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7 Must-Read Career Books for Women [2022]

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Trying to grow your career while being a woman can be hard and isolating. These career books for women provide some insight in navigating the workspace, developing new skills, and even becoming the breadwinner!

Whether you’re years into your career or are still navigating the entry-level world, here are some books every professional woman should read.

If you’re a professional woman or a career-driven woman (or want to become one), then these books are ones to read. These books talk about careers and money as it applies to women.

From discussing the gender wage gap to balancing motherhood with a career to owning the responsibility of being the breadwinner, these books cover a variety of topics to help you gain new perspectives and push you to the next level in your career or life!

The Best Career Books for Women

Starting off with the best of the best! This collection of career books for women includes a few personal favorites. I have either read these books myself or they have been added to my “to-read” list because the reviews are that good. Let’s dive in!

Invisible Women

Author: Caroline Criado-Perez
Published: March 2019

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Book Summary & Book Review

Back in 2019, I came across an article on the Guardian about the ways the world is built for men and not women. Unfortunately for my husband, I came across this article right before bedtime and ended up giving a vent-filled monologue on all the world’s wrongs while he was trying to fall asleep. Oops.

While it was terrible timing finding that article for my husband, it was great timing for me! From then on, I kept an eye out for a copy of the book and absolutely devoured it once I got my hands on it.

While not completely focusing on women and careers, the book does cover some interesting facts and experiences about women living in a world built for men. For example, do you keep a jacket or blanket at work because the temperature is too cold for you? Here’s what Caroline Cirado-Perez’s book has to say about that below:

In fact, the formula may overestimate female metabolic rate by as much as 35%, meaning that current offices are on average five degrees too cold for women. This leads to the odd sight of female office workers wrapped in blankets in the summer, while their male colleagues wander around in shorts.

The Guardian

Power Moves

Author: Lauren McGoodwin
Published: May 2020

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Book Summary & Book Review

I only recently came across this book but, since it’s written by the founder of Career Contessa, I figured it needed to be on this list! I have read and used several posts and articles from Career Contessa when faced with career decisions and situations so I figure this book will have just as much valuable information as those amazing online articles.


Fair Play

Author: Eve Rodsky
Published: October 2019

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Book Summary & Book Review

While not specifically a career books for women, the concept behind Fair Play is still important for women pursuing careers. While the idea of “having it all” is slowly fading, there’s still work to be done in lessening the mental load for women, and taking care of both work and household tasks.

Eve Rodsky’s book the conversation about the distribution of chores and responsibilities in Fair Play with gamification. Since my husband and I are at a more balanced place with chores, I’ve been putting off reading the book in full (plus we don’t have kids and all the additional responsibilities that brings). However, after rereading a GQ article with Eve Rodsky about Fair Play, I think there’s still lots of valuable information we could both learn.

Jump to the longer review of Fair Play by Eve Rodsky.


The Myth of the Nice Girl

Author: Fran Hauserky
Published: April 2019

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Book Summary & Book Review

Look, if you’ve ever been told to “toughen up” or “be less emotional” or some variation of that, then you’ve probably wondered if you would need to become some hardened, cut-throat person to succeed. And maybe you do. Or maybe someone’s been lying.

Fran Hauserky points that being “nice” shouldn’t be equated with a quiet, people-pleaser but rather that being “nice” can mean being strategic, decisive, and innovative.

If you equate yourself with the “nice” stereotype but need help switching mindsets from “nice = people-pleaser” to “nice = empathetic but decisive” then this is a great career book to read!


The Skills

Author: Mishal Husain
Published:

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Book Summary & Book Review

What most interested me about this book was the coverage of one’s life. It doesn’t just cover a small section of someone’s life but rather the journey from schooling to first job to more jobs to dream job. That’s what pulled me in.

While it was interesting to read about Mishal Husain’s career journey, I have to say that I lost interest in the book somewhat quickly. There wasn’t much information that was truly capturing my attention, even with the interviews she conducts and shares.

The major point I got from this book was to not be upset about the job you have now. There’s been so many times that I’ve wondered, “what am I learning here? will this even help me later?” Basically, the same questions we ask about math when in school. Except that this time, the answer is that the skills gained in your current job will come in handy in future jobs or situations, somehow.


The Memo

Author: Minda Harts
Published: August 2019

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Book Summary & Book Review

You know that meme that goes “The Devil works hard but Kris Jenner works harder”?

Well, Minda Harts works just as hard because, dang, she’s on everything! You can check out her website, The Memo, or listen to her podcast, Secure the Seat, or watch her podcast on YouTube! Phew!

Her book is on my to-read list but I’ve been listening to her podcast and I love the way she delivers her information! What made her book stand out from so many career books for women was the acknowledgment that career advice for women of color needs to be tailored.


Sun Tzu’s Art of War for Women

Author: Catherine Huang
Published: September 2019


Ladies Get Paid

Author: Claire Wasserman
Published: January 2021

Career Books If You’re the Breadwinner

Whether it’s due to your career-building efforts or simply the timing of life events, you’re suddenly the breadwinner of the family. You’re facing some complicated emotions and have lots of questions, like “what are the challenges of being the breadwinner” or “what happens when the woman is the breadwinner”? Well, these books cover all that!

In certain family dynamics, women have long been the breadwinner but it’s just not the social norm image we have in our mind. However, women are increasingly becoming the breadwinners of their family unit, and it’s better to prepare for a potential scenario before it happens than to figure it out as you go!

The following books focus on the experience of becoming or being the breadwinner, as well as the lessons and discussions you’ll have on your journey to being the breadwinner.

Think Like a Breadwinner

Author: Jennifer Barrett
Published: April 2021

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Book Summary & Book Review

This book. THIS BOOK. Absolutely life-changing. Shoutout to Jennifer Barrett for going through the challenges of being her family’s breadwinner and writing about it for the rest of us!

Growing up, I always had the vague idea that I would be supported by someone. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized I didn’t necessarily want to or expect to get married…which meant I would be supporting myself! Thus began my (light) worry over how would I support myself. However, theoretical scenarios about how I would support myself had absolutely nothing on the realities of post-graduate living. Rent, insurance, groceries, and gas all add up really, really quickly.

While I did end up getting married to an amazing husband, the worry over how to support myself in an unfortunate scenario still buzzes through my head. Jennifer Barrett’s book covers some important conversations and perspectives that being a breadwinner brings. Highly recommend this career book for women and think it’s a book every professional woman should read!


Fair Play

Author: Eve Rodsky
Published: October 2019

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Book Summary & Book Review

Have you ever paused and wondered why you’ve been the one to get the kids ready, take your pet to the vet, vacuum the house, take out the trash, empty the dishwasher, and more, while your partner mows the yard? Obviously, this is a slightly exaggerated scenario but it is certainly possible!

For a while, I was happy doing certain chores because I enjoyed them. But it soon became annoying to do laundry, for example, because I was no longer doing the chore for just myself; it was now for both my husband’s clothes and my clothes. Over time, I began to resent constantly doing the laundry (or vacuuming, cleaning, etc.) because it benefitted both of us but only one of us was doing it.

One day, I just stopped doing all of it. For maybe…two or three weeks? No laundry, no vacuum, no bathroom cleaning, no organizing, no folding, no making the bed, etc. Nothing. For several weeks.

While a bit dramatic, it culminated in my husband and I having a conversation about our responsibilities and sharing the chores that benefitted both of us. It even gave us the opportunity for my husband to voice his annoyance at being the cook all the time, and asked that I occasionally pitch in.

Eve Rodsky’s book gets you to that conversation about chores and responsibilities in Fair Play. Since my husband and I are at a more balanced place with chores, I’ve been putting off reading the book in full (plus we don’t have kids and all the additional responsibilities that brings). However, after rereading a GQ article with Eve Rodsky about Fair Play, I think there’s still lots of valuable information we could both learn.

While not specifically a career books for women, the concept behind Fair Play is still important for women pursuing breadwinning careers. While the idea of “having it all” is slowly fading, there’s still work to be done in lessening the mental load for women, and taking care of both work and household tasks. You can’t be the breadwinner and the household CEO.


These are my top books to read if you’re a career-driven woman or looking to level-up your career! Whether you need strategies to overcome the “nice” stereotype or negotiation strategies, these career books for women have you covered!

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