10 must-read books for aspiring businesswomen

As most women with ambition to achieve corporate success would know, knowing the best ways to deal with people in the workplace from bosses and clients to subordinates can be difficult at the best of times. In an environment that up until recently was mostly male-dominated, it can be a challenge for any woman entering or climbing up in the corporate sector to find her feet and achieve her goals.

If you want to achieve success, there are a few ways you can do so – and one of them is by reading! Take a look at some of the inspiring books that women who have risen to greatness in their careers have read, applied and benefited from. These are the 10 must-read books for aspiring businesswomen.

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Principle Centred Leadership

Kathleen Charlton, who owns and operates a successful winery business, swears by Principle Centred Leadership by Stephen R. Covey. She claims that the book encouraged her to develop an understanding of the needs of her clients and colleagues, and that through empathetic relationships with others she has improved both her own productivity and that of her business. It’s a book that’s worth checking out for women seeking to enhance their professional and personal relations with others.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

President and Founder of the Women President’s Organisation, Marsha Firestone, encourages other women to have a read of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. The book goes over principles for viral marketing and how small but well-thought out campaigns, promotions or even discussions can trigger a huge response from customers and a huge variance in sales and overall company performance. This book is definitely worth a look for women involved in the marketing industry.


Another offering from Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers is recommended to women by successful creative director Liz Gumbinner. Gumbinner claims that the book is for anyone in business and that it is useful to women in that it discusses how social, cultural and economic factors can hinder a person’s success in spite of their best efforts. While it’s unfortunate that glass ceilings still exist in workplaces today, this book is worthwhile reading for women who want to know what sort of challenges they can expect in their workforce roles.

The 10 Laws of Enduring Success

Written by a highly experienced and successful businesswoman, Maria Bartiromo, The 10 Laws of Enduring Success comes to us from CEO Kathy Ireland. It details the personal struggles of Bartiromo as she strove to break down barriers and inequalities in her working life, and focuses on the ethics, work approach and philosophy that helped her succeed in her business life. It’s worth looking into for women who want to know stories of real-life adversity faced by women and how such adversity was overcome.

Leading From the Front

Written by two businesswomen who used to be captains in the US Marine Corps, this book is recommended by entrepreneur Felicia Joy and it encourages women to use tactics that play to their unique strengths when in leadership roles. Given that it features the advice of two women who were successful in a heavily male-dominated environment, it’s worth investigating for women who want to succeed in other male-centred industries.

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek is a book that is really important for women who want to achieve corporate success while juggling their job with family commitments such as looking after children. The book encourages women to find the right balance between both sides of their lives by prioritising their work effectively.

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A Whole New Mind

The book A Whole New Mind is put forth by successful author Daniel H. Pink, and it is definitely worth a read for women looking to field successful communication strategies in the workplace. It talks about the fact that workplaces are increasingly adopting right-brain oriented approaches to decision-making processes, and that both men and women who are able to combine emotional control and calm thought-processes with feelings and thoughts will ultimately be the most successful in the workplaces of the future.

How We Lead Matters

Being able to effectively deal with all the trials and tribulations of the workplace is important to women in the current employment era, and this book recommended by CEO Judi Sheppard Missett talks about some of the real-life difficulties that businesswomen have faced all over the world. This is a must-read for anyone in leadership or aspiring for a managerial position.

Why Women Don’t Ask

This book, written by authors Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, is a must-read for women who struggle to achieve their goals in day-to-day office interactions with bosses and colleagues. The crux of Why Women Don’t Ask is that women on the whole tend to be more reserved and less likely to negotiate their terms with others, and that this contributes to a lot of missed opportunities in the workplace. If you’re looking for a promotion or to get some leverage in your organisation, it’s definitely worth checking out this gem on self-confidence and assertiveness in women.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

This book, put forward by senior director Kari Taylor, focuses on the ways that women impede their career opportunities by conforming to societal archetypes about how women should behave. This book is important to read for women who are struggling to get ahead in the workplace but can’t work out why; odds are it’s to do with underlying power relations and inequalities that exist right in their workplace, even if not readily visible.


This post was written in partnership with TGC. TGC helps to connect people with commercial real estate in Sydney, so you can reach your business and entrepreneurial goals.

2 replies on “10 must-read books for aspiring businesswomen

  • Michelle Crowther

    I loved this round-up of books to inspire women. I’ve just added ‘How we lead matters’ to my 2014 to read list on Goodreads and hopefully should have a copy within the week!

    Of those books I’ve already read on the list I’d suggest to everyone they read Outliers, it’s an amazing book that offers new insights every time you read it.

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