Booth Moore


Happy Reading {and Friday}!

12 thoughts on “Entrepreneurial Game Strong: 12 Books All Girlbosses Should Read in 2015

  1. Scott

    We have a niece that is turning 16 this year and starting to think about college/etc. I see a number of titles that would make perfect gifts.

  2. Jamie

    Great list thanks! I Read Malcom Gladwells’s Outliers it was great got to try Tipping Point. Another great book one worth reading is Start by Jon Acuff.

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