20 Empowering Leadership Books
If you’ve been enjoying our recent articles on how you can be an authentic leader and you’re looking for more inspiration to develop your leadership potential, here’s a list of 20 great books to inspire your journey:
1. "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead" by Sheryl Sandberg: Following her incredibly popular TED Talk on the ways women are held back, and the ways we hold ourselves back, Sheryl was inspired to write this book. In it she shares personal stories and research to shine a light on gender differences and offers practical advice on how women can better assert themselves professionally and personally.
2. "Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts" by Brené Brown: This book is key in understanding how you can embrace your feminine traits in leadership. It discusses the importance of vulnerability, courage, and authenticity in effective leadership, encouraging leaders to face challenges bravely.
3. "The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance - What Women Should Know" by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman: One of the greatest challenges women face when it comes to advancing in their career, is a lack of confidence. This book investigates the nature of confidence, why women often lack it, and what can be done to boost it.
4. "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance" by Angela Duckworth: Psychologist and researcher Angela Duckworth introduces the concept of "grit"—a combination of passion and persistence—as a key to achieving success.
5. "The Leader Who Had No Title" by Robin Sharma: A unique book on leadership, this is written as a modern fable which describes how everyone, regardless of their position, can demonstrate leadership and make a significant impact.
6. "The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future" by John Gerzema: Gerzema presents research suggesting that traits traditionally associated with femininity are crucial for modern leadership. It’s a powerful book which shows how embracing your feminine traits and becoming a more authentic leader is what the world needs most from you.
7. "Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder" by Arianna Huffington: Very often what gets left out of discussions around leadership and success, is the importance of a person’s own sense of wellbeing. Through learning her lesson the hard way, Arianna Huffington shares how personal well-being and mindfulness are essential for success, beyond wealth and power.
8. "Becoming" by Michelle Obama: In this inspiring memoir, Michelle Obama reflects on her journey, from her childhood to her time as First Lady, emphasising the importance of shaping our own destiny.
9. "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain: This book has been instrumental in changing the way that people think about introverts and extroverts in the workplace. Cain argues for the power of introverts, highlighting their unique strengths and abilities in leadership and society at large.
10. "My Own Words" by Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A collection of writings and speeches by the late Supreme Court Justice, offering insights into her views on gender equality and law.
11. "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" by Eckhart Tolle: Whilst this book isn’t directly about leadership, Eckhart Tolle’s teaching on mindfulness can help any leader to become better at responding to all kinds of challenging situations. Tolle presents a spiritual approach to living in the moment, emphasising how this can lead to happiness and enlightenment.
12. "The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage" by Brené Brown: Another wonderful book by Brené Brown, this collection focuses on the power and necessity of vulnerability in building strong connections and authentic leadership.
13. "Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder" by Reshma Saujani: This book challenges the notion that women have to be perfect and instead encourages them to be brave. Saujani argues that our fear of failure and desire for perfection holds us back from taking risks and reaching our full potential. She offers strategies and stories to inspire women to break away from perfectionism and embrace bravery.
14. "Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead" by Brené Brown: This was the book that followed Brené Brown’s incredibly popular TED Talk on the power of vulnerability, which has now been viewed almost 62 million times! It’s an incredibly powerful book that demonstrates how vulnerability is not a weakness but an essential strategy for daring leadership.
15. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey: If you’re in the mood for a laugh, Fey’s memoir offers lessons on leadership, self-confidence, and the power of humour in the face of adversity.
16. "How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job" by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith: In writing this book, the authors wanted to show how for women in particular, the very skills and habits that made them successful early in their careers could actually be holding them back as they advance to the next stage of their working lives. The book outlines these common habits and offers strategies to overcome them.
17. "Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges" by Amy Cuddy: One of the ways in which women can become more confident leaders is through developing their presence. Cuddy delves into how our body language and mindsets can impact our confidence and ability to handle challenges effectively.
18. "Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead" by Tara Mohr: This book looks at the ways that women are often held back by their inner critic and provides practical advice on overcoming self-doubt, harnessing their voice, and stepping into a larger role in their work and lives.
19. "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck: This book introduces the concept of "fixed" and "growth" mindsets. Dweck explains that a fixed mindset believes abilities are set in stone, while a growth mindset believes abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. The book offers insights into how adopting a growth mindset can lead to personal and professional success and fulfillment.
20. "Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons" by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: The book presents the life stories and lessons of various women leaders worldwide. Julia and Ngozi provide a road map of essential knowledge to inspire us all, and an action agenda for change that allows women to take control and combat gender bias.