The 11 Best Spring Reads For Female Entrepreneurs

spring reads

If you’re working on a goal for 2019 to be more successful, educated, patient, or just a better leader in general, you’ve come to the right place. A wonderful way to keep moving towards your goal is to pick up impactful books. But as a female entrepreneur, how do you know what to read? Your time is, after all, limited when you’re busy building a business. You want to be smart about your choices.

We’ve curated a selection of the best books for female entrepreneurs to read in 2019 picked directly from the bookshelves of a diverse group of impactful leaders around the globe. There’s something for everyone in this list—and plenty of small business management lessons you can carry through the remainder of the year to spark inspiration, creativity, and success.

1. The Lean Startup by Eric Reis, Picked by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, lauds The Lean Startup for entrepreneurs who are starting out. The book helps entrepreneurs build that effective, sustainable, and (of course) lean business model that’s often so hard to plan. If you’d like to build a new business plan, or refine your own, in the New Year, you can learn lessons around how to focus your organization as well as learn from failures.

2. It’s Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks by Howard Behar, Picked by Katrina Lake

In a business leadership world dominated by men, Katrina Lake has made a name for herself. The founder and CEO of clothing subscription company Stitch Fix, Lake has not only built a distinctive business, but also taken her company public with an IPO. Business goals! She recommends the retired Starbucks’s president’s book, which she told Entrepreneur helped her create a healthy company culture with defined core values.

3. Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield, Picked by Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi may have stepped down from her post as CEO at PepsiCo late last year (she’s currently the chairwoman), but her business insights are still invaluable. And as a leader herself, Nooyi also spends time reading up—including Radical Technologies, which she told the Wall Street Journal stood out to her. Providing a picture of how innovation has affected both the current world landscape and will make a mark on the future, Greenfield’s can help you understand both why your business is where it is now, and where it could go, too.

4. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos, Picked by Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Interested in changing the world? Then understanding the world is a big part of that. CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, told Fortune that Evan Osnos’s Age of Ambition had a big impact her on, helping her get a unique, unfiltered perspective into China.

5. Fish: A Proven Way To Boost Morale And Improve Results by Stephen C Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen, Picked by Renu Sud Karnad

In India, HDFC Bank is one of the leading home loan lenders for the booming country. Karnad, who’s been among HDFC’s top managers since 2010, recommends this beautiful book to help approach work with fresh eyes. She says that its “lucid and simple style of narration” and curious setting in a fish market helped her understand how important bringing passion into the workplace is—and makes a huge difference for team (and personal) morale.

6. A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Picked by Oprah Winfrey

When Oprah speaks, people listen. Which is why you might want to consider listening to her book recommendation. The CEO of the OWN Network, and entrepreneur in so many other respects, loves the number one best-selling A Return to Love, which she said moved her the most any book ever has. (And Winfrey has read a lot of super-soulful books.) It’s definitely a spiritual read—as is Oprah’s style—but at its core can help you understand where your pain and struggles originate, enabling you to find happiness and fulfillment both professionally and personally.

7. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane, Picked by Marissa Mayer and Laura Lang

This one gets a double stamp of approval, courtesy of former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer as well as digital media and advertising CEO Laura Lang, formerly of Digitas and Time Inc. Both influential leaders, who are each used to being in the public eye, have recommended The Charisma Myth. Lang says the book is a useful, practical guide you can use as a leader to understand the relationship between your personality and authority.

8. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, Picked by Maria Ramos

You may not have heard of Maria Ramos, but she’s a name to know. The Portugal-born CEO now heads up financial services company Absa Group (formerly Barclays Africa)—which is just about as big as it gets in Africa. Among Ramos’s reading list is the second novel from Booker Prize-winning Arundhati Roy. Yes, it’s fiction—but there’s an endless number of lessons to learn from this delicate, complex novel about the lives of many different people in one of India’s toughest period in history. Understanding humanity, and what makes people tick, is vital to becoming a compassionate, empathetic entrepreneur.

guru scams books to read

10. Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman by Brooke Hauser, Picked by Teresa Clarke

Another recommendation from an African executive comes from chairwoman and CEO Teresa Clarke. This pioneering black entrepreneur with an investment banking background has first-hand experience as a modern leader (or lady boss, whichever you’d prefer). So, it’s no wonder she’s read Hauser’s biography of publishing trailblazer Helen Gurley Brown. If you want to shake things up—like Gurley Brown or Clarke—you’d be well served to understand the past success of those who did, too.

11. The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle Laporte, Picked by Joanna Lord

In cities and towns around the country, ClassPass has redefined how people book and discover boutique fitness. ClassPass CMO Joanna Lord told Fast Company how much she liked The Firestarter Sessions to help guide building both a career and life full of happiness. She stands by the book so much that she’s actually gifted to dozens of her own employees, citing what an impact it’s made for everyone who cracks it open.

This post was authored by the staff of Fundera

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.