These books by women entrepreneurs can spark the entrepreneurial drive within you

From the story of Theobroma to The Body Shop, the stories of the women behind these ventures are truly motivational.

Women entrepreneurs have been inspirational not because they are women but because of their achievements. Though entrepreneurship is gender-agnostic, the road to success for women entrepreneurs is often different from that of male entrepreneurs. 

From social constraints to multi-tasking, women entrepreneurs overcome multiple barriers. Some inspirational entrepreneurs have penned down their stories which have turned into guides for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

HerStory compiled a list of books by women entrepreneurs that are a must-read. In the lockdown, these books can help entrepreneurs build strategies and take lessons to tide them over the difficulties that coronavirus might have caused. 

Baking a Dream: The Theobroma Story by Kainaz Messman Harchandrai and Tina Messman Wykes

Theobroma brownies are now part of India’s favourite desserts. The Messman sisters, Kainaz and Tina began baking from what was a doctor’s clinic and have turned the business into a multi-million dollar venture with over 50 outlets. Their book serves as a guide to other entrepreneurs on starting up and scaling their ventures.

Though business was in their blood, building Theobroma into a successful company from one small bakery was not easy. The book outlines their journey and offers a no-holds-barred look at the challenges of working with family.

Talking about growth, Kainaz told HerStory in an earlier interview,

“Prepare for growth before growing. This is incredibly hard to do; you have to invest time and resources to get ready for the size you want to be. Invest in procedures, processes, controls, people; to build a beautiful company, you require a rock-solid foundation.”

Such lessons are what entrepreneurs can take from the book.

‘Lady, You’re the Boss’ by Apurva Purohit

In a sequel to her first book Lady, You’re Not A Man’, Apurva Purohit dives into her personal experiences to help women deal with discrimination at the workplace. The President of the multi-media conglomerate Jagran Group, reveals how women minimise themselves, suffer from the imposter syndrome, and settle for less. 

Taking cues from her over three-decades-long career, Apurva suggests ways of overcoming these issues and clearing the path towards personal and professional success. She presents an essential action plan for women where she urges them to believe in themselves, resist stereotypes, and call out biases. Her book is essentially a guide on how to realise your full potential to move forward in life, and at the workplace.

In this book, she addresses women who have stayed the course and moved up in their respective fields. This is because she discovered that women face a different set of challenges and biases as they progress up the corporate ladder or proceed to reinvent themselves at a later stage in their lives.

‘Shark Tales: How I Turned $1000 into a Billion Dollar Business’ by Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran’s rags to riches story is truly inspirational for every entrepreneur. She narrates the story of her success, starting from a tiny real estate office to being an investor on hit show Shark Tank. The road to success had a lot of bumps in the beginning. She quit more than 22 jobs, worked as a waitress, and was nearly broke when she met her then real estate partner and boyfriend from whom she borrowed $1000. 

With $1000, she has now built a $6 billion business and helps other entrepreneurs reach new heights with her investments and strong business acumen. In the book, she details the mistakes women can make and shares lessons on life and business.  She reveals her unconventional approach to business, the lessons she took from each failure, and how she applied it to her eventual business.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg 

Every entrepreneur must have read her first book, Lean In – a holy grail for women in the workplace. Her second book, a part memoir, part research, Option B was written after she lost her husband and the certainty that she would never feel joy again. After her husband’s sudden death, she made herself and her grief public. She became a voice of resilience and helped others in moving on from grief.

Sheryl, with the help of her friend Adam Grant’s life-changing research, began to piece her life back together. This experience detailed in the book is a testament that resilience is not an inherent quality but rather a muscle that only develops with repeated use. A guide to anyone who is facing a crisis, in life or business, her story allows one to connect with the solutions that she provides in times of crisis and grief. 

Body and Soul: Profits With Principles by Anita Roddick ​

In times where social entrepreneurship and business with a conscience are more popular than ever, one must read the autobiography of Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop. This British entrepreneur, human rights activist and environmental campaigner built a business with principles in the 1970s when many were just running behind profits. 

Her book serves as a manual for every entrepreneur who wishes to start a business that won't just make money but will also make the world a better place. She started The Body Shop in Brighton in 1976 with $8,000 in borrowed money, and produced 25 products. Today, the company has over 2,500 stores worldwide.

Anita tells her story and reveals her unconventional views on hype, greed, caring, and communion in this provocative and funny tale. 

(Edited by Kanishk Singh)


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