It's no secret that I love books (one of my 40 After 40 goals is to read 52 books in a year) and I find few things more enjoyable than curling up and reading something new or revisiting the pages of an old favourite. Whether it's a business book, personal development guide, steamy romance, historical drama, or autobiography, I love diving in and discovering the secrets inside. And I'm not the only one, numerous articles on successful entrepreneurs of all ages point to the fact that most of them are big readers, they love to absorb knowledge and learn from others. And, whilst there are many great business books out there to read, if you want a successful business there are a few non-business books that I think every female entrepreneur over 40 should read if she wants to move to the next level both personally and in her business.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
There's so much emphasis in life, and business, on being busy, on hustling, and multi-tasking (none of which I actually think is necessary by the way) that this book is a breath of fresh air. It's a beautiful reminder to focus more on what really makes you happy, however small and simple. In a world that often celebrates being busy this book reminds us all to make happiness a priority above everything else.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
This book had a huge impact on my life, and the lessons within it, particularly around embracing vulnerability and realising that it is not a weakness but actually a great strength, are very powerful. Brene shares the beauty of being ourselves in a society that is constantly trying to make us compare ourselves (unfavourably) to eveyone else, and how when you 'let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are' your life and relationships shift to a whole new level.
The Optimised Woman by Miranda Gray
I think this book should be required reading for all women. It breaks down the way your moods and strengths shift during each menstrual cycle, and how to use that knowledge to live your best life. As Miranda says 'When we 'match the task to the time' we have the opportunity to excel beyond our expectations' - it is a really elightening read.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
It would be safe to say that I am far from the bravest person in the world, but my relationship with fear changed radically after reading this book and enabled me to step up in a way I had struggled to do previously. Whatever your particular fears are this book will shift your perspective and give you practical tools to start living the life you really want.
It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now by Barbara Sher
Full of wise words, inspiration and great advice, I think this book should be gifted to every woman on her 40th birthday as a reminder that's it's never too late to do what you want in life, you just have to start. It's only available second hand these days but I highly recommend grabbing a copy and then telling all your girlfriends about it!