5 awesome books about money – for women, by women

5 must read books about money for women

I’ve been on a bit of a roll lately devouring books about money and career as I get closer to exiting the 20-something age bracket and ponder what my 30s could be like.

In particular, I’ve been focusing on personal finance/career books by women. Here are some of the best I’ve read:

Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life by Barbara Stanny

Things Barbara Stanny and I have in common: We were female writers who didn’t earn huge amounts. Things we don’t have in common: Rich families, trust funds.

That aside, this is not a book about Stanny, it’s about the many high-earning women she interviewed and the insights she has distilled into 11 chapters in Secrets of Six-Figure Women. Even though she began writing it before the GFC, her foreword notes that these women either survived the recession well, or were able to rebuild despite knockbacks. And as we find out, resilience is a key trait among high earners, among others. They aren’t groundbreaking secrets, but they are important reminders, and I suspect this is the kind of book you could come back to over the years for a fresh dose of motivation.

Read it if you: Struggle with underearning (want to earn more, and are capable of earning more) and having belief in yourself.

Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads: True Stories of Friends, Family, and Financial Ruin by Valerie Rinds

I had a bit of a wakeup call in 2015 when I realised I was putting other people’s happiness ahead of my own, and making myself miserable. It was also severely damaging my own financial situation. I really needed to read this book back then – if only I had known about it!

Gold Diggers and Deadbeat Dads mixes Rinds’ own story of financial hardship with other true tales of people who faced financial ruin thanks to the wrongdoing of other people. It’s entertaining, engaging and educational. And it’s a cautionary tale – choose your partners wisely, because they can make or break you financially. Rinds plays it straight – there’s no judgement here, just real stories told by real people.

I think there’s often a fine line between victim blaming and accepting responsibility for your own choices; it’s definitely one I have struggled with myself. If you have caretaking and enabling tendencies, you may very well find loved ones taking advantage of you financially. It may not seem like it at first, it may not feel like it, and it’s an ugly, painful thing to wake up to.

Read it if you: Struggle with financially supporting other people in your life and have trouble saying no.

The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness by Bari Tessler

Caveat: The Art of Money is a little hippy dippy, particularly to start off with. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if it doesn’t put you off, then you might just find this a refreshing read.

What spoke to me was the heavy emphasis on the emotional aspects of money. The first half is devoted to untangling your relationship with money, and the second tackles more practical aspects of money management, interwoven with the values and emotions that are all tied up in what we bring to the table when it comes to personal finance.

I came to this book with a certain amount of regret and baggage that’s been weighing me down, and somehow I felt lighter for having made my way through it. Tessler’s incredibly compassionate approach and frameworks are the polar opposite of tough love – more like a warm bath or sustained hug. Sometimes, that’s just what you need.

Read this if you: Struggle with bad money juju that you need to get past and let go of

When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women by Farnoosh Torabi

It sucks that books like this exist, but IMO they are a necessary addition to the landscape. I will say right now that I didn’t find any new practical strategies in here, but it was at times thought provoking and most importantly, it brought voices to the forefront that are otherwise stifled.

In an ideal world, it WOULDN’T matter who earned how much. But we live in the real world, with flawed workplaces and human relationships. How we feel about these things matters, just as much as how we deal with them.

And that’s where I got the most value out of this book: reading stories of other women struggling with inequality, resentment, and navigating complicated dynamics. The emotional turmoil, I would argue, is the hardest to reckon with, and this book is a reminder that you are not alone.

Read it if you: Struggle with being the breadwinner (there’s no shame in that)


What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know by Joan C Williams & Rachel Dempsey

I am not in law (or finance, or consulting, or any of those types of industries) and this book is definitely more targeted toward women in similar fields. I also count myself fortunate to not really have personally encountered sexism in the workplace so far. However, I know it exists and I have seen others run into it. And as I progress in my career and start thinking about how having a family might mesh with that, I found it interesting to read about the extra tightropes that working mothers walk. After all, career progression underpins finances, for most of us.

What Works For Women At Work identifies the four main issues women encounter in the workplace – Prove It Again, the Tightrope, the Maternal Wall and the Tug of War – backed by research. It’s non judgemental and tries to take a big picture view as much as possible: it’s not just you, the system is actually broken. The advice on actually dealing with those biases is a little light, but as we all know, there are no quick and easy fixes in this area. We can do as much as we can as individuals, but real change and real solutions go beyond that.

Read this if you: Struggle with progressing in the workforce and wonder why you aren’t getting ahead

14 thoughts on “5 awesome books about money – for women, by women

  • Reply Little Miss Moneybags December 7, 2016 at 17:16

    I’ve only read the last one on the list, but some of those others look right up my alley!

  • Reply James December 12, 2016 at 03:58

    My wife is gonna love these books especially The Art of Money. Thanks for sharing these books!

  • Reply FF @ Femme Frugality December 12, 2016 at 13:24

    Awesome list! They all sound pretty amazing in their own right–love how you’ve outlined who they’re for. I’m kind of into hippy dippy, so I’ll have to check out The Art of Money first.

  • Reply Mel @ brokeGIRLrich December 12, 2016 at 18:02

    What Works for Women at Work looks really interesting. It’s a constant battle being a woman backstage in theater.

  • Reply Ruth December 13, 2016 at 06:59

    Thanks for this list! I’m going to give a few of them a go for sure. Just a question. Where do you tend to find/borrow/buy these books? Buying them all can get mighty expensive and my library is unlike to stock, ah, most of them. Have you found the cheapest way to get your fill?

    • Reply eemusings December 13, 2016 at 08:36

      I only ever get books from the library – my city system has all of these!

  • Reply Latoya Femme Frugality December 15, 2016 at 12:24

    Oooh! I havent heard of any of these before, so you know Im adding to my reading list! I love a good book about money!

  • Reply Liz December 18, 2016 at 22:48

    Great suggestions! I will get What Works for Women at Work. I read some good reviews about the book. So excited to start reading the book.

  • Reply Jamie December 26, 2016 at 12:45

    Oh my! I love these books! I love When She Makes More. Learned so many financial advice from this. Highly recommendable!

  • Reply Michelle December 27, 2016 at 05:20

    I love lists like these! Btw, Bari lives in my hometown and I cracked up when you mentioned the hippy dippy opening. Boulder is known for that in general. That’s why I’m a bit hippy too LOL! I’m hoping to one day have her on my podcast.

  • Reply Raj@financenize December 29, 2016 at 20:00

    “The Art Of Money” is really a good book, I found it very useful and got a lot of things to know and learn in this book. I’ve read only two books of this list but now other books are also added on my list. Will surely read them whenever i get free time. Thanks for suggesting such amazing financial/money books, I’ll definitely recommend these books to all the business women out there, keep sharing such wonderful and informative articles with us.

  • Reply Sanjib Saha January 2, 2017 at 01:43

    I am a total bibliophile and your suggestions are amazing. Call me a feminist male, but nothing is more inspiring than to see a lady on the top rungs of the corporate ladder. I will surely read all these books, now that I have received an excellent outlook and also a short summary via your post. And what more, the society is moving forward today so people will find some golden rules in this book that apply to both genders. I feel it can be anyone’s mantra for success.

  • Reply Fernz January 2, 2017 at 03:43

    I just got a copy of The Art of Money by Bari Tessler, and I am so excited what learnings I can get out of the book.

  • Reply Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor January 10, 2017 at 14:57

    Thanks for the reviews–I definitely think #1 would be best for me!

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