Business Books by Women Authors – Some observations, and thoughts

Willful Blindness

Still my top choice: from this list, or really, almost any list

Note: in the February, 2018 New York Times Business Books Best Sellers list, of the books listed, there are ten books, with twelve authors. There are 0 (zero) women authors.

For the hour I checked, for the top twenty business book best sellers on the Amazon page (they update hourly), there are 20 books, written by 20 authors. There is 1 (one) woman author in this list.

I check these best sellers lists regularly. This ratio is pretty typical.

A few days ago, Esther Choo @choo_ek tweeted this — Bruce Springsteen named the top 28 books that influenced him. There are only two female authors on the list.

I responded: @Randy1116  — I present synopses of both business books and books on social justice. Though I have presented quite a few business books by women authors, it is definitely a more male dominated list. But, in social justice, there is much greater balance. &, greater balance with people of color.

So, let me offer a few observations regarding women authors and their books.

First, we need more business books authored by women authors to make it to the business books best sellers lists. Over the twenty years of the First Friday Book Synopsis, we have presented many books by women authors – but not enough. (We have presented two synopses every month, for twenty years now). Read to the end of this post for the list of books by women authors that we have presented.

For the Urban Engagement Book Club, an event focusing on books dealing with social justice, I have presented one book a month for about 12 years. These selections have had far more women authors, and authors who are people of color, than I see in business books selections. Maybe not half – but, a much larger percentage.

I’m not smart enough to know where to assign blame. Are there not enough women writing good business books? Are there not enough people buying books written by women? I suspect it is as combination n of the two. But, at the First Friday Book Synopsis, I do keep my eyes open for books by women authors, as did my colleague Karl Krayer.

This post has no “solution.” It is simply an observation. But, in the list below, there are plenty of books worth your time. Some are much better than others (as is true with male authors). You might want to start perusing and reading.


Books presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis written by women authors (note: some served as “co-authors”). Our first meeting of this event was in April, 1998, and we have met monthly ever since. (I may have missed one or two books; and, I may have listed one where the author’s name could be a man or woman. I apologize for any omission, and any mistakes).

(I think we’ve presented just under about 80 books by women authors.  We’ve probably presented about 480 total book synopsis over our twenty years).

Here’s the list:

The Argument Culture by Deborah Tannen (Random House, 1998) How Steve Case beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads, and made Millions in the War for the Web by Kara Swisher (Times Business Books, 1998)

Work Would be Great if it Weren’t For the People by Ronna Lichtenberg (Hyperion Books, 1998)

The Future and its Enemies: The Growing Conflict over Creativity, Enterprise and Progress by Virginia Postrel (Free Press, 1998)

The Disney Way: Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in your Company by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson (McGraw Hill Books, 1998)

Mastering Virtual Teams by Deborah Duarte and Nancy Tennant Synder (Jossey Bass, 1999)

Chances and Choices: How Women Can Succeed in Today’s Knowledge Based Businesses by Janet Wylie (EBW Press, 1996)

Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers and Nexters in Your Workplace by Ron Zemke, Claire Raines and Bob Filipczak (Amacom, 1999)

Age Works (What Corporate America must do to Survive the Graying of the Workforce) by Beverly Goldman (Free Press, 2000)

Emotional Value: Creating Strong Bonds With Your Customers by Janelle Barlow, Dianna Maul, & Michael Edwardson (Berrett-Koehler, 2000)

Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids That The Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki & Sharon L. Lechter (Warner Books, 2000)

EVEolution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women by Faith Popcorn (Hyperion, 2000)

Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: What Men Know About Success That Women Need to Learn by Gail Evans (Broadway Books, 2000)

The Inner Work of Leaders: Leadership as a Habit of Mind by Barbara Mackoff and Gary Wenet (Amacom, 2000)

It’s Not Business, It’s Personal by Ronna Lichtenberg (Hyperion: 2001)

The Customer Revolution (Let Your Customers Transform Your Business) by Patricia B. Seybold with contributors Ronni T. Marshak and Jeffrey M. Lewis (Crown Publishing: 2001)

The Art of Possibility (The 9 Relationship Principles that Power Your Career) by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander (Harvard Business School Press: 2000)

The Power of Indirect Influence by Judith C. Tingley (AMACOM: 2000)

Brand New : How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers’ Trust from Wedgwood to Dell by Nancy F. Koehn (Harvard Business School: March 2001)

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (Metropolitan Books: May, 2001)

I Only Say This Because I Love You: How the Way We Talk Can Make or Break Family Relationships Throughout Our Lives by Deborah Tannen (Random House: May, 2001)

The War for Talent by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod (Harvard Business School Press; October, 2001)

Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Annie McKee, Richard E. Boyatzis (Harvard Business School Press; March, 2002)

What Management Is: How It Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business by Joan Magretta, Nan Stone (Contributor) (Free Press; 2002)

Tales from the Boom-Boom Room: Women vs. Wall Street by Susan Antilla, (Bloomberg Pr; 1st edition; November, 2002)

Connecting the Dots: Aligning Projects with Objectives in Unpredictable Times by Cathleen Benko, F. Warren McFarlan, (Harvard Business School Press; March 1, 2003)

She Wins, You Win: A Guidebook for Making Women More Powerful by Gail Evans, (Gotham Books; April 24, 2003)

The substance of style by Postrel, Virginia.  New York:  Harper Collins. (2003).

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever (2003)

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp Simon & Schuster (2003)

On Target: How the World’s Hottest Retailer Hit a Bullseye by Laura Rowley. Wiley; 1 edition (March 14, 2003)

The Third Opinion: How Successful Leaders Use Outside Insight to Create Superior Results Saj-nicole A. Joni, Ph. D. Portfolio; (March 8, 2004)

Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future by Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers. Society for Organizational Learning; (March 2004)

Winning by Jack Welch, with Suzy Welch (HarperBusiness: April, 2005)

Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich : 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make with Money by Lois P. Frankel. Warner Business Books (May 10, 2005)

High-Maintenance Employees: Why Your Best People will also be Your Most Difficult…and What You Can do About It by Katherine Graham Leviss. – Sourcebooks (2006)

The Girl’s Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch): Valuable Lessons, Smart Suggestions, and True Stories for Succeeding as the Chick-in-Charge (Hardcover) by Caitlin Friedman, Kimberly Yorio. Morgan Road Books (April 18, 2006)

Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win (Hardcover) by William C. Taylor (Author), Polly G. LaBarre (Author). William Morrow (September 26, 2006).

The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness (Hardcover) by Linda Kaplan Thaler, Robin Koval.

How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business Success by Margaret Heffernan. Viking Adult (January 18, 2007).

The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email Before It Manages You
by Mike Song, Vicki Halsey, Tim Burress, and Ken Blanchard (Foreword). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.  (2007)

Rules for Renegades: How to Make More Money, Rock Your Career, and Revel in Your Individuality by Christine Comaford-Lynch McGraw-Hill. July, 2007.

Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie Crutchfield (Author), Heather McLeod Grant (Author) — Jossey-Bass; 2 edition (April 25, 2012)

The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur by Mary Kay Ash.  John Wiley & Sons. July, 2008.

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Harvard Business School Press (April 21, 2008).

Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. Bantam; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009).

10-10-10: A Life-Transforming Idea by Suzy Welch. Scribner (April 14, 2009).

The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. Broadway Business.  (2009).

Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay. Harper­Business/HarperCollins. (2009).

SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Crown Business (2009).

Make Their Day!: Employee Recognition That Works by Cindy Ventrice. Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Second Edition edition (May 1, 2009)

Open leadership:  How social technology can transform the way you lead.  By Charlene Li. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass. (2010).

The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World’s Toughest Problems by Richard Pascale, Jerry Sternin, Monique Sternin.. Harvard Business Press (2010)

All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. Portfolio Hardcover (November 16, 2010).

Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth by Mika Brzezinski Weinstein Books (April 26, 2011)

The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today by Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd. Harper Collins (2010).

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Crown (January 24, 2012)

Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy by Amy Edmondson. Jossey-Bass (2012)

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (Knopf, 2013).

Smart Tribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together by Christine Comaford (Portfolio, 2013)

Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges and Susan Bridges. Da Capo Lifelong Books; Third Edition, Revised and Updated for the New Work Environment edition (2009).

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. (HarperBusiness, 2014).

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso (Portfolio Hardback, 2014).

Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril by Margaret Heffernan. Walker & Company. 2011.

No One Understands You and What to Do About It by Heidi Grant Halverson, Harvard Business Review Press; (2015)

Move: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead by Rosabeth Moss Kanter   New York:  W. W. Norton & Company (2015).

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace. Random House (April 8, 2014).

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2015)

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges December 22, 2015 by Amy Cuddy. Little, Brown and Company, 2015).

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time Hardcover by Laura Vanderkam. Portfolio (2015).

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle. Penguin Press (2015).

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. Scribner. (2016)

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall, David S. Duncan. HarperBusiness. 2016.

Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace –by Jessica Bennett (Author) — Harper Wave (2016).

Own It:  The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck. Crown Business, 2017.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott. St. Martin’s Press (March 14, 2017)

The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career by Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew. Crown Business (April 18, 2017)

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella (Author), Greg Shaw  (Author), Jill Tracie Nichols  (Author), Bill Gates (Foreword). HarperBusiness (September 26, 2017)

And, currently scheduled for a future event…

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. Ballantine Books; Reprint, Updated edition (December 26, 2007)

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