One of the best ways to become a leader is by soaking up advice from those who got there before you. A plethora of leadership books exist and it can be daunting to decide where to start.

You may want to go with popular books like “The 48 Laws of Power” or you may consider this list which spices things up by choosing books with a specific kind of woman in mind.

Whether you’re the woman whose family and friends dismiss her anxiety because “Africans don’t deal with that” or you’re struggling to find a balance between being a wife, mother, daughter, aunty, bff and/or businesswoman, we’ve got a book on leadership for you.

“#Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso:

For the woman who doesn’t have time for the haters

Sophia Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal, an online fashion retailer worth over $250 million. When she was 22 years old, she was broke and had spent most of her teens on the road and shoplifting. “#Girlboss” is a book for the a typical CEO, it charts Amoruso’s ascendance into success offering practical life and career advice.

This one is for the women who walk the unbeaten path and have to listen to people asking them why they are setting up a puff-puff business when they haven’t yet married. In “#Girlboss” Amoruso reminds us to be loyal to our passions and remain nonconforming.

“Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success” by Thomas J. DeLong:

For the anxious #MotherlandMogul

“Flying Without a Net” is a useful guide to anxious professionals. Fear of the unknown is very real for some of us. It holds us back from new challenges and dims our brightness by making us vulnerable.

In this book, Thomas J. DeLong, Harvard Business School professor, teaches how to deal with fears and to turn vulnerability into strength. “Flying Without a Net” is essential learning on how to confront fears and improve on your courage.

essential books on leadership

“The First-Time Manager” by Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick and Gary S. Topchik:

For the newbie just starting out

Called the “ultimate guide for anyone starting his or her career in management”, “The First-Time Manager” is effectively a beginner’s guide. This book is great for newbies venturing into the worlds of management and entrepreneurship.

It offers easy advice on diverse topics from discovering your management style and hiring and keeping your staff motivated to dealing with bosses and leading meetings.

“Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers” by Lois P. Frankel:

For the good girl ready to go bad

Apparently nice girls carry last. You may be making huge mistakes in your career by being overly likeable. “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” is a must-have for business women.

It shows that being a nice girl may not be the best way to take charge of your career.  Lois Frankel coaches us on getting rid of unconscious mistakes such as multi-tasking and not negotiating.

“The Emperor’s Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius:

For the multitasking woman

This list won’t be complete without one from history. Marcus Aurelius ruled Rome from 161 to 180 A.D, he was also a legislator, a parent, a military officer, a political leader and a spouse. No wonder, Aurelius is considered to be one of the most powerful and respectable leaders in history.

And where better to learn than from a leader whose name is remembered thousands of years after his death? “The Emperor’s Handbook” brings timeless lesson from a Roman emperor to readers of today. It is a translation of Aurelius’s private personal notes on life, leadership and everyday advice.

What kind of leadership books is for a woman like you? Share them with us.

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