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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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                                          Last Updated on October 16, 2019

                                          Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

                                          Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

                                          Do you like making mistakes?

                                          I certainly don’t.

                                          Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

                                          Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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                                          Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

                                          Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

                                          • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
                                          • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
                                          • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
                                          • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

                                          We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

                                          If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

                                          Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

                                          Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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                                          When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

                                          Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

                                          We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

                                          It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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                                          Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

                                          Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

                                          Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

                                          1. Point us to something we did not know.
                                          2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
                                          3. Deepen our knowledge.
                                          4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
                                          5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
                                          6. Inform us more about our values.
                                          7. Teach us more about others.
                                          8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
                                          9. Show us when someone else has changed.
                                          10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
                                          11. Remind us of our humanity.
                                          12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
                                          13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
                                          14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
                                          15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
                                          16. Invite us to better choices.
                                          17. Can teach us how to experiment.
                                          18. Can reveal a new insight.
                                          19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
                                          20. Can serve as a warning.
                                          21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
                                          22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
                                          23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
                                          24. Remind us how we are like others.
                                          25. Make us more humble.
                                          26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
                                          27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
                                          28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
                                          29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
                                          30. Expose our true feelings.
                                          31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
                                          32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
                                          33. Point us in a more creative direction.
                                          34. Show us when we are not listening.
                                          35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
                                          36. Can create distance with someone else.
                                          37. Slow us down when we need to.
                                          38. Can hasten change.
                                          39. Reveal our blind spots.
                                          40. Are the invisible made visible.

                                          Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

                                          The secret to handling mistakes is to:

                                          • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
                                          • Have an experimental mindset.
                                          • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

                                          When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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                                          When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

                                          It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

                                          When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

                                          Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

                                          Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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