5 Books that Keep Me Motivated

Five Motivational Books for Women

The feeling of motivation is fleeting. You can have a great conversation with a mentor and walk away ready to take on the world. You make plans and take action. But as time goes on the feeling dissipates.

Sometimes you can find ways to motivate yourself. And that’s great! Other times, you can read your “why” over and over and still not find the motivation. But don’t worry. I got you.

Whenever this happens to me, I take a break and pick up one of these five books. In no time, I’m itching to put the book down and get to work.

The Crossroads of Should and Must – Elle Luna

The self-help genre just came to me. Literally. This was my first self-help book. It was a graduation gift from my sister. And it was everything my unemployed, recent college graduate self needed.


The crossroads of should and must is a call to honor your passion.

It started as a blog post on Medium. And in five weeks, it was tweeted to over five million people and read by over a quarter-million readers.

First, it walks through the definitions of jobs, careers, and callings. Then, it explains the difference between “should” and “must” and where they come from. Finally, it helps readers define their passion and encourages them to follow it.


  • Acknowledge the gifts and talents you have been given
    • There’s no one else on this Earth who’s exactly like you.
  • The best way to honor your gifts and talents is to pursue them (or at the very least, share them with the world)
  • Sometimes, pursuing your passion means not following the crowd. And that’s okay!
  • Question your beliefs
    • Some of the beliefs we have were given to us by our parents, friends, experiences, and society. You need to decide which of these best serve you.

After reading this book, I felt so energized! I wanted to read more books like it. That’s how I happened upon this next book.

#Girlboss – Sophia Amoruso

There are so many golden nuggets in this book. Once you’ve read this book, all you have to do is flip open to the beginning of any chapter to feel motivated again.


This is a book about how Sophia Amoruso went from dumpster diver to Founder and CEO of a multi-million dollar company. In this book, Sophia shares key moments and events in her life that lead to her to create Nasty Gal, a company that specializes in fashion for young women.


  • Straight and narrow isn’t the only path to success
    • It’s okay to be different
  • When you accept yourself, magical things start happening:
    • You can play to your strengths
    • Make your weaknesses work for you. Not against you
    • Others will start accepting you too
  • When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, failure is not a possibility
  • The importance of intention setting
    • If you believe that what you’re doing will have positive results, it will
  • Chase after your passion. Not money.
  • Question everything
    • Especially the rules society implies we follow
  • Make money work for you
    • Sophia says that cash is king and that credit cards blow.
      • Although I do agree that we should make money work for us, I think using credit cards is one method. If you are unsure of whether or not to use credit, check out this blog post.
  • Always be grateful

You are a Badass – Jen Sincero

Out of all the books mentioned in the blog post, this book is the most different. It leans more toward the spiritual healing side of self-help. With a lot of self-help books leaning more toward businesses and career, I highly recommend giving this book a read.


You are a Badass is a book that teaches you how to become your own cheerleader through self-awareness and self-love.

It’s written by Jen Sincero who is an author, motivational speaker, and success coach.


  • Question all of your beliefs
  • The importance of meditation
    • Spirituality – You have to believe good things will happen in order for good things to happen
    • Be present- If you’re stuck in the past or future, you’ll miss all of the opportunities in front of you
  • Life turns into shit before it gets better
  • Be able to tell the difference between feedback and unnecessary criticism
  • Forgiveness is about you. Not the person you are forgiving.

Dare to Lead – Brene Brown

A coworker recommended this to me after I’d confided in her about what I was struggling with at work. This book taught me that everything I’d been feeling was something that people experienced everywhere. It made me feel understood and gave me the courage to be brave.


Dare to lead is a book about what it takes and looks like to be a leader in the workplace.

It’s written by Brene Brown, a research professor who studied vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.


  • There are two kinds of people – spectators and players. Spectators are people who sit and watch while players go out on a limb to make a difference.
    • You can’t judge from the stands because you have no idea what it takes to be in the game
    • When you’re in the game, you can’t let what people in the stands are saying for the exact same reason – they don’t know what it takes to be where you are.
  • Being vulnerable is not being weak
    • It takes courage to be vulnerable
  • The importance of self-compassion
    • When you put yourself in a vulnerable situation, chances are you will receive criticism. Self-compassion is important because it’s what helps you continue being vulnerable.
    • Believing we are enough is the key to being vulnerable. I am enough, I’ve had enough, being myself is enough.
  • How to identify a work environment motivated by fear and scarcity
    • When heart and emotion are seen as liabilities and reward stoicism
    • They value all-knowing instead of always learning and staying curious

Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis

Dare to Lead made me question the way I was being treated. Girl, Stop Apologizing helped me take action. After reading this book, I started working to be myself unapologetically.


Girl, Stop Apologizing is basically a myth-busting, actionable how-to book on embracing and achieving your goals.

It’s written by Rachel Hollis, an author, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and mother of four.


What I loved most about this book is that it was EVERYTHING I needed to hear. It explained a lot of the shame I was and am feeling, that I am not alone in feeling this way and that it’s okay to feel this way, and how to change my mindset. I also learned that I’m already taking the steps to do this.

  • I am enough to succeed
  • I can pursue my dream and still be a good employee/sister/daughter/girlfriend
  • Just because my passion is something that has been done before doesn’t mean I should stop pursuing it
  • Ask for and accept help
  • No is a full sentence
  • Don’t let what others think, talk you out of pursuing your passion

Thanks so much for giving this a read! I’d love to know which books get you motivated. Leave a comment below with the title and author of your favorite motivating book and how it keeps you motivated.

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    1. Mariam

      November 2, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Some great recommendations! I loved You Are A Badass, and Rachel Hollis’ first book. I do want to read Girl, Stop Apologizing soon, as well as #Girlboss! Totally up my alley. Thank you for sharing!

      1. Laurie Anne Nilo

        November 3, 2019 at 7:42 am

        So glad you found it helpful! I actually liked Girl, Stop Apologizing more than her first book. I highly recommend 🙂

    2. Kristen

      November 2, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Great book selection!! I have read the first two you talk about and they were very inspiring!

      1. Laurie Anne Nilo

        November 3, 2019 at 7:50 am

        Thanks! Yes. I feel like The Crossroads of Should and Must should be mandatory reading at some point in school.

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