Top 5 Best Books for Women on Leadership and Self-Improvement

Top 5 Best Books for Women on Leadership and Self-Improvement | Career | Emeritus

McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace Report 2023 highlights that women experience slow progress at the managerial and director levels. Consequently, the percentage of women in leadership positions is very low. Moreover, women who experience microaggressions have difficulty taking risks, proposing ideas, or raising concerns. Books for women written by powerful authors provide testimonies of these struggles. However, they also inspire women across the globe to take charge and become more fierce. Let’s see the top books for women that share powerful messages and lessons on leadership and success.

strip banner

1. Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey by Carly Fiorina 

This is one of the most amazing books for women aspiring to become (better) leaders, especially those who want to join politics. In Rising to the Challenge, Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, narrates her inspiring journey of how she managed to get through her unsuccessful US Senate bid in California. She also talks about her battle with breast cancer and how she overcame the loss of her daughter. 

Fiorina explains that the true essence of leadership lies in seeing possibilities in people and looking beyond the obvious. She is an example of how a person can climb the corporate ladder to become the leader of a top company. From being a secretary at a small firm, she became the CEO of a leading tech company through hard work, encouragement, and support. 

Leadership also means having the courage to change the order of things by realizing your true potential. Fiorina shares an important lesson—leadership and success, whether in politics or business, should never be taken for granted. It requires continuous investment. Watch the chapter-wise summary of the book here.  

ALSO READ: 5 Leadership Books That Reveal the Hidden Secrets of Successful Leaders

2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Grit by Angela Duckworth, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, delves into the power of perseverance for success. Duckworth explains that the recipe to success is not so much talent as it is focused persistence and passion. This book is a powerhouse of lessons on how people should overcome setbacks and achieve their goals. 

One of the best lessons the book offers is that outstanding achievement requires endurance, which is rare. It also explains that efforts matter much more than talent because without effort, talent is just untapped potential. Duckworth also mentions that there is no shortcut to excellence. Developing expertise requires hard work and falling in love with what you do. Therefore, instead of being the smartest one in the room, people should strive to be the one with maximum grit. 

She also emphasizes the importance of consistency and discipline to achieve goals. Moreover, the book highlights the importance of exploring and experimenting to discover one’s interests. It also encourages readers to be passionate about what they do. Watch the complete summary of the book here

ALSO READ: Smart Career Progression: 5 Proven Steps for Professional Growth

3. How to Change: The Science of Getting From Where You are to Where You Want to be by Katy Milkman


Change is often the one thing stopping people from achieving their goals. How to Change by Katy Milkman is one of the best books for women on self-improvement through case studies and engaging stories. It explains the psychology behind resisting change. Milkman describes the most common habit traps—not getting started, impulsive behavior, procrastination, laziness, confidence, short-term thinking, and forgetfulness.

Some effective ways to overcome these habit traps, as discussed in this book, are embracing change as a continuous process rather than a one-time event, building flexibility, and starting with a clean state, especially on important dates. One interesting strategy is temptation bundling, such as exercising while watching Netflix.

Some key principles covered in this book are precommitment and planning  to stay focused on goals, simplifying goals by breaking them into smaller tasks, initiating a fresh start on special dates or occasions, and finding a social support network. This book changes one’s perspective on habits, habit-building, and learning self-control. You can watch the complete summary of the book here

4. Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril by Margaret Heffernan

One of the best books for women, Willful Blindness by Margaret Heffernan, delves into the uncomfortable truth about why people fail to acknowledge what is right in front of them. Even though people might be aware of a problem, they intentionally choose to ignore it or they might not bother to understand a situation. 

This applies to both personal and professional aspects of our lives. The major reason for this is people are uncomfortable with divergent views and confrontation and do not want to challenge the status quo. Consequently, humans become oblivious to physical or financial dangers in their lives. Organizations and institutions also suffer from willful blindness, causing large-scale damage.

This profound book compels readers to introspect and become more aware of their surroundings to make strategic decisions that have a positive impact. Click here to watch the chapter-wise summary of the book. 

5. No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier

No Filter by Sarah Frier is another book that ranks among the most empowering books for women, especially in science and technology. This book explains how Instagram has transformed from a photo app to the most popular app for the modern generation. Frier delves into how Instagram has evolved over the years to become an over $100-billion company, explaining the timeline from its launch to its acquisition by Facebook.

She further highlights how Instagram has created a vast economy of influencers and impacted celebrity culture. This book is inspiring for women in tech who want to become global leaders. You can watch the chapter-wise summary of the book here

ALSO READ: Climbing the Corporate Ladder: How a Leadership Training Program Can Help

All the above-mentioned books for women share strong lessons and examples of how women can become strong and powerful leaders and lead change. In addition to the life-changing lessons offered by these books, women also need to upskill to bridge the skill gap and succeed. You can pursue Emeritus’ online courses to learn in-demand skills and advance your career.

Write to us at

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Sneha is a content marketing professional with over four years of experience in helping brands achieve their marketing goals. She crafts research-based, engaging content, making sure to showcase a bit of her creative side in every piece she writes. Sneha spends most of her time writing, reading, or drinking coffee. You will often find her practicing headstands or inversions to clear her mind.
Read More About the Author
US +1-606-268-4575
US +1-606-268-4575