20 Best Biographies for Women in Business - Part 2

by Florine Church 

11.  Martha Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Omnimedia by Christopher M. Byron: Love her or loathe her — no real middle ground apparently exists — Martha Stewart undeniably left an impact on business and media alike, particularly when it came to profiting off traditional homemaking activities. In this detailed biography, Christopher M. Byron explores her controversial public life, staggering financial success (some of it actually legitimate!) and personal history.

12. Suits: A Woman on Wall Street by Nina Godiwalla: Suits tells the very real story of a Zoroastrian banker who finds herself interning in the Manhattan offices of J.P. Morgan Chase — and discovering some highly disconcerting things about Wall Street's treatment of minorities and women. Nina Godiwalla presses on with the hopes of pleasing her parents, particularly her father, but ultimately concludes that such a high-pressure, low-tolerance atmosphere just doesn't gel well with what she needs and wants.

13. Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics from a Woman at the Top by Nina DiSesa: Although more of a guide than a straight-up biography, McCann Erickson New York advertising executive Nina DiSesa certainly pulls from her own life to offer up advice. Many of the concepts regarding "making it in a man's world" might seem gendered to some readers, but it nevertheless provides an interesting — sometimes disheartening — glimpse at patriarchy's role in the corporate world.

14. Life on the Line: One Woman's Tale of Work, Sweat, and Survival by Solange De Santis: Solange De Santis put her investigative journalism skills to work on a GM assembly line in Ontario, keeping a detailed diary for 18 months. From there, she pointed out some startling safety, health and sexual harassment violations, but pointed out that the workers certainly did pour a hefty amount of blood, sweat and tears into their responsibilities.

20 best biographies for women in business part 2

15. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Despite the Taliban ripping away her teaching career and shoving her under veritable house arrest, courageous and clever Kamila Sidiqi used the opportunity to flex her entrepreneurship muscles in defiance. When her father and brother were forced to flee, she ended up in charge of her five sisters, keeping them alive through semi-underground seamstress services.

16. 20 Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams: Women and men alike working in the nonprofit sector — and general readers with a particular interest in humanitarianism and philanthropy — might want to pick up this classic memoir about a successful, influential settlement house. Jane Addams and her partner Ellen Gates Starr kept Hull House operating for over two decades, helping new immigrants better adjust to American life by forging tight-knit communities.

17. Seaworthy: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea by Linda Greenlaw: Whether working on land or the sea, the captain of swordfish vessel Seahawk offers up some incredible stories and advice regarding leadership, bravery and pressing on despite severe setbacks. Following a decade-long separation from fishing, Linda Greenlaw reflects on her return and the challenges she faced as the only American woman leading a swordfish boat and expedition.

18. All Things at Once by Mika Brzezinski: Best known as the co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski opens up about all the issues associated with trying to having a career, a husband and children — and unfortunately often neglecting the latter in favor of the former. For seasoned and novice businesswomen alike, her successes and failings can serve as valuable lessons in what to do and not do when simultaneously working and starting a family.

19. Tough Choices: A Memoir by Carly Fiorina: Carly Fiorina never really set out to be a businesswoman, but ultimately ended up serving as Hewlett-Packard's CEO of Technology for 6 years before her 2005 dismissal. Once amongst America's most powerful corporate women, she eventually published Tough Choices as a rumination on life in the boardroom — and how her decisions ultimately came to shape her rise and fall.

20. The Letters of Sylvia Beach by Sylvia Beach: Literature aficionados recognize Sylvia Beach as the Shakespeare & Company owner and operator partly responsible for Ernest Hemingway's career. But her influence spread much, much further than that, and this work collects her correspondence with such luminaries as Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and plenty more.


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