Reading List

Recommended Reading for Female Leaders

Recent Popular Press:

The XX Factor: What’s Holding Women Back? An article by written by Sue Shellenbarger in The Wall Street Journal highlights a task force of academic and government leaders working to idenfity and challenge factors that prevent women from fully participating in the economy. Recommendations from the task force are also included. Click here to see the full article.

Fearing Backlash, Powerful Women Curtail How Much They Talk at Work – Research done by Victoria Brescoll, PhD, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, investigates the negative outcomes experienced by outspoken women in the workplace. Click here to learn more.

A Special Report on Women and Work: Closing the Gap: The Economist features a video on the progress made by women. Click here to see the video.

Category: Business & Leadership:

Closing the Leadership Gap: Why Women Can and Must Help Run the World by Marie Wilson – Founder of The White Houser Project, Ms. Wilson is the strongest advocate in the US for getting more women in the political process….and in positions to change the world.

Decent People Decent Company: How to Lead with Character at Work and in Life by Robert and Carolyn Turknett – Based on the Turknett Leadership Character Model, this book is a foundation for all leadership development.

Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership edited by Linda Coughlin, Ellen Wingard, & Keith Hollihan – one of my personal favorites! Thirty (30) unique chapters / essays written by outstanding individuals.

The Female Advantage by Sally Helgesen – a classic in the field of women’s leadership; written in the 80’s but a “must read” for every working woman. Other books by Ms. Helgesen: Web of Inclusion: A New Architecture for Building Great Organizations and Thriving in 24/7: Six Strategies for Taming the New World of Work

Go, Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance by Marcus Buckingham – Practical steps to take each week to skew your time at work toward those activities that strengthen you, and how to cut out those that don’t. Follows two other super successful books (First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths).

The Opt-Out Revolt: Whey People Are Leaving Companies to Create Kaleidoscope Careers by Lisa A. Mainiero and Sherry Sullivan – this book and the next one are intriguing in terms of attracting and retaining female talent now and in the future.

Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

She Wins, You Win by Gail Evans – Former EVP at CNN who says: Every time a woman in business succeeds, it increases the chances for other women’s success. Conversely, every time one fails, it decreases all women’s chances. Ms. Evans also wrote Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman

Standing at the Crossroads: Next Steps for High Achieving Women by Marian Ruderman and Patricia Ohlott, The Center for Creative Leadership

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Dr. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever – A must read for all working women! Studies show that women leave money on the table because they don’t ask for the same salaries as men, or for the positions they want, etc.

What Queen Esther Knew: Business Strategies from a Biblical Sage by Connie Glaser and Barbara Smalley – authors of Swim with the Dolphins and When Money Isn’t Enough: How Women are Finding the Soul of Success

Category: Personal / Other

Alter Your Life: How to Turn Everyday Activities into Spiritually Rewarding Experiences by Dr. Kathleen A. Hall

Composing a Life by Mary Catherine Bateson – The author – daughter of Margaret Mead – provides a masterful framework for understanding life as a “work in progress” as seen through the comparative lives and stories of five extraordinary women.

The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew: Three Women Search for Understanding by R. Idliby, S. Oliver, and P. Warner – After 9/11 in New York, three women from different faiths decided someone had to try and stop the hate and start talking with each other. They formed “the faith club” and now they share what they’ve learned.

The Female Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine – Fascinating & factual explanation about the differences in male and female brains.

The Heart and Art of Netweaving: Building Meaningful Relationships One Connections at a Time by Robert S. Littell

Simple Abundance: The Journey of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach – Everyday tips for living, working and being more at ease.


NOTE: Anyone interested in starting a WIL Book Club? If so, let me know at When you read any of the books above, send me your comments. Also, send me your suggested reading to add to the list.

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