16 Self-improvement Books Written by Women
There is something about reading about the experiences of people similar to you. As a woman, self-improvement books written by women helps me relate to their struggles and experiences. Women around the world face similar challenges in different areas. Whether it’s in careers, relationships or the need to be heard, women sort of speak the same language. Here is a list of 16 self-improvement books written by women.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
Brené Brown has been one of the most influential women of the last decade. Her Netflix Special, The Call to Courage is a must-watch for everyone. This came about after having one of the most viewed Ted Talks which you should watch as well.
Brené Brown is teaching us to be vulnerable. Often, women feel the need to be strong all the time and don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable. We are so busy trying to appear strong and view vulnerability as a weakness.
In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown shows us that being vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness. It takes a strong person to admit that they need help and to expose their weaknesses. She advises us not to give in to shame but to understand our shame and verbalize it.
When we talk about the things that shame us, we stigmatize these things less. We don’t give them power, we deny them power. To be role models, and to encourage those around us to be vulnerable, we have to start by admitting we are not perfect, open up and not let shame deter us from trying to better ourselves.
Listen to this 16 minutes summary on Blinkist here.
Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
How do you deal with failure? Do you decide that this is not for you and give up? Do you bounce back and try again? Giving up is easy. We cannot avoid setbacks in life, but we can manage ourselves to handle them better. We can develop some coping skills to deal with disappointment.
Brené brown advises that to handle setbacks, we have to learn to control and deal with our emotions. We must confront the lies we tell ourselves. Understanding our emotions, uncovering false beliefs and exposing our true-self helps us to better understand ourselves and get the courage to try again.
Whether you failed in a business venture or a relationship, whether you did something terrible that you are ashamed of, this book will help you explore your inner thoughts and emotions and find a way to forge back to happiness. Get the 10 key ideas from Rising Strong summarized on Blinkist.
This book is all about courage, something women need in plenty. There is a mythical expectation of how leaders should be, more so women leaders. However, true leadership calls for being vulnerable and resilient.
Brené Brown shows that vulnerability and courage go hand in hand, and while many perceive vulnerability to be a weakness, it is a strength. Using your core values as a pillar will help you find the courage to stand alone, sometimes even against popular opinion, and be a leader at work, at home and in your life in general.
Leading calls for trust and this book shows steps on how we can build trust and lead. These are; boundary setting, reliability, accountability vault closing integrity, non-judgment and generosity (BRAVING). Get the summarized version of Dare to Lead in 12 minutes on Blinkist.
You will notice how much all of Brené Brown’s teachings are based on vulnerability. The society has placed beliefs in us that vulnerability is a weakness, and many of us would rather be caught dead than show our inner selves.
Braving the Wilderness is about learning to stand alone instead of trying so hard to fit in. We sometimes spend so much time trying to fit in that we forget who we are.
When you become vulnerable, face your real self and stop trying to fit in, you allow yourself to be authentically you. Get the summarized key ideas from Braving the Wilderness on this 12 minutes summary on Blinkist.
You get more courage to trust yourself in a world that puts you under constant pressure to conform. I recommend this and all the other books by this author as she helps us become courageous to be our authentic selves.
Psychologist Angela Duckworth teaches us how to be persistent. We have to be ready to try, fail and try again.
According to Duckworth, persistence over a long period of time over something we are passionate about leads to grit. To succeed, we need to be gritty. This book changed how I think by learning that talent and ability didn’t count as much as effort did.
Secondly, persistence means pressing on a specific skill over a long period of time and trying again after failing. Just like Brené Brown, Duckworth addresses shame. We are often afraid to try because of the shame associated with failing. According to Duckworth, we should be ready to try, fail and try again.
I summarized Grit in this book summary you can read here. You can read or listen to this 15-minute book summary here.
Carol Dweck is the amazing psychologist behind the fixed and growth mindset concept. After decades of research, Dr. Dweck concludes that our mindsets are the main determinant of our success.
I needed to hear this because as much as I didn’t like to admit, I kind of had a fixed mindset. Part of me believed that some people were just smart and others not so much. I came to appreciate trying, learning from failure and taking every challenge as a lesson and not as an opportunity to prove how smart one is.
Carol Dweck discusses how mindset influences the nature of relationships we form, how we lead at work and home, and how we handle failure all based on whether we have a fixed or growth mindset.
I recommend this book for everyone so you can see how a change of mindset can transform your life. I summarized Mindset in an earlier post here. I have also discussed how we can develop a growth mindset here. Listen to the key pointers from this book in this 15 minutes summary here.
Self-doubt kills more dreams than any other challenge. The best of us don’t do what we should be doing because we are crippled with self-doubt.
In this book, Jen addresses self-doubt and helps us to believe in ourselves some more. We have to believe that we are a badass. We have to stop worrying so much about what other people think of us and focus on ourselves. We must figure out what we want and take the first step towards getting it.
Most importantly, we must learn how not to overthink situations. When we overthink what were are doing, we become anxious as it seems unachievable.
This book is about focusing on action, changing our habits and support so we can work towards what we want to be. If you want to believe a bit more in yourself, this book is for you. Read or listen to 13 minutes summary of You are a Badass here on Blinkist.
Most of us met and loved Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love a book turned movie about her journey to find herself and heal herself.
This author knows very well how much struggle creative people go through. Self-doubt and fear stand in the way of creative awesomeness. She shows that we can all create magic through courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity.
She offers insight into how we should permit ourselves to create despite fear and self-doubt. Does your work involve creating? Whether its writing, designing, baking, art, you need this book to help you get past your fear and self-doubt and unleash the magic.
Get to the key ideas from Big Magic on this 13 minutes summary on Blinkist.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
By striving to be perfect, we deny ourselves so much joy. No one is perfect, and no one should try to be. This book is a lesson on how we can embrace our imperfections instead of constantly trying to change ourselves. We need to be true to ourselves and not be how others expect us to be.
In all her books, Brené Brown is addressing how we need to let go of societal expectations of us and be our true selves, and we achieve this by being vulnerable. Learn to trust your gut some more and have some courage to believe in yourself. Try not to compare yourself to others and be more authentic.
I recommend this author to everyone looking for ways to be their authentic selves. I also recommend it to those struggling with the need to be perfect and being affected by seeking perfectionism. Read or listen to the key ideas from this book here.
This awesome storyteller brought us Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal among others. Shonda Rhymes’s year of yes started her sister accused her of saying no to everything. Reflecting on this, Rhymes decided that she would spend that year saying yes to well, almost everything.
She vowed to say yes to situations that got her out of her comfort zone. This book was probably intended to be a sort of a memoir and yet it became a self-improvement book for many.
We realized that we say no often especially to situations that make us go beyond or comport zone. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to follow their dreams and do something different from the norm. The audio and text of this book summary are available here on Blinkist.
Susan Cain was a struggling introvert in corporate America. As a lawyer, she was sort of expected to raise her voice in order to be heard. She was expected to have a ‘presence’ in meetings and she often threw up before getting into these meetings.
Cain decided to focus on researching the world of introverts and the challenges they faced. Touring universities such as Harvard and workplaces, she realized that the world is unknowingly more suitable for extroverts and mortifying for introverts.
Kids in school were often expected to perform in groups and this is torture for introverts. Open offices were taking over organizations and this made introverts die on the inside. Some relationships broke because extroverts blamed introverts for not being outgoing enough and introverts blamed extroverts for exhausting them.
This book helped me understand myself better as an introvert and how I can manage to work in extroverted environments. I recommend it for introverts to understand themselves better and how they can be functional in their extroverted environment.
I also recommend it for extroverts so that they can understand introverts around them and create a better environment for them. Get the key lessons from Quiet from this 16 minutes summary.
This book was intended for people in their twenties. Dr. Megan Jay, a therapist, discusses sessions she had with twentysomethings and the challenges they faced in life.
The twenties can be a challenging decade, and how we live our twenties determines how the rest of our lives turn out. Twentysomethings are filled with uncertainties and feelings of stagnation, anxieties, indecisions and sometimes wasting time and getting into the wrong crowd simply because they think they are still young.
Dr. Meg Jay advises twentysomethings on careers, relationships, and simply taking the right direction in life to avoid future regrets. Watch her Ted Talk, Why the 30s are not the new 20s to get an idea of what the book is about. Read or listen to the key lessons from this book in this 18 minutes summary.
Marie Forleo uses this phrase, ‘everything is figureoutable’ to show that we can work our way through any situation. She simply wants us to take charge of solving our own problems.
She talks about taking more action, not being a victim of circumstances but using our devices to create our own lives, the kind of lives that we want. Marie Forleo has created her own business empire by helping women navigate their way in the business world.
Watch her talk on Super Soul Sunday or listen to a summary of her book here on Blinkist.
Gabrielle Bernstein talks about much we spend time worrying and trying to control things that are out of our control. We stress ourselves so much and yet there are some things that are beyond your control.
This book is about surrendering into faith and letting the universe take charge. I first watched Gabrielle’s talk on Super Soul Sunday talking about how she planned her life to the letter. She planned on when she would publish her book, have a baby and such.
When the baby didn’t come as planned, she was mentally distressed and had to learn how to let go and let the universe take charge. In this age where we often feel the need to take charge of our lives, and we should, we still should learn to let go of the things we cannot control so we can live happier lives.
This book is for everyone that feels things are going out of control and would like to know how to surrender. No time to read? Get summaries of your favorite books on Blinkist on this free trial.
Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living A Better Life by Gabrielle Bernstein
In this book, Gabby Bernstein sheds light on some false beliefs we have and how they create a judgment. Our beliefs make us judge ourselves, sometimes too harshly. Our past and the pain from the past hurt our present.
We judge ourselves based on our wounds and scars rather than deconstructing the past and allowing the present to take charge. We need to look at judgment in the eye and confront it so we can live more fulfilling lives. We need to learn how to forgive ourselves and those who hurt us.
By being mindful, consistent, gentle and loving to ourselves, we can reduce how much we judge ourselves and accept ourselves more. This way, we will be happier and not carry along the burdens of the past.
Sheryl Sandberg is one of the highest-paid executives in corporate America. Many may struggle to relate with her, but the advice in this book is worth reading.
Sheryl Sandberg talks about the challenges women face at the workplace, lack of confidence to ask for what we deserve, to lacking of work-life balance to lacking adequate time and support to bring up their babies while working at the same time.
In Lean In, she advises women to lean in more. Did you know, men apply for jobs they are not qualified for and women lack this confidence that we ensure we tick every box before we apply for the job? By leaning in, we need to learn to ask for more.
Most importantly, we need to build a support system, and this starts with the person you choose to marry. Your partner may be the best career decision you ever make.
I recommend this book for everyone; women to know how to navigate the workplace, and for men to understand the challenges that women are going through. No time to read Lean In? Get a summary of the key pointers from the book here on Blinkist.
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