If you ever find yourself feeling unmotivated in your business, or like your mindset is suffering, my biggest recommendation is to sit down with a good book that will inspire and motivate you.
Actually, even if things are going amazing in your business, I would STILL encourage you to make time for reading in your spare time. Besides the fact that the right book WILL educate and inspire you, there are also incredible benefits, like improved cognitive functioning, confidence, and approach to business strategy.
As a CEO myself and an expert business and marketing consultant, I make it my mission to strive for self-development in every area of life possible — and for me, that means reading books that will help me cultivate my mindset, improve my business and leadership skills, and learn new things, as often as I can. This is why today I’ll be sharing with you my top 25 must read books for female CEOs like you.
If you’re already a reader and are ready to dive in, fantastic! You’ll find a great variety of reads on this list that I hope will inspire and motivate you. If you’re not typically a big reader, but are willing to give it a shot, don’t worry — I made sure to include only the best of the best on this list, and I can assure you these picks are so interesting you’ll be able to dive right in with zeal!
Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones — James Clear
No matter your goals, Atomic Habits will teach you practical strategies that will show you exactly how to form positive habits, get rid of negative habits, and master the tiny everyday shifts that lead to big results. Learn how to make time for new habits, overcome a lack of motivation and willpower, design your environment to optimise success, get back on track when you fall off course, and much more.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less — Greg McKweon
If you’ve ever found yourself feeling stretched too thin, overworked but unproductive, or like a prisoner to other people’s calendars, Essentialism is the read you need in your life. Learn a systematic discipline for discovering what is absolutely essential, so that you can eliminate the things that are not, resulting in total control over where you spend your time and energy. It’s about doing less, but better, in every area of life.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life — Jen Sincero
You Are a Badass is all about harnessing true happiness by becoming more self-aware, letting go of other people’s opinions, identifying and changing your self-sabotaging behaviors, and doing what you really love. Not only is this book extremely fun to read due to the conversational tone of voice and hilarious included anecdotes, but it’s also packed with gems about mindset, fascinating insights regarding the science behind our limiting beliefs, and even exercises to apply your new knowledge.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment — Eckhart Tolle
If you’re looking for inner peace and to find your true and deepest self, look no further than The Power of Now. This cult classic has sold over 30 million copies and will take you on an inspiring spiritual journey towards enlightenment through living in the present moment, accepting the things you cannot change, and letting go of self-judgment. Self-development fans, this is a must-read.
Everything Is Figureoutable — Marie Forleo
Unlike some other self-development books that offer quick fixes, Everything Is Figureoutable is all about retraining your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks. When you pick this one up, you’ll learn how to work through imposter syndrome and deal with criticism, how to overcome a lack of time and money, and the one habit that will make you 42% more likely to achieve your goals — and you’ll walk away with the confidence that can you figure out any problem.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear — Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re looking to live a more creative, fulfilled life, Big Magic outlines the essential qualities of creative and fulfilled living. It’ll show you how to be creative in spite of your fears, how ideas work, and how you can make sure your creativity keeps flowing no matter what happens. This is a read that will motivate and inspire you to pursue your creative interests and integrate them further into your life.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change — Stephen R. Covey
We all want to succeed, and one path to success is identifying the habits that can help us on our journey. That’s what this famous classic is all about — how to adapt the 7 habits that will lead to immense success and both personal and professional effectiveness. This is one of the bestselling self-development books of all time for good reason, and it’s definitely worth a read.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life — Mark Manson
For those of you who are over the “positive psychology” craze, this is the self-development read that should be next on your list. Through a no-BS approach backed by academic research, you’ll learn to embrace life’s setbacks and accept your own limitations, faults, fears, and insecurities. The result? Once you’re able to confront these painful truths, you’ll be able to live a life that may not be happy every single second, but will always be meaningful and centered around the things most important to you.
The 5AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. — Hal Elrod
If you’ve ever wished you could be a morning person instead of hitting snooze on your alarm clock, build a consistent morning routine that makes your day better, and dedicate time to the self-improvement activities you need to find success, The 5AM Club is for you. You’ll learn the science behind how to wake up early feeling instantly inspired, focused, and driven to get the most out of your day — in turn upgrading your happiness and impact.
How to Win Friends and Influence People — Dale Carnegie
This has been a classic for over 60 years for a reason! Full of time-tested, rock-solid advice, this book is going to show you how to make people like you, win people over with your way of thinking (and make them agree with you), and how to help the people around you change their behaviors without any future resentment. It’s a must-read for anybody looking to achieve their maximum potential in both their personal lives and career.
Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business — Gino Wickman & Mark C. Winters
Did you know that there’s an explosive combination that’s the key to getting what you want from your business? This would be the visionary-integrator dynamic. Visionaries have innovative ideas, and integrators help those ideas come to life. Together, the result is magic. Rocket Fuel goes into depth about each role and how an effective relationship between the two can help take your business to new heights.
Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow’s Consumers — Raja Rajamannar
As technology continues to evolve dramatically, so does marketing. Quantum Marketing, written by the Chief Marketing Officer of Mastercard, explores how marketing is expected to shift in the coming years in revolutionary, completely new ways. If you’re looking to understand the evolution of marketing and how to be at the forefront of future change, gain clarity on the right marketing strategies to pursue amidst an ever-changing industry, and gain perspective from some of the top marketers in the world, this should be your next read.
Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur — Cara Alwill Leyba
Girl Code is a roadmap for female entrepreneurs, working moms, “side hustlers”, and anyone else looking to reconnect with themselves, reconnect with their “why”, get rid of jealousy and comparison-itis, and ultimately learn the power of connection. This is a read that will make you laugh and inspire you to be your most genuine, authentic self.
We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman’s Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power — Rachel Rodgers
Only 10% of the world’s millionaires are women. If that figure seems off to you, you’ll want to read We Should All Be Millionaires. It’s time to lead with an entirely new attitude about money, start taking your power seriously, and build the financial security you need and deserve. This book will show you how, through educational lessons about money and mindset, hands-on money-making strategies, and the crucial ingredients you need to become a millionaire.
Chillpreneur: The New Rules for Creating Success, Freedom, and Abundance On Your Terms — Denise Duffield-Thomas
Learn how to set yourself on the path of abundance as an entrepreneur without any blood, sweat, or tears through witty, easy-to-understand business advice and mindset lessons. If you’re looking to discover how to find the business model that meshes perfectly with your personality, incorporate key concepts into your life that will allow you to earn more and work less, create a winning marketing strategy that feels aligned, and more…this should be next on your list!
Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement of People Who Will Pay for Your Advice — Russell Brunson
Your audience is everything when it comes to selling your offer. It doesn’t matter how amazing the product or service you are selling is — if you don’t build a movement of people willing to listen to what you have to say, your chances of success are slim. Expert Secrets is a book full of incredible advice that will teach you how to find your voice and become a confident leader, build a mass movement of people who WANT to listen to you, and make this new calling your career — AKA get paid for it.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future — Peter Thiel
Written by the billionaire founder of PayPal, Zero to One offers an optimistic view of the future of the progress of the world is examined alongside a new way of thinking about innovation; if you’re somebody who loves finding value in unexpected places, or is captivated by new inventions and discoveries, Zero to One is for you. I’d recommend this one to every aspiring entrepreneur, actually!
Profit First: Transform Your Business From a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine — Mike Michalowicz
The world-famous Profit First system has helped many business owners transform their finances through a new behavioural approach to accounting that allows you to pay yourself before anything else. Through case studies and practical, step-by-step advice, you’ll learn how to simplify your accounting, improve the valuation of your business, and achieve long-term growth by making your business more financially efficient.
The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd — Allan Dib
Random acts of marketing do not build a successful business. You need a strategic, highly reliable plan for rapid business growth. While creating a marketing plan has traditionally seemed like a difficult and overwhelming process, The 1-Page Marketing Plan is changing that. Learn a new, revolutionary approach to creating a one-page marketing plan that will help you get new clients, profit from existing customers, and make your business the only logical choice for your audience. If you’re wanting to propel your business growth, this is your next read.
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action — Simon Sinek
People won’t truly buy into a product, service, or idea unless they actually understand and believe in the WHY behind it. Start With Why explores how the world’s greatest leaders all started with “why” — and how being able to answer that one question makes some people and organisations more innovative, influential, and profitable than others.
5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential — John C. Maxwell
Being “the boss” is more than just a title. If you really want people to respect you as a leader, you have to master the ability to invest in people and inspire them. 5 Levels of Leadership will walk you through the five different stages of leadership that most bosses go through, culminating in the desired goal of people following you because of who you are and what you represent. This is a must-read for anybody looking to become a more influential, respected, and successful leader.
Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead With Emotional Intelligence — Daniel Goleman
Learn about the requirements of successful leadership in Primal Leadership, which shows that the best leaders are self-aware, empathetic, motivating, collaborative, and able to fluidy shift their leadership style as the situation demands. They also possess a high level of emotional intelligence. If you’re at all interested in what makes a great leader great, this is a great choice.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t — Simon Sinek
The most successful leaders foster trust, cooperation, and fulfillment for their team members, leading to loyalty and achievement. Unsuccessful leaders often find that their teams are doomed to fighting, fragmentation, and failure — no matter what incentives are offered. Why is this? What makes a leader successful or unsuccessful in the modern world? These are the questions that Leaders Eat Last aims to answer.
Dealing With People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst — Rick Kirschner & Rick Brinkman
As a leader, there may be times you have to deal with people you just don’t like. While this situation can be very frustrating, learning to get things done and get along with the people who seem intent on making your life more difficult is an incredibly valuable skill that will take you far in business and life. Dealing With People You Can’t Stand will help you do just that by teaching you sophisticated listening techniques to figure out what people really want, take-charge skills that turn conflict into cooperation, and methods for transforming the behaviour of those around you.
The New One Minute Manager — Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson
Ranked as one of the most successful management books ever published, The New One Minute Manager teaches three easy-to-use techniques that will allow you to save time, increase your productivity as a manager, boost profits, and deepen your purpose…all in under 60 seconds!
There you have it — my top 25 picks. Let me know what’s next on your list in the comments, and feel free to share any recommendations I might have missed!