The 7 Best Books for Women Leaders to Read in 2023

February 07, 2023

It’s an understatement to say that work culture is changing given that more companies offer flexible or fully remote options, better parental leave, and invest in employee wellness initiatives. While this is true for everyone, today we focus on books aimed at women, although they’re a great read for everyone!

Work looks different today as compared to work requirements for previous generations. Our grandparents (and in some cases, our parents) stayed at the same company and worked their way up over decades, which meant that by the time someone achieved a leadership role they were already well-trained.

Today, research shows that women typically stay for 3.9 years at a job, which means that they don’t have the in-house experience making leadership courses and resources more important than ever. 

This list of leadership books will help women excel and thrive in leadership and management roles. It covers topics like diversity, equity, and inclusion, speaking up and being heard, earning the respect of teams, colleagues, and fellow managers, and more.

What Are Leadership Books for Women?

Leadership books for women are nonfiction titles that explore the skills, perspectives, and experiences of female leaders. These books often cover topics such as self-esteem and confidence, mentorship, and handling sexism and prejudice.

The 7 Best Books for Women Leaders to Read in 2023

1. Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

“Women and Leadership” explores the challenges women leaders face while holding high-ranking positions. 

The book focuses on the lack of gender representation in these top roles and through interviews with global women leaders such as Theresa May, Hillary Clinton, and Jacinda Arden. 

These interviews explore their firsthand experiences as trailblazing female politicians and acts as a powerful call-to-action for women to overcome discrimination and achieve the highest levels of power.

2. How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work and Life by Joanna Barsh, Susie Cranston, and Geoffrey Lewis

This title is a must-read for any woman in a C-suite leadership role. 

The authors previously worked for McKinsey & Co., and apply their firsthand experience to explore the behaviours and patterns that help high-achieving women succeed. Through anecdotes and analysis, “How remarkable Women Lead” offers a step-by-step blueprint for women looking to become successful leaders.

3. The Likeability Trap: How to Break Free and Succeed as You Are by Alicia Menendez

Women are often taught that in order to be successful, we must be pleasant and well-liked in addition to being talented, driven, and inspiring. This double standard: that we must be driven,  but agreeable, is an obstacle most women leaders grapple with at some point in their careers.

“The Likability Trap” is a call-to-action for women to let go of these outdated assumptions and urges them to embrace their true selves and qualities that help them shine.

4. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Women and Leadership by The Harvard Business Review

We link to the HBR blog often because it’s such a useful resource, and this book – which is a collection of essays about high-achieving women in the workplace – is another excellent addition to that list of resources.

Not only does this title cover topics such as gendered power dynamics, flaws in diversity programs, and assumptions about female ambition, but it also has an exclusive interview with Meta CEO Sheryl Sandberg.

5. That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together by Joanne Lipman

“That’s What She Said” addresses the gender gap in business and shines a light on how efforts for diversity, equity, and inclusion often fall apart within companies. 

As the title suggests, the book addresses how men can increase their allyship efforts and outlines the benefits DEI programs and training can have on men in the workplace. 

This title is especially useful for women who need to resolve conflicts, negotiate, and navigate male-dominated industries that fall into the STEM category (science, technology, engineering, math). 

6. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

In “Grit,” psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that the key to success is a blend of passion and persistence. 

She uses case studies to show how people survive and thrive despite personal and professional setbacks, and how “grit” is a learnable trait that can be honed over time. 

The book focuses on resilience and argues that by increasing resilience and specifying goals, developing strong support systems, and being more intentional in the pursuit of goals, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve both personal and professional success.

7. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

“The Confidence Code” focuses on the importance of self-esteem and the link between confidence and success.

The book argues that when women feel confident they’re better advocates for themselves and otters. Through the exploration of the neurological aspects of confidence, the authors showcase how developing our self-esteem and leadership abilities contribute to high levels of personal and professional success and happiness.

Throughout the book, the authors explore the root causes of low self-esteem and offer strategies to “rewire” our brains and become more self-assured. 

Build Your Leadership Abilities 

One of the most important leadership traits is learning to manage change. When we understand how we react to shifting expectations and circumstances, we can empower others and become advocates for the changes we want to see.

To learn to identify how individuals/teams deal with change and how to shift behaviors and manage change more effectively, click here!