Superb Books for Empowering Women
Today, let’s breathe. Learn. And continue moving in the right direction. Even if it’s the tiniest step.
This list of empowering books for women will inspire you to do that!
This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission if you purchase (at no cost to you). See my disclaimer for more.
First, I specifically chose books written BY and FOR women. These uplifting books address the specific challenges that WE face. Especially if you have kids, the obstacles that moms face are quite different than those of most men. It’s important to acknowledge that and dig a little deeper to grow.
*If you’re in a hurry (or just curious), here are the 3 MOST popular books overall:
Now, let’s get to the FULL female empowerment list!
It’s split into:
- empowering self help books for women, inspiring books for mental health, uplifting self-love books, and the best motivational books for women in business
The Best Self Help Books for Women in 2021
These books help with anything: from happiness, growth, self-worth, and confidence, to even depression.
1. Untamed by Glennon Doyle
“Filled with hopeful messages . . . encourag[ing] women to reject the status quo and follow their intuition . . . This testament to female empowerment and self-love, with an endearing coming-out story at the center, will delight readers.”—Publishers Weekly
*Of all the empowering books for women, this one was the winner for me! Doyle encourages readers to question what’s beautiful and true for them.
2. That’s What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women by Kimothy Joy
“A stunning book that celebrates a diverse group of inspirational women, from Maya Angelou to Malala Yousafzai. The book features illustrations and quotes with illuminating biographies to inspire women of all ages and backgrounds.” – Hello Sunshine
3. The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
“The Moment of Lift is an urgent call to courage. It changed how I think about myself, my family, my work, and what’s possible in the world.
Melinda weaves together vulnerable, brave storytelling and compelling data to make this one of those rare books that you carry in your heart and mind long after the last page.” – Brené Brown, Ph.D.
For ways to lift someone up, read: How to Spread Positivity in Today’s World
4. Grit by Angela Duckworth
“If you have recently bumped into that word, grit, Duckworth is the reason…In education and parenting circles, her research has provided a much needed antipode to hovering, by which children are systematically deprived of the opportunity to experience setbacks, much less overcome them…” – The Atlantic
To help build your grit, check out these fierce quotes about overcoming adversity!
5. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
“Rhimes guides the reader through her transformative yearlong experiment, each chapter dealing with a different personal challenge for herself, and she lets us deep inside her brain, carefully laying out all of her fears and self-doubt…candid and friendly, almost as if the two of you were catching up over drinks.” — Slate.com
6. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
One of the “Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life.” – Forbes Magazine
“This book is an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, ‘My story matters because I matter.’ Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance.” – Brene Brown
7. Becoming by Michelle Obama
*5 Star Amazon Review
“In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.” – Amazon
“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”–Michelle Obama
8. Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
“In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, VERY GOOD LIVES presents J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life. How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?” – Amazon
9. Bare: A 7-Week Program to Transform Your Body, Get More Energy, Feel Amazing… by Susan Hyatt
“Bare flips the broken cultural norm—we must starve ourselves to fit into a patriarchal norm of desirability—and focuses instead on strengthening the love, power, and beauty we have inside us. Susan will help you nurture and love the body you are in, choosing health on your terms and in your time.”—Pamela Slim
See: Easy Ways to Be Healthier This Year for a great health related read!
10. Dare Greatly by Brene Brown
*5 Star Amazon Review
“The brilliantly insightful Brené Brown draws upon extensive research and personal experience to explore the paradoxes of courage: we become strong by embracing vulnerability, we dare more greatly when we acknowledge our fear. I can’t stop thinking about this book.” —Gretchen Rubin
11. I Really Needed This Today: Words to Live By by Hoda Kotb
In I Really Needed This Today, Hoda not only shares 365 sayings and quotes, she writes about the people and experiences that have pushed her to challenge boundaries, embrace change, and explore relationships to their fullest.
Written with her signature wit and warmth, this book is the ideal companion to tuck beside your bed or to bring with you on-the-go to keep you motivated, recharged, and inspired each day.” – Amazon
12. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
“From stand-up comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish comes The Last Black Unicorn, a hilarious, edgy, and heart-wrenching collection of autobiographical essays that will leave you laughing through tears.” – Amazon
13. Own Your Everyday: Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You Were Made to Do by Jordan Lee Doodley
*5 Star Amazon Review
“As a struggling perfectionist myself, I related so much to the idea of the internal pressure we put on ourselves to perform and achieve. Own Your Everyday gave me the greatest encouragement to be myself.”—Lauren Scruggs Kennedy
14. Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love by Rachel Macy Stafford
“In these conversational essays, Stafford (Hands Free Mama) urges readers to set aside the world’s distractions and put love at the top of their to-do lists…
With a voice that is equal measures poetry and best-friend-over-coffee, she draws from her own life as a special education teacher and mother to encourage women to seek out a less stressful, more people-focused way of living…” –Publishers Weekly
15. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
“If touchy-feely self-help tomes make you feel, shall we say, less than inspired, this no-nonsense manifesto to awesomeness might be just what you’re looking for.
Filled with blunt and sassy advice, do-it-yourself exercises in personal transformation, and a whole lot of hilarity, You Are a Badass will silence your inner critic, and help you build a life worthy of the kind of Facebook news feed that others envy…” – Bustle.com
16. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
“There aren’t enough women in leadership telling other women to GO FOR IT. We typically get the caregiver; we rarely get the boot camp instructor. Rachel lovingly but firmly tells us it is time to stop letting the tail wag the dog and get on with living our wild and precious lives…” – Jen Hatmaker
17. Believe IT: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable by Jamie Kern Lima
*5 STARS on Amazon
“In Believe IT, Jamie Kern Lima, founder of IT Cosmetics, shares the wild but true story of how a once struggling waitress turned her against-the-grain idea into an international bestselling sensation, eventually selling the company for over a billion dollars and becoming the first female CEO of a brand in L’Oréal’s 100+ year history.
Faced with self-doubt, body-doubt, God-doubt, down to her last few dollars and told “No one is going to buy makeup from someone who has your body,” Jamie reveals…the powerful lessons you, too, can use to go from underestimated to unstoppable.” – Amazon
18. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
“How could this pocket-sized book, which has already sold over 2 million copies and sits firmly atop the New York Times Best Seller list, make such a big promise? Here’s the short answer: Because it’s legit. . . . Kondo’s method really can change your life — if you let it.”—Today
*Grab these free printable bookmarks to color and use with your lovely new books!
Best Books for Women’s Mental Health
These uplifting and inspirational books will inspire you to take care of yourself in new, profound ways.
19. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength by Lysa TerKeurst
*4.8/5 Star Amazon Review
“Have you ever struggled with the fact that your life doesn’t look the way you thought it would? Maybe you have this feeling that circumstances, relationships, and finances should be better than they are.
And underneath it all, you’re disappointed. Yes, disappointment is a feeling we all have but few of us know how to process it or find God’s goodness in the midst of it.” -Lysa TerKeurst
20. Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen
*Best Pick for Women’s Mental Health
“I know from personal experience just how easily our thoughts try to hijack our faith and throw us into a negative spiral. Get Out of Your Head will equip you with practical biblical tools to take control of your thoughts so they don’t control you.”—Christine Caine, best-selling author and founder of A21 and Propel Women
21. A Year of Positive Thinking by Cyndie Spiegel
#1 Bestseller in Devotionals
“A Year of Positive Thinking is a beautiful, accessible book for engineering positivity. Cyndie’s voice is powerful because of its honesty and earnestness―she’s walked where I’ve walked, she’s stood where I stand.
Full of inspiring wisdom and encouraging call to action, this book is more than simple comfort on a rough day―it’s a way to change your entire way of thinking.”―Meera Lee Patel
Related Post: Inspirational Quotes That Will Motivate You
22. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
“Happiness is contagious. And so is The Happiness Project. Once you’ve read Gretchen Rubin’s tale of a year searching for satisfaction, you’ll want to start your own happiness project and get your friends and family to join you. This is the rare book that will make you both smile and think—often on the same page.” -Daniel H. Pink
Related Post: 9 Easy Habits to Create More Happiness
23. Zen as F*ck by Monica Sweeney (A Journal)
“The road to serenity is ahead, and it’s paved with a f*ck-ton of profanity. When quiet meditation and peaceful mantras aren’t enough to cut through the bullsh*t and brighten your day―hold close the pages of this journal.
On each and every page, you can give the good around you a warm hug and kick the bad on its ass. Journal your way through positive affirmations and cathartic-as-f*ck activities on your liberating journey toward something pretty close to happiness.” -Amazon
*This pick is unusual but boasts THOUSANDS of glowing five-star reviews. If you’re good with profanity, it’s too sensational to pass up.
24. Women Who Think Too Much by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
“A must-read for any woman who has ever felt stuck in her life, and any man who has been confused by why the women they love get so ‘caught up thinking’ they can’t enjoy life. Nolen-Hoeksema offers practical methods to self-diagnose and pathways toward greater emotional freedom.” ―William S. Pollack, Ph.D.
Related Post: How to Do a Mind Dump (+ free printable!)
25. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst
“TerKeurst doesn’t just share empathetic anecdotes for readers in a rut; she focuses on digging down to the roots of anxiety and providing tools for overcoming self-doubt and handling the pain of rejection.” – Publisher’s Weekly
26. The Self Care Prescription: Powerful Solutions to Manage Stress, Reduce Anxiety & Increase Wellbeing by Robyn Gobin PhD
“Although it focuses on self-care, The Self-Care Prescription is really a comprehensive guide to creating a full, vibrant, and healthy life. The book is structured so that each reader can create a personalized self-care plan, choosing the areas of life that matter most to them…”―Melissa Platt, PhD
Related Self Care posts:
27. Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach to Time and Energy Management by Kate Northrup
“This is a book for working women and mothers who are ready to release the culturally inherited belief that their worth is equal to their productivity, and instead create a personal and professional life that’s based on presence, meaning, and joy.” – Amazon
*This book is also included in the amazing gifts for busy moms post.
28. Present, Not Perfect: A Journal for Slowing Down, Letting Go, and Loving Who You Are by Aimee Chase
“Most women today are frantic, lost in an endless cycle of busyness caused by constant pressure to perform up to unrealistic expectations of perfection, many of which are self-imposed. This journal cuts to the heart of the problem by showing women how to reconnect with their inner selves…” – Amazon
Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart.”Oprah Winfrey
Self-Love Books for Women
Don’t forget these amazing Amazon books on self-love and healing. Plus, they are perfect if you want to work on accepting who you truly are.
29. You Do You by Sarah Knight
“Hilarious, irreverent, and no-nonsense… You Do You is all about being yourself, putting your own happiness first, rejecting any social contracts that aren’t working for you, and living life from your own place of power. Get it girl.”―Bustle
30. The Self Love Experiment by Shannon Keiser
“[A] profound book and a must-read for anyone that prioritizes happiness. . . . This is the playbook for making small changes and shifts that will yield you large results in your happiness.” — Kristine Carlson
31. Be Unapologetically You: A Self Love Guide for Women of Color by Adeline Bird
“Self-love is not something that just happens – it’s a creative process where you dig deep to find your own soul. You have to let go of comparisons which make you feel less than and you have to see your supposed flaws as your gifts.” – Amazon
32. Self-Love Workbook for Women: Release Self-Doubt, Build Self-Compassion, and Embrace Who You Are by Megan Logan
“In a world full of personal and professional challenges, it’s not always easy to treat yourself with compassion. Rediscover self love and embrace who you are with this engaging self esteem workbook for women.” – Amazon
Related Post: The 1 Month Self-Love Challenge (free printable)
33. Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories… by Lysa TerKeurst
“Have you ever felt stuck in a cycle of unresolved pain, playing offenses over and over in your mind? You know you can’t go on like this, but you don’t know what to do next. In surprising ways, she’s (Lysa) discovered how to let go of bound-up resentment and overcome the resistance to forgiving people who aren’t willing to make things right.” – Amazon
Best Women Books for Business
This section is of business books every woman should read. The books are about empowering women to be confident and courageous about their dreams. And they’re great for female entrepreneurs, CEOs, and all women looking to thrive at work.
34. The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman
“Kay and Shipman shine a perceptive light on the crucial role that confidence plays in the ability of women to succeed. They offer women practical advice and the vision of a more hopeful future.” -Sheryl Sandberg
Related Post: Self-Love Affirmations to Build Confidence
35. Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, and Opportunity for Black Women in America by Karen Arrington
“This book is a must-read for every woman out there, regardless of age. The ins and outs of self care, handling your money, and living your best life is what Karen covers and this book is so inspiring.” – Ask Away
36. Ask for It by Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever
“Combining sophisticated strategy with down-to-earth action, Ask for It gives women a groundbreaking gift: the means to ask for what they’re worth.
Women learn how to change their fear of negotiating into confidence that they’ll gain more if they ask for more—more pay, more status, more resources, more equitable treatment. Required reading for working women.”—Evelyn Murphy
37. Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life by Barbara Stanny
“Secrets of Six Figure Women will be a groundbreaking book for high earners who want to ensure their wealth, enhance their success, and learn from others who are in the same boat. It will also offer inspiration, guidance, and motivation to those who aspire to make more.” – Amazon
38. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love)
“Big Magic will resonate with writers and artists who find the process of producing work to be particularly painful…Through anecdotes about her creative failures and resourcefulness, as well as those other artists, Gilbert encourages readers to pursue a creative life ‘that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” —Daily Beast
Related Post: Easy Ways to Find Motivation on Hard Days
39. Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion Into a Full-time Gig by Ilana Griffo
“Mind Your Business is the ONLY book that teaches you everything you need to know about how to build a successful business from scratch. From developing your brand to designing products to identifying your legal and tax needs, this comprehensive guide will take you through every step of the process and help you create a unique and customized roadmap for your business.” – Amazon
40. The Big Life by Ann Shoket
*Best business book for women in their 20s and 30s
“The Big Life is a guide for women in their 20s and 30s who are hungry for a job they love, a supportive network of friends, respect from their bosses, and partners who want all those things for them as badly as they do.” —The New York Times
Related Post: How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
41. Girl On Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blaze Your Own Trail by Cara Alwill Leyba
“As an early voice in the female-driven movement, Cara continues to be a leader in the space, liberating women to trust their intuition and create their own opportunities. She empowers her readers to stop waiting for their big break and, instead, to publish their own books, start their own podcasts, host their own panels and design their own clothing lines; whatever their desires are.” – Amazon
42. Badass Affirmations: The Wit and Wisdom of Wild Women (Inspirational Quotes and Daily Affirmations for Women)
“Read Badass Affirmations and:
• Learn the habit of affirming yourself daily
• Experience a life filled with love, joy, fulfillment and satisfaction
• Take control of your destiny
• Strengthen your self-esteem” – Amazon
If you love affirmations, check out the free affirmations ebook HERE !
43. Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms
**Named a Best Business Book of 2020 by Fortune and Bloomberg
“Through a compelling story about her own journey, Shellye offers powerful tips for how to live life courageously and go after what you want. From investing in your financial health to integrating work, marriage, parenthood and self-care–each chapter lays out actionable strategies to help you achieve your goals. A must read for anyone looking for ways to grow and live their best life.”―Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO
44. Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
“‘Ever felt stuck? Ever struggled to make time for your dreams–or struggled even to admit those dreams to yourself? In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis points out the pitfalls, challenges, and excuses that stop us from achieving our aims. She speaks with refreshing (and often hilarious) candor about her own experiences and mistakes, and offers concrete advice about how to create the lives we want.’ —Gretchen Rubin
45. Drop the Ball: Achieving More By Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu
“Drop the Ball is a must read for all women and girls. Tiffany Dufu reminds us that we must focus on what truly matters and let go of rest. She gives us specific tools and techniques to help us achieve our goals and live authentic lives free of guilt and regret.”–Reshma Saujani
46. Get Over Your Damn Self: The No BS Blueprint to Building a Life-Changing Business by Romi Neustadt
“In this book, she offers you the same direct, no-BS coaching she’s given to tens of thousands to help you acquire the skills to build this sucker and teach your team to do the same. And, equally important, she’ll work on your mindset so you stop over complicating it all and stop letting the negative voices in your head win.” – Amazon
47. Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba
*Named one of “The 9 Books Every Female Entrepreneur Should Read” by Inc. Magazine
Girl Code is a roadmap for female entrepreneurs, professional women, “side hustlers” (those with a day job plus a part-time small business), and anyone in between…This book will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection. Because at the end of the day, that’s what life and business are all about.” – Amazon
48. Radical Candor by Kim Scott
* New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller
“Reading Radical Candor will help you build, lead, and inspire teams to do the best work of their lives. Kim Scott’s insights–based on her experience, keen observational intelligence and analysis–will help you be a better leader and create a more effective organization.” – Sheryl Sandberg
49. How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job by Sally Helgesen
“A myth-busting “how to” for the next generation of women leaders, and those who want to see them succeed. These ideas will transform our workplaces, our careers, and our lives.”- Rita McGrath
50. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
“A rallying cry for both genders to continue the hard work of previous generations toward a more equitable division of voice, power, and leadership . . . Told with candor and filled with a mix of anecdote and annotated fact, Lean In inspires women to find their passion, pursue it with gusto, and ‘lean in’ to leadership roles in the workplace and the world.” – Linda Stankard
*Read my absolute favorite personal development books HERE for more!
*And if you’re looking for a book on a topic not listed, leave a comment below! I’ll try to find you some book options for your topic!
To Consider With Inspiring Books for Women
If you pick up just one of these motivational books in the next few months, you may find that your perception of the world is not what it seems. So, give yourself the chance to grow and become a stronger, wiser, and more purposeful woman.
Finally, I’ll be adding several of these books to my self care kit! Have you read any of these empowering books for women?
And are there other inspirational books you love for women? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list!
If you’re looking for some incredible fiction books too, check out THIS LIST.
Other popular self help articles to enjoy….
- Beautiful Quotes to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude – and don’t miss the free wall art!
- 11 Things to do at Night for Daytime Success – easy nighttime actions to be more rested and productive.
- How to Wake Up Early & Triple Your Self Care – why getting up early will change your life.