There are so many business and career books these days. You can find one on the topic of almost any challenge you’re facing in your business or ascent up the corporate ladder. But business books for female founders and female lawyers are far and few in-between.
The unique challenges faced by female founders are well-known by those in the trenches. Juggling family, parenthood, being a wife, and building a company isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of business books to inspire female founders and female lawyers as well.
All of these books have been written by women who have walked in your shoes. They share their wisdom and lessons learned so that you can avoid the same mistakes, and so that you know you’re not alone on this path.
The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
Being a female founder requires near-daily creative problem-solving. That’s why this book is so pivotal. Melinda Gates, philanthropist, businesswoman, and advocate for women shares her lessons learned against the backdrop of stories of the people she’s met during her international work.
In The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates uses the power of story and personal experiences to reveal issues of gender inequality and expectations of women in multiple cultures. Having met so many people across multiple continents provided her insights on what’s needed in gender equality and the many different mindsets and techniques women use to lighten the load.
Her stories of how marginalized women accomplish great things will inspire you and change the way you approach managing your personal AND professional life.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert is best-known for her famous book Eat, Pray, Love which was turned into a movie. In Big Magic, she offers us a hard look at her perspective on creativity, showing how to apply creativity in our day-to-day lives, including solving challenges at work.
With true efficiency, Gilbert addresses creativity as a tool to be used–and not an emotional, drawn-out experience. The starving artist is NOT her hero and she doesn’t believe suffering for your art is the path to “greater creativity.” Rather, Big Magic posits creativity as a means to an end and a way of life.
This is key, as sometimes, the challenges and decisions facing lawyers and female founders drain creativity and only raise stress levels!
Full of examples of using creativity to write, Big Magic will encourage you to separate anxiety from the creative process and to use creativity in every aspect of your life and business to achieve bigger and better results.
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is a businesswoman and COO of Facebook. A highly educated and sought after individual she had, from the outside looking in, a happy and successful life. Her world was rocked when her husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, and she was left to pick up the pieces.
Option B digs into building resilience after a traumatic event such as what Sandberg experienced. It explains that resilience is built and is not something you’re born with and that when Option A is no longer available to you, then you need to give yourself permission to move onto Option B. But it’s your responsibility to handle and manage Option B to the best of your ability and to make it work for you and your life. Option B isn’t about disappointment–it’s about resilience and understanding that inevitably, we all have to go for Option B at times.
Leading a business, or managing a law firm or law career, while managing your family requires resilience. Option B will help you learn to navigate the tricky process of building it.
Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
Dare to Lead is author Brene Brown’s answer to building leadership using the tool of greater self-awareness. Grounded in some of the principles of her prior books (Braving the Wilderness, Call to Courage), Dare to Lead identifies and delves into four facets of leadership: vulnerability, values, building trust, and rising from falling and failure.
Brene Brown argues that effective leaders should acknowledge the emotions of their employees, partners, etc. because if they don’t, they will wind up spending all their time managing odd or poor behavior in the workplace.
Dare to Lead is an unusual business book in that it makes a clear-cut argument for humanity in leadership, claiming that it’s an essential piece of the leadership pie. Brown also encourages leaders and founders who have to make difficult decisions that will involve unhappy outcomes. This is a requirement for leadership and Brown shows you how to deal with it fearlessly.
Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne
Blue Ocean Strategy because of it’s strategic approach to making the competition irrelevant. There are no resource-consuming hostile takeovers here. Instead, Renee Mauborgne shows you how to systemically take over your unique area in business, so you can stop panicking about the competition and effectively eliminate them from your day-to-day operations, focusing on your business’s growth instead.
Blue Ocean Strategy has sold over 3.6 million copies and is widely considered one of the most effective works on strategy ever written, as well as an essential business book for founders, MBAs, and anyone responsible for growth and strategy. Blue Ocean argues that fighting with competition results in a bloody ocean of sharks edging for ever-shrinking profit margins. The “blue ocean” is found when you go through the process the book describes and finds a new, previously-untapped market space. The result is greater profitability, more growth, and fewer resources wasted on fighting the competition.
Blue Ocean Strategy will give you the strategic edge you need to grow your business and navigate life at the law firm. You can’t afford to miss this one!
Sometimes a fresh perspective is all that’s required to solve a looming business problem or difficult-to-manage work/life scenario. These business books offer insights from women who have been in the trenches, for years, just like you are right now. Their advice is timely, relevant, and inspirational.
Reach for one of these this summer and get ready to grow your business…and yourself!