Your road to success starts with fierce confidence and the courage to push boundaries. Here are eight influential books that will provide you with the tools you need to find your voice, unleash your rage, and dominate your profession.
By Kaitlyn Warias
A long-time media executive and start-up advisor, Fran Houser dissects the stereotypical notions of what a powerful leader should look like in Myth of the Nice Girl. Her focus is on cultivating confidence and authenticity in the business world whilst breaking the outdated ultimatum of being nice versus being a bitch that most professional women are given. Hauser uses her business expertise and success strategies to stress the importance for women to reclaim their “niceness” in a way that sheds degenerating stereotypes and promotes strength and leadership. Myth of the Nice Girl shows us that we don’t have to choose between being nice and having it all.
A guide to empowerment in a world that perpetually limits women, Road Map for Revolutionaries provides readers with an active plan to achieve professional success. Written by three influential feminists who lead in their respective fields, this book encourages activism while providing the necessary tools for change that you want to see and feel around you. Quick and to the point, it uses personal anecdotes from its authors in addition to powerful interviews from some of the most influential women in the world, including the founder of Black Lives Matter, to ultimately encourage us to challenge our greatest frustrations.
As a passionate journalist who sparked a national conversation on emotional labour, Gemma Hartley centers on the critical problem of undervaluing the work of women in this sharp read. Emotional labour is the invisible job handed down to women, with the expectation that it is our job to manage and micromanage so that the needs of those around us are always taken care of. But what about us? In Fed Up, Hartley gives personal examples from her everyday life and discusses how emotional labour has followed women from the home to the workplace, limiting our opportunities and fueling the gender divide. Raw and sincere, Hartley shares the results of her personal attempts at finding a balance between home and work, and tells us “It’s OK to want more”.
Soraya Chemaly, a prominent author and feminist activist, calls attention to the common pressures women face in a sexist society in her powerful polemic, Rage Becomes Her. She discusses the ways in which women are socialized to become meek and quiet, suppressing any anger or frustrations they may feel. Rage Becomes Her is all about shining a spotlight on the most powerful tool women have in their arsenal; anger. Directed at the 21st-century professional woman, this read will give you all the motivation you need to harness power through rage and effect real change.
Written with humour and conviction, Brittney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage, teaches us that the all too familiar stereotype of the “angry black woman” needs a second look. Copper explores the ways racism, sexism and classism intersect, creating disadvantages and hardship. She adds that feminism and accountability can begin undoing some of that damage. In this collection of personal essays, she shows that a woman’s rage is legitimate and powerful and because of this, we have a higher level of responsibility around how we build it. Eloquent Rage suggests some important ways in which women and feminism must evolve for the betterment of society as a whole. Rage is where power stems and Cooper reminds us that we should not have to settle for anything less than what we truly want.
A columnist for New York magazine, Rebecca Traister highlights the cultural significance of “female fury” in her successful polemic Good and Mad. Women have concealed their anger for far too long because an angry woman has never been justified. If a woman is angry she is viewed as irrational and out of control, but, Traister shows us that this is changing (and that’s a good thing). From the suffragette movement to #MeToo, there is incredible power in letting our anger and frustrations show. This book ultimately demonstrates how important the collective force of female anger can be when it is recognized and harnessed in a thoughtful way. Filled with interviews with activists and politicians, Good and Mad is exactly what you need to feel empowered and conquer your role in the workplace.
Witnessing her mother transform from housewife to captivating governor and as the former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a woman in power. Facing constant sexism, misogyny and threats of violence, Richards shares her experiences of what it feels like to challenge authority and find your voice in a world that just wants to shut you up. She offers stellar advice for the modern business woman with chapters dedicated to pushing your boundaries, gaining more confidence, and saying yes to every opportunity. This book encourages us to take risks and Make Trouble because the payoff is totally worthwhile.
Our culture claims to celebrate women and advocate for equality but too often, socially and politically, it does the opposite. Women are judged and policed under the cultural assumption of how one should go about being a woman. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen, a writer who specializes in culture, celebrity and feminism, commends women who are boldly unruly. Highly successful women such as Serena Williams and Madonna point to the importance of pursuing what you want to do even when society fights back. The women discussed in Too Fat, Too Slutty, represent a set of regressive cultural expectations that are rightfully being ignored. This book teaches us that the most powerful, successful woman today is the one who is unruly; the one who refuses to shut up.