Books that Inspire


Book Suggestions for Women of Wesleyan Faculty/Staff

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

“Sheryl Sandberg’s point, in a nutshell, is that notwithstanding the many gender biases that still operate all over the workplace, excuses and justifications won’t get women anywhere. Instead, believe in yourself, give it your all, “lean in” and “don’t leave before you leave” — which is to say, don’t doubt your ability to combine work and family and thus edge yourself out of plum assignments before you even have a baby. Leaning in can promote a virtuous circle: you assume you can juggle work and family, you step forward, you succeed professionally, and then you’re in a better position to ask for what you need and to make changes that could benefit others.”


“In her practice as a licensed therapist and through discussion groups all across the country, Sarah Brokaw has discovered that the women who navigate midlife most smoothly–who go on to prosper and to enjoy the best years of their lives–are those who foster five Core Values in themselves. In Fortytude, she shows how any woman can nourish these qualities in herself, evolve and thrive.”

Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman

“Gail Evans reveals the secrets to the playbook of success and teaches women at all levels of the organization–from assistant to vice president–how to play the game of business to their advantage.”

 SmartGirls Way

“The SmartGirls Way explores the possibility that the differences between men and women can be celebrated—not just in relationships and family, but in business and society as a whole. By harnessing what makes women unique as individuals—and as businesspeople—they can deliver major benefits to society at a time when new insights and approaches are needed more than ever before.”

 Women at the Top

“This book remedies this gap by presenting the reflections of nine women community college, college, and university presidents on what they see as key tenets of leadership, illuminated by pivotal events in their careers.”

Woman Don’t Ask

“By neglecting to negotiate her starting salary for her first job, a woman may sacrifice over half a million dollars in earnings by the end of her career. Yet, as research reveals, men are four times more likely to ask for higher pay than are women with the same qualifications. From career promotions to help with child care, studies show time and again that women don’t ask–and frequently don’t even realize that they can. Women Don’t Ask offers real-life examples of the differences between the negotiating habits of men and women, and guides women in retooling their attitudes and approaches.”

 The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family “Almost 40% of US working wives now out earn their husbands. Washington Post reporter Liza Mundy argues that “the Big Flip” in gender roles “is just around the corner” in her new book: The Richer Sex. Soon “women, not men, will become the top earners in households” and that will transform the dynamics of male-female relationships.”

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

“In this groundbreaking and compulsively readable book, Spar explores how American women’s lives have— and have not—changed over the past fifty years. Armed with reams of new research, she details how women struggled for power and instead got stuck in an endless quest for perfection. The challenges confronting women are more complex than ever, and they are challenges that come inherently and inevitably from being female. Spar is acutely aware that it’s time to change course.”

 Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P. Frankel

“Dr. Lois Frankel reveals why some women roar ahead in their careers while others stagnate. She’s spotted a unique set of behaviors–101 in all–that women learn in girlhood that sabotage them as adults. Now, in this groundbreaking guide, she helps you eliminate these unconscious mistakes that could be holding you back– and offers invaluable coaching tips you can easily incorporate into your social and business skills. If you recognize and change the behaviors that say “girl” not “woman”, the results will pay off in career opportunities you never thought possible–and in an image that identifies you as someone with the power and know-how to occupy the corner office.”

 The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money by Carl Richards

“As a financial planner, Carl Richards grew frustrated watching people he cared about make the same mistakes over and over with their money. They were letting emotion get in the way of making smart financial decisions. He named this phenomenon—the distance between what we should do and what we actually do— “the behavior gap.” Using simple drawings to explain the gap, he found that once people understood it, they started doing much better. Richards’ work now attracts thousands at and at the Bucks Blog at The New York Times.”