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7 Impactful Books All Women in Tech Should Read

Jennifer Bosavage
March 24, 2021

3 minute read

For book readers, the past year has provided ample opportunity to make a dent in that pile of books you set aside for “rainy days.” According to the World Reading Habits in 2020, the global pandemic caused 35% of the world to read more, with 14% saying that they read significantly more.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we asked women-in-tech leaders for their recommended reads to inspire you professionally and perhaps even personally. Here are some of their top suggestions.

1. Accelerate Your Impact: Action-Based Strategies to Pave Your Professional Path by JJ DiGeronimo

Author JJ DiGeronimo is a career coach with a strong tech background. After eight years at VMware as Global Marketing Director for Cloud, she founded Tech Savvy Women. Accelerate Your Impact is aimed squarely at helping women invigorate their careers, as well as navigate new territory.

JJ maps a clear path to help readers identify their goals and create an actionable plan to accomplish them. In addition, she’s the creator of the Career Strategies for Women that Work podcast, which offers strategies to make goals a reality.

2. Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

Are you looking to make a career move or focus more on a passion? In Designing Your Life, Bill and Dave discuss how to build—or rather, designa life you can thrive in at any age. The same design thinking used to create inspiring technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build a career and a fulfilled life.

Bill is the executive director of the Product Design Program at Stanford, and Dave is an adjunct lecturer in the Stanford program as well as a management consultant and a co-founder of Electronic Arts.

3. The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A black swan is an unpredictable event with a massive impact, after which people tend to create an explanation that makes it seem less random and more predictable than it was. This recommendation looks at people’s tendency to concentrate on things they already know, which limits their imagination. This second edition features Nassim’s essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

4. Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change by Beth Comstock

Written by the former Vice-Chair and head of marketing and innovation at GE, Beth Comstock draws on her personal story to help readers grapple with the challenges they face every day.

Imagine It Forward inspires the reader to transform corporate cultures that must grow and change as time evolves. Challenging the established mindset of a company can be messy. Beth discusses when to summon the courage to defy convention to reinvent what’s possible.

5. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown

Modern companies today are determining how to implement artificial intelligence into their workflow to be more efficient and productive. Yet in Dare to Lead, Brené discusses how empathy, connection, and courage are not only characteristics that machinery doesn’t have, but ones that managers ought to have.

Cultivating braver, more daring leaders and embedding the value of courage in your culture isn’t easy, and she acknowledges that can be scary. However, she notes that choosing to make those tough decisions over the more comfortable alternative is always worthwhile.

6. The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

A finite game is one the has a beginning and an end. A typical board game is an example. Most leaders are goal-oriented to “win.” The Infinite Game discusses looking beyond the immediate “win,” (for example, who has the highest sales in a quarter) and instead focus on a long-term cause that can make the world a better place. Simon provides examples of how a finite mindset can cause companies to fail due to fear and poor decisions. However, Simon believes adopting an infinite mindset is a prerequisite for any leader hoping to leave their organization in a better place than they found it.

7. Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics (autobiography)

Last but not least is the quintessential rags-to-riches story of a woman who stuck to her “guns” and became a huge success. It’s also a good reminder that books don’t have to take a business approach to offer solid principles that readers can use to their career advantage.

Dolly’s talent and grit are emblematic of women working in technology, who can relate to Parton’s success in the male-dominated country music business. She writes her own songs, and their popularity isn’t just because of her strong vibrato: Her authenticity resonates. Though Dolly can be self-effacing regarding her glitzy fashion and “big hair,” she doesn’t apologize for her success, and neither should you.

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Jennifer Bosavage
Jennifer Bosavage
Jennifer Bosavage is a Connecticut native and has been writing about technology since the fax machine debuted. While Jen has covered IT, retail, and customer satisfaction for many years, she also has an undercover history as a Secret Shopper.
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