Presenting: a booklist for entrepreneurs, from entrepreneurs. We asked the CEOs of our Women-Owned Marketplace which books helped them most during their entrepreneurial journeys, and we compiled them into this list for aspiring business owners, current CEOs, and curious-minded individuals. If you’re looking for a summer reading list, look no further. We hope you enjoy!
Ava Adames was struggling to show up authentically, with a perfection complex and a bit of imposter syndrome, when a friend gave her this book.
In Daring Greatly, Ava says, “Brené Brown speaks about vulnerability and how shame and guilt can create a self-perception that no one else may see. After reading Brené Brown’s book, I was inspired to take on new challenges and to show up better within my relationships as well as my business. Daring Greatly is not only a wonderful self-development book, but a model for showing up successfully at work.”
For Johana Gutierrez, Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller changed her ideas about what her life could look like.
“Once you start embracing what is possible for you… you start believing in it more,” Johana says. “There are a number of powerful moments in this book that really get your brain thinking [about] creating a life or business that YOU want. This is one of my go-to’s and one I recommend to everyone who is interested in entrepreneurship!”
The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work! by Tim Gunn
Recommended by Beke Beau, Founder of The Paint School of Makeup
Tim Gunn, the beloved television host of shows like Project Runway, is commonly known for his catchphrase: “Make it work.” In this book, he goes into great detail about his teaching style, as well as his experiences as a mentor and human being.
According to professional makeup artist Beke Beau, “This might seem like an unexpected source for entrepreneurial wisdom, and that’s what makes it so fun. Even better if you listen to him read it!”
Similar to any story, the company Natralee began with a simple premise: small lifestyle changes can make a big impact on our skin and the environment. According to the skincare company’s founder Eunice Charles, Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller “has been really helpful in helping me craft my brand story and better connect with customers.”
A #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller, this book walks you through Donald Miller’s seven-step marketing strategy to help you engage with customers by clearly communicating your company’s identity.
According to a book review on Forbes.com, “Seth Godin says that the key to success is to find a way to stand out–to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins.”
This strategy is evident in Kara Mac’s clever marketing and product development— who doesn’t want a piece of Shoe Candy™? Kara Mac tells us, “Seth Godin takes marketing to another level with his easy to understand analogies. Not coming from a marketing background, I found it refreshing to take his clever metaphors and utilize them for my niche product.”
According to author David Kerpen, it is people skills, not tenacity or grit, that get you to the boardroom.
Kat Friedman, the founder of a brand that allows others to become their own CEOs, elaborates: “Regardless of what industry you are in, understanding how to communicate with others is always the name of the game. In business, identifying your colleagues and/or clients’ personality type is key in being an effective leader and ultimately getting the results you want. As entrepreneurs, we wear many hats and if you can customize your approach, you will find success!”
Just a few years ago, Sam Heyer made the decision to leave her VP position at a corporate company to start Habitats By Kat with her twin sister, Kat Friedman. In doing so, she was able to find more confidence, life balance, and freedom.
For Sam, this book was one of the things that helped her along the way. She tells us: “This was a great read. It helped me not only find confidence in my professional life but also in my personal life. It also helped me realize how to take charge and find a balance that was perfect for me.”
“Call them coincidences, call them signs or call them God Winks, but learning to pay attention to the dots connecting in your life creates a beautiful adventure that you are meant to follow! It is inspiration at its finest!” Isha says.
As the founder of her own lifestyle brand, Isha utilizes her expertise to inspire others to be true to themselves. If you find yourself inspired by Isha’s philosophies like “confidence is the most fabulous accessory that you can wear,” you may also find inspiration in her book recommendation!
Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking by Shane Snow
Recommended by Carrie Sporer, co-Founder of SWAIR
“I actually read this book before SWAIR was even an idea,” Carrie tells us, “but it provides a lot of advice and examples for challenging yourself to think differently. As a beauty industry outsider, it’s a great reminder that while experience is important, viewing a problem from a new perspective can make all the difference.”
Lateral thinking, or the ability to creatively problem solve, is described by Forbes as “the most valuable skill in difficult times.” After marathon runners Carrie and Meredith (the co-Founders of SWAIR) couldn’t find an effective, safe product that cleaned their hair without suds, rinsing, or residue, they had to solve the problem their own way. In combining their creativity, SWAIR was born.
“I love the concepts taught by motivational speaker T. Harv Eker,” Priya says. “I feel the concept he teaches ‘Thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions and action leads to results’ was invaluable to me. It taught me to ENVISION my desired outcome and take steps toward achieving it, as action is the fuel of manifestation. It’s SO important to think positively about achieving my goal and not focus on the obstacles. Focusing on the solution gets rid of any obstacles in my path. KNOWING in my heart that I WILL succeed gives me the drive to keep pursuing my dream, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!”
That’s Priya Osuri’s review of the book, and we think it’s pretty great. After all, dreaming big (and a lot of taste tests) is exactly what brought Anar Gourmet Foods from Priya’s kitchen to Wholefoods.
Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski
Recommended by Leslie McGuirk, Founder of Astrology Wisdom Academy
“This book is great for anyone trying to figure out their life’s true passion,” Leslie says, “and how important synchronicity is for guiding us to our correct path.”
According to Psychology Today, synchronicity is a concept invented by Carl Jung in the early 1900s and which he defined as “meaningful coincidences.” In his book, Joseph Jaworski argues that you can consciously take advantage of these meaningful coincidences to live a more authentic life.
In Leslie’s work as an internationally acclaimed astrologist, she teaches others how to find their true potential by understanding their place in the universe. Couple an understanding of synchronicity with the power of astrology, and you may just be unstoppable.
“…The beginning of my business coincided with the end of my marriage, and at that time I found myself gravitating to memoirs of women endeavoring solo travels, often subjecting themselves to extreme physical and psychological challenges and coming out the other side stronger as a result. When I was traveling back through India to source products, I leaned very heavily on these bold women, remembering the ups and downs of their journeys when my own felt intimidating. Quite possibly, my favorite book on this list [in full below] is Robyn Davidson’s Tracks, her wry, irreverent, and ballsy penning of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company. I knew I was in the right place the minute I cracked open the spine and read the first line: ‘I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.’” – Greer Goodman.
Greer had many recommendations to give, including the aforementioned ‘Building A Storybrand’ by Donald Miller. Check them all out: Why We Buy by Paco Underhill, #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso, Minding the Store by Julie Gaines, Wild By Nature by Sarah Marquis, Peking to Paris by Dina Bennett, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman, All the Gear, No Idea by Michele Harrison, Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman.