Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer
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Books To Read About Women and Work When Your Father Isn’t A Billionaire

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Trisha Brown

Contributing Editor

Trisha Brown grew up in Washington State and moved to Washington, DC, to work on programs that support vulnerable families. She decided to take a break in 2019, so now she’s traveling around the United States learning about different places and communities. She plans to return to her life in DC eventually, but for now she can be found chatting with people in bars and parks, catching up on sleep, and trying to keep herself from buying more books than her car and budget can handle. Find her on Instagram (@trishahaleybrown) or Twitter (@trishahaleybrwn).

Ivanka Trump has a new book out, and good for her. Also good for you if your life and career trajectory align with hers. For many of us, that’s not the case. Luckily, there are lots of books that can help women succeed in their jobs and work lives from all kinds of different people with all kinds of different careers. Here are ten to get you started:

One Person/Multiple Careers: The Original Guide to the Slash Career by Marci Alboher

Being a multi-hyphenate isn’t just for singer/actor/producers like Justin Timberlake anymore. More and more of us are finding ways to funnel different kinds of creative energy into side jobs or are putting together a variety of part-time jobs in order to create a work life that truly balances work and life. In One Person/Multiple Careers, Alboher talks about how you could do it too.

Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

Inspired by a group of female friends and peers who would gather with their frustrations with workplace sexism, Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club offers strategies for women trying to navigate those same situations. Balancing humor, anecdotes, and research, the book is a great option for those who need empathy, advice, and hilarious infographics.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Anyone who’s had to work hard can tell you that hard work is the key to success, and psychologist Angela Duckworth has the research to prove it. Growing up, Duckworth’s father told her often that she was “no genius,” so it was ironic when she was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship – aka, the “genius grant” – for her work showing that your life and career come down to much more than your test scores.

My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman

Fewer and fewer jobs require the traditional 9 to 5 schedule and cubicle desk space that has, for decades, been the norm for people in professional positions. As work lives become less likely to fit a traditional model, Goodman offers up tips on managing a career as a freelancer.


Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco

You’re always rolling the dice when you pick up a “my life serving in the White House” memoir; there’s a pretty good chance you just spent $15 on 300 pages of humble-bragging and name-dropping. Mastromonaco’s approach is different, though. She recognizes up front that there aren’t a lot of women who’ve been able to achieve the kind of success in the political realm that she has, and she’s writing about how she did it and how they could do it too.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Some people thought of Yes Please as a comedy memoir they liked less than Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I thought of it as a “navigating your career as a woman” book that I liked more than Lean In (which I also liked, to be fair). It’s all about expectations. Regardless, Poehler’s advice and experience are valuable to women working in any field dominated by men.



Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

It would be enough for Shonda Rhimes just to write about her many accomplishments being a wildly successful writer and producer. That book alone could serve as a textbook in a 101 class on Getting Shit Done. But Rhimes goes a step further in the entertaining and accessible Year of Yes and writes about the way she challenged herself to step out of her comfort zone and start saying “yes” to things.

Double Bind: Women on Ambition edited by Robin Romm

You let your feminist flag fly wherever you go…but are you ambitious? If you are, are you willing to admit it to yourselves and others? This collection of essays by women including Roxane Gay and Theresa Rebeck focuses on ambition and the baggage it carries for working women.



Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

Women in management positions are constantly trying to navigate the fine line between being a “pushover” and being a “bitch.” Scott, who taught classes on being a good boss at Apple, shares her framework for management that will work for both a supervisor and her staff.



My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Hey, you know who’s done pretty well for herself career-wise? Anyone whose title is “ US Supreme Court Justice.” Reading about what Sonia Sotomayor had to navigate and overcome to get there can offer readers of all stripes inspiration and a gentle reminder that you kinda don’t have any excuses.