Inspiring Business Books for Female Entrepreneurs

by Briana Olsen |

I was startled to find out that business books are everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, they are my fuel. After reading a chapter, you might as well have given me a shot of espresso.

They spark passion and drive like no other book can for me. I’ve read (or I am reading) each one of these books to gain wisdom that will benefit my personal endeavors.

The Lean Startup

I stumbled upon this book when I had a desire to get an MBA. BUT I was pregnant and spending tens of thousands of dollars after I had already paid off my prior student loans seemed like a bit much at the time. I decided to give myself an education, starting with Best Selling Business Books.

Eric Ries has consulted with everyone from startups to the United States Army on his formula to test the business or product hypothesis before spending a fortune on a full launch, only to watch it fail. I think of this book often when making decisions, & I listed it first as it has been the foundation of my personal career thinking.

The Mary Kay Way

“Timeless principles from America’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur.” The principles in this book are, in fact, timeless. I am a huge proponent of being a good person to everyone you meet, and this book highlights how to succeed in business while maintaining high moral standards for yourself. I am inspired by Mary Kay after knowing this is how she made sure her business ran.

The Woman I Wanted to Be

This is the only book in my list that is not strictly a business book. Written by the Designer and business mogul behind DVF, her life story, quotes and advice come from a mentor voice that every woman needs. When I first heard of DVF, I knew very little about the company or designer behind it. The quote that struck my interest in Diane von Furstenberg was, “You don’t have to be a b*tch to win.” In a world of competitive women, it was refreshing to hear a perspective that doesn’t include putting the other person down in order to win.


Tools of Titans

This is my current read, and I decided I cannot read it before bed because I get too motivated to sleep, then stay up all night writing ideas and notes in my notebook. Tools of Titans is the Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers. Broken into sections of Healthy, Wealthy and Wise, there are step by step guides for every type of day or goal imagineable. Even the forward, written by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is inspiring..and I pretty much never read forwards. Read it, skim it, choose the parts that are speaking to you at that moment.

  Ahead of the Curve, Two Years at Harvard Business School

I started reading this book two weeks before an important trip to Boston, one I will never forget. I was given the opportunity and invitation to tour Harvard’s Business School MBA program for a day of participating in classes, a case study discussion, touring the campus & hearing from students about their classes and routines. I wanted to hear an alumni’s perspective before I went there myself, and this book painted an inspiring picture of one man’s journey. I recommend this book as both an interesting read, and an educational one.

Something I learned is that while Harvard’s MBA program was not on my life plan or even on my goal list, I could still achieve great things & learn from someone else’s full experience there.


I hope this helps you, wherever you are on your business journey.