Reading for women looking to return to work, change careers or start a business

Are you looking to return to work, change careers or start a business? TechPixies founder, Joy Foster, has a reading list for you.

Here’s Joy Foster’s Reading List:

For everyone:

1. The Power of the Habit by Charles Duhigg – (@cdhuigg / @charlesduhigg) Until I read this book, I had no idea how much our daily functionality relies completely on our habits. The book has taught me a lot about how to diagnose habits and how to change them. I’ve been slowly reading this book for a couple years now (it is quite intense) and even have it on Audible (thinking I’d get through it faster that way). Setting aside the fact that I haven’t actually finished it, I can say that each time I pick it up, I learn something new. Don’t have time to read the book? Check out this little video, at least you’ll know a bit more than you did before about habits! What habit do you want to change? Tell us! We’d love to know.

2. Mindset by Dr Carol S. Dweck – Like the previous book, this one is quite powerful (and I’ll admit, I’ve been reading it for a while!). Mindset will challenge your thinking. In it, Dr Dweck (@MindsetWorks / @theofficialcaroldweck) talks about having a ‘Growth mindset’ vs a ‘Fixed mindset’. A growth mindset is all about believing that limitations are self imposed where as a fixed mindset means that you believe in limitations and you live within them. I found this book challenging to read as in general, I’d view myself as a ‘Growth mindset’ kinda gal but it didn’t take long for me to have my first ‘fixed mindset’ mentality pointed out to me. I would recommend everyone read this as it will open up possibilities you may have written off. Don’t like reading? You can listen to the WHOLE book for FREE on YouTube. Don’t have time for that? Than watch this 10 minute video summarizing how you can develop a growth mindset:

3. The Dip by Seth Godin – (@ThisIsSethsBlog / @sethgodin) This is a total gem of a book. Not very long at all, it is easy to come back to each time you are struggling through something. I used to read it a lot when I was a full time archer (yes… I actually did shoot arrows for a living – and here’s proof!). There were many times as an archer, I hit a dip. The book was invaluable for helping me to decide if it was worth pursuing further. In the end, I decided enough was enough, I wasn’t going to be the best in the world at it so I decided to move on to other things – like getting married and having babies and building TechPixies. The power in the book is learning the difference between what is a natural dip on a longer trajectory versus an irrecoverable dip that means you should get onto a new trajectory. Everyone should have a copy by their bed. Here’s a video for this one too!

4. It’s a Good Time to be a Girl – This is a book by Helena Morrissey (@MorrisseyHelena / @helenamorrissey). I listened to it on audible and then attended a lecture at the University of Oxford in which she presented many of the findings of the book. Helena’s story is very interesting as she is a working mother of 9 whose husband raised her children while she ran one of the most well-known investment management companies in the UK (Newton). The book is not just about her career and the choices she made, but about her quest to get 30% of women on boards. It is well written and full of interesting facts.

5. ME TIME by Kate Christie – I met Kate when she was visiting Oxford earlier this year. Kate is Australian and is a time-saving guru. She wanted to meet to interview me for her next book which is coming out later this year. As I’ve never thought of myself as a great time manager but I was intrigued. This book is funny and entertaining and brings that voice in your head to life, challenging your assumptions of why you don’t have time and giving you a whole toolkit of time-saving tricks. Geared at women who are already working, you’ll still enjoy it if you are looking to go back to work too.

For the woman who is thinking about returning to work or a career change:

  1. She’s Back by Lisa Unwin and Deb Khan –  (@shesback / @shesbackuk) A personal favourite of mine, there are soooo many truths in this book. Lisa and Deb challenge women to keep a foot in the door even when they take a career break so that getting back in becomes easier. An incredibly good section on Linkedin and how to use it, topped off by some legit stats and a strong argument as to why women should be working, makes this book 100% worth reading for anyone thinking about returning to work after a career break or changing careers. You might also enjoy reading our very own Q&A with Lisa Unwin by TechPixie Kerri Jones.
  2. Girls who Rocked the World by Michelle Roehm McCann and Amelie Welden – If you aren’t sure about what you want to do next, pick up this book and prepare to be amazed at what women who came before you have done. Some incredible stories of bravery, resilience and determination can be found in this book. It is a great book to read as and when you have time and you can pick and choose stories as you like. Incredibly inspirational and moving, prepared to be moved!
  3. The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith –  (@Tash_Courtenay / @natashacourtenaysmith) When thinking about returning to work or a career change, you might also want to think about all the possibilities. Have you ever thought you could make a living as a blogger? In Tash’s book, she goes behind the scenes of blogging and explains how it can actually be done (making a living a blogger that is!). Definitely one I’m looking forward to getting through.
  4. Growth Hacking by Ryan Holiday – (@RyanHoliday / @ryanholiday) I throw this one in here as I think it is a good book to read if you are thinking about returning to a career in marketing or changing your career and getting into marketing. The book defines growth hacking (very quick growth) quite well and give tips on how to achieve it. Don’t have time to read the book? Here’s the online summary.

For the woman who is (or wants to be) an entrepreneur:

1. The Girls Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business by Susan Solovic – (@SusanSolovic / @susansolovic) Do not be intimidated by the name. This is a great book, in fact, years after reading it, I read the second book on this list (The E-Myth) only to find out that Gerber and Solovic are buddies and Gerber endorsed Solovic’s book. This is the kind of book you ought to read once from cover to cover and then keep so that you can refer back to it when you need help with a particular subject. Definitely recommend if you are thinking about building a business which is more than a lifestyle business.

2. The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber – (@MichaelEGerber) This book will teach you ALL ABOUT SYSTEMS, which, come to find out, are essential for building a successful, scalable business. If you are considering setting up a business with real growth and employees, this is a must read.

2. Let IT Go by Dame Steve Shirley – Soon, you’ll be able to watch this book play out on the big screen but until then, it is certainly a good one to get stuck into. Stephanie Shirley (@DameStephanie / @damestephanie_) was struggling to get business and then changed her work name to ‘Steve’. She built a £3 billion company which started from her kitchen table while raising a son with severe autism. Not only that, but she was a Jewish refugee who sought protection in the UK as a child from the Nazi’s. Incredible story and a candid viewpoint on what it is like to run a company over several decades. Here’s her TEDTalk entitled ‘Why do ambitious women have flat heads?’:

4. Secrets of Successful Sales by Alison Edgar – I have been reading this on my Kindle. It is hilarious and spot on. In it Alison (@aliedgar13 / @entrepreneurs_godmother) tells her story about starting her career later on life, which I found quite inspirational. Alison also touches on mindset and sales personalities and why having a sales plan (not just a marketing plan) is essential for your company’s survival!

5. Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart by Janet Murray – (@jan_murray / @janmurrayuk) Wow. I loved this one. It was short, it was sweet, it was to the point AND I learned a ton about PR. Janet is a huge fan of companies learning how to do their own PR successfully and gives tons of tips and tricks to help you succeed. For many women just starting out, social media is the first place promote, which is great – but getting an article in the paper or a spot on the tele can have a huge impact on your business! I should know… we once had the Prime Minister visit us and hits to our websites and signups for our programme went through the roof.

6. Finding my Virginity by Richard Branson – (@richardbranson / @richardbranson) I had no idea what to expect reading this book but I’ve really enjoyed it. Written in a way that each chapter can be read independent of the others, this book is packed with life lessons and lovely antidotes about building the Virgin brand over the last 20 years. At the same time I’ve been reading this book, I’ve been listening to ‘Losing my Virginity’ on Audible which covers the first 20 or so years of Richard Branson’s career. I can recommend both.

7. Valuable by Mike Jennings – I have not tucked into this one yet, but it is on my list. Written by local business owner, Mike Jennings (@jennings_mike), I suspect it will be pretty good. I can say this with confidence because TechPixies asked Mike to spend a day with us last year establishing our values. We found the whole process extremely beneficial!

Super hot right now – Right after publishing this list, I came across a few books which seem to be very popular and trending at the moment. I have not read them, but they do look interesting.

  1. Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims –  (@whymummydrinks / @judgydogandgill) will obviously review when I’ve read it (and had a glass of wine of course as this seems to be a pre-request for reading Gill Sims’ book, kindle or otherwise).
  2. The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon – (@emmagannon@emmagannonuk) LOTS of social posting going on about this book and an absolutely stunning Instagram media feed which I am so copying.

For the Christian Entrepreneur – faith might not be something that is important to you, but if it is, then there are 3 books on our list that you might want to work through.

  1. Busy Mom’s Bible – It isn’t easy to tackle the Bible but the ‘Busy Mom’s Bible’ makes it slightly easier! If it is your first time, maybe just start with the new testament and read a chapter a day. One of the thing that strikes me every time I re-read the new testament is how much of a healer Jesus was. Plus there are some amazing lessons which parallel business. A favourite of mine? ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’, found in Matthew chapter 25. This parable talks about managing what you have been given well in order to be given more and is a reminder that burying our ‘talent’ (quite literally) is a mistake! In the story, 3 servants are given money to invest. The first two take their money and make it earn double what they’ve been given, the third servant buries their money in the sand. The third servant gets in trouble because he was so worried about losing the money, he didn’t even take it to the bank to earn interest.
  2. My Utmost For His Highest – I have had this book for nearly 10 years BUT, like the Bible, you can read it online for FREE. It is a daily devotional written by Oswald Chambers. The crazy thing about this book is that it was published several years AFTER Oswald DIED by his wife. It is written primarily for leaders of the church but so much of what he writes resonates with me as an entrepreneur. Another fact I find fascinating about this book is that Oswald was in his early 40s when he died. I’m only a few years off my early 40s and it is incredible to think that anyone’s life’s work could be complete by then! It certainly puts things into perspective.
  3. A Voice To Be Heard – by Higginson and Robershaw – I first heard about this book from, Luke Johnson (@LukeJohnsonRCP), who writes a weekly column about entrepreneurship in The Sunday Times called ‘ANIMAL SPIRITS’. A while ago, he wrote about this book and so I decided to add it to my reading list. I have actually already finished this book. It tells the stories of a few very successful British entrepreneurs who also are Christian. It also goes deeper into specific topics about entrepreneurship and Christianity and can be read out of order (as and when you need a topic).

Happy Reading!

We’ll add new books to this list as we come across them. If you have any that you want to recommend, drop us a line and we’ll add it! The more the merrier.