Being a woman, and a successful one requires inspiration. We believe the stories that inspired our women will inspire you as well, regardless of your gender. That is why, on this International Women's Day, we are sharing the books that encouraged our female Professors and Executives.
Reading time: 4 minutes
On March 8, we are sharing 8 books that inspired, at least, 8 women.
1. A Life by Simone Veil
Recommended by Catherine da Silveira - Faculty member at Nova WPP Digital Week
Simone Veil was the first woman to be nominated President of the European Union. In this book, Simone shares her own story that goes back to her happy childhood in Nice and moves towards the time that her family spent on concentration camps. Written in the first person, the book is also about her successful career in politics and how she fought to improve the social standards in France and to legalize abortion.
She is undoubtedly one of the most respected figures in politics and her life is an example of personal and political courage that both men and women should admire.
2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Recommended by Lorraine Steele - Faculty member at 1010: Human & Artificial Intelligence
At the heart of Cain’s book lies a timely and powerful message. The message about valuing diversity: diversity of thought, diversity of behaviors, diversity of expression. She encourages acceptance of all styles.
Well researched and filled with examples and testimonials . Cain is extremely thorough. It is refreshing to know that there is room for introverts and their value in a world that seems to be dominated by extroverts.
3. La Senora by Catherine Clément
Recommended by Alexandra Abreu Loureiro - Scientific Coordinator at Corporate Communication Program and Invited Executive at Corporate Governance: Boards Leadership
In this historical novel, french author Catherine Clément portrays the story of one of the most admired women in history, Gracia Nasi. In the heart of the 16th century, the Western world was characterized by religious hatred and political crisis. In the midst of that turbulent era, Gracia defied the established order and organized escape routes for the victims of persecution by promoting the exodus of the Jewish community from Lisbon to Antwerp, Ferrara and Constantinople.
Gracia Nasi became a legend and an idol for women around the world. This book pays a tribute to her life and guide us through a story of humanity, courage and intelligence.
4. Marie Curie: Against the Odds by Claire Throp
Recommended by Maria João Major - Scientific Coordinator at Post-Graduate Program in Management Control & Value Creation
This book marked my life. It's Marie Curie's story, the woman who conducted pioneering research in radioactivity and its potential in cancer treatment. She was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel prize in a time when science was "not for women".
It's a book about fighting prejudice and a win-win end for women and science.
5. A Woman's Worth by Marianne Williamson
Recommended by Constança Casquinho - Faculty member at Customized Programs from Nova SBE Executive Education
Marianne is an inspiration for both men and women around the world, but this book is a call for female willpower. In a world where feminism is encouraged, there are still too many women who let themselves be defeated by low self-esteem, lack of a support system or stereotypes. Too many are held back by fear of having their ambition confused with greed and by prejudice.
Williamson explores, therefore, concepts like beauty, age, relationships, motherhood and career, while advising women to find a place where they feel respected and admired, before attempting to conquer the world.
6. Winter's Tales by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
Recommended by Antonieta Cunha e Sá - Faculty member at Post-Graduate Program in Economics
This book has a special place in my heart. It is a collection of tales and a journey through emotional discovery, written by Karen Blixen, under the alias Isak Dinesen.
Karen was born in Denmark, studied in Copenhagen, Paris and Rome, and managed a coffee plantation in Kenya. Upon her return to Denmark, she found an Europe hunted by Nazis and decided to write this book. One that is filled with thrilling and dark tales that guide us through mysterious places, while making us feel every story.
7. 10 Must Reads on Leadership: Lessons from Sports published by Harvard Business Review
Recommended by Filipa Caldeira - Scientific Coordinator at Doing Digital
Leading yourself is even harder than leading others, but one must start with the former.
This book is a collection of stories and inspiring talks with athletes, coaches, record-breakers, team players and men and women who thrived. Their ideas, mentality and strength is, at least, inspiring. I hope they inspire you as well.
8. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Recommended by the female staff at Nova SBE Executive Education
This little book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie should be mandatory reading.
Nowadays, the word "feminist" is getting so many antibodies that it is losing its real meaning. Chimamanda argues, however, that we should all be feminists while supporting her view with episodes from her past. The Nigerian reality may (fortunately?) look more shocking than Portugal's when one talks about gender discrimination, but the book raises important questions.
A big part of the problem is not thinking about gender or care to notice the differences; a big part of the problem is not working actively to improve, while justifying indifference with the idea that inequality was even worse a few years ago, so today we are "ok". But, are we? In 2019, in Portugal, the domestic violence victims' list is still going up, while judges use the morality of an adulterous woman to justify the crime.
It was the conference We should all be feminists that named the book. If you don't have the opportunity to read her words, listen to them.