Need Work Inspo? The 26 Best Career Advice Books For Millennial Women

We may be in a Golden Age of television, but we're also in a Golden Age of tell-alls. In recent years, the number of high-profile women writing essays and books about their personal and professional lives seems to have grown tenfold.

Many of these books offer an in-depth look into industries and fields that people dream of entering, struggle to climb the ranks in, or even hope to leave with grace. As readers, we may not be at the top of our game just yet, but we can gain a lot of insight from the research and recordings of these experiences by other people.

For one thing, it's great to have numbers and data that provide more context for the issues we encounter at work. For another, people seeking mentors can sometimes use books as a way to get advice from their dream guru. Your ideal advisor might be several degrees of separation away, but a good book can close that distance, and leave you with more tools to get ahead, realize you're not as far behind as you might think, or give you ideas for how to close that gap.

Not sure where to start? Here’s an ongoing list of books that many readers have found invaluable, with reviews about what made them so thought-provoking.

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How To Make The Most Of Them Now



This book has been making the rounds among my IRL and Goodreads friends. In The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, explores how thinking of one's 20s as an exciting moment to set up for the future (rather than a frivolous, throwaway period) can lead to more clarity — and action — in getting what we want most out of life. Rissa Papillion, a junior video editor at Refinery29, said:

"The Defining Decade kicked my butt into gear. People speak of their 20s as a great time of exploration, when the 20s are the time to build your foundation. It's the time to tease out what you want from not only your career but your relationships (romantic and non-romantic alike), but most importantly, what you expect from yourself. [This book] is basically saying that you should always be proactive in your life.

"[I learned] that I should be intentional with every step I make. I started my career at a startup; after I left, I was challenged [with the task of] taking time to reflect on my experiences, figure out what I liked and didn't, and not just look for any new job, but look for a job that resolved some of my previous issues and magnified the things I enjoyed."
Crown Business

The New Rules Of Work



Cavoulacos and Minshew write a clear, comprehensive, and contemporary guide to work, that offers guidance on résumé writing (with templates), negotiating, and the job search.

One reviewer said:

"Part 1 is, by far, the most mind-blowing section of this book. I've read a lot of career and business books (ironically, mostly for fun, since I'm a stay-at-home mom...), but this is the first book I've read that asks you to so concretely consider not just job interests (like writing, coding, accounting, etc.), but also values (such as flexibility, prestige, influence, independence, financial reward, predictability, etc.). In the research phase of the job search journey (which, yes, takes a while to complete), the authors have you create and fill out a table that actually focuses mostly on those values. In the end, you may be surprised (like I was) to find that your "dream job" isn't the one that is in the field you are most passionate about, but rather is the one that lines up most consistently with your values. Is this old news to everyone else? Because, to me, it was revolutionary. I've never read a job book that speaks so honestly about the big picture and helps you identify ALL the aspects of a job that are important to you."

Read the full review here.

Own It: The Power Of Women At Work



Krawcheck, a former Wall Street executive, and the CEO and cofounder of Ellevest, writes about her achievements in business, and what she thinks it takes for women to take their careers to the next level.

One reviewer said:

"I've read many 'women in business' types of books, and for the first few chapters, this one felt a little bit cheesy. It was a little too peppy, with a little too much of what's already been said. But I'm glad I gave it a chance. Once she gets into the meat of her ideas, she makes some very interesting and (I thought) novel points. No one else is talking about the 'investment gap.' No one else talks about the spending power of women as a mechanism for social change.

"As I read this book, I was inspired to take a closer look at my budget. To list out my goals—on paper—with anticipated timelines. To open my computer and research networking groups, both large and small. To become more active on LinkedIn. To have a conversation with my boss about metrics and goals. And if that's not the point of reading a book like this, then what is?"

Read the full review here.
Portfolio

Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One



In Pivot, Jenny Blake, a former career development program manager at Google, writes for a reader who is feeling disaffected or at the end of their rope. As she told R29, in some cases, that looks like boredom, in others it looks like burnout, or maybe that means having hit a plateau and being ready for something different, or more. She presents ways for rethinking what a career pivot looks like, assessing one's personal risk, and eventually moving forward.

One reviewer said:

"Pivot is such a great read for anyone looking to make a change in their career (or life!), or searching for how to make their current path even stronger. Jenny Blake knocks it out of the park with her second book, Pivot — sharing her framework for making small changes, or big ones, to change directions without having to start over.

"My favorite part of this book was seeing her framework in action - with real life examples of people going through pivots in their own career. I'm a 'see-it-to-believe-it' person, and this book definitely delivered on that promise. Instead of staying only at the high-level strategy most business books fall into, this one delivered a punch with actual pivots, methods and details behind an array of different moves and pivots that I could easily see myself mirroring in my future moves. Through reading this book, I realized I've pivoted more often than I ever imagined — but as I make future moves, I can remove a lot of the fear out of them and get confidence from the methodology Jenny shared as well from the pivots many shared throughout the book."
Portfolio

Permission To Screw Up



In Permission to Screw Up, Student Maid founder Kristen Hadeed looks at how her own missteps in leadership ("giving out hugs instead of feed­back, fixing errors instead of enforcing accountability, and hosting parties instead of cultivating meaning­ful relationships") led her to making necessary changes as an entrepreneur. She shows why it's important that leaders and organizations acknowledge their mistakes, to implement better policies and outcomes for all involved.

One reviewer said:

"In the midst of struggling to find a way to align my leadership goals with a 'behind the times' company culture, I was starting to doubt myself and my mission. After hearing Kristen's story and being able to identify with the majority of it in one way or another, I feel like I have been able to refocus on what truly matters to me as a leader. Leadership is incredibly difficult when you are saddled with the title and responsibilities of [insert title of influence here]. No wonder so many seniors/executives have lost their leadership paths in a jungle of conflicting organizational cultures. What she has to say is absolutely invaluable for all levels of an organization. Particularly for those who have lost their way. I am so glad she decided to share her screw ups with the rest of us."

Another wrote:

"Boy, how I wish I had this book 40 years ago when I started my business. Kristen nailed it! We are all so afraid of looking like we don’t know what we are doing that it is hard to even know the questions to ask. But this story is so beautifully told, so easily read that Kristen will help so many be better leaders and business owners."

Read the full review here.

Insight



The subtitle of Tasha Eurich's book Insight gives away her intent: to show us "why we're not as self-aware as we think, and how seeing ourselves clearly helps us succeed at work and in life." Many people cite imposter syndrome as a reason for professional blockage, but understanding how we get in our own way also involves seeing how we disrupt others, too. Maybe it's micromanaging, failing to communicate, or being avoidant. Whatever it is, Eurich's goal is to help readers detect that pattern, and move past it.

One reviewer said:

"Insight is a detailed look into self-awareness and its impact on our lives, from business interactions to social relationships. Over the last 40 years, our society has shifted away from conformity and modesty as a measure of living well and, instead, started focusing on self-esteem and the glorification of individuality. While this sounds great (individuality), studies have found that higher self-esteem does not always equal higher success or happiness. In fact, the opposite is frequently true. In an age of selfies, Twitter monologues, and participation awards, we’re lulled into thinking we’re special and superior.

"Fortunately, self-awareness is a surprisingly learnable skill. Eurich helps readers uncover the areas they are weakest in and discover the areas of their life they’d be better off focusing on."

Read the full review here.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

The Crowd-sourceress: Get Smart, Get Funded, And Kickstart Your Next Big Idea



Less than one-third of crowdfunding campaigns are successful, but research has shown that female-led campaigns meet their goals 32% more than male-led projects. Crowdfunding may look fun, but there's actually a ton of work involved. Enter Alex Daly, the founder of Vann Alexandra, a creative services company that has run successful campaigns for TLC's last album, the Joan Didion documentary, travel accessories company Freitag, and more. Daly gives a comprehensive guide to crafting, marketing, and fulfilling a crowdfunding campaign, with insight into how everything comes together behind the scenes.

One reviewer said:

"This book is such a great resource! Not only is it helpful to anyone who wants to crowdfund, but also is relevant to any marketer. In this consumer-centric world, Alex Daly wonderfully captures how to remain relevant and how to engage an audience across all channels of distribution with an emphasis on digital/social. This is an easy read and a must-have to all who aspire to bring differentiation to the 'go-to-market' process."

Another wrote:

"The step by step processes for each unique campaign that Daly underlines are exceptionally helpful. The passion with which she writes about raising money for her projects is both practical and inspiring. It is also overwhelming! By the time I shut down my Kindle, I was ready to re-edit my film, re-vamp my press release and send out a really great new update and it was two in the morning!"

Read the full review here.
Crown Business

How To Have A Good Day: Harness The Power Of Behavioral Science To Transform Your Working Life



Caroline Webb, an economist and former partner at McKinsey, spent years observing and helping people develop more productive, engaging, and satisfying workplaces. No job will ever feel thrilling 100% of the time, but she shows how making small adjustments on a personal level and with your coworkers, can lead to better days.

One reviewer said:

"Caroline Webb has managed to write a heavily researched, evidence-based manual that can be helpful to just about anyone. Which probably makes it sound horribly boring, but it really isn't! Most of the book is written for people who work — at the top or the bottom of the food chain, it doesn't matter. But even I, as a stay-at-home mom and writer, found plenty in here to apply to my life. Webb's tone is very conversational, and while the content is dense, she manages to inject levity and humor often enough that I never felt bogged down.

"The book is divided into seven parts. My favorite section, hands down, is the section about building relationships. I thought Webb offered so much good stuff here, I was blown away. Some of my favorite insights from Webb: Nobody ever experiences an entirely objective version of reality (and this is what leads to misunderstanding). This may seem like an obvious point, but the scientific explanation behind this is fascinating."

Another reviewer wrote:

"You know those books where you find yourself dog-earing every page to ensure you come back, because there is so much valuable information? Caroline Webb's How to Have a Good Day is quite possibly one of the only books you'll ever need to read on practical ways to enhance your productivity, relationships, strategy making, and energy with simple, doable tips based on behavioral science studies.

"Even if you've read many books on productivity before, this book will introduce you to some theories you haven't encountered before. For me, the sections on prioritizing and giving a 'positive no' were new and immensely useful. Also, don't skip the Appendix; Webb fills it with even more hands-on tips for "how to be good at email" (something I do all day every day!), "how to be good at meetings," and "how to reinvigorate your routine."

Read the full review here.
The New Press

Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise Of For-Profit Colleges In The New Economy



In Lower Ed, sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom looks at how credentialism has contributed to the rise of for-profit colleges — institutions that are generally lambasted, but also reflect the desire for many people today to better their circumstances through education — whether they understand the literal cost or not.

Roxane Gay said:

"In Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy, Tressie McMillan Cottom is at her very best — rigorous, incisive, empathetic, and witty. Lower Ed is a definitive accounting of the for-profit college phenomenon, who benefits from such schools and who is preyed upon. McMillan Cottom shares some sobering realities about for-profit education but her sharp intelligence, throughout, makes this book compelling, unforgettable, and deeply necessary."

Another reviewer wrote:

"If you're dimly aware of for-profit colleges and consider them predators of vulnerable communities, this book will be an eye-opening introduction to the bigger problem with an economy that enables for-profit colleges to thrive. A kind of policy memoir, McMillan Cottom, a former admissions officer for two for-profit colleges, explains how inequality, the struggles of the middle class, and the need for credentials (even risky ones) need to be addressed separate and apart from shareholder-beholden colleges ripping off students. A nuanced, comprehensive argument that gives the detail necessary to pinpoint the real challenges for our economy."
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Mastering Civility: A Manifesto For The Workplace



The old saying about sticks and stones still holds up because even though words aren't physical, they can still be harmful. In Mastering Civility, Christine Porath, an associate professor of management at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business looks at the ways incivility can impact people at work. That kind of harm can decimate relationships at work — and also cause harm to customers and clients, too.

One reviewer said:

"Outstanding book that powerfully demonstrates why and how nice guys finish first. While many of the civility strategies discussed by Georgetown University business professor Christine Porath are basic (say please and thank you, don't interrupt, share credit, ask questions rather than barking orders), most work groups and organizations don't practice them. This is needed advice to be heeded, and I can't see any downside from implementing it. (Indeed, there's tremendous upside.)

"Mastering Civility gives organizations a template for assessing the civility of a workplace and making improvements. Readers can also use the survey and websites in the back of the book for assessing themselves and their colleagues, and can begin to take corrective steps on this basis. Interestingly, the civility assessment questionnaire provided in the back of the book is sufficiently broad so as to identify the extremely serious problems of discrimination and harassment. If followed correctly, prioritized and integrated substantively into recruitment and employee assessment practices, a civility program could be a tool for helping rooting out harassment and discrimination-- provided that employees offer honest feedback to the organization and the organization responds proactively. Thus, implementing a meaningful civility program could do more than quell rudeness, it could also reduce liability risk for harassment and discrimination suits.

"The self-care recommendations for re-energizing the victims of incivility are on point, and give a valuable template for restoring health and vitality."

Read the full review here.
Viking

The Power Of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough To Dent the World



Being the "only" (in terms or race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation — whatever sets you apart), can be an isolating experience for many people. In this book, Merchant looks at how some "onlies" found ways to change their workplaces and communities without confirming, by challenging the status quo, and seeking out other likeminded people who also seek to instigate change.

One reviewer said:

"Love this book! It's a road map of how to effect the kind of change that each of us, in our own unique way, needs to see in the world. Through real stories of people who have already made their "wild ideas mighty enough to dent the world" we discover how to find and collaborate with others who share and support our vision and reach heights we could never manage by ourselves. Nilofer Merchant draws successful strategies from these stories that we may employ in own journeys, no matter who we are. The book is engaging, inspiring and powerful!"
Sarah Crichton Books

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, And Play When No One Has The Time



Schulte says she got the idea for Overwhelmed after a time-use researcher told her that she had 30 hours of leisure time per week. Not believing him, she tracked how she spent her days, and came to the realization that much of the overwhelming work she was doing — the above-and-beyond areas — was self-imposed.

"Before I began working on this book, I thought that's just how life had to be — fast, crazy, busy, breathless — particularly for working mothers in the 21st century. I didn't think it could change. I had no role models. And didn't really stop and think about why," she told The Atlantic. In her book, she investigates why men and women are feeling overwhelmed in life, and how that can change.

One reviewer said:

"Schulte does a deft job of pulling together personal anecdote, research, and her own compelling arguments to highlight how American society spends so much time prepping for the future, worrying about work, and forcing ourselves into unbearable standards that we squander the present. She interviews professors, psychiatrists, and other professionals from various universities and fields. She travels to cities and countries such as Paris and Denmark to compare how they approach work, love, and play in comparison to the U.S. As an award-winning journalist from the Washington Post, Schulte knows how to research and write authoritative yet digestible nonfiction; she explains why we need to rethink time, gender, and work while supporting her claims with an amalgamation of sources.

"Two questions nagged at me while I read this, the first pertaining to the diversity of the people featured in the book. While Schulte devotes a little bit of time to nonwhite, non-straight individuals, for the most part, Overwhelmed revolves around white, straight people, and I would have appreciated her making certain sections more concise to feature a wider pool of individuals. Also, this book focuses the middle to upper-middle class: what do the people do who cannot afford to take time off for themselves amidst struggling to support their families? I would have liked to see more challenging, divergent solutions for people of all socioeconomic brackets, not just those who can make the conscious decision to play more without suffering severe consequences.

"Overall, a read I would recommend to those interested in time management or to those feeling overwhelmed in their own lives, especially to women who have kids. An intriguing work of nonfiction that I can only hope will become less relevant over time."

Read the full review here.
Flatiron Books

Drop The Ball: Achieving More By Doing Less



In a recent essay for Harper's Bazaar, writer Gemma Hartley discussed the often frustrating way she negotiates household management with her husband, often shouldering most of the domestic labor. In Drop the Ball, which is part-memoir, part self-help book, Tiffany Dufu explores how abdicating much more responsibility at home (through more effective, direct communication and trust), helped her realize more of her professional ambitions.

One reviewer said:

"Drop the Ball is a how-to guide on 'having it all' based on Tiffany Dufu's experience with her husband. I found myself, as a modern/youngish woman, nodding along with so many of her perspectives and experiences. She explores how, despite how far we have come as a gender, many of the household responsibilities still fall to women. Even if men help out, their contribution (statistically) is not 50% — and this is not always their fault; sometimes women take on more than they need to and/or don't ask for help. The applications of this book are really just towards working women in a committed relationship with a man (she acknowledges that the dynamics are different in same-sex couples), where both partners work outside the home. One of the biggest issues facing the couple is the ingrained sexism we inherit from watching our parents' generation and media — which harms both men and women.

"She suggests that not everything must be done perfectly (as this is sometimes why women would rather do the tasks themselves), that we should trust our partners to do housework and do it well, and that we can 'drop the ball' by giving up some of these responsibilities to our partners (or sometimes to no one if it doesn't help with your and/or your partner's missions in life). She uses many anecdotes from her own life and those of people she knows to explain these situations and show how they might be aided by a different approach."

Read the full review here.
Simon & Schuster

Year of Yes: How To Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun And Be Your Own Person



These days, it is very easy to fall into the trap of wearing deprivation like a badge of honor. In Year of Yes, Rhimes writes about how a disappointed comment from her sister encouraged her to start saying "Yes" to things in life she would normally shy away from, and how that impacts her relationship to her work, her family, and herself.

One reviewer said:

"Shonda Rhimes' heartfelt memoir about the power of embracing who you are and having the courage to set aside what you are not.

"I have never watched a single episode of Grey's Anatomy. I didn't even realize that that was her show. You don't need to be an aficionado to appreciate this book.

"Year of Yes is recommended for readers who enjoy memoirs or for those folks out there whose lives are in need of an awakening- a shaking of the snow globe of your reality, if you will. Shonda said yes to things that scared her and discovered, on the other side of fear, a life truly worth living. I hope that we can all be as fortunate and as brave on our journeys."

Read the full review here.

Lean In: Women, Work, And The Will To Lead



Lean In was one of the most widely read, widely praised, and widely criticized books of 2013. Many women found deep inspiration in Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's message to working women, which encouraged them to find new ways to dig their heels in at work, as they become mothers, encounter professional obstacles, or are pushed out. At the same time, other women found the book to be limited in scope, overlooking the ways that many poor and working-class women already "lean in," in the face of hostile work environments, without partners, and without the resources of white-collar employees. Still, the book reignited an ongoing conversation that is worth engaging in: What does work look like for women today, and what do they need to be supported and support themselves?

One reviewer said:

"I highly recommend this book. As a single mom near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, the negative reviews would have led me to believe 'Lean In' wasn't for me and that only an elite few could relate. To the contrary, I found that Sandberg lends a clear, relevant, necessary voice to issues of leadership and equality for women and men and understanding for parents working in and out of the home.

"Several years ago I had to start from scratch, to put my public university master's to work waiting tables and then claw to get back into a professional position. Somewhere in there, I chose to lose my voice. I became afraid. I need this job. But what would I do if I wasn't afraid? It's an excellent question. My choices have been different from Sandberg's yet the book still resonated with me. I look forward to participating and taking a seat at the table. Lean In is a call for leadership, an invitation to participate in creating a society that values women, mothers, men, fathers, and in which women value and support each other and ourselves."

Read the full review here.

Another reviewer wrote:

"Some have criticized Sandberg as a victim-blamer, associating her book with the idea that if women somehow tried harder, they could make it to the top of their professional fields. Sandberg does indeed assert that women do more to hold themselves back than they realize. But, she posits that if women Lean In, challenge themselves ALONG WITH challenging the cultural norms that prevent us from realizing our full potential, then all of us will all be a lot better off. She encourages that by advocating for ourselves, whether through the need for flexible working hours, or voicing the meaningfulness of our work if we choose to stay home, that we are acting in coalition with one another as working mothers- no matter what the nature of our work is.

"The most important part of this book is one that encourages men to take part in domestic life just as vigorously as women do. In order for women to lean in at the conference room table, men need to lean in to the kitchen table. However, for women that don't have this kind of support at home I can see how this advice would fall flat. I personally feel very lucky that I have a partner that is fully engaged in domestic and childrearing tasks, but I can't imagine fully positioning myself to tackle both career and family without his partnership. For women without this kind of partner or home life, this book may feel like more of a fantasy novel than a mapped out path for a post feminist future."

Read the full review here.
Knopf

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, And Finding Joy



Sandberg's second book, Option B, comes after the unexpected death of her husband Dave Goldberg. Sandberg has often spoken about the importance of having a true partner in marriage and in life, especially for women. After publishing Lean In, she was criticized for seeming glib about the differences working women without partners face, and in this book, she acknowledges that experience with fresher insight.

One reviewer said:

"Sandberg uses her personal experience (the passing of her husband), to explain to readers that despite the pain and loss, happiness can still return (if allowed). With the aid of her close friend Adam Grant, Sandberg fuses statistics and facts with the experiences of other members of society who experienced some sort of tragedy. She shares their pain and loss and what they did to rebuild and move forward. I found many of the stories to be encouraging.

"This book raised some great points regarding resiliency, which is very important when trying to rebuild or rebound. The tone of the book is very encouraging and the points are applicable not only to persons experiencing the death of a loved one, but even to those who may have lost a job or even a home. After all, tragedy and loss come in several forms."

Read the full review here.
Harvard University Press

What Works: Gender Equality By Design



In What Works, Bohnet, a behavioral economist at Harvard Kennedy School and professor of public, assembles a massive amount of research and insight from economists and psychologists about how professional organizations do, or don't, confront gender bias. Although that might sound dry, the book presents a deeper understanding of the Catch-22s that so many women face, and solutions for dealing with those issues on an individual, organizational, and even governmental policy level.

One reviewer said:

"This book was SO much better than I anticipated, and I am glad I happened across a recommendation for it. Iris Bohnet says in the back that this was a 10 year project, and in my opinion that shows in the level of concise, fascinating, and actionable material.

"As a game designer, the details on how to affect behavioral change were delicious. She does a great job of setting up how each chapter problem generally manifests, common mistakes to fix it, ways change have backfired, and successful methods of altering mindsets. The amount of research she references is pure bliss. In fact, it's almost 100 pages of citations in the end of this book if you want to dive into any or all of the studies she mentions.

"While the book title seems to infer this is entirely about gender biases (specifically between women/men), I can assure you it's not. That is the main focus however there are SO MANY OTHER things to be gleaned, from ethnic diversity and biases, to how one might more effectively phrase marketing/collection letters to inspire the desired behavioral response."

Read the full review here.
AMACOM

Fearless And Free: How Smart Women Pivot And Relaunch Their Careers



Most people today will have many jobs and professional roles in their lifetimes. So, it's kind of strange to imagine that any one job will fulfill all of our professional goals and aspirations. In Fearless and Free, Sachs writes about her own experiences navigating the modern workplace, and includes interviews with other women about how they came back from layoffs, career slumps, and an overall sense of being stuck, to find fulfillment and momentum.

One reviewer said:

"This book is a must read for any woman who constantly thinks of ways to reinvent herself. Wendy touches multiple subjects in this book including the "double bind" women face, the fear of speaking up, opportunities to pivot careers and consistently equipping ourselves. Y'all know I like books with stories. This one has a number of real life stories that many women can relate to."
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Things Are What You Make Of Them: Life Advice For Creatives



Although this subtitle of this book markets itself toward people who work in "creative" profession, author Adam Kurtz told Refinery29 that he hopes that anyone with a passion for what they do will give it a read. Things Are What You Make Of Them is colorful and playful in appearance, and there are several pages that give a wry, sometimes sardonic voice to the insecurities of people who want to make a difference in the world through their work. At the same time, other pages share step-by-step ideas for how to get out of a creative rut, or come back from professional disappointment.

One reviewer said:

"This book is listed as life advice for 'creatives' but I think that the book does a wonderful job not letting this subtitle or audience box it in. I am not a 'traditional creative' but I still felt like so much of the advice was extremely applicable to both my work life and personal endeavors. Furthermore, the fact that each page can be torn out and hung up, given away, etc. is just a great little bonus. The modest price tag doesn't hurt its appeal either."

Another wrote:

"Read this for work, but was happy to do it, for selfish reasons. As a creative professional, it's nice to get some advice geared specifically towards the challenges of the lifestyle. There's some good bits of wisdom about getting out of your own head and your own way, and a I think a fair amount of it applies to life in general — even if you don't think of yourself as a creative person. This is a super quick read — it took me maybe an hour to get through--so if you're looking for a little pep talk, this is a great book to start with."
Avery

Playing Big: Practical Wisdom For Women Who Want To Speak Up, Create, And Lead



This book is aimed at a reader who is ambitious, but doesn't know how to direct that passion, or who has a desire to do more, but is struggling with imposter syndrome. As Mohr has worked and developed programs as a career coach, Playing Big gives readers the opportunity to see what a leadership coaching program might be like.

One reviewer said:

"Heartening and pragmatic, the book reads as if Mohr is giving an extended pep talk to an imagined reader who has great promise but craves support. 'You are that talented woman who doesn’t see how talented she is,' Mohr declares in the opening pages. 'You are that fabulous, we-wish-she-was-speaking-up-more woman.'

"Mohr's Inner Critic 101 Training and toolkit of 15 ways to quiet fears are worth the cover price alone. Collectively, the many lists, steps and journal prompts fill the void left by other manifestos that tell women what to do without explaining the mechanics of how to do it. For every grand declaration ('One of the most important mental shifts a woman can make to support her playing big is to start thinking of criticism as part and parcel of doing important work'), Mohr offers multiple tips and tools to make it concrete."

Read the full review here.
Broadway Books

Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking



Cain says that an estimated "one-third of the people we know are introverts," and she argues that their more muted engagement with the world should be appreciated in social and professional spheres, in the same way that boisterous extroverts are. That may not be an unfamiliar argument to anyone who has done a personality quiz online and gained a new appreciation for their own introversion, but Cain presents an array of research that explains how this way of being is more than a badge of honor, it's a strength.

One reviewer said:

"I think Susan Cain did a stellar job of exploring the introverted personality type. She cites a number of studies and scientific theories to support her thesis that introversion is an undervalued trait in modern American society. Introverts have just as much to offer the world as extroverts and their unique strengths must be utilized for a society to be truly healthy."

Another reviewer wrote:

"'... introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly.'

"This book also helped me embrace my quiet, contemplative moods even more. I was raised to feel that not being an extrovert was a flaw, that something about me needed to be fixed, mainly because most of my family allowed their introversion to hinder them. But this book explains the positives and power behind introversion, and how it can be a benefit in life. It also explains its origins (we're born with it!) and how extroversion only recently became the American ideal. Great book for those who are introverts, those who are raising introverts, and those who are married to introverts."

Read the full review here.
Riverhead Books

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear



Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, writes about how people can cultivate their creative work and passions — and take them seriously — while dispelling rumors about what it means to be 'creative.'

One reviewer said:

"Big Magic is one of the most honest discussions about the creative process that I've ever read. Gilbert strikes a playful and conversational tone, but make no mistake, this is all straight talk. Her no-BS attitude helps do away with the unrealistic expectations and unnecessary melodrama attached to the concept of 'creative living' (like how she so expertly pish-poshes the 'tormented artist' ideal). And in its place, she asks all people who feel called to create (writers, painters, musicians, ice skaters, WHATEVER) to quietly and joyfully accept their creative inclinations and ideas as gifts from the universe. She reminds them to approach their creativity with curiosity and openness, with playfulness and joy — even when it’s tough, even when there is no Pulitzer, no bestseller list, no Olympic medal, no call from the Met. Own that creativity, she encourages."

Read the full review here.
NYU Press

What Works For Women At Work



Joan C. Williams, the founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, wrote this book with her daughter Rachel Dempsey. They analyze many of the obstacles that ambitious women face on the road to success (summarized in The New York Times) — and paint a much more inclusive portrait of what different women face than many books in this vein.

One reviewer said:

"When I entered the world of work, technically when I was 14, but in a more serious, I-should-have-a-career-when-I-grow-up kind of way when I was doing internships as an undergraduate, it would have been incredibly helpful for me to have had a book like What Works for Women at Work. I plan to write more about this in other spaces, but basically, the idea that women undermine other women, that we can be either too feminine or too masculine and that all women — whether they intend to have children or not — hit a maternal wall, is tremendously important. More than 100 women were interviewed for research that led to this book; including 60 women of color scientists (which never happens) and others who were interviewed as part of the New Girls Network.

"I love that Joan C. Williams co-wrote this with her daughter, Rachel. I like, too, that they are honest about the limitations of the book, of which there are few, though one of the obvious blind spots of books like this is that they target middle and upper-class business people entirely. (It doesn't hurt that while women are 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, they buy 60 percent of all books -- though like most adults, they prefer fiction.) When I met her at a book-signing, Williams said that she is raising money to write more about the Double Jeopardy that women of color face in the workplace. She also said that it was tricky getting women of color to show up and talk to her because they were so freaked out about talking openly about the biases they face.

"Initially, when I started reading this I considered it superior to Lean In, but I think that's actually unfair. It works well to fill in the gaps that Lean In doesn't address, which is essentially how you can 'lean in' in the workplace without getting fired and losing the job that you so desperately need. I think both should be read by women and men in tandem instead of one over the other."

Read the full review here.
Portfolio

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most Of Their Time



Vankderkam collected hourly time logs from 1,001 days in the lives of high-earning women (making at least $100,000 a year) to see how they manage — and, hopefully, enjoy — their days, careers, and personal passions. Ambitious women looking to climb the ranks in more traditional, white-collar jobs might find plenty of inspiration here.

One reviewer said:

"I do not fault Vanderkam at ALL for focusing on women with families who make $100,000+ a year. That is a super easy bench-marker socially for 'successful' and the ideal, 'she has it all' woman. So, her explaining all of that in chapter one made some of the obvious privilege things in this book work for me.

"That said: holy hell, I LOVED this book. Talk about a productivity guide and look at time management that makes perfect sense, especially for someone who works non-traditional hours, and who chooses energy management, rather than strict hour-by-hour management. Vanderkam had successful women fill out half-hour 'mosaics' of how they use their time in a week; looking at the picture for 168 hours a week makes so much more sense than trying to micromanage 24 hours a day. I'm going to try this and see what it looks like."

Read the full review here.
HarperBusiness

Weird In A World That's Not: A Career Guide For Misfits, F*ckups, And Failures



In Weird in a World That's Not, Romolini, the former editor-in-chief of HelloGiggles, writes about learning to navigate the corporate world without erasing who she is. Described as a former "broke, divorced, college dropout," Romolini is currently the chief content officer of Shondaland.com, and her book, which is a memoir-slash-guide, shows how she forged such a successful path.

One reviewer said:

"Given the author's personal success, it's clear she's mastered the politics of corporate jobs, and is well-positioned to write this book. The career guidebook part of this book, is standard career advice — albeit told in a flashed out, detailed way, using the author's own experiences in hiring others.

"The ultimate lesson seems to be that whatever one's personal quirks, there are certain socially acceptable ways to behave in corporate jobs that must be adhered to, to keep the job. This is nothing new, and really common sense. Anyone who's ever worked at a nine-to-five should be pretty familiar with these principles, as they're pretty universal. The reason I liked this book is because of its unique message that even though corporate jobs all demand the same type of behavior, the workers themselves are individuals with their own unique personalities, and sensitivities. For some, the corporatism might be second nature, but for others (perhaps those who are the target for this book) it takes some getting used to. Overall, an engaging, well-written read."

Read the full review here.
Spiegel & Grau

Reset: My Fight For Inclusion And Lasting Change



Ellen Pao, a former investment partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, sued her employer for gender discrimination in 2012. Pao lost the case, but wrote about her experiences and work as the founder of Project Include, a diversity consulting nonprofit in Silicon Valley. She told R29: "I’m glad I came back. I’m glad I sued. I’m glad that now that so many other people are speaking up and that the public and the press are much more receptive to believing people’s stories, and believing these experiences are happening."

Roxane Gay wrote:

"I was really interested in this story about a highly accomplished woman of color negotiating the white male-dominated tech industry, having followed Pao's story in the news. Overall, I wanted the book to be more rounded. There were certain moments and observations where I wanted Pao to sit and reflect more, tell us more. I wanted to see more of an acknowledgment of her privilege, which in no way negates the discrimination she faced at Kleiner Perkins but at times, it was like, I went to Princeton and I went to Harvard and my husband and I have plenty of money, and it's like, girl, reflect on that a bit, perhaps, and what it has allowed you, and then imagine what it is like to be part of the tech industry without those blessings with more than a sentence or two.

"That said, this is also a well-written, necessary and incisive look at how pernicious misogyny is in the tech industry and the culture at large. As Pao detailed her experiences while also communicating her passion for the work men often impeded her from doing, I was nothing short of infuriated and overwhelmed because in so many ways, the misogyny she faced seems so ingrained, so pervasive, so constant, that it is hard to imagine the industry overcoming it. It was great to see a woman speaking out like this and hopefully this book will encourage more woman to come forward, give voice to their experiences in the workplace, and contribute to meaningful change."
Related Video