Lady Boss

10 Great Books for the Lady Boss in Your Life

Inspiration: the one thing that all successful people have in common. Sometimes that spark comes from real-life heroines. Other times, the best motivators are found in the pages of books.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of best-sellers that will empower and entertain the high-powered ladies in your life. Let’s get inspired!

10 Great Books for the Lady Boss in Your Life

1. Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work

Why It’s on the List

In today’s marketplace, the ability to keep learning is a more valuable than absolute mastery. This book is a great read for any business leader who wants to keep her workplace skills fresh and thriving.

Author Info

Liz Wiseman is president of the Wiseman Group, an executive development firm that develops leaders around the world.

Kudos & Notes

It’s a Wall Street Journal best-seller.

2. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business

Why It’s on the List

Barbara Corcoran built a $6 billion business, but it wasn’t an easy journey. With more passion than education, she taught herself to be a clever marketer as she launched and grew her company. In the book, Corcoran is very honest about all the mistakes she made along the way. But as she says, “Taking chances almost always makes for happy endings.  

Author Info

Barbara Corcoran, a real estate mogul, entrepreneur, investor, and Shark Tank cast member, overcame poor grades, poverty, and few connections in the business world to build a multi-billion dollar empire, and she gives much of the credit for that success to her mother.

Kudos & Notes

Corcoran was the keynote speaker at Women’s Fund of Omaha’s 25th anniversary event which celebrated women and girls throughout the U.S. Anyone with a vision to succeed will appreciate the frank but humorous approach that Corcoran uses to explain the role that teamwork plays in every business model.

3. Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History

Why It’s on the List

As Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500 said, “[Women athletes] do these extraordinary things, and then they are forgotten and denied ever to have existed, so women keep on reinventing the wheel.”

Author Info

Molly Schiot is a director, filmmaker, and actor. She turned her passion for introducing unsung female athletes to the world into a book that gives these women the recognition they deserve.

Kudos & Notes

According to espnW, Game Changers is a “thoughtful, exhaustively researched, and long-overdue tribute to the women who have paved the way for the likes of Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Simone Biles, and more.”

4. The Road Ahead

Why It’s on the List

This oldie but goodie demonstrates how important it is for women to encourage the next generation to follow their vision, even if their path is not clear and their supporters are few. Gates credits the Mothers’ Club at his high school for making it possible for him to “play around” with computers as a teen.

Author Info

Bill Gates. Enough said, right?

Kudos & Notes

All proceeds from this book fund a National Foundation for Improvement for Education tech grant. His projections and predictions about the expanding internet funneled more than 4 million dollars in hardware, software, and tech training for tens of thousands of children, many of these girls and young women, within the first year after publication.

5. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Why It’s on the List

Because women don’t just work, they laugh, grieve, raise families and sometimes tackle extreme challenges on the road to healing and inner peace.

Author Info

Cheryl Strayed is a workshop facilitator, activist and supporter of awesome women- and girl-centered charities like The Compassion Collective and TogetherRising.

Kudos & Notes

NPR, Entertainment Weekly, and The Boston Globe all considered Wild one of the best books of the year, plus it captured the coveted B&N Discover Award and was turned into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.

6. Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Why It’s on the List

The story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s journey is riveting. She began as the leader of the Liberian women’s movement before earning a Nobel Peace Prize. Finally, she became the first democratically elected African female president. Her story inspires us all to believe that barriers will fall when you passionately pursue your mission.

Author Info

Helene Cooper is a Liberian-born journalist who reports on the Pentagon for the New York Times. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for her work on the Ebola crisis.

Kudos & Notes

Publishers Weekly applauded the book’s female-driven narrative. “Its heroes are women — not only Sirleaf, the first democratically elected female president of Liberia (and its current president), who earned a Nobel Peace Prize and handled the 2014 Ebola crisis, but the ordinary market women who threw their influence behind her.”

7. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Why It’s on the List

This international best-seller by the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history is an incredible story about how just one person can inspire the world by speaking up. As a young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban because she refused to be denied an education.

Author Info

She was educated by her father who encouraged her to become a politician, saying that she is “something entirely special.” Just one year after her miraculous recovery, she gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations in New York.

Kudos & Notes

Now an education activist, Malala founded the nonprofit organization Malala Fund, used to write a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu about the Taliban occupation, was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by activist Desmond Tutu, was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize, and graced the cover of Time magazine three years in a row.

8. It Sucked and Then I Cried

Why It’s on the List

This book will resonate with every woman who struggles with balancing parenthood and work.

Author Info

Heather B. Armstrong is an acclaimed blogger. Forbes named her one of the most influential females in media, and her Twitter account boasts 1.5 million followers. She’s an activist for workplace reform, an in-demand speaker, and currently the tech and media advisor for Every Mother Counts, an organization that supports healthy maternal programs around the world.

Kudos & Notes

She’s been featured in numerous articles and blogs.

9. Love Warrior: A Memoir

Why It’s on the List

This is a powerful story about victory, defeat, wisdom, and grace that happens as life unfolds — and it’s raw, funny, vulnerable, and courageous.

Author Info

Glennon Doyle Melton manages Momastery, an online community where millions of women come together to share their stories.

Kudos & Notes

New York Times best-seller, the book was featured in Family Circle and Oprah’s Book Club.

10. Bossypants

Why It’s on the List

This memoir from comedian Tina Fey is both hilarious and poignant. She is an everywoman (and self-proclaimed nerd) whose journey takes her from amateur improv in Chicago, to Saturday Night Live, and, eventually, to her show 30Rock. As one Amazon review says, “Bossypants gets to the heart of why Tina Fey remains universally adored: she embodies the hectic, too-many-things-to-juggle lifestyle we all have, but instead of complaining about it, she can just laugh it off.”

Author Info

Tina Fey has received eight Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four Writers Guild of America Awards. She and Amy Poehler hosted the 72nd Golden Globe Awards, which received its highest ratings in a decade. Her charity work includes Autism Speaks, Mercy Corps, and Love Our Children USA.

Kudos & Notes

Bossypants topped the New York Times best-seller list for five weeks. Fey is the youngest-ever recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Bonus Book! Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

We simply had to put this title on the list even though it won’t be available until April.

Why It’s on the List

Because, like Sheryl Sandberg, many women have faced life-altering loss and found a way to thrive after pain.

Author Info

Sheryl Sandberg is an activist, TED Talk host, Facebook CEO, mother, and widow. A fellow TED Talk host, Adam Grant is a Wharton professor and motivational speaker.

Kudos & Notes

If you’re wondering where a best-selling female author gets her inspiration, take a peek at this list of nine books.