Who run the world? GIRLS

Beyonce’s song makes the emphatic point that girls, naturally, have the power and persuasion to “run the word.”

So why are so few women running the startup world?

To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need a considerable amount of confidence and the willingness to take some risks. Simply put, men are often perceived as more confident risk-takers than women. However, these traits can be developed over time, regardless of gender.

Here are some books that illustrate that point. I’m confident you’ll find each of them inspirational and helpful on your own journey to conquer the world, regardless of your gender.


LEAN IN — Women, work and the will to lead

Sheryl Sandberg

From early on, Sheryl Sandberg set herself apart as an innovative and bright mind in the business world. As a student at Harvard Business School, Sandberg co-founded an organization called Women in Economics and Government and was awarded the John H. Williams Prize as the top Economics graduate in her class. Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008 and four years later was the first woman elected to its board of directors.

In “Lean In,” Sandberg describes specific steps that women can take to combine professional achievement with personal goals. She also encourages men to support women in the workplace and at home.

“Lean In” is an inspiring book about how women can take charge of their own careers and push forward at a time when gender bias is more alive than most of us may want to admit. The book encourages women to “lean in” to positions of leadership because, as Sandberg asserts, having more female voices in positions of power will create more equitable opportunities for everyone.


BIG MAGIC — Creative living beyond fear

Elizabeth Gilbert

After the book, “Eat, Pray, Love” was published, the name Elizabeth Gilbert was on everyone’s lips. The book shot up to No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a major motion picture. After taking a short break, Gilbert recently finished another book entitled “Big Magic”.

“Big Magic” is about letting go of fear and letting creativity loose. The book is broken down into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity. Though not necessarily a book about startups, “Big Magic” can easily be used as self-help guide for running a company.

“Big Magic” explains how to understand and overcome fear and make room for creativity. In the startup world, it is not just about having the best ideas — because ideas are everywhere. Just because you have an idea does not mean you will see it through to fruition. An idea is meaningless without execution. The themes, traits and characteristics that are outlined in “Big Magic” can take your business idea to the next level.

The best you can hope for in such a situation is to let your old idea go and catch the next idea that comes around. And the best way for that to happen is to move on swiftly, with humility and grace. Don’t fall into a funk about the one that got away. Don’t beat yourself up… Better to just say good-bye to the lost idea with dignity and continue onward. Find something else to work on — anything, immediately.
- Elisabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.


#GIRLBOSS

Sophia Amoruso

Who would have guessed that a 22-year-old dumpster diver and college dropout would end up running one of the biggest clothing stores on the Ebay marketplace?

Sophia Amoruso did.

Amoruso started the Ebay vintage store, Nasty Gal, which has sold more than $250 million in clothing and accessories. Nasty Girl was launched in 2006 and today has more than 400 employees.

#GIRLBOSS illustrates that Amoruso was not a typical anything — and in fact lived quite a rough life before founding Nasty Gal. The book inspires both outsiders and insiders to follow through with whatever their dreams might be. Amoruso makes the point and delivers the book’s message that anything is possible. The book will make you realize that it does not matter whether you went to one of the top universities, or had to learn life on the streets. It is all about trusting your instincts and keeping your goals in sight.

After reading this book you will be well aware of both the ups and downs of running your own company. But by heeding Amoruso’s advice, you can avoid some of the deepest downs.


BOSSY PANTS

Tina Fey

“You are no one until someone calls you bossy,” Tina Fey says in the hilarious book that shows why she skyrocketed to the top of a profession usually dominated by men. “Bossy Pants” is full of self deprecation, but the success that Fey has experienced in comedy has been a result of hard work, self-confidence, and dedication to her craft.

Fey has worked diligently to get where she is today. She started out as a writer for the hit show Saturday Night Live and then quickly moved up to co-hosting its popular newscast spoof Weekend Update. She had excellent timing, riding her spot-on impression of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to a recurring character.

Fey is currently enjoying a vibrant post-SNL career, including hosting award shows with her friend and fellow actress Amy Poehler and taking on multiple roles in several hit TV shows and major motion pictures.


WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE

Oprah Winfrey

This book summarizes 14 years of inspirational advice that Oprah Winfrey penned in a popular column of the same name that was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine.

“What I Know For Sure” is organized by the themes of Joy, Resilience, Connection, Gratitude, Possibility, Awe, Clarity, and Power.

Besides offering a glimpse into the mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women in business and entertainment, the essays should inspire other entrepreneurs in the startup world.

Winfrey was behind the O magazine, her own television network, and of course The Oprah Winfrey Show (the highest-rated program of its kind in history). She became America’s only African-American billionaire and was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“What I Know For Sure” is a unique summary of Winfrey’s many life lessons, which can benefit entrepreneurs from all different backgrounds, ages, and genders.


Sometimes it can seem daunting to commit to picking up and finishing another inspirational book from a successful author, especially for those struggling with challenges in their professional or personal lives.

But one of the biggest reasons to make time for personal development is the motivation it provides to push through struggles and find the solutions that have worked for others who have been there too.