Female Founders Spring Reading List

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Starting a business isn’t easy and when you dive in head-first, you certainly can’t know it all. To see how female founders from The WIN Lab stay inspired while brushing up on business knowledge, we asked for their top 10 book recommendations. Take a look and see if these must-have reads might help fuel your entrepreneurial spirit.

1. Dare to Lead, Brene Brown
Recommended by Nathalie Cadet-James, Founder, 
Luxe Fete
Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?  Get the book here.

2. All In, Stephanie Breedlove
Recommended by Michelle Abbs, Director, 
Miami WIN Lab
All In explores the current status of women in growth businesses, debunks myths surrounding entrepreneurship, and gives practical advice and support for women who want to start or grow their own businesses. Using research, case studies, and transparent insights from her own journey, Breedlove gives her readers the information and authentic guidance they need to take the leap and bravely make tough choices on the road to success. Get the book here.

3. Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday
Recommended by Liz Pasillas Trivezo, Founder, 
New Discovery Media  
Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back. Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to his­tory. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by con­quering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.  Get the book here.

4. Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh
Recommended by Candice Saffer, Founder, 
Zing Rides  
In this book, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business, through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Fast-paced and down-to-earth, it shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success-and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own. Get the book here. 

5. The Art of Relevance, Nina Simon
Recommended by Lizzie Bell, Founder,
Off The Beaten Path Food Tours
What do the London Science Museum, California Shakespeare Theater, and ShaNaNa have in common? They are all fighting for relevance in an often indifferent world. The Art of Relevance is your guide to mattering more to more people. You’ll find inspiring examples, rags-to-relevance case studies, research-based frameworks, and practical advice on how your work can be more vital to your community. Whether you work in museums or libraries, parks or theaters, churches or afterschool programs, relevance can work for you. Break through shallow connection. Unlock meaning for yourself and others. Find true relevance and shine. Get the book here.

6. Never Split The Difference, Chris Voss
Recommended by Gisela Macedo, Startup Consultant, Previous Founder, Gisela Treats
A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home. After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life. Get the book here. 

7. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown
Recommended by Liz Pasillas Trivezo, Founder, 
New Discovery Media  
Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin? Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized? Are you often busy but not productive? Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people's agendas? If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist. The Way of the Essentialist isn't about getting more done in less time. It's about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter. Get the book here.  

8. Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes
Recommended by Flora Ekpe-Idang, Founder, 
Corage Dolls
With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her. This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes. Get the book here.  

9. Exponential Organizations, Salim Ismail
Recommended by Candice Saffer, Founder, 
Zing Rides  
Description: In business, performance is key. In performance, how you organize can be the key to growth. In the past five years, the business world has seen the birth of a new breed of company—the Exponential Organization—that has revolutionized how a company can accelerate its growth by using technology. An ExO can eliminate the incremental, linear way traditional companies get bigger, leveraging assets like community, big data, algorithms, and new technology into achieving performance benchmarks ten times better than its peers. Three luminaries of the business world—Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest, and Mike Malone—have researched this phenomenon and documented ten characteristics of Exponential Organizations. Here, they walk the reader through how any company, from a startup to a multi-national, can become an ExO, streamline its performance, and grow to the next level. Get the book here.  

10. Profit First, Mike Michalowicz
Recommended by Angela Moore, Founder, 
Modern Money Advisor  
Description: Using Michalowicz's Profit First system, readers will learn that:· Following 4 simple principles can simplify accounting and make it easier to manage a profitable business by looking at bank account balances.· A small, profitable business can be worth much more than a large business surviving on its top line.· Businesses that attain early and sustained profitability have a better shot at achieving long-term growth. Get the book here.

Interested in even more inspiration? Head here to read our Fall reading list from 2018.

Interested in Female Founders?

Each year, the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab creates its signature finale events to celebrate the success of the founders in the program as the 5-month accelerator comes to a close. In both Boston and Miami, we continue this tradition in March 2019 and invite you to join us for a pitch competition where three WIN Lab entrepreneurs from each city will present their companies to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes. Throughout the evening, attendees will also hear from other female founders, with ample opportunity to network with stakeholders who are dedicated to the empowerment of women entrepreneurs.

RSVP to Miami’s event on March 12 and Boston’s event on March 13, using the buttons below.