It's no secret that I love books. I read and read, and I'm notorious for reading the same book more than once. Earlier this year, I shared five books I read every year because people are always asking me for book recommendations. And books are a big part of my continuous learning in general, but especially as a founder, so in this blog post I would like to share my list of 23 books that I am reading or re-reading in 2023.
Books By and About Black Women Leaders
1. Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
Who it's by: Michelle Wallace
What it's about: This book is an unapologetic examination of sexism in the Black nationalist movement. It's a must-read for anyone interested in feminism and race politics.
Standout Text: "But liberation is nothing more than responsibility, responsibility for setting the tone of one's own life and standing by it."
Why I'm reading it: This book was hated by so many of my favorite Black Women leaders when it was first published. I need to know more behind the power of words.
2. In Search of our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose
Who it's by: Alice Walker
What it's about: Accounts from Alice Walker about her life as a Black woman, writer, mother and feminist. It's 36 essays in total, all essential.
Standout Text: "Because we live, it can never die."
Why I'm reading it: This book is needed because it is one of my responsibilities to study my craft.
Who it's by: Michaela Coel
What it's about: Michaela Coel bares her soul and gives us a glimpse into the path of the creative. Her transparency is something else.
Standout Text: "What a brilliant thing, to discover we've been wrong about some things, what a brilliant thing it is to grow.
Why I'm reading it: Michaela Coel is one of those people who is my best friend in my head. After watching I May Destroy You, I knew this manifesto would not only teach me more about her, but also about myself. Because, that's what a good friend does. She teaches you about yourself.
4. I love Myself When I Am Laughing…
Who it's by: Edited by Alice Walker
What it's about: Zora Neale Hurston's writings, collected and prepared for us in this anthology for the Feminist Press.
Standout Text: "We should be grateful for her survival."
Why I'm reading it: Zora was an artist whose work we should be grateful for. I want more.
5. Black Women Writers at Work
Who it's by: Edited by Claudia Tate
What it's about: The links between Black women writers, their work and their very unique lived experiences.
Standout Text: "When I die, I will not be guilty of having left a generation of girls behind thinking that anyone can tend to their emotional health other than themselves."
Why I'm reading it: This book was out of print when I first learned about it. These 14 Black Women have shaped my life and many others with their writing. It only makes sense for me to read this.
6. Florynce “Flo” Kennedy: The Life of a Black Feminist Radical
Who it's by: Sherie M. Randolph
What it's about: The life and political influence of Florynce "Flo" Kennedy, who was a leader of both the Black Power and feminist movements.
Standout Text: "I just said I will buy buttons and I will set up [my] backpack."
Why I'm reading it: Flo was the one who taught me to not be afraid of being the first or the only.
Business Leadership Books
7. Leaders Eat Last
Who it's by: Simon Sinek
What it's about: How great leaders create environments where people work together in harmony and achieve incredible things.
Standout Text: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
Why I'm reading it: Since reading Simon's "Start With Why" (which is also on this list) I've been a fan, everything he writes I will read.
8. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Who it's by: Phil Knight
What it's about: The early days of Nike and how it's evolved into one of the most profitable and well-known brands of our time.
Standout Text: " I wanted to win. No, that's not right, I simply didn't want to lose."
Why I'm reading it: If you ever had an idea that seemed wild and unfeasible, you need to read this book. This is why I am reading it again.
9. The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World
Who it's by: Aaron Hurst
What it's about: Connecting people to their purpose and how growing an economy based on serving needs greater than our own.
Standout Text: "Purpose requires giving of yourself."
Why I'm reading it: I've read this book every year since starting Buy From A Black Woman. It reminds me why I started and why it is so very important that I keep going.
10. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Who it's by: Simon Sinek
What it's about: The impact that you can have if you start with your why build your movement or organization from there.
Standout Text: "Being authentic is not a requirement for success, but it is if you want that success to be a lasting success."
Why I'm reading it: This is the first book I read by Simon. I could not put it down! He take on what and how to be a leader should be a staple for every founder.
11. Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Who it's by: Chris Voss & Tahl Raz
What it's about: How to negotiate and be more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.
Standout Text: "Emotions aren't the obstacles, they are the means."
Why I'm reading it: This book is written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, who breaks down strategies that he used to save real lives. That's how deep this work is for me, so re-reading to refresh my mind and see if I can gain any new insights is a must.
12. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Who it's by: Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.
What it's about: Why people say yes and how we can use the psychology behind this in our businesses and lives.
Standout Text: N/A
Why I'm reading it: This book was shared with me by a friend. Let's see if we will stay friends after I read it.
Business Planning Books
13. Zero to One
Who it's by: Peter Thiel
What it's about: How to build companies that are innovating and creating new products and services.
Standout Text: "Sometimes you do have to fight. Where that's true, you should fight and win. There is no middle ground: Either don't throw any punches, or strike hard and end it quickly."
Why I'm reading it: Although the work I do is community, it is still a business. This book will help remind me of that.
14. The 12 Week Year
Who it's by: Brian P. Moran & Michael Lennington
What it's about: How to be more effective and efficient with your time by viewing your "year" as 12 weeks long instead.
Standout Text: "The element you have the most direct control over is the execution of your tactics.
Why I'm reading it: I read this book every December as a refresher course. If you read this book and do the work, your life will be forever changed.
15. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Who it's by: James Clear
What it's about: How to transform your habits so you live a more optimal, satisfying life.
Standout Text: "Your habits matter because they help you become the type of person you wish to be. Quite literally, you become your habits."
Why I'm reading it: I read it in four days. This book not only helps enhance the way I do business, but it's helped me grow personally as well.
16. The 1-Page Marketing Plan
Who it's by: Allan Dib
What it's about: How to create a simple marketing plan that you can actually implement.
Standout Text: N/A
Why I'm reading it: This book was a gift from a friend whose business insights I admire. So, I have to read it!
17. The Art & Business of Online Writing
Who it's by: Nicolas Cole
What it's about: Nicolas Cole has more than 100 million views on his writing and he shares what he's learned over time in this book.
Standout Text: "People who don't practice in public are trying to mitigate their risk."
Why I'm reading it: I need to learn how to write better online.
Books To Better Yourself
18. Wake Up & Live!
Who it's by: Dorothea Brande
What it's about: Advice on how to be your best self.
Standout Text: "Failure indicates that energy has poured into the wrong channel. It takes energy to fail."
Why I'm reading it: For a whole year, I listened to this book once a week. I am reading it again this year to remind myself that all things are possible.
19. The Daily Stoic
Who it's by: Ryan Holiday
What it's about: This is a daily devotional with exercises and insights to get your mind right.
Standout Text: "Each day there is a different one that stands out."
Why I'm reading it: I change my daily meditation books every fear. This year it is this one.
20. You Are a Badass at Making Money
Who it's by: Jen Sincero
What it's about: The fears and obstacles that keep people from financial success, and how to overcome them.
Standout Text: "Don't waste your precious gifts and life drowning in doubt."
Why I'm reading it: Jen by far is the best in the game. Her books are the cheerleader I need.
21. Ask and It Is Given
Who it's by: Esther & Jerry Hicks
What it's about: How to manifest everything you've ever wanted.
Standout Text: "If you have the ability to imagine it, or even think about it, this Universe has the ability and the resources to deliver it fully unto you."
Why I'm reading it: As much as I study and read businesses books for self-improvement, I do it more with my spiritual side.
22. The 5 Second Rule
Who it's by: Mel Robbins
What it's about: Holding yourselves back and moving beyond this to something better.
Standout Text: N/A
Why I'm reading it: This book came up as a suggestion, I had no idea that this was Mel Robbins. I am excited to read it.
23. What Do You Do With An Idea?
Who it's by: Kobi Yamada
What it's about: How to allow your ideas to come through and give them some to grow.
Standout Text: "This MY idea. No one knows it like I do. And it's okay if it's different and weird & maybe a little crazy."
Why I'm reading it: Another book I read every year. I read this one on Buy From A Black Woman's incorporation date. This was just an idea.
So, Are You In?
Twenty-three books is about two books a month, but you can get through them more quickly as well. The point is to absorb and apply the information though, so that's going to take whatever time it takes for you. Let me know what you think, have you read any of these? Which book stands out to you? You can leave a comment below.
And by the way, there are no direct links to buy these books. That is on purpose. Support a Black Woman Bookstore, a Woman's bookstore, a local bookstore.
Visit Buy From A Black Woman's online directory to shop Black Woman-Owned stores.