Life Changing Books for Women

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By Becky Mollenkamp, PCC

As a coach who wants to do her best for clients, I spend a lot of time reading and learning. If you are looking for the best self-help books for women, I recommend these life-changing books for women.

These books, like my work, are presented through an inclusive feminist lens. I think you’ll find that these books will open your mind and help to change your life. Enjoy!

(Disclosure: The links below are affiliate links, meaning—at no additional cost to you—I’ll get earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.)

“The Wisdom of Your Body” by Hillary McBride

In just in the first chapter, this book cracked me open in all the best ways. I’ve been really interested in embodiment in the last couple of years after realizing just how disconnected I have felt from my own body, and how that has led me to mistreat it and allow others to mistreat it for my entire life. But McBride is the first person to help me finally fully understand what embodiment really means (and she does it in a way that honors lived experience and fully recognizes the problems of patriarchy). I can’t recommend this book enough.

“Fierce Self-Compassion” by Kristin Neff

I truly believe self-compassion is the key to a fulfilling life. It’s also easier said than done. No one is better than Kristin Neff at explaining what self-compassion means, why it matters, and how to implement it in your life. This is her second book on the topic, and I think it’s a more inclusive and holistic approach to the topic.

“The Body is Not an Apology” by Sonya Renee Taylor

Being a woman inherently means you are conditioned to have body issues. This is approachable, powerful book investigates where systems of oppression live inside all of us. Taylor’s radical self-love framework is a wonderful starting point for dismantling bodily-based hierarchies inside and outside as you heal your relationship with self.

“Pleasure Activism” by Adrienne Maree Brown

People not at the top of the patriarchy hierarchy are conditioned to believe they don’t deserve or aren’t allowed pleasure (sexual and otherwise). This is further compounded by living in purity culture, which so many of us do. This book helped to revolutionize how I prioritize pleasure, and how I help my clients do the same.

“You Belong” by Sebene Selassie

In the past, my go-to book recommendation for people interested in mindfulness and presence was “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Now, I tell people about “You Belong.” It conveys so much of what Tolle discusses, but far more simply. Plus, it delves into so many other topics (connection/community, confidence) that are important to women.

“Patriarchy Stress Disorder” by Valerie Rein

Think what’s holding you back is Imposter Syndrome or some other version of not living up to your potential? Perhaps what’s really getting in the way is patriarchy and patriarchal conditioning. This is an incredible place to start with unpacking and dismantling the indoctrinated beliefs we are all born into by living in patriarchy. 

“Braving the Wilderness” by Brené Brown

It’s hard to pick just one Brené Brown book for this list because I’ve read and loved them all. But for me, this was one of the best books on confidence. “True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” This book will inspire you to trust yourself and be yourself without apology (and see how that can help you cultivate community).

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This book is pure poetry. Not only are the words beautiful, they are powerful. This is a wonderful read that will leave you with a renewed connection to Mother Earth and yourself. 

“How to Be Yourself” by Ellen Hendriksen

What if there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, having Imposter Syndrome, or otherwise dealing with social anxiety? I love this book because it will help you see that it’s possible to develop confidence and feel comfortable in any situation, simply by being your true, authentic self.

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Every creative should read this book (and, honestly, even if you don’t consider yourself creative). It will inspired anyone to be more free, brave, and curious. And it will have you thinking new ways about the mystery of inspiration. Let Gilbert help you find your muse!

“Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes

For one year, Shonda Rhimes said yes to everything that scared her. In this memoir, she shares about her life before the year of yes, and life after. The experiment forced her to get out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. It’s an inspiring and fun read.