7 Empowering Books Every Woman Should Read By The Time She's 30

by Niki McGloster

Most days, I stash "Women Who Run With Wolves" in my purse or keep "You Are A Badass" queued up on iBooks. When I need an extra confidence boost, invaluable lessons from these lady authors serve as a pick-me-up.

Throughout my 20s, I've had heartbreaking plot twists, professional pitfalls and a depressive phrase I could barely pull myself out of. When times get tough, I've learned to reach for motivation.

The heart-wrenching and hilarious experiences of women writers like Mindy Kaling and Mary Karr provide how-to guides to living boldly in the face of everything from a bad breakup to a bad hair day.

In two years I will hit the big 3-0, and I have no clue of what's ahead of me. But, with advice from women who triumphed and reached impressive heights of success, I feel more empowered to live, dream and grow into my own with every passing year.

Trust me, no woman has life all figured out. So, find solace in these lady literary reinforcements.

When you're searching for contentment, look to Mindy Kaling's personal experience: "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling

"Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling, $7, Amazon

In this collection of essays, the primetime funny-girl waxes poetic about weight loss and fickle friendships, poking fun at what Hollywood deems beautiful.

It's a series of vulnerable, coming-of-age events plenty of almost-30 women can relate to as we all struggle to cope with exes and professional compromises. Kaling might not have answers, but she dots her musings with punchy jokes to keep you from crying over your ex not calling back.


When you need to believe that anything is possible, count on Cupcake Brown for faith: "A Piece Of Cake: A Memoir" by Cupcake Brown

A Piece Of Cake by Cupcake Brown/Amazon

"A Piece Of Cake: A Memoir" by Cupcake Brown, $10, Amazon

By age 20, Cupcake Brown had survived an unfair share of devastating events, including childhood abuse, homelessness, prostitution and the death of her mother. But, this book isn't all heartbreaking lows. In fact, it's an unique coming-of-age story about beating the odds.

Despite Brown's rough beginnings, her trials and tribulations becomes refreshingly funny as she turns her life around. While her pitfalls alone can be an inspiration, it's Brown's determination and resilience that will teach you how to bounce back.


When you're afraid to ask for a helping hand, seek out tips from Amanda Palmer: "The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help" by Amanda Palmer

Amanda-Palmer.001The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer/Amazon

"The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help" by Amanda Palmer, $10, Amazon

We're all fearlessly independent women who don't need help, right? Amanda Palmer proves us wrong.

In 2012, the indie singer-songwriter broke away from her record label and asked fans for $100,000 via Kickstarter for her next project. Spoiler alert: She raised $1.2 million.

Using her own experiences for book inspo, Palmer outlines the emotional and psychological barriers of asking for help and what she learned by leaning on her community for support.

Sure, our 20s are largely about exploring life unattached from our parents, but living independently doesn't always mean flying solo. This book will challenge you to redefine the power of give and take.


When you're wondering what it's like to grow up, lean on Nora Ephron's insight: "I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman" by Nora Ephron

"I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman" by Nora Ephron, $7, Amazon

Ephron is a prime example that hindsight is 20/20.

With her intimate, candid account of getting older, the award-winning novelist gives a raw inside look into raising kids, cooking meals for one and the feeling that death is avoidable. It's full of dry humor, as Ephron reveals truths about life and serves up quotes you'll be dying to pin.

Maybe you can't see past the importance of Instagram likes and Bumble dates right now, but eventually you'll only be nostalgic for your 35-year-old body.


When you need a spiritual boost, trust Iyanla Vanzant to fix your life: "One Day My Soul Just Opened Up" by Iyanla Vanzant

One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth by Iyanla Vanzant/Amazon

"One Day My Soul Just Opened Up" by Iyanla Vanzant, $11, Amazon

Vanzant, that star of OWN's "Iyanla: Fix My Life," is that super-frank girlfriend who tells you to get your sh*t together, no matter how much you don't want to hear it. Based on her personal triumphs, Vanzant crafts daily meditations to help you become more self-aware and work toward the life you really want.

If you're confused about starting a business or trying to decide whether to ditch a bad friend, Vanzant's self-help work will be chicken soup for the soul.


When your life is headed in an unpredictable direction, rely on Mary Karr's candor to push you forward: "Now Go Out There: (and Get Curious)" by Mary Karr

Now Go Out There: (and Get Curious) by Mary Karr/Amazon

"Now Go Out There: (and Get Curious)" by Mary Karr, $6, Amazon

In 2015, Karr delivered a commencement speech at Syracuse University so moving its message became a must-have hardcover about being curious and dealing with setbacks.

Karr challenges men and women to be eager for mistakes, since life's greatest lessons are in broken hearts and the things that scare you most. When being a functioning adult starts to scare the sh*t out of you, Karr reminds you to stay eager about the possibilities of new experiences.


When you feel powerless, take notes from power pose queen, Amy Cuddy: "Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges" by Amy Cuddy

"Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges", $12, Amazon

What if feeling powerful was as simple as adjusting your body language?

Instead of feeling like regret after a failed presentation, Cuddy shows you how to present yourself boldly when facing new challenges and perform masterfully when the stakes are high, like during job interviews and difficult talks with your roommate.

Don't wait for the summer reading wave to snatch up these literary gems. Read these empowering books now to decide which ones you'll tuck away in your purse and revisit for a lifetime.