20 Must-Read Books for Women in Leadership

The list has finally arrived! The faculty and staff at Benedictine University has complied their list of must-read books for women in leadership! If you are looking for a great book to dive into over the summer, consider picking up one of these:

  1. Breaking into the Boys’ Club: 8 Ways for Women to Move Ahead in Business by Molly Shephard, Jane Stimmler, and Peter Dean. Breaking into the Boys' Club is the ultimate guide to success for women in business. No matter what stage in your career or what job position you hold, this book offers you practical, relatable ways to evaluate your work style and workplace culture in order to better understand behavior that may be holding you back from advancing in your field.
  2. Unwritten Rules: What Women Need to Know About Leading in Today’s Organizations, by Lynn Harris. This book answers the question of why there are so few women in positions of senior leadership, and provides pragmatic advice and professional development for women leaders. Clearly written and convincingly told, Unwritten Rules explodes the leadership myths prevalent in the workplace today, and provides women with essential information to make informed choices about their careers and how to lead.
  3. The Tao of Womanhood: Ten Lessons for Power and Peace, by Diane Dreher. This book is for every woman who is searching for both external power and internal peace. It's for the woman who wants to be tough but nice, who wants to take care of things and everyone else but needs to be reminded to look after herself, who feels pulled in too many directions and yearns to live a full, balanced life. It's for the woman who wants to be a strong, proactive leader at work and at home, and lead a life of harmony and inner peace.
  4. What’s Holding You Back? 8 Critical Choices for Women’s Success, by Linda S. Austin. After thirty years of feminism, women continue to underachieve, occupying only 10 percent of top-level managerial or professional positions. And significant achievement-influential woman leaders and visionaries-is rarer still. The reason, argues this bold and inspiring book, lies in the self-imposed psychological glass ceiling, which influences every decision women make in their lives. What's Holding You Back? charts women's unique pathways to achievement and examines eight life-defining choices that determine their ultimate level of accomplishment.
  5. Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. When Linda Babcock asked why so many male graduate students were teaching their own courses and most female students were assigned as assistants, her dean said: "More men ask. The women just don't ask." It turns out that whether they want higher salaries or more help at home, women often find it hard to ask. Sometimes they don't know that change is possible--they don't know that they can ask. Sometimes they fear that asking may damage a relationship. And sometimes they don't ask because they've learned that society can react badly to women asserting their own needs and desires.
  6. No Seat at the Table: How Corporate Governance Keeps Women Out of America’s Boardrooms, by Douglas Branson. Women are completing MBA and Law degrees in record high numbers, but their struggle to attain director positions in corporate America continues. Although explanations for this disconnect abound, neither career counselors nor scholars have paid enough attention to the role that corporate governance plays in maintaining the gender gap in America's executive quarters.
  7. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg. Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.
  8. Women for Hire’s Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success, by Tory Johnson and Robyn Freedman Spizman. From the creator of Women For Hire, America's #1 job fair for women, comes a real-world guide to on-the-job success. Tory Johnson teaches professionals at every level the most important networking skills and career strategies to keep them on top of the game.
  9. Her Place at the Table: A Woman’s Guide to Negotiating Five Key Challenges to Leadership Success, by Deborah Kolb, Judith Williams and Carol Frohlinger. This is a practical guide for any woman dealing with a demanding role. Drawing on extensive interviews with women leaders, the authors isolate five key challenges: Intelligence; Backing; Resources; Buy-In; and Making a Difference. The three expert authors reveal what women have to teach us about the challenges and opportunities of leadership. As Tom Peters said of this book, "Women roar . . . . will help individual women negotiate what they need to success as leaders and help their firms support them in their efforts. That way we all win!"
  10. A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating: How to Convince, Collaborate, & Create Your Way to Agreement, by Lee E. Miller and Jessica Miller. Discover the three keys to negotiating success for women. Understand the 10 most common mistakes that women make and how to avoid them. Learn from women such as CEO of Avon Andrea Jung, Chairman of Hearst Magazines Cathie Black, Emmy- winning actress Christine Baranski, and television anchor Alexis Glick how to get what you deserve in every aspect of your life, whether it is earning more money, buying your next car, or just getting your husband to help around the house.
  11. Standing at the Crossroads: Next Steps for High Achieving Women, by Marian Ruderman and Patricia Ohlott. Thoroughly researched and clearly written, Standing at the Crossroads speaks to the whole professional woman and her organization, providing a framework for guiding a woman's growth and development as a high- achieving leader. The authors debunk the common myth that women must give up life's other roles to be successful professionally, and offer research conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership in conjunction with participants in The Women's Leadership Program to show that multiple roles in fact benefit and enhance women's managerial performance. The book provides individuals and their organizations with invaluable advice they can use to support women's development as managers and leaders.
  12. Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders, by Linda Carli and Alice Eagly. Eagly and Carli prove that the glass ceiling is no longer a useful metaphor and offer seven reasons why. They propose the labyrinth as a better image and explain how to navigate through it. This important and practical book addresses such critical questions as: How far have women actually come as leaders? Do stereotypes and prejudices still limit women's opportunities? Do people resist women's leadership more than men's? And, do organisations create obstacles to women who would be leaders?This book's rich analysis is founded on scientific research from psychology, economics, sociology, political science, and management.
  13. Double Outsiders: How Women of Color can Succeed in Corporate America, by Jessica Faye Carter, J.D., MBA. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than five million women of color hold managerial and professional positions in the workforce. Yet, relatively few of them have reached the top-tier positions of corporate America. Double Outsiders is the first book of its kind to help women of color overcome the barriers they may face along their career path.This insightful book empowers African American, Latina, Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, and multiracial women to clarify the challenges they face and debunk myths and fallacies about them in corporate environments.
  14. Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett. With talent shortages looming over the next decade, what can companies do to attract and retain the large number of professional women who are forced off the career highway? By documenting the successful efforts of a group of cutting-edge global companies to retain talented women and reintegrate them if they’ve already left, Off-Ramps and On-Ramps answers this critical question. Working closely with companies such as Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Time Warner, General Electric and others, author Sylvia Ann Hewlett identifies what works and why. Based on firsthand experience with these companies, along with extensive data that provides the most comprehensive and nuanced portrait of women's career paths, this book documents the actions forward-thinking companies must take to reverse the female brain drain and ensure their access to talent over the long term.
  15. Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense and Sensibility, by Mireille Guiliano. From the #1 New York Times bestselling “high priestess of French lady wisdom” (USA Today) comes every woman’s guide to navigating the world of work, living the good life, and savoring every minute of it. Mireille Guiliano, internationally bestselling author of French Women Don’t Get Fat and former senior executive for Veuve Clicquot, uses her distinctive French woman’s philosophy and style to share lively lessons, stories, and helpful hints from her experiences at the front lines and highest echelons of the business world. Guiliano offers every reader the practical advice she needs to make the most of work without ever losing sight of what is most important: feeling good, facing challenges, getting ahead, and maximizing pleasure at every opportunity.
  16. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder, by Arianna Huffington. Arianna Huffington's personal wake-up call came in the form of a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash over her eye -- the result of a fall brought on by exhaustion and lack of sleep. As the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group -- one of the fastest growing media companies in the world -- celebrated as one of the world's most influential women, and gracing the covers of magazines, she was, by any traditional measure, extraordinarily successful. Yet as she found herself going from brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond exhaustion, she wondered is this really what success feels like?
  17. Sheryl Sandberg, China & Me, by J.T. Gilhool. An executive on the rise, Jennifer took an assignment in Shanghai moving her family half-way around the world for her career. After leaning-in, traveling tens of thousands of miles, she discovered that she was losing her daughter. Finding her family again meant losing her career or maybe just realizing it was never there in the first place. This journey of discovery is intimately told as though you were Jennifer's best friend. Laugh, cry and discover the truth of 'leaning in' at one of America's oldest and largest companies.
  18. Mogul, Mom & Maid: The Balancing Act of the Modern Woman, by Liz O’Donnell. The state of working women has been declared, debunked and debated since the days of Rosie the Riveter. The headlines, and the statistics behind them, however, don’t tell the whole story. The truth is, many women today are breadwinners; and these breadwinners are struggling. They are caught in a perfect storm of male-dominated culture at work, traditional social norms at home, and outdated schedules in the schools. Mogul, Mom, & Maid takes an honest look at how women are balancing home life and career. The pressures of child rearing, coupled with an unfulfilling corporate culture, are too great to be ignored. Author Liz O’Donnell goes beyond statistics and tells the stories of women all across America who are juggling careers, motherhood, marriage, and households. Mogul, Mom, &  Maid looks at the choices women are making, the options they have, and the impact these decisions have on themselves, their families, and the businesses that employ them.
  19. Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink. by Katrina Alcorn. Mothers are the breadwinners in two-thirds of American families, yet the American workplace is uniquely hostile to the needs of parents. Weaving in surprising research about the dysfunction between the careers and home lives of working mothers, as well as the consequences to women’s health, Alcorn tells a deeply personal story about “having it all,” failing miserably, and what comes after. Ultimately, she offers readers a vision for a healthier, happier, and more productive way to live and work.
  20. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What women Should Know, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Working women today are better educated and more well qualified than ever before. Yet men still predominate in the corporate world. In The Confidence Code, Claire Shipman and Katty Kay argue that the key reason is confidence. Combining cutting-edge research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition—with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in politics, media, and business—Kay and Shipman go beyond admonishing women to "lean in."Instead, they offer the inspiration and practical advice women need to close the gap and achieve the careers they want and deserve.