5 books every Girl in Work needs to read.

books to read

5 books every Girl in Work needs to read.

Who doesn't love getting stuck into a good book? But what about a book that can help you with your career, too? And we're not talking about those typical business bibles that look like one of your old college text-books, but insightful and brilliantly written books by some incredible women, offering their advice, lessons and experiences as well as drawing on some very interesting research about how we can succeed as women in the workplace.

Here are our 5 favourites:

Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg.

As the curent COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg knows a thing or two about what it means to not only be a woman in the workplace, but a woman who is also a leader. In her book, Sheryl explores the argument that the only way we're going to achieve gender equality in the workplce, is if we, as females, push past our own fears, anxieties, and the ways that we're actually unintentially holding ourselves back. Lean In will inspire you to seize opportunities, to go out and ask for what you want and aspire for those leadership positions you may have otherwise thought were out of your reach (spoiler: they're not).

Sheryl presents lots of insightful and interesting arguments - and it's a read that will leave you wanting to jump out of your seat and fight the gender equality in your workplace!

A Good Time to be a Girl

Helena Morrissey.

As the former CEO of Newton Investment Management, a mother to nine children AND the founder of the 30% Club, Helena is an inspiration to women worldwide, showing that you can have a family and a career - and if you want, you can have a family, a career and a global campaign to get more women on boards.

Helena's book draws on research and experience as a light response to Sheryl's Lean In. While Sheryl's book very much draws on the idea that we're not going be able to change the 'mans world' that is business overnight, and so explores the ways we need to work with it but in ways we can still succeed as women, Helena suggests that we shouldn't 'lean in', but should work to'change the system'.

Helena argues that we shouldn't have to copy men in order to succeed in business, but should be free to succeed in our own way using our female strengths to lead instead.

books for career girls

Beyond the Boys Club

Suzanne Doyle-Morris, PhD.

Beyond the Boys Club is a book filled with 'strategies for achieving career success as a woman working in a male dominated field'. However, don't be put off if your industry isn't that male dominated - you'll still want to read this. Suzanne interviews a number of senior women working in fields such as science, engineering, archaeology, IT etc, and writes about their career paths, advice and lessons. Suzanne is herself an executive coach, and so together with her own advice and learnings, there is so, so much covered in this book.

Each section also ends with 'top tips' that you can write down or make notes of for when you need a little inspiration at a later date. Topics covered include how to raise your profile, how to develop your career strategy, how to network and make the right connections as well as things such as tips for giving presentations.

Even if you don't work in particularly male dominated fields, we guarantee you'll only get a few chapters in before you start making notes to yourself to do things differently and recommending it to your friends.


Nice Girls Still Don't Get the Corner Office

Lois P. Frankel PhD

Growing up, we're often taught that we should 'be nice, act polite, say sorry, and speak when spoken to'. Sadly, this doesn't quite translate into the world of work - you're not rewarded or given a promotion by simply 'being nice'. Lois P. Frankel's book aims to help women overcome these deeply embedded traits and take control of their careers. You won't get the corner office just by working hard - as unfair as that may seem.

The book is filled with over 1oo 'mistakes' that women make, and teaches you how to amend your behaviour in order to achieve the career success that you want. Mistakes include;

  • Pretending that business/office politics isn't a game.
  • Ignoring the Quid Pro Pro (i.e if you do a favour for someone, make sure you cash in on that favour and get something in return at a later date when you need it!)
  • Failing to capitalise on relationships
  • Polling before making a decision
  • Needing to be liked
  • Making miracles
  • Limiting your own posibilities

(Disclaimer: there is one chapter in the book that focuses on 'How you Look'. This chapter is one that we at GIW don't agree with and would never promote the advice in here - it goes into details about how much make-up you wear, dressing 'inappropriately' and even the right and wrong kind of hairstyle! We would recommend skipping this chapter - however, the rest of this book is filled with strong, valuable advice, and so we still wanted to include it.)

Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway

Susan Jeffers

What are you afraid of? Losing relationships? Being rejected? Failing? Taking risks? Changing your career?

This book focuses on the idea that at the bottom of all of our fears, there is one fear in common: that we won't be able to handle the outcome. However, next time you have these thoughts and identify this fear... try telling yourself this:


The power of these three words can be immense, and Susan goes on to explore her 5 truths:

Truth 1: The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow.
Truth 2: The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and… do it.
Truth 3: The only way to feel better about yourself is to go out and…do it.
Truth 4: Not only are you afraid when facing the unknown, so is everyone else.
Truth 5: Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

This one is a slightly different read to the others, as it's not primarily focused on women or business. However trust us when we say, it's a good one.