What Are the Best Books for Self-Development? Women Weigh In

Woman Reading


Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866
June 21, 2024 at 3:6PM UTC

As women, we’re all looking for advice from one another on how to deal with the issues we face, whether that be in life, in the workplace, or in our families.

Books can be a sort of therapy -- a best friend in our times of need that will give you certain solutions as well as help you find the answers yourself. One anonymous FGB’er wrote to our Community to ask for a round-up of the best self-development books that have been helpful to others.

“Does Fairygodboss (or anyone else for that matter) have a link to or [a] compiled list of self-development books and reading material that have been helpful for other women to read and grow their leadership style [or] dealings with male leadership?”

Another anonymous user responded, directing her to FBG’s previously published lists of self-development books. Indeed, we have published several round-ups of this kind.

One round-up, “30 Books Every Woman Should Read Before Turning 30,” outlines the best books for women to read upon finishing their playful 20’s and entering the more serious 30’s. Another, “19 Book Suggestions That’ll Motivate You When You’re in a Career Rut,” suggests the most helpful advice books for advancing your career.

Below, we’ve chosen a list of the books that best meet the FGB’er’s question:

1. "Ask For It” by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever: a book to help you with the tough task of negotiation

2. "Grit” by Angela Duckworth: a book to help you build your own grit (a combination of passion and perseverance) within yourself

3. "Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg: a book to help you get ahead in the workplace, with advice directly from the COO of Facebook

4. “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin: a book to help you take calculated steps toward measurable goals in order to achieve happiness

5. “The Architecture of Happiness” by Alain de Botton: a book to help you view your surroundings -- including your workplace -- in a new, more positive way

6. “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: a book to help you reconnect with your religion in order to discover your happiness

7. "We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: a book to help you connect with your inner goddess activist woman in order to accept who you are and become an even greater, more badass version of yourself

A few other notable self-development books include “The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion” by Elle Luna – a book where Luna urges readers to stop doing what they feel they “should” be doing and begin doing what they feel they “must” dedicate their life’s work to. And “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero – a self-development book that is actually funny. Sincero tells her personal career journey all while giving advice in the most hilarious of ways.

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