We know, you probably read Lean In or #Girlboss and thought you’d soaked up all the female entrepreneurial advice there is to read. More women than ever are starting businesses and it’s a wonderful thing that there are so many voices out there sharing their stories!
From Diane von Fustenberg’s 1970s climb to the top of the fashion food chain to Juicy madness in the early 2000s, we’ve compiled a fun list of books written by the female heads of some of our favorite companies, past and present.
Check them out, and let us know you’re thoughts in the comments below!
I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, Kate White
There’s a reason this book is at the top of the list – because if there was just one that I’d want you to pick, it would be this one at the very top of the pile. Kate White was a #girlboss before Sophia Amoruso could even pronounce the word. She speaks openly and candidly about her transformation from pushover to unstoppable editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan, where she stayed for 14 years. Pick up a copy here.
Power Your Happy, Lisa Sugar
Lisa Sugar is a woman whose secret to success seems simple – she knew what she liked, turned it into a hobby and kept going until it was a business. You may know Popsugar for their engrossing articles and handy craft ideas. Back in the day, it was just a blog, albeit one that she poured her heart and soul into. It’s hard not to be a little envious of her success because she loves the same things so many of us do – pop culture, entertainment news and maybe a dash of gossip – but she’s literally built an empire out of it! Purchase here.
The Woman I Wanted To Be, Diane von Furstenberg
Before she was 30, Diane von Furstenberg had been both a princess through marriage and a businesswoman featured in the Wall Street Journal – and there would be much more where that came from. Her wrap dress captivated the fashion world and turned it into a craze that eventually died out, but she simply moved onto other creative endeavors.
Lately, she’s been named one of Forbes’ Most Powerful Women and is president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. If anything, her story is a moving testament to the impact any woman can have at any age. Check out her story here.
By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
It’s hard to imagine a time when people thought online shopping was a bad idea, but the women who founded Gilt lived through those times. In their book, these two Harvard blonds dish on how they encountered sexist venture capitalists who looked down on their flash sale-driven business model, started a company, traveled the world, learned Japanese and figured out how to get a few breaths in between. Purchase here.
In My Shoes: A Memoir, Tamara Mellon
Anyone who believes in a woman’s right to shoes has probably enjoyed at least a brief love affair with a pair of Jimmy Choos. Tamara Mellon was a coke-addicted socialite who’d been fired from Vogue when she got the idea to partner up with Jimmy Choo, a cobbler who was London society’s best-kept secret. Princess Diana was one of his clients.
She describes the mad dash to supply the Hollywood elite by setting up a showroom in a hotel pre-Oscar night, all the way to the eventual unraveling of her part in the company by the financiers. Purchase here.
The Glitter Plan, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor
This book is an adorable fish-out-of-water memoir reminiscent of Legally Blonde. Two perky, candy-loving LA friends start a T-shirt line…that turns into the velour tracksuit movement of the early 2000s. Juicy Couture took over the world and appeared all over our TV screens, and stores couldn’t keep enough in stock. Hear firsthand from the founders how the brand evolved and the fun they had riding that wave of success. Read here.
Find Your Extraordinary, Jessica DiLullo Herrin
Jessica DiLullo Herrin, co-founder of direct sales jewelry company Stella & Dot, begins her memoir with a mildly relatable parable: when a high school teacher angrily called her a waste of potential, she abandoned her class-cutting high school habits and dedicated her energy to a university transfer. With her eye on the prize (Stanford), she pulled off the transfer, graduated, fielded the corporate career path for a few years, then decided to start her own company.
Herrin’s transparency about what makes a driven career woman tick is one of the things I liked most about her book. She admits that you can’t have it all – ballet recitals and board meetings will have to be decided between. It takes a village to keep it together, in spite of what modern folklore wants us to believe. Outsource the little tasks in order to make way for the big ones, stay true to the vision you’ve set for your career path, and there should be little that stands between you and your dreams. Purchase here.