To kick-start 2016, we bring you a round-up of our top 10 favourite books for women entrepreneurs of last year - all authored by women entrepreneurs. We hope they inspired you as much as they did us.
Let’s face it, there is nothing quite like getting inspiration and advice from other great women entrepreneurs who have been there and done it, bought the T-Shirt, survived business failure and other challenges, made it through the good times and bad times - and ultimately achieved success. In 2015, we read and reviewed heaps of great books written by women from around the world, each one both inspirational and motivational. These are our top 10 favorites of the year….
UNDETERRED: The Six Success Habits of Women in Emerging Economies by Rania H Anderson
This is the first career advice book written for educated, ambitious women in emerging economies. The book is based on four years of in-depth research, and draws on Rania Anderson’s specialist expertise, combined with interviews undertaken with over 250 women in growth economies. In UNDETERRED, Rania shares the inspiring stories of relatable women and specific strategies that readers can immediately apply to accelerate their own career and business success. Rania's book, UNDETERRED, is an absolute must-read for Africa's women entrepreneurs, and indeed all women who are looking to advance their lives and their careers in the world of business. Read our review.
CRAZY IS A COMPLIMENT: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags by Linda Rottenberg
For all those aspirant women entrepreneurs who perhaps have a business dream, but don’t know how to turn that dream into a viable reality, Linda Rottenberg’s book provides the inspiration to take that first big step. She draws on her unrivaled personal experience to suggest a wide range of tried and tested techniques to help everyone to achieve their dreams. At a practical level, she tackles how to successfully overcome fear; how to deal with those critics around you who might not share your dreams and aspirations and who might look to pour cold water on your ideas; how to generate the required support from those around you; and how to exploit chaos for your own entrepreneurial benefit. Linda Rottenberg’s approach in Crazy Is a Compliment is to use a combination of highly inspirational stories, solid and original research, and practical advice to create a road map for getting started and going bigger. Read our review.
DREAM IT, LAUNCH IT, LIVE IT, by Victoria Colligan
If you are one of those millions of women out there who have long unfulfilled dreams of starting a business, and have great entrepreneurial ideas, but just can’t seem to take the first step, then this is a great book for you. If you feel there is always something holding you back from realising your entrepreneurial dreams, the answer could lie in radically approaching things differently. Dream It, Launch It, Live It, proposes adopting a new life code, changing your emotional blueprint, and acquiring a new and positive mental state that has worked for thousands of successful entrepreneurial women and which is guaranteed to move your life in a new direction. What is interesting about this book’s approach is that it provides insights and quick 5 minute practical exercises, devised by Victoria, that can be introduced into everyday life. She seamlessly merges both mental and actionable journeys that will help to get new dreams off the ground or take existing ones to the next level. What is refreshing is her down-to-earth, conversational yet spirited, voice which guides the reader through key actions and stepping stones throughout the book, which are at the same time both inspirational and supportive. Read our review.
DO COOL SH*T: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After by Miki Agarwal
This is less of a how-to book and rather more of a personal roller-coaster ride of a story on how one hip, trendy and highly ambitious entrepreneur did it for herself. It is unconventional in its approach, yet hugely inspirational, encouraging, funny and liberating for anyone reading it. If you are a young, ‘would-be’ entrepreneur with a business idea in the making, but lacking the tenacity and gung-ho approach needed to make it happen, then Miki Agrawal’s book is a must-read. This is not your conventional practical, step-by-step business book that tells you how things must be done in order to succeed in building that multi-billion dollar company you aspire to. Instead, it is a story of how one gutsy young woman with several big dreams to fulfil, went out there and did it for herself, founding New York City's farm-to-table pizzeria business, Wild, at age 25, and then going on to start up two more successful business ventures. The book presents a unique approach to other young entrepreneurs who might have similar business dreams. Writing in a chatty style that makes you feel you are sitting in a trendy coffee shop, sharing a latte and getting advice from a friend, she shares her own stories and insights on the road to business success and personal fulfillment. Read our review.
IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE by Mary Spio
Once a shoeless African child, Mary Spio has had the opportunity to sell technology to companies such as Boeing, to sit at the table with leaders of some of the world’s biggest companies and even to change the movie industry. Who does that? Game Changers do that! Game Changers are the ones who are bold enough and brash enough to believe we can achieve our dreams and change the world in the process. For any aspirant woman entrepreneur in Africa who is looking for inspiration and motivation to take that brave step to realise an entrepreneurial dream, then Mary Spio’s book is an essential read. As a child growing up in Ghana during the country’s most turbulent and hard times in the midst of a coup d’état, today she is a testimony to the opportunities and possibilities that abound for those who have a dream, are willing to work tirelessly and are crazy enough to believe they can change their corner of the world. She made the incredible journey from being a hungry child growing up in Ghana, to becoming a deep space engineer, an entrepreneur and a real global Game Changer? Read our review.
CONTEMPORARY DESIGN AFRICA by Tapiwa Matsinde
In her beautifully presented and insightfully written book, Contemporary Design Africa, British/Zimbabwean designer, writer and blogger, Tapiwa Matsinde, showcases the work of some of the most creative, inspirational contemporary designers, artisans and cooperatives from across the African continent. Many of the talented women who are leading the way in developing Africa’s contemporary design industries take centre stage.
Africa’s flourishing contemporary design scene is revealed for the first time through the vision and craftsmanship of some of the most inspirational designers, makers and crafters on the continent. Dynamic, diverse, innovative: this is contemporary Africa, a continent where countless intricately layered stories abound. It offers an inspirational challenge to rigid perceptions of what design from Africa looks like, and focusing primarily on interior decoration, the book presents fifty designers, artisans, and cooperatives based on the continent or part of the diaspora, all of whom are creating sophisticated and innovative products for interiors. Organised thematically by craft - textiles, ceramics and basketry to furniture, lighting and beyond – the profiles of individual designers offer revealing insights into design development on the continent and the glossary of terms and resource guide at the back of the book are invaluable for those new to the featured techniques and methods but wanting to delve further into the subject. Read our review.
MILLION DOLLAR WOMEN: The essential guide for female entrepreneurs who want to “go big” by Julia Pimsleur
Million Dollar Women is the essential guide for female entrepreneurs who want to “go big,” and shows you how to turn that creative idea into a million-dollar-plus business. Author Julia Pimsleur introduces you to seven women who, instead of “leaning in,” simply left corporate America and “marched in” to the world of entrepreneurship. They have raised capital, developed powerful networks, and generated multimillion-dollar companies from scratch. When Pimsleur herself started Little Pim, a company that produces a program for young children to learn foreign languages, she wanted to create an exceptional experience. But soon she realized that she had to think and behave differently to become the head of a multimillion-dollar company. Eventually she transformed from a creative person with a business idea into a CEO running a business with a creative idea at its center. Million Dollar Women will teach you the concepts, the lexicon, and the steps for taking a business big. It shows you how to network, when to delegate, and when to get extra coaching. Above all, it provides help for overcoming the kind of emotional hurdles you have to jump to join the million dollar-plus business owners—and cheers you on in overcoming every obstacle. With her friendly, pragmatic advice, humor, and an appendix of exercises to take your ideas from theory to practice, Julia Pimsleur’s book is an invaluable reference. Read our review here.
NO FEAR ALLOWED: A story of guts, perseverance and making an impact by Laura Herring
For all those women entrepreneurs who, at some point during their journeys to building their businesses and brands, have woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, scared as to what to do next in business or in life, and frozen by the fear of failure, then No Fear Allowed is the book for you. Laura Herring, psychologist and successful entrepreneur has lived through some of the most dramatic failures and successes in growing her company, IMPACT Group, and shares them like no other entrepreneur has done in her new book No Fear Allowed. In her personal and business life, she stared fear down and went on to build a $50 million global career transition company. The lessons she has learned throughout her own entrepreneurial journey, and provided at the end of each chapter, suggest what NOT to do as well as WHAT to do, and are as valuable as her inspiring story. If you are an entrepreneur, are thinking of starting a business, or just looking for inspiration from a woman who has been there and done it, this book will blow you away. Read our review here.
FROM GOMBA TO THE WHITE HOUSE: The journey of an African woman entrepreneur by Rehmah Kasule
This book is not just a story; it is a personal and business development tool that will practically teach you how to believe in yourself, learn how to dare to be different, to share, learn, and collaborate with others. It will teach you the power of networking, mentorship, and paying it forward. It will teach you that each one of us can make a difference and that you can achieve anything in life as long as you know who you are, believe in yourself, and have confidence. The book will take you through the journey of an African woman entrepreneur who has travelled from a small remote village of Gomba in Uganda to the White House in Washington, USA. This story has a common thread that binds us as human beings: belief, dreams, and hope. We are all natural winners, but although we have automatic levels of self-confidence and belief as children, these can often be lost as we grow up. Rehmah Kasule is a true testimony that your background does not determine your future; the power is in your hands to design your destiny. She shares practical tools, which have enabled her to rise from mere survival to success and significance beyond her dreams. If you are not sure of your next step, by the time you finish this book, you will be a go-getter. For the aspiring entrepreneurs, it will give you easy steps on how to become your own boss. Read our review here.
LIFESTYLE ENTREPRENEURSHIP: A CPA’s perspective by Evelyn Ivy
In her new book Lifestyle Entrepreneurship, Evelyn Ivy gives a CPA’s perspective on why having money in the bank does not necessarily mean that all is well with your business, or that you are on the way to financial freedom. “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship” explains how to plan and build a business, and how through the use of a variety of accounting processes and metrics, you can make the correct financial decisions to attain your dream of financial freedom. No one goes into business with the intention of making a loss. However, as the statistics have shown, many would-be entrepreneurs have set out with what they believed to be a great idea, but were ultimately unsuccessful. Often, this is simply due to a lack of research and a failure to get the business plan and strategy right. “Lifestyle Entrepreneurship: A CPA’s perspective” intends to teach you how to create and sustain a lifestyle business by understanding the finances of your business. It outlines the financial considerations and calculations to perform when looking to take your idea from inception to your desired outcome. Read our review here.
For more inspirational reads and book reviews, go to our Essential Reads page http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/book-reviews