Books for the Recovering Girlboss

The age of the “GIRLBOSS” is officially over, but a lot of us are still hanging on to some of the toxic ideals of #GirlBoss culture. How do we shake the girlboss out of us for good? Read on to find out!

Let’s take a quick rewind first though. Let’s go back to January 2020. It was not only the beginning of a new year. We were all looking forward to a new decade full of possibilities. Like many people in 2020, my New Year’s resolution for the year was all professionally focused. I wanted to be a “Boss Bitch.” I wanted to work hard and crush my goals. I had fully bought in to hustle culture and I was ready to be one of the people who profited from that lifestyle.

Do I know look back at 2020 Me and cringe a little? Am I ashamed to even share this shameful past with you, reader? Absolutely. 100%.

In fact, a lot of us probably look back at our pre-pandemic goals for ourselves and cringe a little. The pandemic has been a terrible experience in so many ways. We’ve lost friends and loved ones. There’s a new, heightened anxiety about leaving the house and how to care for the health of ourselves and others. But the pandemic did do one positive thing: it forced many of us to slow down a little and reassess what really matters.

And you know what I (and you) should refuse to value in 2023? Girlboss culture. The Girlboss saw merit in the cutthroat capitalist society established by white men and sought to profit from that way of life. For so many reasons, in 2023, we know that this lifestyle does not make sense. That hustle mentality is officially over.

Are you ready to let go of your toxic #GirlBoss ambitions for good? Read these books.

Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success Book Cover

Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness by Miya Tokumitsu

In a capitalist world that sees working hard as a virtue, it might seem like the only road to happiness is finding a job that you love. Right? Wrong. In the pursuit of finding self-actualizing work, workers are doing more and more work for less and less. And we continue to accept these work conditions because we’re told that doing work we love is the true joy. In reality, success and happiness are not found in doing work you love. This is just another way capitalist systems keep workers complacent. Miya Tokumitsu explains this and more in this book.

the cover of Work Won't Love You Back

Work Won’t Love You Back by Sarah Jaffe

Here’s another essential book if you want to read more about the “labor of love” myth. If you’ve been told the lie that some work should be done for passion and not for pay, then you need this book. So many of us — whether we have accepted unpaid internships or are just overworked — have been exploited by buying into the lie of work for the love of it. But as the title of this book suggests, no matter how much you “love” your work, work will never love you back.

Book cover of Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey

Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey

In Rest is Resistance, Tricia Hersey, the founder and creator of The Nap Ministry, argues that we have been brainwashed by capitalism to believe that productivity is the cornerstone of success. In the name of productivity, we live unhealthy lives to keep up a machine-level pace of work. But in reality, our worth has nothing to do with our level of production. This book is a manifesto and a battle cry rooted in Black liberation, womanism, somatics, and Afrofuturism.

Steal As Much As You Can book cover

Steal As Much As You Can by Nathalie Olah

With the rise of a generation that is more educated and less wealthy than any previous generation, it’s time to rethink the establishment and how we view success. Nathalie Olah argues that we should reject established routines of achieving prosperity. As we grow more and more frustrated with a world of unequal wealth, we should not feel guilty about stealing as much as we can.

Book cover of Wintering

Wintering by Katherine May

If you’ve been #GirlBossing for quite some time now, finding time to rest might be the most difficult part of your Girlboss recovery process. If this sounds like you, pick up Wintering by Katherine May. This book celebrates the reparative nature of rest and how it can benefit us when we’re at our lowest points. This book encourages readers to see life as cyclical and not linear and to accept and welcome the moments of retreat.

How To Do Nothing book cover

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Need even more help figuring out how to do nothing? Check out this book. Technology has made all of us available 24/7 and social media has gotten everyone into creating their personal brand. So how do you turn all of that off? It’s harder than you might think , but in How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell offers readers an action plan to resist the capitalist lies of productivity and techno-determinism.

i didn't do the thing today book cover

I Didn’t Do the Thing Today by Madeleine Dore

I don’t know about you, but as much as I try to shake my Girlboss past, I still feel super guilty on days when I don’t do anything productive. How to let go of that? Madeline Dore offers help in I Didn’t Do the Thing Today. Dore herself has long felt the pressure to be productive, but over time, she’s learned there’s more value to our lives than what we did or didn’t do on any given day. This book explores why we experience productivity guilt and how we can get over it.

the cover of Caste; a black and white overhead photo of a crowd

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Still need more proof that capitalism has created a caste system that we should be fighting against? Okay, time to bring out the big guns. Check out Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste. This book reveals the unseen caste system in America today. This system influences our lives and behavior, from the way we work to how we treat others. This unspoken caste system affects our everyday lives and has damaging ramifications for our culture, our politics, and our mental and physical health.

Looking for more to read to escape your past Girlboss tendencies? Check out these books about capitalism and the antiwork movement. Or try to rest more by reading these books about how to do nothing. Good luck out there, former Girlboss.