Recommended reading (updated)

I love to read and recommend books and some of my recent fiction and non-fiction suggestions and reviews appear here on my World Book Day 2016 post. If you’re interested in discussing a book review or a book focused sponsored post, please contact me.

Here’s a list of books on the subjects of diversity, women in leadership and women in the Lean In_SSworkplace which I’ve read over the last few years and which have really helped increase my understanding of the issues.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead Sheryl Sandberg. A modern day classic for women.

“Don’t leave before you leave.”

Want to know more about the business case for gender diversity? This classic book takes the economic arguments for gender balance to the heart of the corporate world.

How Women Mean Business – A Step by Step Guide to Profiting From Gender Balanced BusinessAvivah Wittenberg-Cox

Avivah’s sequel to WWMB – a practical, four step guide to the “how” part of the gender balance equation. As my on-cover endorsement reads:

“This is a vital manual for 21st-century businesses who are serious about putting gender balance at the heart of corporate change. A must read – and, more importantly, a must do!”

The Value of Difference: Eliminating bias in organisations – Binna Kandola

I attended the UK launch of this book, a publication which challenges existing thinking on our approach to bias and diversity, in spring 2009 and blogged about it here. I also recommend Binna’s 2013 book, The Invention of Difference, which looks at the cultural constructs surrounding oft-stated gender differences.

Beyond the Boys’ Club – Suzanne Doyle-Morris

Strategies for achieving career success as a woman when working in a male dominated field.

Her Place at the TableDeborah M Kolb, Judith Williams, Carol Frohlinger

A practical guide for any woman dealing with a demanding role. Drawing on extensive interviews with female leaders, the authors identify five key challenges faced by women in business, and offer tips and advice on the strategic moves that position you for success.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office:101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers Lois P Frankel

This a classic, recently (2014) revised and updated. I read first read it in 2005, before I started working in the complex world of gender diversity, and have often recommended it to other women since then. Unlike many books on this subject, it addresses issues of “playing the game”, behaviours, thinking, acting and even your appearance in a very practical way. Each “mistake” (for example – Being Overly Concerned with Offending Others) is outlined, illustrated with examples or a script and then addressed with a series of coaching tips. It’s very much a work book rather than a theoretical assessment of different gender styles, and so is aimed at women who recognise that their style is both ‘different’ and may be hindering their advancement.

Why Women Should Rule the World Dee Dee Myers

“Just like Dee Dee Myers herself, this jewel of a book is sober minded, funny, and most certainly timely. . . . Myers makes a spirited case that “women power” is the most neglected political recourse in our arid times.” – Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of The Great Deluge.

The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? Leslie Bennetts

I read this book in 2007 and found it both fascinating and thought provoking. I’m reminded of its core message every time I hear or read something about women voluntarily giving up their financial independence. It tackles head-on the issue of women who drop out of the workplace after they have a family (either because they find the juggling act to be too difficult, or because of economic reasons) and makes a series of extremely compelling arguments as to why everyone should remain connected and economically independent. As the cover states:

“Leslie Bennetts tackles … the popular myth that a man is a financial plan.”

Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry Susan Shapiro Barash

This was recommended to me by an American partner in a law firm, who referenced it as an example of the way in which women covertly sabotage each other, both personally and professionally. Of all the books referenced here, this is probably the most American in terms of both subject matter and linguistic style (do “prom queens” even exist outside north America?) but it is still well worth a glance and is insightful about female styles and approaches.

See Jane Lead: 99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work Lois P Frankel

As with “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office”, Lois P Frankel again focuses on providing tactical solutions and coaching advice to female leaders based on the issue of men and women having different personal styles. Chapter One includes a very interesting and thought provoking self assessment test, aimed at helping the reader to identify their leadership strengths and opportunities for growth.



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