Executive Education

10 Best Books for Women in Business

Habits inhabit virtually every aspect of our lives, from when we get out of bed, to what we eat for breakfast, to how we do our laundry, drive, work, parent, and conduct ourselves in relationships. In the workplace, habits dictate how we conduct meetings, send emails, prepare documents, and engage with our colleagues. Thousands of books have been written about habits and for good reasons. Good habits permit us to be productive, happy, healthy, and efficient.

In considering best books for women in business, habits came to mind as a fundamentally critical area of life. The following is a list of the 10 best books on habits for women in business, organized alphabetically by author. Each has a unique message to offer.

  1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
    James Clear’s Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (2018), is a brilliant presentation of incrementally improving, 1% every day. Particularly compelling is Clear’s focus on overcoming lack of motivation and willpower, the known killers of good intentions.
  2. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future
    Lifelong list-makers will appreciate Ryder Carroll’s The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future (2018). It is a marvelous means of organizing life’s past, present, and future. The book is described as a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. The method is a very effective one.
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    A list of business books for women that did not include Stephen R. Covey would be delinquent, indeed. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) remains a favorite in the bookshelves of many. The concepts are simple, compelling, and among the best means of achieving powerful, personal change.
  4. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
    The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (2012) by Charles Duhigg provides a fascinating journey through scientific discoveries that help us understand why habits exist and how they can be altered. Duhigg’s narratives are particularly compelling, allowing easy understanding of great volumes of information and research.
  5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
    Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006) presents tools for addressing habit in all realms of our lives—parenting, business, school, relationships. Her contention is that our implicit views of where abilities come from dictate our ability to be successful in life. If we believe we can become smarter if we work at it, then we can. Dweck offers compelling insights into praising and guiding children as well, concepts that can transfer to business environments.
  6. Eat Move Sleep
    Eat Move Sleep (2013) by Tom Rath presents an entirely new way of thinking, feeling, and acting. While not explicitly a business book, this text offers strategies for improving decision making in three vital areas of our lives. When good habits are adopted in these key dimensions, they transfer to other parts of our lives as well.
  7. Better Than Before
    Better Than Before (2015) by Gretchen Rubin presents a stunning set of recommendations to personalize the process of habit changing. Each of us is motivated by different reward systems and strategies. Rubin helps readers find effective, individual programs.
  8. Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness
    We all know change is the incremental result of a series of small steps, which is the concept behind Steve Scott’s Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2017). Eating a good breakfast and making the bed are small habits that set the stage for the remainder of the day. Scott argues that creating a simple routine managed by a checklist that you repeat on a daily basis will improve your life and declutter your mind.
  9. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
    Women in business strive to improve creativity and to make a habit of pursuing creative thought. Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (2003) is a powerful presentation of creativity as habit. Tharp, one of America’s greatest dance choreographers, demystifies creativity, presenting it as the product of hard work and preparation.
  10. Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick
    Wendy Wood offers some stunning statistics on our habit quotients and practical means of changing those autopilot moments. Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick (2019) is a guide to harnessing the extraordinary power residing in our unconscious mind. Wood considers how the brain receives cues in our world and reacts to them. A compelling case is made not to rely on willpower, but rather to rewire our brains to accumulate habits that we are desirable.

Pressed for Time? Don’t Forget About Audiobooks

Audiobooks present busy professionals with a phenomenal means of getting through more texts than ever before. We listen while working out, driving, gardening, walking, and flying. Studies confirm that auditory connection with ideas is among the strongest means of embedding concepts and messages in our brains.

Many of the above titles are available as audiobooks to accommodate readers who complement their engagement with books through recorded works. YouTube also has a surprisingly robust collection of audiobooks available.

Enrich and Expand Your Life With These Business Books for Women

All 10 of these publications strive to make changing habits accessible, manageable, and eminently desirable. While we tend to think of habits as being negative, the authors help us to recognize the enormous value in our good habits and our own ability to advance those good habits forward to address areas where we see weakness. All recognize that enormous value exists in being able to examine our own habits, select desirable new ones, and then move forward to adopt those new habits.

Hopefully, you will find something in these publications to lead you down the road to a collection of habits that enrich and expand your personal and professional lives. For additional tips on professional development, read “5 Key Leadership Traits to Cultivate for Success.”

Dr. Catherine Flynn is a faculty member at ​Purdue University Global. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Purdue Global. Any reference to a product or service does not constitute an endorsement by ​Purdue Global.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the CEOWORLD magazine and Purdue Global. Any reference to a product or service does not constitute an endorsement by ​Purdue Global.

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Dr. Catherine Flynn
Dr. Catherine Flynn has been a professor at Purdue University Global since 2002, serving in a variety of capacities. In 2008, she joined the School of Business and Information Technology faculty, where she teaches business writing. Dr. Catherine Flynn is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on LinkedIn.