I certainly don’t consider myself a feminist, but after working in the male-dominated industry of finance for 5+ years straight out of college, I can confidently say that the gender gap in the workplace is something all hard-working female entrepreneurs should object to. Women make up almost half of today’s labor force, but in corporate America, we don’t share half of the power. Less than ten of the Fortune 500 company CEOs are women, and it’s only been in the last few years that even half of the Fortune 500 companies have more than one female officer. How is this possible, you may ask? Most women were never taught how to play, or feel comfortable playing, the game of business.
As a continuation of 12 Books All Girlbosses Should Read in 2015, I’ve created a new list of 12 career books for women in 2016. These career books for women offer invaluable tips and tricks straight from the business coaching pros. They’ll make you laugh hysterically, and most importantly, they’ll give you the inspiration you need to finally make big, positive changes in your career in the coming year.
one | “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero
If you loved #Girlboss, you will be just as smitten with You Are a Badass. Jen Sincero, best-selling author, international success coach, and certified badass, teaches you to identify and change the self-sabotaging behaviors that stop you from getting what you want to create a life you love– and deserve. It’s as entertaining as it is inspirational, and her no-nonsense advice is far more useful than anything found in your stereotypical self-help book. Oh, and although this is featured on a list of the best career books for women, men can be just as inspired by Jen Sincero! One of the things I like most about You Are a Badass is that its message transcends gender, since we all suffer from self doubt and insecurity every now and again.
two | “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance— What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Just like the message of You Are a Badass compliments #Girlboss, The Confidence Code is an essential read for anyone who considers Lean In an entrepreneurial Bible. Kay and Shipman combine research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition to show that the key difference between men and women in the workplace is simply confidence– or lack thereof. I chose this as one of my favorite career books for women because it gives us the inspiration and practical advice to bridge the gender gap and achieve all of the career goals without hesitation.
three | “Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: What Men Know about Success that Women Need to Learn” by Gail Evans
In Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, Gail Evans delivers a must-read for every woman who wants to learn to leverage her intrinsic power in the workplace. Using humor and her treasure trove of anecdotes from corporate life, she reveals the secrets to the playbook of success and teaches women at all levels of the organization, from assistant to vice president, how to play the game of business to their advantage.
four | “Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media.” by Aliza Licht
I’ll admit I didn’t know who Aliza Licht was until after reading this book, so in case you’re equally clueless, she’s essentially the poster child of PR for the fashion industry– so yeah, she’s dealt with the Meryl Streep’s a la The Devil Wears Prada of the workplace. Drawing invaluable lessons from her impressive resume, Leave Your Mark shares advice, inspiration, and a healthy dose of real talk for people just starting their careers, as well as for people who already kind of know what they’re doing.
five | “Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It: 99 Ways to Win the Respect You Deserve, the Success You’ve Earned, and the Life You Want” by Lois P. Frankel and Carol Frohlinger
I’ve been a fan of Lois P. Frankel since I first read Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers 5+ years ago. Providing the same brand of practical, no-nonsense, expert advice that made her an international bestseller, Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It teaches females the skills we need to continue our transformation from nice girl into winning woman– not just in our careers, but in our relationships, families, and everyday lives, as well.
six | “Bossypants” by Tina Fey
Everyone knows Tina Fey is awesome, but most people aren’t aware of the long-winded, uphill battle she fought to secure a spot in comedy television as a female. Bossypants is hilariously funny, which is rare in empowering career books for women, and its content confirms that instead of complaining about the injustices of the world, we should just learn to laugh off the nonsense… and make bank while doing it.
seven | “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It” by Valerie Young
In The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Valerie Young combines insightful analysis with practical advice and anecdotes to explain what the “impostor syndrome” is, why fraud fears are more common in women, and how you can recognize the way it negatively affects your life. With her empowering, step-by-step plan, you will learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to act and feel as capable as others already know you are.
eight | “Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders” by Lindsey Pollak
Written exclusively for Millennial readers to address their unique needs, Becoming the Boss is a brisk, tech savvy success manual filled with real-world, actionable tips from expert author Lindsey Pollak. Pollak defines what leadership is and draws on original research, her own extensive experience, and interviews with newly-minted Gen Y managers and entrepreneurs around the world to share the secrets of what makes them successful leaders—and to show young professionals how to use that knowledge to succeed in their own careers.
nine | “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler
I couldn’t mention Tina Fey without including her BFF, Amy Poehler, on the same list– for pretty much the same reason. Yes Please is hilarious, and with chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All,” it’s full of words to live by– and sentiments that will make you think as much as they will make you laugh.
ten | “Woman Up!: Overcome the 7 Deadly Sins that Sabotage Your Success” by Aimee Cohen
I liked this book before even cracking it open. Instead of succumbing to the popularized “Man Up!” movement, Aimee Cohen implores women to put on their big-girl panties, take control of their careers, and Woman UP! Her insights are a product of more than 20 years of experience and a nearly 100% success rate helping hundreds of clients achieve their goals. Using real-life examples, shared experiences, and Aimee’s own guilty confessions, Woman UP! delivers the sage advice every woman wishes she had at the start of her career.
eleven | “Designed for Success: The 10 Commandments for Women in the Workplace” by Dondi Scumaci
twelve | “Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur” by Cara Alwill Leyba
Are there any other worthy additions I’ve left off my 2015 and 2016 lists of career books for women? Please feel free to let me know; I’m happy to supplement. Happy reading!