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Top 20 biographies about female entrepreneurs

We have compiled a list of highly successful female memoirs worth reading. In this list of top twenty biographies mentioned, are portraits of businesswomen who started their own business and also women who climbed the corporate ladder becoming CEOs.

If you find yourself stuck in your career or looking for a boost of motivation, look no further. You can now learn from high-achieving business ladies who have gone ahead of you.

Remember, if they can do it you can do it too!

1. A big life in advertising by Mary Wells Lawrence 

Mary Wells Lawrence is the first woman president of an advertising agency and the first female CEO of a company on the New York Stock Exchange. Lawrence shares her awe-inspiring story of how she was able to break barriers in the advertising world and became

a Madison Avenue legend. In her memoir, she also gives detailed insight on how she went on to eventually establish the fastest-growing ad agency in history.

This book is ideal for anyone looking to transition from corporate career to launching your own business.

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2. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business By Barbara Corcoran 

After failing at twenty-two jobs, Barbara Corcoran started a real estate business in New York City with $1,000 she borrowed from her boyfriend. Now her company is a $6 billion dollar business. In this book, she explains how exactly she did it by being resourceful.

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3. Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

In Girl Boss, Sophia Amoruso explains her remarkable journey from transitioning from a rebellious teenager to becoming a notable female entrepreneur. She founded Nasty Gal, an online American retailer that generated $100 million dollars in a short time frame.

This book will remind you that you don’t need seed capital to succeed; you only need drive, determination and wit.

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4. The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It into a Global Brand by Pamela Skaist-Levy, Gela Nash-Taylor

Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor became friends while working together at an LA boutique. They came up with a bold idea to launch a business providing comfortable, fitted T-shirts after they were unable to find the perfect T-shirt. The business partner set up shop in Gela’s one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood with $200, the project became Juicy Couture.

Pam and Gela went on to sell their company to Liz Claiborne for $50 million.

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5. Tiger Woman on Wall Street: Winning Business Strategies from Shanghai to New York and Back by Juheng Li

Junheng Li shares her remarkable journey from her childhood of dreaming about America and working on Wall Street. Li was the epitome of a Chinese tiger daughter, were striving for greatness was a way of life. At age three her father drilled her on her multiplication tables. Decades later she realised her dreams as becoming a player in the global business world.

Juheng Li now runs JL Warren Capital LLC, an independent equity research firm.

This book will encourage you to discipline yourself more.

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6. My Journey by Donna Karan

In ‘My Journey’, renowned designer Donna Karan recites her story from living a lonely childhood to building DKNY into a fashion powerhouse. She tells her journey from humble beginnings in the fashion industry working for Anne Klien before launching her label.

Karan story proves that with focus and relentless passion anyone can become a success.

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7. In My Shoes by Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon is a successful British fashion designer. She reveals how she was able to transition from her career as a British Vogue editor into launching one of the world’s most successful ready-to-wear shoe companies. In her memoir, Mellon breaks down how she was able to convince Mr Jimmy Choo to start the business with her.

Jimmy Choo is now a household name, and Mellon is worth a whopping GBP220 million.

This book will encourage you to constantly look for opportunities as well as think outside the box.

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8. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is a technology executive and the chief operating officer of Facebook. In this book, you will discover the principles and values that made her rank on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

In Lean In, Sandberg shares her insight on a broad range of subjects relating to business from balancing work with family, negotiating tactics and tips on how to advance in your career. One of the main messages she pushes in this book is for women to abandon the myth of “having it all”.

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9. Miracles Happen by Mary Kay 

Mary Kay Ash is arguably one of the most famous and flamboyant businesswomen in American history. In her memoir, she describes how she was able to launch the Mary Kay cosmetic line with $5,000 investment from her oldest son. In this book she gives an account of her life philosophy, including her formula for success – God first, family second and career third.

When Ash’s death, Mary Kay Cosmetics had over 800,000 representatives in 37 countries.

Reading ‘Miracles Happen’ will give you vital secrets on how to motivate your staff to work hard for you.

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10. My Fight to the Top by Michelle Mone 

In ‘My Fight to the Top’, Michelle Mone reveals her rise of overcoming poverty on the rough streets of north-west Scotland to becoming a mover and shaker in the world of business.

Mone is the founder of Ultimo, a lingerie company and she is worth $60 million.

If there is one word that describes Michelle Mone, it’s ‘determined.’

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11. Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! Make Your Million-Dollar Idea into a Reality By Lori Greiner

Lori Greiner gives an account of how she was able to rise as one of America s most successful entrepreneurs through sheer hard work, perseverance and innovation.

In this book, Greiner explains step-by-step ways on how to create a product from scratch and how to quickly get it into the market.

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12. By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop by Alexis Maybank

In 2007, Alexis Maybank, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, and three colleagues started Gilt, a fashion brand that is valued at more than $1 billion. Their grand idea began when the founders listed sample sales online, changing the way millions shop. In ‘By Invitation Only’ the Glit owners’ reveal how their desire to change the rules of retail motivated them propelled them forward.

This book will remind you that the fastest way to get recognised in the business world is to disrupt your industry.

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13. Bold as Brass: My Story by Hilary Devey

Hilary Devey built her freight distribution company, Pall-Ex, which today has an annual turnover of £100 million. In ‘Bold as Brass’ she describes her intense story. At an early age, Devey watched her father fall into bankruptcy. She vowed not to follow in his footsteps. Her story is a true rag to riches tale; from living to survive, at one point, she was so financially broke she couldn’t afford to give her son a dinner at Christmas.

Her desperation of escaping financial lack drove her to set up a business and become financially independent.

This book will remind you that there is light at the end of the tunnel if only you never give up.

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14. Common Sense Rules: What you need to know about business by Deborah Meaden

Dragons’ Den investor and successful entrepreneur Debra Meaden opens up about her life story. She writes about how her desire to be financially independent pushed her to move to Italy at age 19 and set up a glass and ceramics export agency. Although her business ventured failed after 18 months, she refused to be discouraged.

In 1988 she joined her family holiday park business in the leisure industry and eventually expanded and became a multi-millionaire in the process.

This book will inspire you to focus on giving the best customer service.

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15. Business As Unusual: My Entrepreneurial Journey, Profits With Principles – Anita Roddick  

Dame Anita Roddick was one of the world’s most prolific social entrepreneurs of the age. In Business As Usual, she opens up about her epic journey into starting the organic beauty and skin care company, The Body Shop.

This book will inspire you to use your business as a platform to change the world for the better.

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16. Twist of Faith: The Story of Anne Beiler, Founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels by Anne Beiler

Anne Beiler’s story is a testament that we can all overcome obstacles in life. She shares the adversity she faced beyond the world of business from dealing with the death of her youngest daughter to struggling with depression.

She also reveals how she founded Auntie Anne’s, Inc., the world’s largest mall-based pretzel franchise with nothing but an 8th-grade Amish education.

Beiler credits her success to her Christian faith and describes how the values helped her to rise above her challenges.

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17. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs By Grace Bonney

The Company of Women profiles over 100 influential and creative women from a diverse range of backgrounds, races and industries.

This book will remind you that there are more than a million ways to get to your destinations.

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18. Jo Malone: My Story By Jo Malone

Jo Malone is a British entrepreneur who created a successful beauty business. Malone shares in vivid details how she was able to overcome obstacles from battling with dyslexia and leaving school with no qualifications.

The emotional aspect of her journey is when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the tender age of 37 and was told she only had nine months to live. Thank God, she survived.

In 2006 she sold the original Jo Malone brand to the Estee Lauder Corporation.

These books will inspire you to overcome adversity and challenges in life.

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19. Tough Choices: A Memoir by Carly Fiorina

In Tough Choice, Carly Fiona shares her experience of leading Hewlett-Packard during the worst technology slump in decades. In the brink of HP turning around positively, Fiorina was fired. In this memoir, she opens up about how she dealt with the pressure of running a Fortune 500 company and how she was able to successful mitigate internal changes in the organisation.

This book is ideal for women executives dealing with stress within the corporate environment.

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20. A Natural Woman: A Memoir By Carole King

Carole King pens down her rise from her early beginnings in Brooklyn, to her achievement as one of the world’s most acclaimed songwriting and performing talents of all time. Although Carole King is not an entrepreneur, she still exhibits the characteristics of one, including being consistent and mastering one’s craft.

Her story is a reminder that perfecting your skills can move mountains.

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