Over the last few week’s I’ve come across so many inspirational young women in their twenties doing some amazing things whilst in lockdown. It’s been great connecting with you all and reading about your journeys into adulthood. Last week another inspirational young woman, Abby Trombley, author of the blog space and instagram page As She Wrote, reached out and wrote a fantastic article on ‘Five Books Every Young Career Women Should Read’…
Five Books Every Young Career Woman Should Read
I’m an avid reader, and love to look to influential women for their advice and perspective on how they managed their careers, overcome obstacles in the workplace, and created lives of impact and intention.
It is not a secret that, as young women, we will face specific challenges in the workplace. This is why it is critical we do not ignore but think strategically about these issues and be prepared to face them with strength and confidence. There is no better way to learn and be prepared than to read from the perspectives of these women who have risen to inspiring heights in their respective careers.
These five books have made an impact on me as a young woman with less than one year of my professional career under my belt so far.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
There’s been quite a bit of controversy over this book, written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Critics argue that Lean In is narrowly focused on the career challenges of women in the most elite and privileged roles, and lacked an intersectional lens to its analysis of gender-related issues. I decided to read the book anyways and although I am extremely critical of non-inclusive feminism, I found the book to be useful nonetheless.
First of all, Sandberg does not claim to offer an exhaustive list of all the gender-based problems women may face and the perfect solutions for every individual – nor she can be expected to. Rather, Sandberg offers a frank discussion of the types of challenges women face at high levels of corporate America, with advice and perspective she has gained from her own experiences. I gained a lot of tangible, actionable advice from the book. For example, Sandberg tells the story of an executive who called her up because she wanted to work at Facebook. Instead of talking about her own impressive qualities and how she’d fit the role, she asked the question “What is Facebook’s biggest problem and what can I do to solve it?”
Lean In makes my top five list because I found the advice to be actionable and useful, as well as her experiences in one of the most powerful companies in the world to be fascinating.
Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny
This book is a double-whammy of career and personal finance advice. I couldn’t stop taking notes while reading this book, and I felt empowered just having read it. Her advice ranges from how to go about investing to how to develop a powerful money mindset. Stanny gives us practical strategies for creating a career that will reward you with financial freedom and uses stories of real women to describe what works, and what doesn’t.
Her strategies go beyond the standard advice of how to negotiate a raise, to examine where our deep beliefs and assumptions about money come from, and how they may be holding us back. I truly feel my entire relationship with money has changed by this book.
One of my favourite quotes in the book is: “You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you demand.” If you’re at all interested in building wealth and having financial peace, order this book now.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
I first picked up this book because I felt like I sometimes struggled with being too reserved in the workplace and wanted to learn how to speak with more candor and power. This book gave me so much more than that; I learned so much about effective communication and bringing intentionality not only to your speaking but your entire career.
Scott describes why lack of candor in the workplace is a crisis, and gives effective strategies for both managers and employers to speak with direction, intentionality and effectiveness. This book is extremely useful for both men and women in their careers, but I find that as women, sometimes we are less inclined to speak with candor and authority as it can be mistakenly perceived as “bossiness” or discontent. This is why I especially recommend this book to my female colleagues, as learning how to effectively express yourself, especially standing up for what you want in need, is perhaps the most important skills in our careers.
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Dr. Lois Frankel
This book is such a gold mine, I wrote a whole post about all that I’ve learned from it. This book has been around for a while now and it’s still incredibly relevant (especially because Dr. Frankel has updated it).
Dr. Frankel addresses an extensive list of common mistakes women make at work that hold us back…in how we dress, speak, think, act. The phrase “nice girls” in the title refers to her central thesis that the way young girls are socialized is to be “nice girls,” and we often carry these behaviours and attitudes into the office, as opposed to making the transition to acting and thinking like powerful, effective women.
If you know any 2020 women graduates who are entering the workforce, you must gift them this book.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
This might not come up as a standard “career advice” book, but I include it because it made an impact on me and the way I think about my career and my own personal development. Additionally, it is an inspiring story of resilience, dedication, and serious hard work. Michelle Obama is a powerhouse, and we can all learn from her tenacity, as well as the ways she managed her career with both passion and intention.
Obama was a high-powered attorney, an executive at one of America’s largest city’s major hospital, and of course made a tremendous impact on the lives of many Americans as a First Lady. What I found inspiring about her is the way she managed her career in a way that pursued her own goals, while also making an intentional positive impact on her community and, eventually, the country at large.
If you’ve read any of these, let me know what you think. What book has made the biggest impact on your career? Let us know in the comments below.
A bit about Abby Trombley
Abby is an American expat living in Paris with her French boyfriend and their Bernese Mountain Dog (yes, they fit this big dog in their Parisian apartment!). Abby works in management consulting by day and writes by night (and early morning!)
She is the author of As She Wrote, a young women’s lifestyle blog and community space for a collection of topics from young professional life, love, friendship and overall navigating life as a young woman. Abby highlights stories of the people in her life as we’re all figuring out our 20’s and navigating our own unique paths.