Hitting thirty is like engaging the second gear to set the wheels of life to ascend the professional and personal trajectory. The twenties is more like living life in a laboratory where we are experimenting with the options given to us. Whereas, entering your thirties is the point where you gather all the experiences and set your course for the years ahead. Now, the thirties can be a difficult fork for many women, with respect to the possible negotiations that can present themselves both in a personal and professional capacity. Be it shattering the glass ceiling to handling family affairs, it can be a tumultuous experience.
In such circumstances, personal accounts can help lighten your burden, provide the much-needed guidance and most of all help you cope with the daily rigours of life. While there’s a hoard of books that you may have heard or are aware of, be it Sophia Amoruso's #GIRLBOSS, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, or Tina Fey’s Bossypants, or Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake, we try to focus on books which might not come to your attention. Keeping all these churns in mind, we’ve compiled a list of books that can help you through the grind and bring some calm in raging storm that life is.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Years preceding thirties are a time when we build our reserves to face every challenge thrown our way. Armed with grit and determination, we fight the butterfly in our stomachs with youthful panache. But the reserve can grow weary and by thirties, it may feel as if we are barely running on fumes. This is where Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance can be the reinforcement to turbocharge your way forward.
The book’s appeal resonates with women from every background and Duckworth provides for a very scholarly take on the throes that women encounter. On her thoughts about the book, Cassandra Campbell, Content Marketer, Shopify, said, “The people who ‘make it’ don't have always have the best ideas or the most resources. Instead, they keep working and making incremental improvements day after day—no matter what gets thrown at them. This is what Grit is all about. Angela Duckworth uses new research to explain why perseverance and focused learning are the keys to accomplishing greatness in any field. She doesn't just explain why this is true, she teaches readers how they can cultivate more grit in themselves and the people around them, too."
The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman share their experiences, and proof-points to substantiate their argument that confidence is the key to success and not so much competence. According to the book, lack of confidence in women is the key reason why the gender gap exists in the workplace. By thirties, both women and men begin their rounds in the high offices, but with the omnipresent glass ceiling the going is not the same for sects. An attempt to have a conversation about the gender gap, this book strives to rekindle the confidence that women need to deal with the labyrinth of the office space and politics.
“Combining cutting-edge research in genetics, gender, behavior, and cognition — with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women in politics, media, and business— Kay and Shipman go beyond admonishing women to "lean in." Instead, they offer the inspiration and practical advice women need to close the gap and achieve the careers they want and deserve.” - review on Goodreads
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
A personal memoir is always a tough nut to crack. But Shonda Rhimes is careful to draw the line between narcissism and providing self-help guidance. A self-made media personality, Rhimes has over the years juggled multiple roles such as a creator, head writer, and executive producer of popular shows on US television, to owning a production company. In the Year of Yes, she mentions her early years of “fearful introversion”, petrifying stage fright, fight with weight issues and extreme levels of cynicism. A self-help and guidance book, Years of Yes is not just a memoir but more along the lines of self-help book which implores readers to leave uncertainties behind and give life a chance.
“Year of Yes isn’t a memoir, not exactly – it’s something more on the order of self-help, or of a collection of motivational talks, or else the appealing blog of a very intelligent person who has done extremely interesting things with her life about which any self-respecting person has to be somewhat curious.” read a review by The Guardian.
Women with Wanderlust: A Guide to Roaming by Melissa D Jones
The thirties are ideal years for a revamp of life. And what’s better than traveling especially when you want to put a full stop and restart the narrative. Think of solo traveling and Eat, Pray, Love might be the first book that pops into your head, but not everyone doesn’t have the same level of financial liberty. This is where Melisa D Jones’s book provides an insight into the world of shoestring budget travel escapes. Women with Wanderlust deals with the fear women have of traveling solo among many other resourceful things that will help one with putting together a pocket-friendly travel plan.
Mistakes I Made at Work by Jessica Bacal
With Mistakes I Made at Work Jessica Bacal embarks on a journey to document anecdotes and life experiences of 25 influential women. In an interview, Bacal revealed the book looked to draw inspiration from successful women and how they fought off early mistakes in their lives (both professional and personal).
“I started to observe powerful women being asked the question, “Can you talk about mistakes you’ve made at work, and what you learned from it?” And I saw them unable when put on the spot, to answer that question in a satisfying way.” Bacal said.
Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Running by Lewis G Maharam
For a generation which idolises the theme “Work hard and party harder”, it is not surprising that many realise their body’s state of disrepair only after hitting their thirties. Well, for those who are looking to take stock of their health and take corrective measures (if needed), what better than running. Lewis G. Maharam’s Running Doc's Guide to Healthy Running sheds light on the holistic nature of the activity.
Be it getting back to jogging or getting a bit more serious about running and enrolling yourself in a marathon, keeping this book handy is going to help you deal with injuries.
“Being a startup founder is an immersed, adsorbent experience. I’ve found that the only viable strategy is to set definite times for myself (e.g. work out, walk my puppy) and treat those appointments with the same punctuality and attentiveness as you would a meeting with your advisors. Really. Don’t flake on yourself—you have one body and you need it to be healthy and happy to succeed.” - Caroline Ghosn, Co-Founder and CEO of The Levo League
Book lists are tough to compile and in case you are looking for some more inspiration check out #Girlboss, A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, The Best of Everything, and The Happiness Project. Hope this book list helps you introspect and take stock of the direction your life is headed. If you do have others recommendations, then do mention them in the comments section below.