I typically choose books based on subject and recommendations. However, I noticed that some of the books that have made the most difference in my life have been authored by women. I hope this list will be a growing list. For now, let’s start with these 5 books and see how our list grows.
How to Work a Room
By Susan Roane
This book is essential for the wallflowers among us. Although, I have never been shy Susan offered real techniques for getting the most out of every event you attend. From class reunions to seminars and social functions, How to Work a Room provides strategies for meeting people, establishing rapport, and following up on friendship, business opportunities, and creative collaborations. Roane’s book was the first I had read about the subject and its advice still lingers years later. The 25th-anniversary edition updates the book with social media platforms that need to function as the new rooms to be worked in contemporary times. Roane includes many examples and stories from her own life which makes the book a fun as well as informative read. Communication with others is an essential skill to possess in any area of life. Roane navigates these rooms with ease and authenticity and teaches the readers how to duplicate her charm. The book soothes the ego by reminding it’s readers that we are all human and taking is the first step to connecting is awkward for anyone. This is a gentle reminder that fear when meeting people can be overcome and Roane is our special guide.
The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It
By Kelly McGonigal
This book explains the idea of willpower from scientific standpoints of medical, psychology, economy and neuroscience. The book was based on a course taught by McGonigal and has a good structure on how to teach the subject matter because of this format. All self-help books should be written this way as it makes the book an ideal tool for self-improvement. The idea of willpower as McGonigal explains is not a character trait but a physical and mental response to the outside stimuli. Willpower can be improved by sleep, nutrition exercise, and meditation. This self-help book is backed by scientific research and gives step by step strategies on how to combat the lack of willpower we all experience in our lives while performing a range of tasks from saving money to dieting. McGonigal provides examples to follow in the book and writes with a simple friendly tone which is an enjoyable read even though some of the science can be a bit dense. The exercise of self-control in our lives is crucial to good health and McGonigal’s book is an essential read for anyone trying to improve their willpower to achieve any goal.
By Cheryl Sandberg
In this book Cheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook analyses the reasons progression for woman has stalled in the American workforce, and challenges woman to make active decision to realize positions of power in their career. The book encourages women to stay engaged in their career despite raising families. Although many other books have focused on the external barriers to women’s success at the top of the corporate structure, Sandberg examines the internal decisions woman make inhibiting their rise to the top. The author uses self-deprecating humor to engage the audience to understand her perspective. The use of anecdotes in her book often display the common reasons women may question their own ability to become successful in their careers. Although the book may not resonate with all woman, its special look at internal female dialog evokes honesty and earnestness in self-evaluation. The largest criticism of the book is that it is advice tailored for the affluent and privileged woman rather than the mass population of women in the workforce. However, the overall message of the book is positive. It advises women to take on challenges and opportunities in the workforce. She exclaims that woman should not shy away from open doors but continually strive to be a powerful force in corporate America.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
By Carol Dweck
Stanford University psychologist has presented new theories about success. Her studies on achievements in life have categorized people on a scale of fixed mindset to the growth mindset. Dweck describes people who use hard work, practice, strategies and constructive feedback to improve their achievements are people with growth mindsets. The fixed mindsets people feel that achievement and success can only be achieved through talent and luck. Dweck presented examples of students presented with challenging assignments, who were praised for their hard work went on to achieve more than students who were praised for their talent and intelligence. The growth mindset children although may initially fail they achieve more in the end through diligence, practice, effective strategies, following advice and hard work than children who are more naturally gifted and do not learn the lessons of the growth mindset factors. Dweck writes chapter after chapter of examples of growth mindset individuals achieving at academics, work, art, sales and other avenues. The concepts in the book are presented to overwhelm the reader with examples, but this helped with helping reinforce the message of the book. The book also provides questions to think over to develop growth mindsets in ourselves.
Knowing Your Value
By Mika Bryzinski
In this book, Brzezinski examines her experience of being underappreciated and underpaid at one point in her career. She explains that this is not unique to her own story but a common thread among professional women in all careers. She uses personal stories of the famous woman to show that there are reasons woman do not negotiate pay, ask for what they deserve and equal men in their financial earnings. The book is heavily anecdotal and leans on the experience of broadcast journalists rather than a scientific study of reasons for the disparity in pay. The book also neglects the experience of women across industries. However, the book is insightful in that there are common traits woman have that lead them to be underpaid in a world where they are equally educated and experienced.
By Angela Duckworth
This book is must read for anyone who has ever challenged themselves to never give up. The essential truth is that many successful people Duckworth studied were people who kept going even after failure. These people had passion and perseverance and that is the essential meaning of having grit. The measurement of grit accounts for more success that other commonly measured traits such as emotional stability and extroversion. People with more grit were also more likely to have a higher education, do better at sales. Duckworth asserts that effort is just as important as talent although we may have a bias for feeling that talent is most important. Things like passion, practice, purpose, and hope are elements of what makes people never give up. The book also includes the elements necessary to foster in grit in children with a few subjects on parenting. In addition, there are tips for fostering grit in our own lives. The book is a compelling read.