Must-Read Business, Self-Help, Feminist, and Historical Books by Black Women Authors
Hello Creative Superstars,
I’ve created a list of some fantastic business, self-help, and history books by black women authors. As I mentioned in the Black Women-Owned Businesses and Why You Should Support Them post, building wealth and influence is one of the many steps we as women, in particular BIPOC women, can take to begin to create a world that is equal for all.
This is by no means an all-encompassing list! I didn’t include for example some of my favs like Becoming by Michelle Obama or Year of Yes by Shanda Rhimes (well, I guess I just did, but you know I mean). So please feel free to add additional books in the comments. I want to get you started with supporting and reading from some amazing black women authors.
Also, please show your support by also purchasing these books from black bookstores or directly from the author.
Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible
by Yomi Adegoke + Elizabeth Uviebinené
From education to work to dating, this inspirational, honest and provocative book recognizes and celebrates the strides black women have already made, while providing practical advice for those who want to do the same and forge a better, visible future.
Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves
by Glory Edim
Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives—but not everyone regularly sees themselves in the pages of a book. In this timely anthology, Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black women writers to shine a light on how important it is that we all—regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability—have the opportunity to find ourselves in literature.
90 Days to C.E.O: A Guide To Avoid Business Pitfalls And Unlock The Secrets Of Entrepreneurship
by Rochelle Graham-Campbell
Like so many of us, Rochelle Graham-Campbell was a broke college student working multiple jobs to make ends meet. From working at a local nursing home and delivering newspapers to waitressing at Olive Garden by night, her entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well. After Rochelle’s “big chop” in 2008, it was this same spirit that led her to make and sell her own natural hair care products when the market let her down. From a tiny bathroom in her college apartment, Rochelle began filming her haircare journey, soon becoming one of the pioneers of natural hair vlogging on YouTube.
Prompted by dozens of women inspired by her hair growth, Rochelle realized her calling. With just $100 in tips from a night of waitressing, she bought the first set of bottles and ingredients to formulate her own products. These kitchen concoctions soon became Alikay Naturals, Rochelle’s solution to beauty without compromise. From humble beginnings, Alikay has blossomed into a wildly successful bootstrapped business now sold in Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Kroger, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and top beauty supply stores and salons across twenty-two countries. Now in her tenth year of business, Rochelle shares her journey from server to beauty founder and breaks down the mindset behind her success. Covering the hustle, self-care, and purpose beyond profit, 90 Days to C.E.O is a comprehensive no-BS guide to starting and running a successful business.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)
by Elaine Welteroth
Throughout her life, Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change-makers.
Small Doses: Potent Truths for Everyday Use
by Amanda Seales
Comedian, writer, actress, and social media star Amanda Seales is a force of nature who has fearlessly and passionately charted her own course through life and career. Now, in her one-of-a-kind voice that blends academic intellectualism, Black American colloquialisms, and pop culture fanaticism, she’s bringing her life’s lessons and laughs to the page. This volume of essays, axioms, original illustrations, and photos provides Seales’s trademark “self-help from the hip” style of commentary, fueled by ideology formed from her own victories, struggles, research, mistakes, risks, and pay-offs. Unapologetic, fiercely funny, and searingly honest, Small Doses engages, empowers, and enlightens readers on how to find their truths while still finding the funny!
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
by Issa Rae
In this universally accessible New York Times bestseller named for her wildly popular web series, Issa Rae—“a singular voice with the verve and vivacity of uncorked champagne” (Kirkus Reviews)—waxes humorously on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits and black as cool.
Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was, and Who God Has Always Been
by Jackie Hill Perry
In Gay Girl, Good God, author Jackie Hill Perry shares her own story, offering practical tools that helped her in the process of finding wholeness. Jackie grew up fatherless and experienced gender confusion. She embraced masculinity and homosexuality with every fiber of her being. She knew that Christians had a lot to say about all of the above. But was she supposed to change herself? How was she supposed to stop loving women, when homosexuality felt more natural to her than heterosexuality ever could?
Fully Booked: The Hair Stylist’s Guide to Building a Client Attraction System That Works!
by Marquetta Breslin
Fully Booked reveals a comprehensive plan for building a system to attract a steady stream of high-quality clients. Instead of chasing clients like most stylists do, use this system to bring them right to your doorstep! Not only will you discover how to attract more clients, but you’ll also discover how to attract the best clients. These clients are willing to pay above-average fees and are “pre-sold” on the idea that you are the best stylist for them.
Thick: And Other Essays
by Tressie McMillan Cottom
In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically “thick”: deemed “thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,” McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work. Thick “transforms narrative moments into analyses of whiteness, black misogyny, and status-signaling as means of survival for black women” (Los Angeles Review of Books) with “writing that is as deft as it is amusing” (Darnell L. Moore).
Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, with Documents
by Deborah Gray White, Mia Bay, Waldo E. Martin Jr.
Telling the African American story within the larger context of US history, Freedom on My Mind takes you through significant points in time from the slave trade to the present, encouraging you to carefully analyze source material.
Dear Black Men
by Jewel Guy
Dear Black Men gives Black men the opportunity to reflect and express without interruption or judgment. It is an opportunity for Black men to be heard and understood. It is a journey to create empathy while dispelling the lies, assumptions, and uncommunicated expectations that are often placed on Black men. Dear Black Men is a mirror. A window into our souls. It requires us to ask the hard questions, place ourselves in a Black man’s shoes, listen to understand, acknowledge our behavior, atone for our short-sightedness, and begin again with clarity and true understanding. This book is a catalyst for establishing healthy relationships with the men so many of us say we love.
Bad Feminist: Essays
by Roxane Gay
A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay. In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.
Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights
by Mikki Kendall
The ongoing struggle for women’s rights has spanned human history, touched nearly every culture on Earth, and encompassed a wide range of issues, such as the right to vote, work, get an education, own property, exercise bodily autonomy, and beyond. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women’s rights from antiquity to the modern era.
In addition, this compelling book illuminates the stories of notable women throughout history–from queens and freedom fighters to warriors and spies–and the progressive movements led by women that have shaped history, including abolition, suffrage, labor, civil rights, LGBTQ liberation, reproductive rights, and more. Examining where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going, Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is an indispensable resource for people of all genders interested in the fight for a more liberated future.
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America
by Morgan Jerkins
From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today—perfect for fans of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.
The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table
by Minda Harts
Most business books provide a one-size-fits-all approach to career advice that overlooks the unique barriers that women of color face. In The Memo, Minda Harts offers a much-needed career guide tailored specifically for women of color.
Drawing on knowledge gained from her past career as a fundraising consultant to top colleges across the country, Harts now brings her powerhouse entrepreneurial experience as CEO of The Memo to the page. With wit and candor, she acknowledges “ugly truths” that keep women of color from having a seat at the table in corporate America. Providing straight talk on how to navigate networking, office politics, and money, while showing how to make real change to the system, The Memo offers support and long-overdue advice on how women of color can succeed in their careers.
I’m Judging You
by Luvvie Ajayi
With over 500,000 readers a month at her enormously popular blog, AwesomelyLuvvie.com, Luvvie Ajayi is a go-to source for smart takes on pop culture. I’m Judging You is her debut book of humorous essays that dissects our cultural obsessions and calls out bad behavior in our increasingly digital, connected lives. It passes on lessons and side-eyes on life, social media, culture, and fame, from addressing those terrible friends we all have to serious discussions of race and media representation to what to do about your fool cousin sharing casket pictures from Grandma’s wake on Facebook.
I’m Rising: Determined. Confident. Powerful.
by Michelle G. Stradford
Take back your Power, your Glorious and Rise! “I’m Rising” is an empowering self-love poetry book that re-ignites our drive to become the best version of ourselves. It encourages us to face and conquer our fears and pain to build inner strength and resilience. The powerful prose urges us to own and celebrate our power, with a call to action to harness our self-confidence to achieve the goals we were destined to shatter.
With messages applicable to both women and men, these words inspire us all to stretch and grow to our fullest potential. Parts of this book were written over the last several years while the Me-Too movement was taking shape. During that time, the author relived both the personal and professional abuses of power many of us have faced. She forced herself to process the frustrations, sense of betrayal, and feelings of helplessness to understand both the life-long impact and the lessons they offered before she could move past them.
Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Power
by Lalah Delia
Vibrating higher daily is about making intentional day-to-day choices that lift us out of mindsets, habits, and lifestyles that don’t serve us and into ones that do. This book is an invitation to engage with everything that feeds our soul and raises our vibration, and to simultaneously let go of the things bringing our energy down. Through poetry, mantras, and affirmations, Lalah Delia empowers us to live with higher potential and quality of being.
The Money Manual: A Practical Money Guide to Help You Succeed On Your Financial Journey
by Tonya B Rapley
All you need is information designed for you that empowers you to take action. The Money Manual was designed to help you cut through the clutter that often leads to feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
In this book you will learn:
- How to manage your money without feeling overwhelmed
- A simple method for creating and implementing achievable financial goals.
- Ways to use money as a tool to improve your life.
- The best way for you to tackle financial basics such as budgeting, saving, improving or building credit, and eliminating debt.
- How to navigate your student loan debt, understand your rights, and determine the best payment strategies available to you.
It’s time you move from financially insecure to secure.
The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care
by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy
The Science of Black Hair is the ultimate consumer textbook on black hair care. Technically oriented and detailed throughout, this book was written with the serious hair care consumer in mind. Hair science, research and testimony combine in this carefully written text designed to examine black hair on a deeper level. With its light academic style it is truly the last hair book you ll ever need.
I hope you enjoyed this list. Please show your support by purchasing my new digital journal: The Life Cleanse:
The Life Cleanse Journal (Digital Edition)
by Nache Snow
This digital journal was created to help you gain a better understanding of who you are and what you want out of life by asking you personal questions in 10 categories: personal growth, health, relationships, family, finance, career, home, creative passion, adventure, and the future. Gaining insight about YOU in any aspect of your life will help you identify patterns that can lead to actions.
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