Rebecca Knipp of Columbia, Missouri is
This writer cannot do much much better. I can only think of 3, and I’ll share those names in a minute.
So what’s wrong with this picture? It’s not due to lack of talent. Rather, women at the top helm have lacked the opportunities men have been given in rising to the top. Obviously, that’s opinion. There are other, valid reasons. While the trend has changed over the past 20 to 30 years, the upward slope is still gradual.
My Top 3 Books by Women CEOs
My list may not wow you, but at least it’s a starting point if you want to add some of these books to your reading list.
My oldest son Brock is both a natural leader and a corporate controller. Unfortunately, he had to put up with a grueling 2-year business curriculum that I created during his high school years. Of some 20 books I required him to read, Sandra Kurtzig’s CEO: Building a $400 Million Company from the Ground Up was near the top of this list.
If I’m not mistaken, the book was included in the Harvard Business School curriculum years ago. I don’t get the poor reviews on Goodreads–I loved this book as it’s written like a memoir by a young woman who created one of the first MRP systems and eventually took her company public. It’s a classic rags-to-riches story.
Last summer while Mrs. G was on her annual excursion with family members in the Ozarks, I was able to catch up on a movie I had been wanting to watch–The Post. Right after I watched it, I watched it the next evening. I wasn’t done yet. I then bought Katherine Graham’s memoir, Personal History. Great story.
All books past, present, and future by women leaders will be measured by this classic. Also, this book isn’t just for women, it’s for men too.
Mary Kay Ash
I’m a Zig Ziglar fan and enjoyed his autobiography Zig: The Autobiography of Zig Ziglar which is funny
And that led me to start paying attention to this entrepreneurial icon who started her business with just $5,000 at the age of 45. The rest is history and the makings for a great movie script. My favorite book of hers is Mary Kay Way. If you are looking for a how-to book, look elsewhere. Ash spends the bulk of her book addressing her guiding philosophies.
More Titles by Women Leaders and CEOs
While doing research for this article, I found about a dozen good books that belong in this discussion. However, I’m limiting my list to the two books I have already purchased and plan to read in 2019.
- I’m a fan of ad man David Ogilvy having read both of his books, and when Rory Sutherland speaks, I listen. Accordingly, I”m looking forward to reading A Big Life by Mary Wells Lawrence, the first female CEO of a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Is Mad Men’s Peggy Olson supposed to be Mary Wells Lawrence?
- I also have the book Lean
In:Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg who works in a leadership position at Facebook. Her 2010 Ted Talk is outstanding. If Katherine Graham had been in the audience, she would have been applauding. I would have been too.
Other Authors on My Radar
I do not own these books, but they are on my wish list, so you’re on your own should you buy these:
- Carly Fiorina is going to be a fascinating read regardless of gender. Tough Choices: A Memoir is on my wishlist and you’ll ultimately learn about her rise to the top spot at Hewlett-Packard. I’m already curious about the similarities in backgrounds of both Fiorina and Kurtzig.
- I loved the book American Icon so much that I read it 3 times in the same year. I’m curious to compare Mary Barra’s leadership style (GM) to Alan Mulally’s (Ford). The Road to Power: How GM’s Mary Barra Shattered the Glass Ceiling by Laura Colby is also on my wishlist.
- I’m letting the reviews taint my thinking of Meg Whitman’s The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business and in Life. Whitman’s resume is impressive and includes a CEO stint at eBay. Her book is also on my wishlist.
There are more names, and probably not enough to list.
Now it’s your turn. I’ll ask you what I asked Rebecca–what are the best books you’ve read by women leaders?