You may have heard that Ivanka Trump, Champion of Working Women™, has a book coming out tomorrow. “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success,” will, according to its promotional copy, “inspire you to redefine success and architect a life that honors your individual passions and priorities, in a way only you can,” using “the best skills [Ivanka has] learned from some of the amazing people [she’s] met.”
If this book is anything like her previous book, “The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life,” it will be chock full of unrelatable statements about how the author’s immense privilege was actually a detriment to her success; or how she set up her first business by forcing her family’s domestic workers to buy lemonade from her. Seriously, that happened.
Maybe it will even tell readers to “get over it and read on” when referring to the silver spoon she was born with, as “The Trump Card” did.
For someone who claims to be an advocate for women in the workplace, the fact that she’s sat idly by and supported her father while he rolled back protections for working women and was his spokesperson for a wildly inadequate maternity leave policy, suggests that she’s far from the champion working women actually need. And while (a small amount of) proceeds from her new book will go to charities that support underserved populations of women and girls, the truth is that if she really cared about those women and girls, she wouldn’t support the harmful and oppressive policies that her father stands for.
OK, fine. So this book is probably a con job.
But there are plenty of amazing books out there that are filled with relatable and instructive advice for the kinds of challenges women of all types actually face in the workplace. And while almost any book would be better to read than Ivanka’s newest one (“Llama Llama Red Pajama,” anyone?), here are five of the best alternatives.
1. Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace
“Feminist Fight Club” is notable for its refusal to pull any punches, dance around any issues, or speak in gentle, coded language: its’ funny, illustrated and practical. Jessica Bennett goes all in to give women practical advice for how to navigate the tricky dynamics in workplaces steeped in sexist dynamics.
2. Double Bind: Women on Ambition
This new essay collection from editor Robin Romm is filled with diverse and poignant voices, from Roxane Gay to Molly Ringwald, to Kveller contributor Yael Chatav Schonbrun to Muslim comedian Nadia Manzoor. This impressive group of women grapple with one of the last taboos for women to overcome: the dreaded concept of ambition, as it plays out across race, fields, age, culture, and more. Be sure to check out Elisa Albert’s incredible, ambivalent essay, a highlight of the anthology.
3. Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead
Tara Mohr’s “Playing Big” is a much needed book in the genre of career advice: it’s not just for corporate women who aspire to move up the ladder, but rather for women in every industry and at every level, from the nonprofit industry and creative fields to women who stay at home. As the book says, “While not all women aspire to end up in the corner office, every woman aspires to something.” This is the book to help you chase your dreams.
4. Women Have Always Worked: An Historical Overview
In order to understand the context in which women work today, it helps to look at the past. In “Women Have Always Worked,” Alice Kessler-Harris takes a look at the women who have provided the majority of the labor since, well, always, but are constantly erased from the story: the poor women, the women of color, the middle-class women, the immigrant women, the domestic workers. You know, the people Ivanka wants to line up at her lemonade stand.
5. Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less
For the perpetually overwhelmed woman attempting the impossible task of “having it all” comes “Drop The Ball.” Tiffany Dufu teaches us how to get ahead by letting go, making mistakes, giving ourselves a break and, instead, expecting more from others.