10 Books Every Ambitious Woman Needs to Read

Reading and absorbing new ideas shouldn't stop when you finish your formal education. Ambitious women know that continuous, lifelong learning is the best way to stay empowered in their careers and personal lives.
By aha insurance - Aug 5, 2018

At aha insurance we continually explore ways to stay in control of all aspects of life – because we know life is about more than insurance. In our Life Matters series we talk about staying in control of your life and living on your terms. Control feels great!

These days, it seems everyone has sage advice for those looking to get ahead in their careers, or life in general. Who has the best words of wisdom? It’s hard to narrow it down, but here is a list of ten books every ambitious woman should read with reasons why:

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert – This bible of creativity may not be something those involved in the business world would gravitate to at first glance, but this book is full of amazing suggestions and encouragement, whether you work in an artistically-creative field or are just looking for a creative outlet in your life as a hobby. Don’t underestimate how creativity can assist your ambitious drive in your daily business life, either!

Grit, by Angela Duckworth – Psychologist Duckworth shares her own personal journey and scientific experiments around talent versus passion and perseverance. Inspirational but also practical, Duckworth’s definition of “grit” gives anyone looking to succeed the encouragement they need to keep trying, work hard and not give up.

Strong Woman: The Truth About Getting to the Top, by Karren Brady – Tenacious and ambitious, Brady shares her journey from her early working days in advertising to being one of few women in a leadership role in the male-dominated British professional soccer league. Her story offers advice on the balance between family and career as well as motivation to be the best version of yourself.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg – After its initial release, Sandberg’s book caused great debate and controversy over whether it was anti-feminist and didn’t realistically address the problems faced by women in the workforce. Whether you agree with those criticisms or not, “Lean In” is still a guide with practical tips towards pushing yourself ahead and overcoming some of the internal mental blocks that prevent ambitious women – and men – from succeeding.

How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran – Looking for a little wit, sarcasm and reality with your feminist story? Look no further. Britain’s Moran took over the bestseller lists there with this charming and informative quasi-memoir that’s been compared to Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” Asking deceptively-deep questions about womanhood while sharing funny anecdotes from her own life, Moran has written a she-anthem that both genders should read.

Tiny, Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed – Once the anonymous columnist behind the “Dear Sugar” online advice column for The Rumpus, Strayed curates a collection of her best and previously unreleased columns celebrating life’s joys and commiserating some of its greatest sadness. With brutal honesty and sometimes a touch of humour, the columns touch on just about every human experience, giving the ambitious reader assurance they are not alone in their roller coaster ride of life.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#@k, by Mark Manson – Yes, it’s profane. Yet, once you go swear-blind, you’ll reap some huge benefits from this manual that actually instructs you how to give effs about stuff that truly matters and weed out the other aspects of your life that stress you for reasons that don’t matter. Manson offers personal stories and interesting advice on prioritizing where you pay attention when you’ve only got so much headspace.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage their Careers, by Lois Frankel, PhD – Another staple in the “how to get ahead as an ambitious woman in business” world, Dr. Frankel writes a lengthy list of you guessed it – 101 – ways to stop being “girly” and start being an assertive woman who warrants and receives the positive attention of her superiors.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie – An oldie but a timeless classic, some may write this book off as no longer relevant, considering some of the examples Carnegie uses are from the 1930’s era when he wrote the book. However, ambitious women who want to learn how to get what they want will read the stories shared and learn that the personality traits described in this self-help original are truly ones that defy the ageing process and can be easily applied in today’s world.

Year of  Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes – Is your ambition a deep secret, hidden well by your own fears? Successful TV show creator Rhimes shares her personal journey from being what her sister described as a person who never said yes to anything, to becoming someone who said yes to everything that scared her for a year, and what that experience taught her. Funny and educational, this memoir will bring out the inner ambitious woman in any introvert.

Reading is fundamental

No list is complete – especially only at ten. Learning doesn’t end at graduation, it’s a life-long exercise in personal development – especially for those who are looking to get ahead in whatever they are passionate about. Work, living, it’s all the same, a life, to be lived well, needs constant feeding in both body and soul.

aha insurance is Canada’s first car and home insurance brokerage to offer a fully online customer experience. Customers can purchase and manage their car and home insurance online in minutes from the convenience of wherever they are. This puts customers in complete control, and control feels great.