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Great Books By Black Women About Self Discovery To Help You Live Out Loud

Living Out Loud has been one of my mantras for several years. I believe that every human being deserves to live life the way they see fit and to do so unapologetically. Of course, that presupposes they’re not a predator of some time. I kid! Honestly, though, I believe that most people are good and that most people only seek to add value to the world by being the best versions of themselves. However, we live in a world where for many of us the game is rigged and the obstacles that are put in front of us are often piled so high that they make us shrink. We shrink into respectability, we let others define our place, and worse yet we lose our voice and with it our agency.

For women, especially Black women, our place is often that of nurturer. We are to define ourselves in relation to our ability to take care of others. We are to see ourselves based on how others see us, how pretty we are, how likable we are, how well-behaved we are. For far too many of us we find that we spend much of our lives with no one truly asking us (and wanting to hear the honest answer) what is it that we want. What will make us happy? How do we choose to define ourselves? What path do we want to take?

I’m a big believer in reading for growth. Mindset is everything when it comes to crafting your life and undoing the suffocating lessons learned from our society, our family, our culture, and other influences require repetitive reinforcement of counter-messaging. However, it’s much easier to absorb a message when the speaker is one who knows your struggle, one who has walked a similar path to your own, and one who can easily identify with your journey.

For that reason, I present to you, five great self-help books written by Black women. These books are all powerful testimonies embedded with invaluable insights and lessons to help you live the life you want, and to live it out loud!

Books By Black Women Productivity Mindset Success DG Speaks - Mercedes Diane Griffin Forbe
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Get Over ‘I Got It’: How to Stop Playing Superwoman, Get Support, and Remember That Having It All Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Alone by Elayne Fluker

Synopsis:

Too many ambitious women strive to accomplish all their goals alone, leading to dangerous levels of stress and anxiety. Learn how a strong support network and meaningful connections are crucial not only to your long-term success, but to your peace of mind.

Today’s women are ambitious and excelling in every way. But many still believe that asking for help along the journey is a sign of weakness, ignorance, or incompetence, so they go it alone.

Author and podcaster Elayne Fluker believes this mindset is partially responsible for the increase in suicide rates for girls and women and the reason so many women end up depressed, overwhelmed, isolated and unfulfilled. To combat this alarming trend, Fluker helps women learn how to build their own networks, make meaningful connections, and understand how even some of the most successful women in the world, like Oprah Winfrey and Spanx founder Sara Blakely, had tremendous support networks that helped them achieve their dreams.

Get Over “I Got It”:

Shares the lessons Fluker learned throughout her own struggles with learning how to ask for and accept support.

Provides anecdotes from women professionals, interviews with health professionals, and current research demonstrating the tangible ways women can ditch the dangerous go-it-alone philosophy.

Offers proven, real-world ways for women to embrace the proven health and career benefits of a stronger-together approach.

Ultimately, this book helps women overcome their psychological hurdles to asking for help, giving them a surefire strategy—and the confidence—to seek support. They’ll then be positioned to join other women’s support networks, uplifting them in a way that will transform both individual lives and communities.

Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

Synopsis:

New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the 2015 WOMEN’S WAY Book Prize • Goodreads Best of 2014 Semi-Finalist • Books for a Better Life Award Finalist • Lambda Literary Award Finalist • Time Magazine “30 Most Influential People on the Internet” • American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book


In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.

It’s About Time: The Art of Choosing the Meaningful Over the Urgent by Valorie Burton

Synopsis:

Discover the eternal value of your finite time—and intentionally choose the meaningful over the urgent every single day.

Our culture makes it so that even the most organized and efficient among us feels the pressure of the ticking clock and the possibility and regret of missing out. Modern life has evolved in a way that sets us up for stress, pressure, and overload. New norms and attitudes tap into deeply-wired psychological impulses that make it harder than ever to take control of your time. Many of us also have innate personality traits that make the struggle even worse.

No wonder time can become a tyrant that leaves us chronically stressed and discontented. Unlock an approach to life that bestselling author Valorie Burton calls “living timelessly.” You will come to understand

1)    the gradual changes that have led us to a place where having too much to do and too little time to do it is the norm,

2)    the vision for what it could look like if you were free from the stress of time and how to blast through the obstacles to those possibilities, and

3)    the practical steps to choosing the meaningful over the urgent so that your life is unhurried yet purposeful and reflects the values and impact that are unique to you.

It’s About Time helps you reimagine a life that is meaningful, at a pace that is natural, with a load that is doable and equips you with the tools to make it happen. 

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth

Synopsis:

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

WINNER OF THE 2020 NAACP IMAGE AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORK — BIOGRAPHY/AUTOBIOGRAPHY

NOW OPTIONED FOR DEVELOPMENT AS A TV SERIES BY PARAMOUNT TELEVISION STUDIOS AND ANONYMOUS CONTENT

“The millennial Becoming . . . Inspiring and empowering.” —Entertainment Weekly

“An essential read for women in the workplace today.” —Refinery29

Part-manifesto, part-memoir, from the revolutionary editor who infused social consciousness into the pages of Teen Vogue, an exploration of what it means to come into your own—on your own terms

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.

Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. As a young boss and often the only Black woman in the room, she’s had enough of the world telling her—and all women—they’re not enough. As she learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we’re ultimately reminded that we’re more than enough.

It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage by Arlan Hamilton

Synopsis:

“A hero’s tale of what’s possible when we unlock our potential, continue the search for knowledge, and draw on our lived experiences to guide us through the darkest moments.”—Stacey Abrams

From a black, gay woman who broke into the boys’ club of Silicon Valley comes an empowering guide to finding your voice, working your way into any room you want to be in, and achieving your own dreams.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FORTUNE

In 2015, Arlan Hamilton was on food stamps and sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco airport, with nothing but an old laptop and a dream of breaking into the venture capital business. She couldn’t understand why people starting companies all looked the same (white and male), and she wanted the chance to invest in the ideas and people who didn’t conform to this image of how a founder is supposed to look. Hamilton had no contacts or network in Silicon Valley, no background in finance—not even a college degree. What she did have was fierce determination and the will to succeed.

As much as we wish it weren’t so, we still live in a world where being underrepresented often means being underestimated. But as someone who makes her living investing in high-potential founders who also happen to be female, LGBTQ, or people of color, Hamilton understands that being undervalued simply means that a big upside exists. Because even if you have to work twice as hard to get to the starting line, she says, once you are on a level playing field, you will sprint ahead. 

Despite what society would have you believe, Hamilton argues, a privileged background, an influential network, and a fancy college degree are not prerequisites for success. Here she shares the hard-won wisdom she’s picked up on her remarkable journey from food-stamp recipient to venture capitalist, with lessons like“The Best Music Comes from the Worst Breakups,” “Let Someone Shorter Stand in Front of You,” “The Dangers of Hustle Porn,”and“Don’t Let Anyone Drink Your Diet Coke.” Along the way, she inspires us all to defy other people’s expectations and to become the role models we’ve been looking for.

Praise for It’s About Damn Time

“Reading Arlan Hamilton’s It’s About Damn Time is like having a conversation with that frank, bawdy friend who somehow always manages to make you laugh, get a little emo, and, ultimately, think about ­­the world in a different way. . . . The book is warm, witty, and unflinching in its critique of the fake meritocracy that permeates Silicon Valley.”—Shondaland 

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