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In this video I share my four favorite books for women in leadership and women in project management positions. Watch the video, or scroll down to read more about these book choices and a few extras that I love!
1. Getting It All Done by HBR Press
This book is from the Harvard Business Review Press Working Parents series and it includes tips, stories and strategies for the job that never ends. It’s where I first learned about value-based scheduling.
If you juggle parenting with work, then there are plenty of insights in here that will help you be the kind of parent and employee/leader that you want to be.
I think there are many jobs where you can’t make use of these strategies because you don’t have enough flexibility in your role. If you work shifts, for example, it’s tricky to simply say, “I’ll be late in on Friday because I’m reading with the pre-schoolers in my kid’s class.” You can’t do that.
Luckily, project management is a pretty flexible role, so if the culture of your workplace supports you, you’ll be able to make the most of that flexibility.
2. Heels of Steel by Vanessa Vallely
Vanessa runs a stellar network that links together the major networks for women in the city.
She has a very interesting career story which is covered in this book. The majority of the book talks about her career history and how she got where she did in her career.
You can easily pick up tips from her experiences, such as the way she networked into jobs, found great mentors and worked hard to succeed, learning all that she could.
The latter part of the book is more of a guide to career success, highlighting things she picked up and wants to pass along.
I have met Vanessa several times and she is always inspiring, so if you are thinking about your next career move, this is a good read.
3. Her Place at the Table by Deborah M. Kolb, Judith Williams, and Carol Frohlinger
This book covers a lot of case study materials and look at examples of women who have made career decisions to advance their careers. The overall concept of the books is to help you define what you want out of your career and then go out and get it.
It’s not a roadmap for a generic career, it’s about how to tailor your career to define what is best for you. That means putting in the work after, and during your reading.
But if you are dedicated to career success at this stage of your life, it’s going to give you some tips for how to find the right path.
4. Who Gets Promoted Who Doesn’t And Why by Donald Asher
This book tries to get away from the myth that if you get on and do your job you will be rewarded, because that doesn’t happen in real life. It’s also a good read for men as well, so you can share it with your whole team.
Having debunked the myth that hard work will equate to career success, the book goes on to talk about how you can make career success come to you.
If you have ever wondered how to promote yourself and your achievements without sounding boastful, then this is the book for you.
Read my review of Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t and Why
5. Beyond the Boys’ Club by Suzanne Doyle-Morris
I read this book a long time ago and took a ton of notes. It’s a book I have hung on to, as I know the time will come again when I want to read it over.
It is so practical and there are loads of tips. It includes lots of advice on navigating office politics, what to wear and all that, but there is also plenty of advice on navigating the corporate corridors too.
While it does focus on “city” type jobs and traditionally male-dominated industries, the advice is applicable to all industries.
Read my review of Beyond the Boys’ Club.
6. Unlocking the Opportunity by Elise Stevens
If you are wondering whether project management is a good career for women, then this book will soon set you straight.
Spoiler alert: it is!
In this book, Elise Stevens publishes the stories of how over 150 women navigated their careers in project management (and I’m one of them — check me out on page 151!).
It’s a varied and interesting read that shows what a diverse job it is to lead projects. It showcases the achievements and highlights the challenges of being in this field. As a compilation of interviews and profiles, you’d probably want to dip in and out as each profile follows a similar structure so you can find yourself quickly skimming through.
Other recommended project management books
If you are looking for some other suggestions for project management books to read, you can check these out:
- Best PRINCE2® books
- Books by Elizabeth Harrin (that’s me!)
- Best books on project collaboration
- 20 books on communication at work
- Best leadership books for project managers
- 8 must read books on stakeholder management
- 10 best books on change management