Books about business have mostly been written by men for men. But some authors are addressing this rather one-sided field, with a focus on issues that affect women in particular – from flexible working, maternity leave, confidence, work/life balance and more. Here are seven titles we’d recommend.
The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate, by Fran Hauser
Books warning women not to be “nice” have been about for decades but this recent work has won many accolades. It’s hard to get it right - too soft and kind, and you’re are seen as weak; too tough and you become a stereotype. Executive and investor Fran Hauser writes for smart professional women who want to progress while remaining authentic. Read on for wise personal anecdotes and current practical advice – not least strategies for speaking up, taking credit, or how to balance being empathetic with being decisive. A positive and refreshing book to help women side-step stereotypes of strong leaders.
The Multi-Hyphen Method, by Emma Gannon
A reassuring work for women who don’t want to be defined by one role. Award winning blogger Emma Gannon has interviewed real people rather than business tycoons. Multi-hyphen women are those who have many projects beyond their full time job. She talks to a blogging paramedic, a counsellor who also bakes, a nurse who runs an online shop. Gannon tells women it’s acceptable to enjoy their job, even if it doesn’t make them rich. This book highlights a refreshingly different career path for those who want to devote free time to their passions. How to channel an entrepreneurial spirit for a fuller life – and be slightly better off to boot.
A Good Time to be a Girl, by Helena Morrissey
Famous for having a successful career in finance – alongside having nine children - Dame Helena Morrissey has been critical of Sheryl Sandberg’s “lean in” approach. Why play men at their own game when you could play it on your terms? Women, she believes, are generally more collaborative and diligent, though often less adept at self-promotion. She’s long campaigned for more women on boards. This book argues forcefully for her goals of better gender balance and modern work styles.
The Mother of All Jobs: how to have children, career and stay sane (ish), by Christine Armstrong
Witty, wise and unflinching, this book is a balm for women wondering why it’s so gruelling to work after having children. Christine Armstrong grew miserable trying, and has gone on to get the truth from other working mothers - huge childcare costs, diminished status, and discrimination. This is nonetheless an uplifting work which exposes the glossy sheen of superwomen, and makes us all feel a little more human.
Fifty Million Rising: The New Generation of Working Women Transforming the Muslim World, by Saadia Zahidi
In the last 10 years, some 50 million muslim women have entered the workforce, gaining more economic independence than ever before. This shift is not only empowering women, it will change the economies in which they live, writes Saadia Zahidi, who’s a senior director at the World Economic Forum. From Pakistani fast food workers to Egyptian software technicians, Zahidi paints a picture of women leading the change. And this new female purchasing power not only creates opportunities for entrepreneurs, it promises to fundamentally change the societies in which they live.
How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking, by Vik Groskop
How do successful women make audiences sit up and listen? How do they communicate with impact and make a connection? Who doesn’t want to channel Michelle Obama? This book from comedian, presenter and executive coach Vik Groskop offers practical advice with a light touch that will tell you how to master crippling nerves and command attention.
Gigged: the Gig Economy, the End of the Job and the Future of Work, by Sarah Kessler
Journalist Sarah Kessler’s skilful analysis of the perils and promise of the gig economy will strike a chord with all women choosing the flexibility of self-employment. What does it feel like to have freedom but without job security? This is an accessible and well researched take on the new labour market and what it means for the people who work in it. How will the shift away from office-based employment affect the future of work and what impact will it have on the economy? Does it prevent us it from making plans necessary for a fulfilled life?