Top 5 Books Every Ambitious Female Millennial Must Read

woman browsing books in library

In today’s fast-paced working landscape, the transition from university to the real world can often times be challenging and a huge step forward for young graduates, more so than ever before. Even with all the lessons learned and projects accomplished over the course of your tertiary education, there are a lot more industry knowledge and work ethics that you will have to acquire and understand. Some people seek for mentors to guide them through this transition, providing valuable insights into a particular industry, while others seek for relevant knowledge from books.

The only problem is that we are in the information age today, and books are being published in bulk these days that consumers and students can be spoiled for choice. On average, the page count of an average professional development book can range from 100s to even 1,000s depending on the depth of the topic discussion. Given that we only have 24 hours in a day, and we easily spend more than a third of it on our work, studies, or projects, it is important that we do our research and know what books will benefit us most, taking into account our current and future goals.

With women empowerment being a widely discussed topic across the world today, and with many companies and even Governments pushing for more women leaders to lead their organisations and administrations, this article focuses on recommending meaningful resources for ambitious female Millennials who aspire to kickstart their career or perhaps even explore an alternative route to success through entrepreneurship. Here we share our top 5 picks for books that are highly recommended by CEOs of the biggest companies in the world – that all female young professionals, graduates, and students should read:

1. Lean In for Graduates, by Sheryl Sandberg

“I approached it wearing two hats — one as the CEO of a merit-based and highly-driven company, and the other as the parent of a nine-year old daughter. In both capacities, I feel that Lean In is a must-read.” — Mohamed El-Erian, Former CEO of PIMCO

In this Amazon best-seller, Sheryl talked about the topic of women’s career and family struggles in a way that every woman can relate. Relating to her experience as COO of Facebook, she brings attention to a decades-long slog for women in top management. This book also shares some valuable insights for fresh graduates — for example, tips for resume and interview, as well as advice for both professional and personal context.

This book can be very helpful for female Malaysian young professionals and students. She outlines the details on why American business largely remains a male-dominated game, and why women can do to empower and change her mindset.


2. Secrets of Six-Figure Women, by Barbara Stanny

“In Secrets of Six Figure Women, Stanny outlines clear and achievable strategies that every woman can make her own.” – Georgette Mosbacher, CEO of Borghese Cosmetics

Barbara claims that it is not the economy that ultimately depicts our success, rather it is our internal traits and attitude that is more critical. In this book, she clearly articulates her points through meaningful statistics and real-life examples to make it more relatable for readers. Through interviewing over 150 successful and high-earning women, she also shares the key secrets to being successful that are common to most of those female leaders.


3. Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office, by Lois P. Frankel 

“Any woman intent on getting ahead in the corporate world should read this book. It’s a fascinating crash course in image, influence, and communication, from an accomplished and insightful coach. Terrific stuff!”  Anne Fisher, columnist at CNN

The author highlights 101 mistakes which women do unintentionally that undermine themselves and provides practical solutions on how you can overcome them. According to Lois, many mistakes that women do at the workplace stem from the environment in which they were raised in their teenage years and how they were treated differently in society. In general, this books aims to empower and correct the typical female traits that may potentially portray a negative perception of one’s abilities.

Through this book, young female professionals will know why and how to transform themselves into a more credible and respected woman at work. You will also learn how to guide yourself to stop doing all the little things that may sabotage the advancement of your professional career.

Related: Bridging the Gap for Women in STEM: Why Is It Important & What Can be Done?


4. Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, by Debora Spar

“Debora L. Spar tackles and dispels the myth of perfection with intelligence and humour. Wonder Women is a terrific read.” ― Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

In this book, Debora talks about an interesting perspective on modern feminism. She describes how today’s generation of women have infinitely more freedom than those in the previous generations. In relation, she also discusses the psychological and biological differences between men and women (in the context of professional workplace), and also highlights the importance for young women leaders to embrace their differences in a positive light.

This book will help young female professionals learn to accept that men and women are uniquely different in their own ways, and learn to find the perfect balance in life – both in their professional career and their personal lives (family, social life, and more).


5. Grit, by Angela Duckworth

“A fascinating tour of the psychological research on success. A great service of Ms. Duckworth’s book is her down-to-earth definition of passion. To be gritty, an individual doesn’t need to have an obsessive infatuation with a goal. Rather, he needs to show ‘consistency over time.’ The grittiest people have developed long-term goals and are constantly working toward them.” — The Wall Street Journal

Having observed and wondered why some high IQ kids don’t seem to obtain great results while those with average IQ do, Duckworth decided to quit her high-paying career as a consultant to become a teacher. She conducted extensive research on what makes people successful and provided a lot of examples in this book on traits and personalities that is fundamental for people who are working towards achieving their goals. This book will put readers on a path to discovering what they are truly passionate in life.

This book is essential for young people, especially those who are just starting out in their career and still discovering their passion and strengths. You will learn that while natural talent can come in handy, what matters most in our journey to success is the combination of grit and discipline to put in consistent effort.

Related: Top 4 Leadership Lessons from the World of Football


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