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The 20 Most Inspiring Books from the Last 10 Years That Every Woman Should Read

The 20 Most Inspiring Books from the Last 10 Years That Every Woman Should Read

I am woman, hear me roar!

Oh yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price, but look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong

I am invincible

I AM WOMAN!

~Lyrics from “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy

Women are strong, sexy, intelligent, resourceful, nurturing, intuitive and resilient. Sometimes being all of these things (and more) comes at a price. As women there are times when we become depleted and we need to be inspired, rejuvenated and our fire needs reigniting.

Reading is one of the most empowering things any person can do for themselves. A good book–I mean a really good book–can touch your soul, heal your heart and stir your creative juices.

Below is a list of 20 books that every woman should read. They will inspire, educate, transform and bring back your roar!

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1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    I had to begin with this epic and well penned story. To be more exact, this isn’t just a book, it is an emotional journey.

    Katniss, this book’s title character, epitomizes Helen Reddy’s anthem for women. As a protagonist, she exhibits strength during her weakness. She is outwardly fearless while inwardly she is petrified. She is you in hero form. You may have seen the movie but the movie is vastly inferior to this work of art by Suzanne Collins. This book is a timeless classic. You will cheer and cry. You will walk away inspired.

    2. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

      This New York Times bestseller is set in the 1970’s and is described as being, “A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing…[it] is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.” It is a story that shows how to survive loss and tragedy without losing yourself.

      3. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

        Bad Feminist is as a sharp and funny funny collection of essays that provide an accurate look at the ways in which our culture consumes us and snatches our identity. Roxane Gay takes us on her journey and describes life from the lens of a black a woman. She comments on trends and recent events and how they have effected feminism. In the end, this book is really an inspiring call-to-action and highlights areas in which we as women need to do better.

        4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

          The New York Times describes “The Goldfinch” as “a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind…. You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but in the case of “The Goldfinch,” they never do.”

          This is a historical fiction story that recounts the experiences of a young boy loses his mother in a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This story is perfect for women as it explores the meaning and purpose of art as well as love, friendship, and the pain of loss.

          5. The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

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            This New York Times Bestseller is a practical guide for helping women gain and maintain self-confidence. The principles in this book are based on time tested research on gender, behavior, cognition and genetics.

            6. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

              Set in the 1950s, Boy, Snow, Bird opens on the Lower East Side of New York City, with a young white woman named Boy Novak running away from her violent father. She finds her self in Massachusetts where she meets a widower, a jewelry craftsman, Arturo Whitman, in Flax Hill, Mass. They marry and she becomes obsessed with her new stepdaughter, Snow.

              This novel is a remake if not hugely reminiscent of the famous fairy-tale, Snow White. The interesting twist in this novel is that Boy’s husband is a very light-skinned black man, who “passes” as white. This novel poetically discusses the the themes of color and race relations, self-love and acceptance wrapped in the familiarity of a well-known tale.

              7. Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth by Mika Brzezinski

                This New York Times bestseller is a collection of interviews from the world’s most successful business women. This book uses the stories and success of other women to show you how to thrive in your career and financially and understand your self-worth as a woman.

                8. Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston

                  Drink is part research reporting and part memoir that delves into the realities of the rising rates of women alcoholics. This book looks at the psychological and social pressures extreme and risky drinking behaviors has had on women in general. This book, while addressing alcoholism in women, is a picture of how society can shape and manipulate the behavior of an entire species.

                  9. The Financial Fast by Michelle Singletary

                    The 21-Day Financial Fast, written by award-winning writer and The Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary, challenges women to look at finances differently. For twenty-one days, participants will put away their credit cards and buy only the barest essentials. The challenge is designed to not only change how you view and manage your money but also why you do what you do. Michelle challenges you take an introspective look at your relationship with money. It will end your dysfunctional relationship with money.

                    10. The Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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                      This book is the ultimate motivational tool. Once you put it down, you will feel inspired to tackle that project, write your book, open a bakery or change careers. Elizabeth Gilbert is the award winning author of the wildly popular Eat, Pray, Love. She is all about unlocking your creativity and living fearlessly.

                      11. The Life Boat by Charlotte Rogan

                        This is a poignant novel is a gritty, naked look at what being a survivor really means. This book opens with a newly married couple being ripped apart by a horrible accident at sea and only half of the couple survives. This book follows the perils of what the survivors must do in order to survive. It shows the inner strength that lies within all of us. But it also shows that we are all capable of being horrible sadists.

                        12. I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This by Kate White

                          Kate White, who is also the author of Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead…But Gutsy Girls Do, has written another wise, witty and straight-shooting career guide for women. In this book, Kate inspires women to chase their career goals–no matter how lofty. She serves as a champion for high- achieving career- driven women.

                          13. Ask For It: How Women Can Use Negotiation To Get What They Really Want by Linda Babock and Sarah Laschever

                            This book tackles and explains the art of negotiation from a woman’s point of view. Negotiations look and flow differently for women in the workforce and this book gives a four-phased approach to negotiations. It is designed to teach women how to maximize their bargaining power and how to silence their negative inner self-talk. You will become a more confident and powerful go-getter.

                            14. Swamplandia by Karen Russell

                              Karen Russell has struck gold with her first novel. This tale about a girl’s courageous effort to preserve her grieving family’s way of life, is infused “with humor and gothic whimsy.” The New York Time’s praises Russell’s “exuberantly inventive language and her vivid portrait of a heroine who is wise beyond her years.”

                              15. Becoming Wise: An Inquiry Into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett

                                This book is a culmination of wisdom gained from years spent interviewing scientists, philosophers, theologians, activists and poets on her award winning NPR podcast. She has taken all that she has learned, condensed and distilled it down to create a “master class on living.” This book encourages and instructs women how to live, love and exists on their own terms.

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                                16. The Immortal Life of Henerietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

                                  Described by NPR as “a remarkable feat of investigative journalism and a moving work of narrative nonfiction that reads with the vividness and urgency of fiction. It also raises sometimes uncomfortable questions with no clear-cut answers about whether people should be remunerated for their physical, genetic contributions to research and about the role of profit in science.” This book will cause you to think and it may just cause a shift in your worldview.

                                  17. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring For Yourself by Melody Beattie

                                    This wildly popular, Amazon best-seller is what every woman needs to shake loose of codependency and to have healthy, drama-free relationships. Through a series of interactive activities and funny anecdotes, Melody Beattie, walks you through her simple and direct approach that leads to a path of independence, wholeness and satisfaction.

                                    18. Bossypants by Tina Fey

                                      Who doesn’t love Tina Fey? And this is all Tina Fey. This book is a light yet deeply insightful easy read. In this memoir of sorts, Tina takes us into her life and dishes the “tea” on what it’s like to be a woman in the male dominated comedy business. Expertly told, this book is full of the witt and humor you’ve come to expect from Fey but it is also a heroic tale of a woman who found success in the face of numerous obstacles.

                                      19. Better Than before by Gretchen Reuben

                                        This book is written by the New York Times’ bestselling author of The Happiness Project. This book is all about helping you to change by addressing your habits. She offers women a methodical approach to recognizing and changing dysfunctional behaviors, attitudes and habits that sabotage their success and rob them of happiness. She shows women how to tackle their number one enemy: herself.

                                        20. Come To The Edge: A Love Story by Christina Haag

                                          Every woman loves a good love story and Haag definitely delivers with this book. Christina details her five year romance with John F. Kennedy Jr. The Washington Post says that Haag’s story “lyrically and precisely recaptures the frenetic ecstasy of early love.” This book shows how true love surpasses wealth, status and fame. We all desire to love and be loved passionately and Haag expertly captures and exposes this all encompassing love in this well written story.

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                                          Denise Hill

                                          Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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                                          Last Updated on August 7, 2018

                                          14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

                                          14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

                                          Being a leader of a company or organization is certainly a difficult and often frustrating position – but it can also be tremendously rewarding.

                                          Whether you’re just starting out as a leader, or have been leading for a while, you’ll be sure to benefit from knowing the essential traits that all great leaders possess.

                                          Effective and successful leaders transcend the title of ‘manager’ or ‘boss’. They’ve found a way to achieve the perfect combination of charisma, enthusiasm and self-assurance (with a healthy dose of luck and timing probably added to the mix).

                                          It may seem like some people are gifted with leadership skills, but the truth is most leadership traits can be learned, adopted, and strengthened with time and practice.

                                          As we delve into the list of effective leadership traits, you will learn the behaviors and attitudes of a good leader.

                                          The 14 most important leadership traits

                                          Please read through the list of leadership qualities carefully. Take note of which of the traits you excel at – and which ones you need to work at.

                                          Traits for better self-development

                                          1. Vision and mission

                                          Having a clear picture of what needs to be achieved is a crucial quality of good leadership.

                                          This vision is often communicated in a mission statement, such as this one from Starbucks:

                                            How to develop vision? Spend time pinpointing what you need to achieve, and then plan the steps to get there. Here’s a complete guide on creating your own vision.

                                            2. Self-motivated

                                            It’s no coincidence that successful leaders have an abundance of self-motivation.

                                            Without a decent level of self-motivation, you’ll struggle to become a strong and respected leader. However, if you don’t have a lot of self-motivation right now, don’t despair.

                                            One of the secrets is to have definite goals to keep you motivated at all times. Some people also choose to reward themselves every time they achieve a goal, and this is certainly a good way to keep yourself enthused and motivated. Learn how to set an ambitious yet achievable goal here.

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                                            3. Optimism and positivity

                                            Positive energy is contagious. Great leaders are overflowing with this type of energy.

                                            Not only does a positive mindset make leaders easy to work with, but it also gives them a constant source of inspiration and ideas.

                                            Tap into this energy by aligning yourself with positive people and positive goals. Find out more about the habits of positive people here.

                                            4. Emotional stability

                                            In leadership positions, frustration and stress are daily occurrences. This is why leaders need to have strong and stable emotions. They can’t allow themselves to be easily knocked off track.

                                            If you’re prone to losing your emotional stability when stressed or frustrated, try some of these techniques: breath deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, go for a walk, drink some water (instead of tea or coffee), turn your focus onto something you can resolve. Here’re some effective ways to control your emotions.

                                            5. Self-confidence

                                            Watch a presentation by any CEO and you’ll see that even if they’re not natural presenters – they make up for this by having powerful self-confidence.

                                            It’s not just CEOs who have self-confidence, any successful leader will have this trait in abundance. One reason for this, is that only a confident person can persuade others and gain their respect.

                                            Worried that you have low self-confidence? Try faking it. Psychologists often recommend that if you ‘act’ at being confident, you’ll start to look, sound and feel like you ARE confident. And in time… you will be.

                                            If you look for more ways to boost your self-confidence, this confidence coach has got you some nice advice:

                                            How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

                                            6. Decisiveness

                                            Leaders are frequently called upon to make decisions (some leaders may have to make dozens of decisions every day). In fact, you could say that making decisions is one of the key things a leader must do.

                                            Spend some time observing highly-successful leaders and you’ll see that they are quick to make decisions. They also enjoy making decisions, rather than stressing out like many non-leaders do when they’re asked to decide on something.

                                            Put yourself in the leadership bracket by developing your decision-making skills. Start with small decisions – and then work your way up to bigger and more difficult decisions. Once other people notice your decision-making prowess, they’ll automatically see you as leadership material.

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                                            I know it’s really quite difficult to make the right decisions sometimes, but don’t worry, here’s a guide for you:

                                            How To Make Good Decisions All The Time

                                            7. Passion and enthusiasm

                                            Expressive. Active. Energetic. These are words best describe a passionate leader.

                                            Great leaders are lively, driven and are possessed with zeal and purpose. It’s this passion that helps them achieve big results. If you want to emulate their success, then you need to develop passion and enthusiasm for the work at hand, and the end goals.

                                            Take a look at this Passion Pyramid to find out how importance a leader’s passion is to the team:

                                              One way to do this is to find what motivates you, and keep your focus firmly on that. For example, i f you’re motivated by helping others, then make sure your role and company are both suited to realizing this. If you’re motivated by money, then put your focus on achieving bonuses and pay rises.

                                              Take a look at Leo Babauta’s guide on how to find your passion.

                                              8. Accountability and responsibility

                                              Exceptional leaders know that at all times they’ll need to take responsibility for tasks and their results. This includes things likes individual and team performance, as well as being accountable for when things go wrong.

                                              When negative things occur (and you can guarantee they will from time-to-time), a great leader will immediately step in and take responsibility. Initially, they’ll try to resolve the problem in as quick and smooth a way as possible. But if this is not feasible, they’ll be sure to say that the buck stops with them – and they take full responsibility for what has happened.

                                              To develop your leadership skills, you must never shy away from responsibility or accountability. If you prefer to sweep mistakes under the carpet, then you’re demonstrating non-leadership traits. Try owning up to issues and finding solutions to them. By doing this, you’ll immediately gain people’s respect.

                                              Find out some tips on how to be a more responsible person here.

                                              9. Focus

                                              Distractions are everywhere. And it takes major focus to stay committed to tasks and goals. The best leaders understand this, and therefore, they’re always looking at ways to boost their team’s focus.

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                                              One way leaders do this, is to keep their team intensely focused on the bigger picture. This might entail allocating specific time for tasks and eliminating any non-essential work.

                                              If you’re easily knocked off track, you’ll need to spend some time boosting your focus. Try planning your day, week, month and year to help ensure that you don’t fall behind with achieving your goals. Check out the 7 strategies of staying super focus recommended by a productivity coach.

                                              10. Ever-learning

                                              Leaders know that to be successful they need to continually update their skills and knowledge. They deliberately learn all they can about their profession and industry, so they’ll able to make confident and assured decisions.

                                              Why is ever learning so important? I’ll leave it to you to find out the reason here:

                                              If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

                                              Imagine a CEO of a solar power company. His company may have amazing solar panels, but when it comes to discussing business with potential buyers, if the CEO or his sales team show a lack of understanding about the solar industry and future trends, etc., they’ll be unlikely to win any business.

                                              It’s exactly the same for you. If you’re a team leader at an electronics store, you should make sure you fully understand all the products that you offer. But go beyond just that, and read about upcoming products and trends that might change what customers are interesting in buying in the future.

                                              Traits for effective communication

                                              11. Empathy

                                              The best leaders understand the feeling of their team members, customers and associates. They know when to praise, and when to discuss problems (usually in private).

                                              Without empathy, leaders will be seen as cold, harsh and lacking understanding. They’re also likely to be regarded as untrustworthy.

                                              One way to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is to have regular informal discussions with your colleagues. When you do this, you’ll quickly learn their fears and desires. And when you understand why they have these – you’ll be in a position to express empathy. You can also learn to be more sensitive to others’ needs by taking up these communication skills.

                                              12. Persuasive and influential

                                              Communications are at the heart of all transactions. Whether it’s pitching for a sale or resolving a customer complaint, how you communicate will determine the outcome.

                                              Charismatic leaders such as Richard Branson (Virgin) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are confident and persuasive communicators. They know how to win over audiences and leave a lasting impressing in people’s minds.

                                              There’re some common barriers that you’ll have to overcome in order to communicate effectively:

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                                              How to learn effective communication? You could join the world-renowned U.S. nonprofit Toastmasters International. They’ve been training people in the art of public speaking since 1924, and members have included Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.

                                              If you don’t have time to join a club, then practice your communications skills at home. You can do this in front of a mirror, or even better, video yourself presenting, and then ask some friends and family members for feedback. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up on.

                                              Traits for ensuring an engaging team

                                              13. Team building

                                              If you put a bunch of random people together, you may have a loose definition of a team. In reality, a real team has purpose, drive – and a leader lighting the way.

                                              If you’ve worked in different teams and with different managers, you’ll no doubt have come to this conclusion:

                                              Managers who treat their team members like children are unpopular with the team. Conversely, managers who treat their team members like adults, are respected and well-liked by the team.

                                              The days of disciplinarian managers are passed. Nowadays, successful team leaders know how to inspire and motivate their team, while keeping a harmonious atmosphere between all team members.

                                              14. Fostering creativity

                                              Solutions to problems are rarely black and white. Often it takes a leader who can ‘think outside the box’ to come up with answers. In other words, a leader must be creative, and also help to foster creativity and innovation throughout their team.

                                              Creativity is not only associated with pursuits such as arts, literature and music, running a team can be just as creative. There will be times every day when you need to come up with ideas and give guidelines for your team to come up with theirs to solve problems.

                                              Leadership is a journey of continuous learning

                                              Leadership is an amazing experience that will take you on roads you’ve never traveled before.

                                              Begin now to build your skills and experience, pick out the traits that you currently lack – and then work on developing those.

                                              It will take tons of practice and time before becoming an effective leader but eventually you will join the ranks of great leaders.

                                              Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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