Books on career advice for women
March 22, 2013 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Lately I've been exploring books along the lines of "career advice for women," specifically to explore why I've been having trouble making myself heard effectively in my current work environment. I've found a couple of books that made me go "wow, I wish someone had given me this advice when I was 20" and now I'm wondering what else I'm missing.

I've been reading "Hardball for Women" and "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office," and "Women Don't Ask" is next up in the queue. "Hardball for Women," while mired in a mildly troubling 80s-era "men are all aggro power-mongers who only respond in sports metaphor, but women like to make cookies and talk it out, with hugs!" framing, has had several light-bulb moments for me, and "Nice Girls" has been a non-stop progression of facepalming because I see myself reflected in so many of the "101 mistakes." The success I'm having in just starting out to apply things from these two books has made me really want to investigate what else is out there.

So, what other useful books or resources have I missed out on while spending my entire career in a male-dominated field in often male-dominated industries, with a lack of successful female figures to learn from? I'd be especially interested in recommendations for learning how to handle negotiation better, since that sends me straight to Awkward Town every time.
posted by sldownard to Work & Money (8 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Sheryl Sandberg's controversial Lean In is the first thing I think of.
posted by prior at 6:51 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

Came in here to recommend Lean In too. I'm reading it now, and it's really good. Ignore the controversy and just read what she has to say.
posted by peacheater at 6:57 AM on March 22, 2013

So, I'm a female in a male dominated environment, and I entered the workforce in the early 80's. The best book I've found on this subject (and I hate the title, but it has good information) is Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman. It accurately depicts many of the workplaces I've been in. I don't choose to follow all her advice, but I understand why she's giving it.
posted by elmay at 7:11 AM on March 22, 2013

Best answer: Also recommending Lean In--you can probably find the same advice in many other books, but I found it inspirational to hear someone as successful as Sandberg admit that there's a sexism problem in the working world and share mistakes she's made in the past.

Deborah Tannen has a few books about men and women in conversation that I thought were interesting. I've read "You Just Don't Understand" and there's also "Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work." These will probably be less practical advice and more research about understanding the differences in the way men and women communicate.

Books on my Amazon wishlist that I haven't read but look interesting:

More than 85 Broads: Women Making Career Choices, Taking Risks, and Defining Success - On Their Own Terms

Undecided: How to Ditch the Endless Quest for Perfect and Find the Career-and Life-That's Right for You

It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace


Difficult Conversations is not directly on negotiation, but could still be helpful for that and it's an excellent book for managing relationships in work and life. You might look into the Harvard Negotiation Project--researchers from that project wrote this book and they're putting out the cutting edge research on the topic.

I haven't read Getting to Yes, but I've heard it's a fantastic book on negotiation and a classic in the field.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 7:34 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If "Getting yo Yes" applies, then let me also recommend "The mind and heart of the negotiator." Both are good. Both are research based. The second is meatier.
posted by Michele in California at 10:39 AM on March 22, 2013

Best answer: Overcoming Underearning was a wakeup call for me. It could help you with your negotiations because it challenges the limiting beliefs that many women are socialized to have.
posted by ceiba at 12:17 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Two books that I love:

Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life by Patty Azzarello

Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want by Linda Babcock

I've introduced these books to a number of highly successful female friends of mine and we've all found them incredibly helpful and motivating. They've definitely changed all of our careers for the better.
posted by amycup at 8:17 AM on March 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

To add, I prefer ask for it to women don't ask. Ask for it covers similar ground but focuses on strategies to overcoming negotiation fear verses mostly making an argument that it happens. If you're looking for practical advice, it's the better book of the two. I also found it to be surprisingly helpful in more areas than my career - it's really a book about speaking up for yourself in your whole life.
posted by amycup at 8:21 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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