Eight Books to Empower Women in the Workplace

A list of books curated to encourage women to rise to their potential.
Karen Calder
September 12, 2019

We’ve talked before about the ways that women can make progress in the workplace despite systemic barriers, and how women can change the story they tell themselves to become more empowered. Making this shift is a journey that requires commitment and daily practice. Need some help getting started? Pick up one of these books to gain a fresh perspective, learn how to build new habits, and elevate your inner game.

How women rise by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

How Women Rise

By Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

Recommended for: All professional women.

This book helps women become aware of the mental roadblocks we put up. We all have limiting beliefs that hold us back from achieving what we want in life, from advances in the workplace to setting personal goals. Helgesen and Goldsmith share 12 steps to turn these beliefs into empowering ideas for fostering success.

Girl, Stop Apologizing

By Rachel Hollis

Recommended for:  Young professionals.

Blogger turned author, Hollis writes in a no-nonsense style about being ambitious and taking control of your life. In describing her approach to authenticity, Hollis focuses on letting go of the fears that hold you back. This book disperses subtle motivation throughout, for women to embrace their inner self and know it’s perfectly okay to want more.

Dare to Lead

By Brené Brown

Recommended for: Senior leaders who want to bring out the best in others.

Researcher and author, Brown approaches leadership with an encouraging perspective. The book analyzes interviews with 150 C-suite executives who were challenged to define what brave leadership looks like in our modern times. Daring leaders, she explains, are people that can be vulnerable and listen without interrupting. Connecting with others at an emotional level, these leaders possess self-awareness and self-love.

the confidence code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

The Confidence Code

By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Recommended for: Anyone striving for visibility and confidence.

In this book, Kay and Shipman dissect research to help women understand what self-confidence is and debunk the idea that it’s gender-specific. By setting realistic goals for ourselves and mapping out steps to achieving them, we are reinforcing our mind to believe we can do anything. Our lack of confidence is fleeting when our thoughts turn into action.

Presence
By Amy Cuddy

Recommended for: Anyone looking to develop their presence.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy combines scientific research with personal experience to demonstrate the power of body language, behaviour, and mindset, and how they are tied together. To have more presence, she teaches us the power pose. To combat the internal challenges of imposter syndrome, Cuddy guides us through the practice of “fake it till you become it”. If you want others to see that you have confidence, you have to believe it first.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

By Lois Frankel

Recommended for: Young professionals.

When women “live a life circumscribed by the expectations of others, we live a limited life.” Lois Frankel provides a guide for women to remove self-defeating practices from their everyday personal dialogue and grow their careers. This book has all the smart tips woman need for constructive behavioural changes to help them realign with their goals.

Grit
By Angela Duckworth

Recommended for: High potentials, who are willing to put themselves out there and take risks.

Psychologist Angela Duckworth identifies grit to be gender-neutral: that men and women can learn to be “gritty”. Grit, in some ways, can be thought of as a less charming version of “giving it your all”, challenging the notion that talent is born, not made. The moment you want to give up, this book will get you back on track and will teach you the importance of dreaming big.

She Persisted Around the World
By Chelsea Clinton

Recommended for: Executive women, and anyone else looking for a sudden burst of inspiration.

This book reveals inspiring stories of women throughout history from around the globe, exploring the challenges they endured before achieving their dreams. Although Clinton’s biographical picture book caters towards a younger audience, it is still an inspiring reminder to us all, especially women in senior leadership roles, about determination and self-preservation.


Karen Calder is an Associate Consultant at Verity International. She is a former executive at Walmart Canada who has dedicated her professional life to developing and empowering women.

Karen is the facilitator of Women on the Rise, a two-day program at theLEADhub by Verity that helps women establish their leadership presence, gain courage to take bold action, and find their voice. Learn more about Karen and Women on the Rise.

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