I’ll admit, I’ve always been a serious bookworm since day one. I love to read, and luckily for you I’ve read my fair share of wonderful and not-so-wonderful books so you can just skip to the good ones. Here are five recommended reads that will offer up some serious wisdom as well as enrich your life and career. Good books are meant to be shared, or recommended via Kindle; either way, knowledge is power:
Image: One of favourite boss ladies, Aimee Song / Showbit.com
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead
A power woman reading list wouldn’t be complete without this legendary Facebook COO-written book. Sheryl Sandberg is a woman on top and she wants us all to be too (if that’s what you desire). This book was a game-changer for many reasons and like most disruptive things, received its fair share of criticism. However there is so much to be gleaned from this book (so much that I ended up writing some final year university essays based around it) and she will help you navigate your career, motherhood and more if you’re just starting out; thinking about having children; or if you’re about to become a partner in your law firm etc.
This isn’t just another feminist manifesto, if that’s what you’re thinking. it’s well-researched, fact-based and so easy to read. From talking about how she realised maternity policies needed to change while being a pregnant “whale” (her words, not mine) at Google, to negotiating your salary, there is concrete life advice here nestled within some truly hilarious anecdotes!
Get the version for graduates for the young women in your life (or you, if you're a fresh grad).
Prices start from $19.88 for Lean In (For Graduates) on The Book Depository
The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Are you a Grey’s Anatomy fan? Scandal, Private Practice or How to Get Away with Murder junkie? If you watch any of the above, you’re no stranger to the creative genius that is Shonda Rhimes. Renowned for her colour blind casting that resulted in the first truly multi-cultural, multi-faceted cast of characters that primetime had ever seen (hello, Grey’s) coupled with her drama-filled, totally addictive screen writing, the woman is a titan and a mogul in her own right, now owning her own production company.
This book is part autobiography, part self-discovery and all raw honesty and vulnerability. She takes you on her journey from a shy, introverted dreamer to a place where she was doing amazing things professionally but felt uncomfortable being herself: with her weight, her lack of a social life and her inability to say yes to anything. This book is a must-read to learn how to say yes to being your best self and how to grapple with all the risks, criticism and failure that it might entail. Oh, and the whole thing is written in the style of an Olivia Pope-esque speech, in case you were still on the fence.
The Year of Yes, $27.63 on The Book Depository, see prices on OO.sg for the best comparison rate across booksellers
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is a novel, not a self-help or autobiographical book. However the political, racial and ethical issues that Nigerian author Chimamanda raises in this wide-sweeping masterpiece make for a must-read for any well-read woman. A well-dressed mind is as crucial as a well dressed body. She evaluates what it means to be an African woman in the U.S and an immigrant in London during the 90s. There is also an epic love story threaded through it and analysis of ethnic, social and worldwide politics via the eyes of the book’s protagonist and power woman Ifemelu.
It’s always necessary to get outside your own perspective and see things through the eyes of others, so this is a must-read for every leader and leader-in-the-making. We’re anticipating the movie starring and produced by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o (via Brad Pitt’s production company) with serious bated breath! Oh, and powerhouse Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also just happens to be the speaker behind the Ted Talk quoted in Beyonce’s platinum selling “Flawless” (in case you were wondering why her name sounded familiar: “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. [...] I looked the word up in the dictionary, it said: Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists
On the reading list:
The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
One of my girl crushes Meghan Markle, Suits star, actress, UN ambassador and editor-in-chief of The Tig, recently recommended this book in her bada#$ reading list! It’s gone straight on my “to read” list. If you’re annoyed by your self-doubting voice or are constantly getting distracted from realising your full potential, this is a must-read. Part psychological study, part everyday motivational mantra, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one!
Buy from The Book Depository for $17.64, compare prices on OO.sg
Love Style Life by Garance Doré
Who isn’t in love with charming, intelligent and ever-inquisitive Garance Doré? One of the original street style photographers, she is style and substance personified. Her interviews with the most incredible minds in the fashion industry (Caroline Issa, Jenna Lyons and Diane Von Furstenberg amongst them) are warm, intimate and insightful. Gain access to them, the style advice she has gleaned over the years and her beautiful illustrations in this gorgeous book!
It’s totally coffee table-worthy, as well as a guaranteed good read; almost like her lovely podcast interviews in a beautifully bound format. One of our favourite things about Garance is her love of the authentic. She once spoke about the time when she realised street style had become a “thing”; she loves to talk to people when she photographs them to get their story and a sense of their character. She once asked a lady toting a huge bag around what was in it and what she never left the house without carrying, and her response? “Oh nothing! It’s just for show”. From then on Garance vowed more than ever to only photograph stylish people with real substance. Peacocks need not apply!
Shop it here. Best price found via OO.sg on The Book Depository, $26.20