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24 Books For Entrepreneurs, Written By Women (2023)


Searching for inspiration as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey? Look no further than those who found business success before you. Some of the most influential women leaders have opened their playbooks, offering key learnings and practical advice for those pursuing entrepreneurship.

Many people who have started a successful business don’t have formal education in their field. They have learned by doing or engaging in other forms of self-directed learning. And often, entrepreneurs credit books with giving them the right tools to get their companies off the ground. 

While exploring a variety of books will give you a well-rounded perspective, women entrepreneurs may gravitate toward the unique experiences of other women in business. But this list isn’t just for women. It’s for entrepreneurs of all ilks, and anyone in pursuit of personal growth or starting their own business.

Here, you’ll find everything from beloved bestsellers to new discoveries, recommended by women entrepreneurs for women entrepreneurs (and everyone else).

24 great entrepreneur books written by women

Woman looking pensive sits at a desk in front of an open bookThis list contains a broad spectrum of topics, from management to finances to flexing your creative muscle. The voices represented here also come from a diverse group of influential women entrepreneurs and professionals across a number of industries.

As you start your own business, look to the successful women who’ve come before you. Add these 24 inspiring books—everything from actionable advice to founder stories—to your reading list in 2023.

1. Daring Greatly

Book cover for Brene Brown's Daring GreatlyAuthor: Brené Brown, 2015
Read time: 8 hours
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Recommended by: Emma Craig, Senior Research Manager, Miro

Emma says: “Brené Brown describes herself as a researcher and storyteller, and in Daring Greatly she sets out to demystify vulnerability through both fact and story. Brown urges us to embrace and be comfortable with vulnerability—a state of being we often shy away from or perceive as weak.

Portrait of author Brene Brown
Author Brené Brown

“Brown defines vulnerability as ‘uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.’ These are three elements that every entrepreneur is likely to encounter almost daily, and if the approach is to resist vulnerability, it will only persist. This book is an excellent resource for familiarizing yourself with the emotions associated with vulnerability, and becoming comfortable with the underlying vulnerability in most emotions and actions. Ultimately, through embracing vulnerability and imperfection, readers have the opportunity to become more courageous and engage in greater work.” 

2. When Women Lead

Book cover for Julia Boorstin's When Women LeadAuthor: Julia Boorstin, 2022
Read time: 12 hours
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Recommended by: Shopify

Synopsis: This book combines new research and interviews with over 60 female entrepreneurs, CEOs, and leaders. Explore topics like vulnerability, divergent thinking, and leadership tactics. Learn from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Whitney Wolfe Herd in this practical guide to the future of business. Powerful women entrepreneurs share their secrets to help you build confidence for starting your first business. 

3. Worry-Free Money

Book cover for Shannon Lee Simmons' book Worry Free MoneyAuthor: Shannon Lee Simmons, 2017
Read time: 6 hours
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Recommended by: Desirae Odjick, Product Marketing Lead, Shopify

Desirae says: “It’s always important to understand your money situation—where it’s going, how much you’re making, and how much you can spend guilt-free—but it’s even more important as an entrepreneur. You’re managing business finances and personal finances, and Shannon’s book makes the latter simple, easy, and totally stress-free. Understanding your money is a hugely powerful thing for anyone to do, and will be one less thing you’ll have on your to-do list after reading this book!”

4. Grit

Book cover for Angela Duckworth's GritAuthor: Angela Duckworth, 2016
Read time: 9 hours
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Recommended by: Casandra Campbell, Senior Experimentation & Analysis Lead, Shopify

Author Angela Duckworth
Author Angela Duckworth. TED Talks

Casandra says: “I have long believed that consistent effort is the key to entrepreneurial success. The people who ‘make it’ don’t always have the best ideas or the most resources. Instead, they keep working and making incremental improvements day after day—no matter what gets thrown at them. This is what Grit is all about. Angela Duckworth uses new research to explain why perseverance and focused learning are the keys to accomplishing greatness in any field. She doesn’t just explain why this is true, she also teaches readers how they can cultivate more grit in themselves and the people around them.”

5. The Year of Less

Book cover for The Year of LessAuthor: Cait Flanders, 2018
Read time: 3 hours
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Recommended by: Lindsey Peacock, Senior Editor, Zapier

Lindsey says: “I’ve followed Cait’s blog for more than half a decade, and even though I know her story well, her debut book offers even deeper insights. While it’s a quick read, the book deftly tackles the topics of personal finance and minimalism. Through her own journey, including paying down almost $30,000 in debt and a self-imposed shopping ban, Cait demonstrates that owning less really can mean more. Once you’ve cleared out all the physical and mental clutter, it’s far easier to follow your deepest passions.”

6. The Creative Habit

Book cover for Twyla Tharp's The Creative HabitAuthor: Twyla Tharp, 2006
Read time: 9 hours
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Recommended by: Alexandra Middleton, Senior Creative Producer, Shopify

Alexandra says: “Writer’s block, stuck in a rut, creative dead end, a business lull—whatever you call it, we all have those moments where we’re trying to do something and feel like we can’t produce anything even remotely good. And Twyla Tharp is no stranger to this. That’s why, over her lifetime, she’s developed ways to face and conquer the resistance we face in these moments. I’ve adopted a lot of her techniques into my own creative process, and like a dancer building a muscle, it will continue to strengthen.”

7. Power

Author: Kemi Nekvapil, 2022
Read time: 6 hours
Buy from the author

Recommended by: Daisy Parker, Account Integrity Specialist, Shopify

Author Kemi Nekvapil
Author Kemi Nekvapil

Daisy says: “This is an amazing read for women. Though not specifically related to entrepreneurship, it’s all about finding your power and the confidence to do amazing things. I learned heaps from this book.”

8. The 4% Fix

Book cover art for The 4% FixAuthor: Karma Brown, 2020
Read time: 5 hours
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Recommended by: Shuang Esther Shan, Senior Producer, Shopify Masters Podcast

Shuang says: “This book is a great tool to get you in the right routine and dedicate time each day to your goals. There are heartfelt anecdotes and tactical exercises to help you craft an ideal plan for time management and habit forming.”

9. The Sleep Revolution

Book cover art for The Sleep Revolution by Arianna HuffingtonAuthor: Arianna Huffington, 2016
Read time: 9 hours
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Recommended by: Solmaz Shahalizadeh Kalkhoran, Founding Partner, Backbone Angels

Solmaz says: “I really like the fact that the book removes the glorification of all-nighters and burnout as signs of success, and talks about the science of sleep and its necessity. My takeaway from the book is to pay more attention to getting enough sleep, rather than cutting it out when I’m short on time.”

10. Tender at the Bone

Book cover art for Tender at the BoneAuthor: Ruth Reichl, 2010
Read time: 6 hours
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Recommended by: Mary-Rose Sutton, Founder & Ecommerce Growth Consultant

Mary-Rose says: “The unfortunate thing about the word ‘entrepreneurship’ is that it is so closely associated with the drive for financial success. What is often overlooked when it comes to entrepreneurship—and what Ruth Reichl proves to be the most important ingredient in her memoir Tender at the Bone—is passion. 

“Before she was a New York Times restaurant critic and editor-in-chief at Gourmet magazine, Ruth found a passion for food and the culinary industry. In particular, the role of women in restaurants dominated by male personalities was a problem she was passionate about overturning. Tender at the Bone proves that professional success can come from affection for your craft.”

11. The Making of a Manager

Book cover art for The Making of a Manager by Julie ZhouAuthor: Julie Zhuo, 2019
Read time: 7 hours
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Recommended by: Shopify

Author Julie Zhou
Author Julie Zhao

Synopsis: Silicon Valley design executive and writer Julie Zhao combines her years of experience into a field guide for confidently leading teams. This book is a must read for women leaders in any field and entrepreneurs at the cusp of scaling their businesses. Learn how to hire well, build a great culture, and give meaningful feedback.

12. Extreme You

Book cover art for Extreme YouAuthor: Sarah Robb O’Hagan, 2017
Read time: 9 hours
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Recommended by: Amanda Cruz-Lombraña, SEO Lead, Shopify

Amanda says:Extreme You is a brutally honest take on navigating your career with curiosity and tenacity. Entrepreneurs can find wisdom in the sections ‘Igniting Your Magic Drive’ (taking chances with confidence) and ‘Pain Training’ (learning how to handle failures as they come).”

13. Unfinished Business

Book cover art for Unfinished BusinessAuthor: Anne-Marie Slaughter, 2015
Read time: 9 hours
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Recommended by: Jenn Daly, Head of Marketing, Levr

Jenn says: “If you don’t know Anne-Marie Slaughter, now is a great time to get to know this remarkable woman. In her career, she’s held many notable positions, such as first female dean at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. In her book, Slaughter rationalizes that making changes to the workplace and government policy will benefit everyone.

“As more women open Shopify stores, they are creating for themselves more flexible work the way Slaughter did when returning to teaching. I believe hearing the strong fight Slaughter has taken on to make cultural changes above the Lean In movement is truly inspiring.”

14. The Art of Asking

Book cover art for The Art of AskingAuthor: Amanda Palmer, 2015
Read time: 11 hours
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Recommended by: Cassie Slack, Independent Artist and Designer

Cassie says:The Art of Asking is a deeply personal, funny, and helpful book. From feeling like a fraud to asking to get paid or for a couch to sleep on, this book is full of useful stories.”

15. In the Company of Women

Book cover art for In The Company of WomenAuthor: Grace Bonney, 2016
Read time: 7 hours
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Recommended by: Katie Hudson, Product Operations Lead, PandaDoc

Author Grace Bonney
Author Grace Bonney

Katie says: “‘You can’t be what you can’t see’ is written in the introduction of this book, noting that visibility is one of the most powerful tools to inspire people to pursue their dreams. This book does exactly that: It shares and highlights inspiring advice, quotes, and life stories of women from a variety of careers, backgrounds, places, and races. The book asks each of them a variety of questions, from what they wanted to be as a child to the best piece of business advice they were given when they started out, and sharing their personal/professional motto. 

“This book is a breath of fresh air, and truly an inspiring read. If you’re looking to gain different perspectives, or just soak up some serious inspiration, then you should definitely check it out.”

16. You Can Heal Your Life

Book cover art for You Can Heal Your LifeAuthor: Louise Hay, 1984
Read time: 5 hours
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Recommended by: Jenny Izaguirre, Regional Director, Optibus

Jenny says:You Can Heal Your Life is about understanding your thought process and how your thoughts can make you sick, depressed, and miserable. It shows you the path to self-reconciliation and how to have positive thoughts that later transform into achievements in all aspects of life.”

17. Take Pride

Book cover art for Take PrideAuthor: Jessica Tracy, 2015
Read time: 7 hours
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Recommended by: Danielle Fortin, Senior Operations Lead, Shopify

Danielle says:Take Pride by Jessica Tracy, a professor at the University of British Columbia, is all about pride and how important it is to find things that we take pride in. It also explains how to harness that feeling to achieve success. I’m sure many business owners would relate to it.”

18. Invisible Women

Cover art for book Invisible WomenAuthor: Caroline Criado Perez, 2021
Read time: 9 hours
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Recommended by: Shopify

Author Caroline Criado Perez
Author Caroline Criado Perez

Synopsis: Invisible Women uses data to explore how women are often ignored in a world built for men. Caroline Criado Perezweaves case studies, research, and stories into an in-depth look at how the gender data gap impacts women. In this book she makes a case for change, offering steps that can be taken by governments and industries.

19. Big Magic

Book cover for Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert, 2016
Read time: 5 hours
Buy from the author

Recommended by: Dayna Winter, Lead Writer, Shopify

Dayna says: “What struck me about this book was that it threw out a lot of popular ideas about chasing creative dreams. Elizabeth Gilbert, best known for her novel Eat Pray Love, is candid about her distaste for the blind pursuit of passion. ‘Don’t quit your day job [yet]’ is a consistent message. She suggests that the pressure to provide (as in paying your bills) can kill your creativity. 

“I resonated with her notion that creative ideas have their own life force—that they are things to be nurtured, lest they pack their bags and find a more attentive host. Big Magic reads along in a series of anecdotes including her personal story on the bumpy path to literary success, and the lessons she distills are relevant to women entrepreneurs, artists, and creators in any field.”

20. Worth It

Book cover for Worth ItAuthor: Amanda Steinberg, 2017
Read time: 3 hours
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Recommended by: Kristina Balaam, Senior Threat Researcher, Lookout

Kristina says: “As much as we may not like to admit it, money does play a large part in our entrepreneurial and professional successes. A former software developer turned entrepreneur, Amanda Steinberg now runs a financial media platform with over one million subscribers. In her book, she outlines essential financial information and provides tough love advice on taking the necessary steps to ensure a bright financial future.”

21. You Are a Badass at Making Money

Book cover for You Are a BadassAuthor: Jen Sincero, 2017
Read time: 4 hours
Buy from the author

Recommended by: Gwen Aussem, Online Course Producer and Instructional Designer

Gwen says: “It’s time to accept the truth: You are a badass at making money. If you’ve somehow forgotten this, or simply never received the memo, it’s officially time to pick up Jen Sincero’s book and learn how to earn what you want and/or charge what you want from your products and services.”

22. Rest is Resistance

Author: Tricia Hersey, 2022
Read time: 5 hours
Buy from the author

Recommended by: Shopify

Author Tricia Hersey
Author Tricia Hersey

Synopsis: From performance artist, activist, poet, and founder of The Nap Ministry Tricia Hersey comes a guide to rejecting hustle culture as the only path to success. Hersey asks readers to connect with the power of rest as a way to push against capitalism and white supremacy. Rest Is Resistance contains practical advice for entrepreneurs to reframe their relationship with rest and examines the reasons why we are overworked and sleep deprived.

23. What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend

Book cover for What the Most Successful People Do Author: Laura Vanderkam, 2012
Read time: 1 hour
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Recommended by: Liz Couto, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Unity Technologies

Liz says: “Being a person who hates wasting time, I’ve always felt conflicted about weekends. Should I use that time for side projects and courses, or is it best to book sofa and TV time to help recharge for the week ahead? In reading this book, I finally got the answers I needed. It was great to learn about how accomplished individuals plan for these precious two days, and the impact that taking the time to (wisely) plan your weekends has on happiness.”

24. How to Change

Book cover art for How to ChangeAuthor: Katy Milkman, 2021
Read time: 6 hours
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Recommended by: Shopify

Synopsis: Katy Milkman is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative. Her research explores insights from economics and psychology and how they can be used to change behaviors. Katy’s book, How to Change, is a step-by-step guide with strategic methods for making change in your own life. Aspiring women entrepreneurs will find this book helpful as they go through one of the biggest changes of their lives—making the leap from corporate life to self-employment. 

Women entrepreneur books FAQ

What are some books written by women entrepreneurs?

Some popular women entrepreneur books include Girl Code by Cara Alwill Leyba, The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran, She Means Business by Carrie Green, and Thrive by Arianna Huffington.

How can I read more books by women entrepreneurs?

Follow these steps to add more titles by women to your reading list:

  • Establish clear goals—how many books by women do you want to read? How will you track your progress? What do you want to learn? Write it all down.
  • Rearrange your life to carve out time. Block your calendar and set reminders.
  • Pick a format that’s most conducive to your lifestyle: is it audiobooks, e-reader, or paperback?
  • Enlist the support of a book club for women or other online communities.
  • Compete with yourself. Challenge yourself to up your consumption each month.
  • Download an app like Goodreads to help you create a queue of literary conquests and track your progress.

Where can you find advice as a woman entrepreneur?

Books by entrepreneurs are excellent resources for women entrepreneurs. Within these, you can find practical tips for achieving self confidence, advice on everything from risk taking to self care, and inspiration to build a small company or scale an existing one. Amazing women entrepreneurs and authors share their own experiences and help other women break free from self doubt and bad habits to take their own path to entrepreneurship.

This originally appeared on Shopify and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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