6 Successful Women Share Their Favorite Books Of All Time

Did you know that the average CEO reads 60 books a year?

That’s an average of five books per month. More than the average reader for sure. Successful people know that learning will keep them on top of their game. And not just learning, but discovering new perspectives. Non-fiction and fiction, it’s all worth reading. Whether it teaches you a new skill, takes you to a new world, or just helps improve your vocabulary.

The types of books you read says a lot about you, and if you want to be successful in life, you should try to read as widely and as often as you can. Bill Gates reads about one new book per week, which is easy to do if you dedicate 20-30 minutes of pure reading time a day.

If you need some inspiration to try to get through a book in one week, here are a few successful women’s favorite books. Add them to your five a month reading list right now.

Emily Weiss, Founder of Into The Gloss

@emilywweiss

The book she recommends: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Emily is the CEO and founder of Glossier and Into The Gloss. She was a fashion assistant for Vogue while working on her blog as a side project, and stayed full-time employed for a full year before making ITG her full-time thing.

She recommends Shoe Dog, a book about the founder of Nike’s journey creating one of the most recognizable brands of the twenty-first century. 

“It was shocking for me to see how many speed bumps he encountered on the way. But what I loved most about it was how he just didn’t ever stop. His tenacity and unwillingness to fail are what drove the company forward over every hurdle. It was inspiring, as a founder, to read about a guy who started selling Japanese shoes out of his car and ended up building one of the most iconic and recognizable brands in the world.” She told My Domaine. Get it here.

Meghan Markle, Actress

@reitmans

The book she recommends: The Motivation Manifesto by Brendan Burchard

Meghan, aside from having a very high profile wedding coming up, has always had an entrepreneurial mind and a desire to speak up about injustices around her. She founded The Tig and worked hard as an actress in Suits.

On her blog, she wrote, “Annoyed by your self-doubt and distractions? The noise that keeps you from reaching your potential? Okay, so yeah. Me too. Even on my most Sasha Fierce days, there’s a mean little voice in there going, ‘Hmmm…I’m not sure if you can, or should, or if you’re good enough to.'”

Her recommendation to solve the negative self-talk? The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. If you need more help with negative self-talk, read this guide to becoming more positive.

World-renowned high-performance trainer Brendon Burchard wrote this book to help people reclaim their freedom and positivity. This book will help you go for what you want and forget the negative voice in your head and declare your own independence.

The whole point of this book is to inspire you to take control of your life and learn how to be the very best you possibly can be. Get it here.

Tyra Banks, Model, and Entrepreneur

@tyrabanks

The book she recommends: Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman 

Tyra Banks is known for being a famous model, but she is also the creator of the format for America’s Next Top Model, an executive producer, presenter, and now an author of her own book. Learning how to negotiate and know her own worth was really an important stepping stone in her journey towards the powerhouse she is now.

She often credits Negotiation Genius as one of the books that helped her get to the top.

Written by two leaders in executive education at Harvard Business School, this book is full of mental habits and strategies to help you negotiate anything.

Backed by behavioral psychology and the stories and experiences of thousands of business clients, this book will help you build a strategy to negotiate anything. From deals to a pay rise. It was instrumental in teaching Tyra how to ask for what she was owed and the value of her time. Get it here.

Jessica Alba, Founder of The Honest Company

@jessicaalba

The book she recommends: Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Jessica Alba is a force to be reckoned with. She started her career as an internationally known actress and went on to become one of the founders of The Honest Company.

Her company believes in transparency and environmentally friendly non-toxic baby care, personal, and household products. In order to be the best she can be, she reads a lot of business books.

In particular, she reads Seth Godin’s books. He’s a genius in his own right, and his marketing books will inspire you to think about things in a new and innovative way. As well as teaching you how to sell anything, he’ll inspire you to approach business and career in a fresh way. As she says, “If you are in business, I love Seth Godin books.” Get Purple Cow here.

Jen Atkin, Founder of OUAI 

@jenatkinhair

The book she recommends: The Career Code by Hillary Kerr and Catherine Power

Jen Atkin is both a celebrity hairstylist and a founder. Her hair product company, Ouai, has smashed onto the scene internationally with many celebrity clients and fans. Besides doing the Kardashian’s hair and considering Chrissy Teigen a close friend, she also works hard to make sure every product she releases follows her strong brand message.

She read The Career Code and said, “This book is such an inspiration for any go-getter. There are amazing career advice and personal stories that will jump-start and motivate every #girlboss in the making!”

The Career Code was written by the founders of Clique Media, who happen to be close friends of Jen’s. While she helped them out with their hair in the book, they returned the favor and helped with her website. She recommends the book for a dose of inspiration to learn more about making the most of your career and living your dream life. Get it here.

Beyonce 

@beyonce

The book she recommends: What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? By Marianne Schnall

Beyonce Knowles is known for being a singer-songwriter. She is one of the most influential women of the 21st Century, empowering a generation. She loves to read books that inspire her to be a better leader and teach her about how to create a better future.

“I would love for my younger fans to read What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? by Marianne Schnall,” She said. “It’s a collection of interviews and essays by great women, including Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Melissa Etheridge. They will inspire you to become a better leader.”

What Will It Take to Make A Woman President? features interviews with politicians, public officials, thought leaders, writers, artists, and activists in an attempt to discover the obstacles that have held women back and what needs to change in order to elect a woman into the White House. With anecdotes from Sheryl Sandberg, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Nancy Pelosi, Nicholas Kristof, Melissa Etheridge, and many more, this book addresses issues facing women and the pursuit of power. Get it here.

Photo by Violet Grey

Beth Macdonald

Managing Editor

I'm the Managing Editor of CGD. I'm a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy and have published a short story. I specialize in copywriting, digital marketing, and research.