Aiming for Success: New Books for Women in Leadership

Center for Values-Driven Leadership Leadership

Editor’s Note: Last December, we asked leadership experts Dr. Tracey Cantarutti and Dr. Marie Di Virgilio to suggest some of their “must reads” for women in leadership. Their book list became one of our most popular posts of the year. This month we asked Cantarutti to add to our library with new books for women – or anyone – who wants to develop their leadership capacity. Her response is below.

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By Tracey Cantarutti, Ph.D. 

The books I have enjoyed in 2014 reflect a maturing view of how women achieve true success in life and leadership. In the words of Arianna Huffington, “the way we’ve defined success is not enough.” 

Defining success by money and power may work, but only in the short term.  Perhaps this is the realization of not only the aging baby boomers, but of the oldest of the Generation X’ers, now completing their 40’s.

After surviving a health scare, Huffington reflects on how chasing career success can drive us to stress and burn out that effects our health and well-being.   Her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder offers daily practices, tools, and techniques to help us reconnect and become more resonant leaders.

I also enjoyed J.T. Gilhool’s Sheryl Sandberg, China & Me (2013 by Pink Streak Inc.), which examines current data on the challenges of women in the work place through the experiences of a woman who “leaned in” and made some tough decisions about life and work.

Two other authors offer some prescriptions for finding balance while working:

In addition to expanding our definition of success, a topic that will no doubt be found in seminars in 2015 is women and confidence.  “Success correlates more strongly with confidence rather than competence,” say Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (authors of Womenomics) in their book  The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What women Should Know.  (2014 by Summary Station).

Perhaps these two topics – women and confidence, and what true success looks like – are more related than it seems at first. Certainly, it takes confidence to pursue a career in leadership; rising through the ranks requires an abundance of confidence, or at least the ability to manufacture the appearance of confidence. But then, some of the most confident leaders I know personally are people who lead with a sense of meaning and purpose that extends beyond money and power. All leaders – female or male – will do well to learn this lesson.

Dr. Tracey L. Cantarutti is an executive coach and President of  TLC Leadership Options, Inc., whose mission is to help organizations equip their leaders for success. She can be reached at


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