With everything that’s going on in American politics lately, women have been rallying together to figure out how to move forward and shake things up a bit. I am one of these women and the following 9 books are books I’ve either read or have heard are a great inspiration for making positive changes in our careers, lives, and the world. If you’re feeling the need to get inspired, perhaps these will help you get motivated.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
This one is not without its controversy but it’s a great kick in the butt to remember that us women are talented and qualified and need to act like it. Leaning in means taking charge, doing the hard stuff, and not letting other people’s false expectations get us down. There’s truth to the saying that a women has to be twice as good as a man to be recognized for the same work and there’s a great deal of truth to it. Lean In especially helpful for those who are trying to do it all, but it will be sure to inspire you to (in the words of Nike) just do it.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
This one isn’t targeted towards the ladies but it really resonated with me. Why do we spend our time doing things we don’t enjoy? So that someday we might be able to do those things? Sincero thinks this is ridiculous and wants us to remember that we are all, in our own ways, a badass who deserves to be happy here and now. She shares her own struggles with debt and working a job she hated and offers practical, matter-of-fact advice on how you, too, can achieve your dream. The best part is that she’s not hokey about it and works to connect with her readers on an ongoing basis with her email newsletter. Thanks to this book, I’ve taken some risks that have paid off big time and I’m much happier as a result (not to mention more confident).
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is one that I haven’t read yet but that I’m looking forward to picking up, especially after the success of Eat, Pray, Love. This one is about introspection and figuring out what we fear, what we love, and what we want. More importantly, she shares her advice for tackling and going after these things and lead better, happier lives. I’m sure it’s quite philosophical, given her background, and I think we could all use a bit of philosophical introspection right now.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Oh, the mansplaining. It seems to be more prevalent lately but perhaps I’m just noticing it more. Or maybe it’s because someone actually mansplained to me what mansplaining is and that was the last straw. I have to admit, I didn’t love this book when I read it because I hadn’t noticed the amount of mansplaining taking place in my life so it didn’t resonate as well at the time, but now I think back on the book much more fondly. Solnit shares her experiences being mansplained to and delves into the culture that leads men to feel the need to do it in the first place. But more importantly, you’ll finish this book enraged and vowing to never be mansplained to again.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
I loved this book so much. Roxane’s no-nonsense attitude and commentary on everything from film to rap music is spot-on and I am so glad that she wrote Bad Feminist. It’s heartbreaking and hilarious but, more importantly, reminds us that you don’t have to be perfect to be a feminist. That’s right – perfection and feminism have nothing to do with each other and while we all have what we consider to be faults, we are equally deserving of being the best feminist we can be, flaws and all. This last part was extremely helpful for me because I have been caught in the trap of thinking I’m not a good feminist because I like some rap music or because my husband makes more money than me, but at the end of the day we can only do what we can do and that’s enough.Here are 9 books for the women in your life who need a little inspiration. Click To Tweet
It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! by Chelsea Clinton
I have a signed copy of this one from when I attended Chelsea Clinton’s signing at a local bookstore when it first launched but have yet to read it because I don’t want to ruin my pristine copy. Regardless, it’s on my list and one that I’ll likely get to sooner, rather than later, given my desire to inspire people to care about the people around them. While this is said to be a book for all ages, I’m under the impression it’s geared towards children and teenagers who may not know the issues that many Americans face every day. It’s Your World gives an overview of these issues (homelessness, climate change, etc.) and how each person can make a difference.
Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem
This is one I read a while ago but that I should probably reread, given my renewed sense of purpose. Steinem, an unabashed leader of the feminist movement, penned this book around the time I was born, which means this book will always be as old as I am. This is actually quite sad when I think about how relevant it still is. It’s a book of personal essays, but her strength and wisdom shine through, as do her thoughts on female friendship, dealing with misogyny, and more. It’s not inspirational in the get-up-and-do-something way, but it’s a good soul read.
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
Speaking of bad feminists, I haven’t read this one yet (but that’s okay because we don’t have to be perfect to be a feminist). I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t picked this one up yet. According to Goodreads, “it gave a pitch-perfect description of “the problem that has no name”: the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women’s confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the home.” While we’re not all staying home nowadays, there are still beliefs and institutions undermining women’s confidence in themselves and we still need inspiration for overcoming them. It’s a classic and sure to change your outlook.
Nice Girls (Still) Don’t Get the Corner Office by Dr. Lois Frankel
If you feel stuck at work or that you’re not doing as well as you could be, then pick this one up. This one doesn’t have much to do with the patriarchy, but rather how that translates into self-sabotaging ourselves. This book is practical and each chapter addresses a habit or action, explains why we shouldn’t be doing it, and how to overcome it. The interesting thing is that many of the habits are ones I had but didn’t realize were harmful to myself, so by the end of the book I felt like a new woman, ready to kick butt in the workplace.