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Take the Lead Women Turn the Page: 11 Books You Need to Read Now and Give Away This Holiday Season. By Michele Weldon, November 17, 2023

November 17, 2023

Read this blog post here on the Take the Lead Women site.

Check out these great 11 new books by women to keep for yourself or give as gifts.

We can always use a new book, life approach, history lesson, toolkit or bible of strategies to improve ourselves and how we think and behave as leaders. Reading and learning is what great leaders do.

At a time when books and the prohibition of books makes news across the country, it is necessary to maintain reverence for books as a way to create, recreate and reimagine our lives.

We can always use a new book, life approach, history lesson, toolkit or bible of strategies to improve ourselves and how we think and behave as #leaders. #bookrecs

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Pink knows books are essential gifts to ourselves, our children and all others as she announced recently she is giving away thousands of banned books at her concerts, in cooperation with PEN America and 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.

“Books have held a special joy for me from the time I was a child, and that’s why I am unwilling to stand by and watch while books are banned by schools,” Pink, who was born Alecia Moore, said in a statement, according to The Hill.  “We have made so many strides toward equality in this country and no one should want to see this progress reversed.”

“Books have held a special joy for me from the time I was a child, and that’s why I am unwilling to stand by and watch while books are banned by schools.” — @Pink. #bannedbooks

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Whether we are reading about icons, trailblazers, deep thinkers, strategists or leaders with new approaches, in an effort to join the habit of reading great books, here is a list of 11 new books by women authors that we recommend to keep for yourself or give as gifts.

1.  Bonnie Newman Davis, Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960.

Davis, who is managing editor of the Richmond Free Press, spent years studying the lives and groundbreaking work of 24 Black women journalists over 40 years of the last century. Story Circle writes in a review, “One common thread in the stories is each journalist’s perseverance in spite of road blocks—unequal pay, being passed over for promotions, being denied high-profile story assignments, being repeatedly turned down for jobs. Strategies for prevailing include being nimble—leaving a news organization and being willing to move multiple times to move up the career ladder—and cultivating mentors who have clout in the news industry and a network of peer journalists as a support system.”

Read more in Take The Lead on Gloria Feldt’s book, Intentioning

2.  Mary Gabriel, Madonna: A Rebel Life.

What can you learn about a person and asn industry in more than 800 pages? A heck of a lot. Prize-winning author Mary Gabriel covers the life, career and successes of the iconic star, Madonna, from her birth in Pontiac, Michigan, to her 2020 tour landing her at a performance in London. Gabriel writes about Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition tour, “What Madonna did in the show for women was to throw a hand grenade into the patriarchy’s centuries-old deceit concerning the extent and nature of a woman’s power…She was fierce. She did not ask permission to make a spectacle of herself. She did not apologize for her brazenness.” A trailblazer, icon, activist and award-winning, globally adored musician, lessons from Madonna are about authenticity and everyday choices to follow your heart.

 3. Erika Jon, The Secret to Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Forming 5 Habits That Will Transform Your Life and Make You Unrecognizable.

Following a 25-year career as a human resources professional for corporations including Boeing Aerospace, Caterpillar, Marriott, Dr. Pepper, Snapple Group and Sara Lee, Jon is now a life coach and advises clients on making the best of their life and career. “It is time to address the challenges and overcome the obstacles that stand in your way. You no longer have to be mad at yourself for not taking action or simply trying to power through.” With five key strategies, including obliterating negative beliefs and practicing forgiveness and gratitude, Jon offers a way to make your life purposeful and new.

Read more in Take The Lead on great new books

4.  Julia Keller, Quitting: A Life Strategy: The Myth of Perseverance―and How the New Science of Giving Up Can Set You Free .

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Julia Keller explores all aspects of calling it quits at work, in relationships and circumstances in order to move forward with meaning, success and a new emphasis. Focusing on what is possible with a new road map, Keller’s advice and strategies are deeply researched and considered. Offering personal anecdotes as well as scores of interviews, she reframes what quitting means. Keller writes, ”For a lot of us our lives improve dramatically when we change direction, when we renounce current behaviors and embrace new ones. Without that willingness to stop and reconsider, we’d keep stumbling along in the same direction, even if it isn’t taking us where we want to go, even if, in fact, it’s making us distraught and miserable.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Julia Keller explores all aspects of calling it quits at work, in relationships and circumstances in order to move forward. #lifeadvice

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 5.  Brooke Kroeger, author of Undaunted: How Women Changed American Journalism.

Chronicling the careers of women journalists from 1840 to today, journalist, author and New York University professor emerita Brooke Kroeger lays out the challenges and victories of women journalists we know and may never have heard of before. In a podcast interview, she states, “The struggles have been so difficult and remain so difficult.” Lauded in many reviews, The New York Times reports, “Kroeger, an eminent journalist and editor herself, as well as a professor emerita at N.Y.U., has written well-regarded lives of some of her best-known predecessors: the stunt reporter Nellie Bly, and the magazine writer and novelist Fannie Hurst. In “Undaunted” — a book commissioned, as Kroeger explains, by its editor — she tries a different tack. Clocking in at over 500 pages, “Undaunted” sweeps across centuries and thumbs through reams of bylines. Deeply researched and encyclopedic in the best sense, the book attempts to create a broad new canon of unforgettables.” 

 6.  Fei-Fei Li, The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI .

Fei-Fei Li, Stanford University Professor and former chief scientist of AI at Google, combines luscious memoir with key insights and context into the transformation of the world by AI. She writes, “I believe our civilization stands on the cusp of a technological revolution with the power to reshape life as we know it.”

@Drfeifei, @Stanford Professor and former chief scientist of AI at @Google, combines luscious memoir with key insights and context into the transformation of the world by #AI.

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Emma Hinchliffe writes in Fortune’s newsletter, The Broadsheet, “In the book, Li describes her journey falling in love with physics alongside her experience immigrating from Chengdu, China to the U.S. at age 15 and learning English from scratch. She shares memories like overhearing a teacher tell male students that it was unacceptable they were falling behind girls in the class because they were ‘biologically smarter.’” For any leader—and isn’t every leader?—coping with the impact AI has on their organization, this is a must-read book for the interweaving of humanity and science to project a possible path to careful resolution and onboarding.

7.  Katherine Morgan Schafler, The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Path to Peace and Power. Psychotherapist Katherine Morgan Schafler dealt with years of clients agonizing over their ambition and search for perfectionism. So she launched into writing a book that would help women find a more fruitful path that was less agonizing. For every person who struggles with this notion that everything they do must be perfect, this book offers tools to flip the script.

For every person who struggles with this notion that everything they do must be perfect, this book offers tools to flip the script. #perfectionism

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The book description continues, “It’s a clarion call for all women to dare to want more without feeling greedy or ungrateful. Ultimately, this book will show you how to make the single greatest trade you’ll ever make in your life, which is to exchange superficial control for real power.” In her book, Morgan Schafler writes there are five types of perfectionist. “Classic, intense, Parisian, messy, or procrastinator. As you identify your unique perfectionist profile, you’ll learn how to manage each form of perfectionism to work for you, not against you. Beyond managing it, you’ll learn how to embrace and even enjoy your perfectionism.”

 8.  Kathy Spillar, 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution. 

What could be better than five decades of essays, poetry, fiction and letters from contributors including Alice Walker, bell hooks, Toni Morrison and scores more of influential women leaders? Katherine Spillar, executive director of Feminist Majority Foundation and executive editor of Ms., where she oversees editorial content and the Ms. in the Classroom program, gathered together all these voices to chart the modern feminist movement. Booklist reviewed the book with this praise, “This thoughtfully curated and zestful celebration of the first 50 years of Ms. would be fascinating under any circumstances, but given the renewed assaults on women’s rights it’s all the more compelling. Ms. describes the book this way, “A celebration of Ms.—the most startling, most audacious, most norm-breaking of the magazine’s groundbreaking pieces on women, men, politics (sexual and otherwise), marriage, family, education, work, motherhood and reproductive rights, as well as the best of the magazine’s fiction, poetry and letters.”

Read more in Take The Lead on best books of 2022

 9. Jean M. Twenge PhD, Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents―and What They Mean for America’s Future 

Jean M. Twenge writes about the major global events, technology shifts and more that shape each generation. Multi-generational workplaces are a reality that many leaders must address with varying norms, behaviors, practices and challenges in order to create a culture that is acceptable and enjoyable for everyone. An academic for more than three decades studying generational differences, Twenge writes, “No one has a choice in the year they were born. Thus, we belong to a generation whether we like it or not.” Understanding the differences that drive generations can no doubt help leaders dealing with their teams, guiding collaborations and driving change.

 10.  Lori Van Dusen, Running with Grace: A Wall Street Insider’s Path to True Leadership, a Purposeful Life, and Joy in the Face of Adversity.
Lori Van Dusen, CIMA, is the Founder and CEO of LVW Advisors, and has spent more than 25 years an award-winning financial advisor, speaker and philanthropist. Her best-selling book chronicles her life’s highs as well as extreme lows and how she manages to lead and inspire through it all.

According to the book description, “As a young person, Lori wanted to sing on Broadway, not manage money on Wall Street. But in 1986, this quiet, serious young woman walked into the rough-and-tumble, eat-what-you-kill world of Shearson Lehman Brothers and never looked back. She fought her way to the top by thinking outside the box and working her ass off despite the jeers, insults, and sideways glances. Her secret weapon? A need to prove herself so strong she could outwork anyone.”

Read more in Take The Lead on best books

11.  Tessa White, The Unspoken Truths for Career Success: Navigating Pay, Promotions, and Power at Work.

Tessa White calls herself a “reformed” human resources executive and has a social media following of more than 1 million as “The Job Doctor.” She is the mother of six and someone who left her 25-year corporate career when her daughter faced mental health challenges. Named in USA Today as one of the top entrepreneurs to be inspired by in 2022, she writes in her book, “Imagine a workplace manual for how to unpack the most common conflicts and frustrations individuals experience in the workplace—from work-life balance to pay inequities, to difficult work politics to how to handle conflict without putting your job at risk.” She continues, “If you utilize the tools, scripts and technologies I’ve outlined, it will make a meaningful difference to how others at work (especially your managers) perceive you.”

 Leadership Takeaway of The Week:

“We have made so many strides toward equality in this country and no one should want to see this progress reversed.” Pink — singer, songwriter, musician.