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“Read to succeed”

Mercedes-Benz: Woman reading book on a boat.
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Six books that will improve your career.

Important lessons lie at the heart of every success story. And now that more and more women are sharing their experiences, opinions, thoughts and advice, we stand to learn more than ever from what they’ve accomplished. Read these six books – authored by some of the most successful modern women – and learn about their personal achievements in the context of broader societal issues.

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown, 2018)
© Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown, 2018)

It’s about… Michelle Obama, who many regard as more than a former first lady: she is an idol, moral voice and leading figure in her own right, whose charisma and speaking talent are matched only by those of her husband, Barack Obama. Her memoir has already sold over 10 million copies and is set to become a classic of modern female autobiographies.

You should read it because… as well as Michelle Obama used her position as First Lady to reflect her impeccable taste and style, it also allowed her to shed a light on and raise awareness of issues close to her heart. By advocating exercise, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, and by founding education initiatives for young girls, Obama demonstrated new ways by which not just the President, but the President’s partner can positively change the world.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (Knopf, 2013)
© Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (Knopf, 2013)

It’s about… how women can succeed in a male-dominated industry, as told by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. Speaking from the perspective of a top executive at one of the world’s most important tech companies, her famous book shares her honest views on how women can take chances, advocate for themselves and free themselves from their fears.

You should read it because… it’s filled with interesting and revealing studies and statistics, but Lean In engages the reader mostly through Sandberg’s personal experiences and anecdotes. She doesn’t hold back her thoughts on the self-doubt she has suffered or on events she perceived as personal failures. And she is the first to admit that having a top-level job and trying to raise children is an enormous challenge, even with a helping partner and financial means.

Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans (Portfolio/Penguin, 2018)
© Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans (Portfolio/Penguin, 2018)

It’s about… how women contributed to developing the Internet and some of the biggest inventions related to it. Though the stories behind technological innovations like the Internet are littered with bearded, nerdy guys in messy garages staring at screens for hours and coming up with groundbreaking ideas, they were certainly not the only people involved. In fact, equally brilliant women populate the histories of the Internet and other coinciding inventions, though their contributions have often been erased from common knowledge. Evans puts them at centre stage in her book – women like Elizabeth Feinler, who pioneered the earliest versions of the Internet, and Stacy Horn, who ran one of the first-ever social networks.

You should read it because… the false notion that tech is a boys’ club and that coding isn’t for women is still way too prevalent in society. Female innovators seldom get the same attention as their male peers, but Evans’ stories of these early pioneers erase clichés and honour the genius of women in tech.

Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg (North Star Way, 2017)
© Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg (North Star Way, 2017)

It’s about… all things money, as explained by Amanda Steinberg, the CEO and founder of dailyworth.com. Her website informs and educates on money-related topics and has attracted over a million subscribers. In her book, Steinberg tackles all the financial questions that women should face if they want to build sustainable wealth. Whatever a financial advisor won’t tell you, Steinberg does, because more information ultimately leads to a more confident relationship with money – and more cash in your purse.

You should read it because… money is not just an essential means for living, but a source of self-esteem. Foster belief in yourself and your future by asking for what you deserve, budgeting well and mastering your financial strategies. More than anything, Steinberg reminds us, smart money management guarantees freedom and independence – and that is worth an investment.

More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth (Viking, 2019)
© More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth (Viking, 2019)

It’s about… the remarkable career of a young woman who climbed to the top of the fashion media world and changed how we think about style, appearance, race and politics…all before she turned 30. Welteroth is an award-winning journalist who was the editor-in-chief at Teen Vogue (the youngest ever at Condé Nast) before becoming a judge on the TV show Project Runway. For Welteroth, this is all the result of a battle against self-doubt and a feeling of being insufficient that stayed with her for most of her life. As she has overcome it, she encourages women – and especially women of colour – to realise their dreams, no matter how distant they may seem.

You should read it because… Welteroth quickly recognised that her career path was not only about her, but also about what she could do to change the status quo. She used her position in fashion and media to promote diversity in the industry, and she has vigorously challenged the notion that a love of fashion is incompatible with an interest in politics and current affairs. That acknowledgement of a bigger mission leads to the understanding that we are “more than enough”.

Parisian Chic Look Book: What Should I Wear Today? by Ines de la Fressange (Flammarion, 2017)
© Parisian Chic Look Book: What Should I Wear Today? by Ines de la Fressange (Flammarion, 2017)

It’s about… how you can master French style with the right few ingredients. Parisian women are envied for their sense of style, seemingly effortless approach to elegance, and a certain je ne sais quoi. While former Karl Lagerfeld muse, model and entrepreneur Ines de la Fressange might seem to be the epitome of the “chic French girl”, she has always made a point of showing that her style is not a complicated secret. De la Fressange, the author of several books on French style, offers an easy, day-to-day guide to this distinct style with the Parisian Chic Look Book. How do you dress for a dinner with no dress code? What should you wear to a Tinder date? She has the answers, and they come down to simple accoutrements like black skinny jeans or ballerina flats – a few basic pieces that we all have in our wardrobes.

You should read it because… knowing what you like and what makes you feel good is ultimately the key, but if you’re a little unsure, the Parisian offers practical advice on what to wear when and how to combine articles. Even better: you won’t have to break your bank account to follow her suggestions.