Real Self-Care (2023) exposes the dark side of the global self-care industry by connecting the systemic inequality faced by marginalized groups like women and people of color, and the stress, burnout and chronic illness faced by so many. It offers a science-based alternative and cognitive strategies for living with ease and purpose.
A Radical Awakening (2021) shows you how to heal by connecting to your authentic self – the person you were meant to be before society’s lies and conditioning morphed you into something else. It speaks from a woman’s point of view, but it doesn’t exclude men. Instead, it seeks to lift everyone from the pain of their past and into a higher consciousness.
Antigone (c. 441 BC) is a tragedy by Sophocles, one of ancient Greece’s greatest playwrights. After a civil war, two brothers – the leaders of rival factions – are dead. One is remembered as a patriotic hero; the other, as a treacherous usurper. The king of Thebes, Creon, has forbidden anyone to bury the traitor – an order the man’s sister, Antigone, can’t square with her conscience. The stage is set for a conflict pitting the individual against the state, justice against law, idealism against realism, and a defiant woman against a male-dominated world.
Lessons in Chemistry (2022) is the story of Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant scientist who has the misfortune of being a woman in 1950s America. After a frustrating failed academic career, Zott finds success in an unlikely place: as the host of a television cooking show.
Wuthering Heights (1847) is a masterpiece of English literature. Set in Yorkshire, it tells the story of two families and their intense, often tumultuous relationships – in particular, the stormy romance between Heathcliff and Catherine.
Myth America (2022) is a collection of essays that examine and dismantle some of the most pervasive myths about America: how it was founded, who’s allowed to be here, and how we define a ‘real’ American or American family.
The Ethical Slut (1997) has long been the trusted handbook for anyone exploring sex, romance, and intimacy outside the constraints of monogamy. An updated 2017 edition combines time-tested strategies for navigating polyamory with advice on how to embrace an even greater diversity of orientations and relationship configurations.
The Evolution of Desire (1994) drew on the largest study of human mating at the time to analyze the evolutionary foundations that lie behind our everyday desires and mating preferences. It was updated with new material in 2016.
The Second Sex (1949), an 800-page feminist classic, explains how woman has been shaped into the “Other,” second sex – the negative counterpart to man. By examining history, myths, biology and life experience, de Beauvoir paints a clear picture of why woman is subjugated to man, and how womankind should respond.
Jane Eyre (1874) is an intense, intimate portrait of a young woman’s search to find her place in Victorian society without compromising her passionate ideals. It follows her as she navigates life’s obstacles – and her developing love for the mysterious Edward Rochester.
The Rational Male (2013) implores men to adopt a pragmatic view of intersexual relationships founded on evolutionary and behavioral concepts. Waking up to the evidence, it argues, will set men on a course to prioritizing their needs over the survival instincts of women who currently (covertly) rule the roost.
In Order to Live (2015) follows the survival story of Yeonmi Park, a North Korean woman who escaped from her home country. In this inspiring memoir, Yeonmi goes through her horrific journey from North Korea to China and finally to South Korea.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) is a historical text that details the gender disparities of the eighteenth century. These blinks explain the ways in which women were subservient to men at this time, why the author wanted a fairer world to take shape and how she suggested it could be done.
The Female Brain (2006) is a classic of popular neuroscience which argues that hormone-driven neural development shapes many of women’s drives and behaviors. Just a few hormones chart a course through the cycle of changes that mark life with a female brain.
Little Women (1868-1869) tells the story of the four March sisters, and the struggles and day-to-day obstacles they faced while becoming young adults. While the story takes place in the American Northeast, it’s a universal coming-of-age story that has been appreciated around the world.
The Male Brain (2010) is a neuroscientist’s account of the interplay between hormones and brain development that shapes the formation and growth of male brains and behavior. Based on decades of research, it argues that the roots of many masculine stereotypes can be seen in neurobiology, and that hormones shape the male brain and outlook for a lifetime.
Financial Feminism (2022) debunks the money myths and exposes the systemic oppression that keeps many stuck in toxic jobs or cycles of debt. Offering practical solutions that everyone can start today to close the wage gap, ramp up financial fitness, and build the life of their dreams.
Mad Honey (2022) tells the story of two women who have fled abusive pasts to make a new life in the small town of Adams, New Hampshire. When one is found dead, and the other finds her son accused of the murder, the tense courtroom drama that unfolds shines light on the true cost of secrets kept for love.
We Should All Be Millionaires (2021) shows how women can attain financial success by casting off impostor syndrome and demanding that they be paid what they’re really worth. Here, you’ll learn how the ability to earn, save, and manage money has been denied to women – and why that’s a bad thing for the world as a whole.
You Are Your Best Thing (2021) is an anthology of original essays that explore Black experiences of living, loving, and parenting in America today. It examines concepts like vulnerability and shame, and shows that the key to personal healing lies in confronting white supremacy and the racist systems that make Black people feel unsafe in their communities.
Find Your Unicorn Space (2021) opens the door to an important conversation about what makes us unique as individuals and offers a guide to discovering, claiming, and growing your creative interests.
In Invisible Women (2019), Caroline Criado Perez argues that there is a “gender data gap” – that the bulk of the world’s data is based on male bodies and male behaviors. The result is a world that not only caters to men but often actively disadvantages women. Perez shows how the data underpinning everything from medicine and AI to the size of our smartphones fails to account for women’s needs. She explores the myriad problems this data gap causes and suggests how it might best be addressed.
Beat Gender Bias (2020) explores the beliefs and behaviors that underpin the glass ceiling and that stop women and girls from reaching their full potential. It explores the persistence of workplace sexism and explains how leaders can tackle it.
The Female Eunuch (1970) is an explosive feminist classic that confronts the societal expectations holding women back. These blinks argue that it’s womankind’s responsibility to create new definitions of femininity and take ownership of their bodies, sex and lives.
Narrated by Karen Cass
Vindication (2006) tells the inspiring, thrilling, and often tragic tale of the life of Mary Wollstonecraft, known today as the founder of modern feminism. Drawing on significant moments in Wollstonecraft’s life, from her childhood in an abusive household to her experiences co-founding a school and living in Revolutionary France, it paints a picture of a woman who was as complex as she was brilliant. Throughout every stage of her life, Wollstonecraft was truly an original thinker, and her influence on feminist thought continues to ring out today.
A Room of One's Own (1929) is a perceptive rumination on gender and self-expression. This extended essay explores the social and structural barriers women face when creating art.
Girl, Stop Apologizing (2019) is a helpful and empowering guide for any woman who’s felt the need to apologize for pursuing their dreams and wanting more out of life. Author Rachel Hollis shares tips and advice that have helped her reach her personal goals – and that might help others realize their own dreams too.
Unscripted (2023) is the outrageous true story of Sumner Redstone, the former chairman and controlling shareholder of ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global). It focuses on the eventful final years of Redstone’s life, as well as the downfall of his successor at CBS, Les Moonves.
How Women Rise (2018) explores the surprising things that women say, do and think in the workplace that hold them back from progressing. Using real-world examples and practical advice, the blinks explain how professional women can meet their full potential and rise to the top of their chosen career ladder.
Getting to 50/50 (2009) exposes the myths surrounding traditional male and female parental roles and provides actionable techniques that allow both mothers and fathers to be independent earners, enjoy quality time with their children and share responsibilities in the household.
Girl, Wash Your Face (2018) is about one crucial truth – you, and you alone, are responsible for your life and happiness. It’s an empowering and sometimes challenging guide to living a joyful, productive and ambitious life.
Fair Play (2019) explores gender inequality in the division of domestic labor and the impact of this inequality on mothers. Packed with practical advice, these blinks also offer couples a radical approach to reallocating domestic chores so that women married to men can get a fairer deal.
A Little Life (2015) follows the lives of four friends in New York City: aspiring actor Willem, moody painter JB, quiet architect Malcolm, and the brilliant, mysterious litigator Jude. Over the years, the four friends grow together, drift apart, find love and success, and struggle with loss and addiction. As enigmatic Jude gradually moves into the center of the narrative, the full extent of his unbearable burden begins to reveal itself.
In We Should All Be Feminists (2014), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie expands on her much admired TEDx talk to address our deepest misconceptions about feminism. By masterfully interweaving personal anecdotes, philosophy and her talent for prose, she explains how men and women are far from being equal, how women are systematically discriminated against and what we can do about it.
Flow (2009) explores the historical and cultural context of menstruation. By doing so, it seeks to debunk the myths that surround periods and address the misperceptions people have of the basic bodily process of menstruation.
Men Explain Things To Me (2014) is a collection of essays that examine the range of misogyny in our culture, from everyday microaggressions to legal systems that fail to punish rape. Solnit explains how sexism perpetuates itself, and what we can all do to eliminate it.
Bad Feminist (2014) is a collection of often personal essays examining race, gender and feminism in the United States. The author, Roxane Gay, pays particular attention to the way media, politics and pop culture shape society’s views and champions her own brand of feminism – one that doesn’t always follow the rules.
She/He/They/Me (2019) provides readers with a unique opportunity to explore the many concepts and phenomena of gender. Weaving anthropology, global history and gender studies into a fascinating blend of empirical information and theoretical speculation, author Robyn Ryle opens our eyes to the sheer vastness of the possible forms that gender can take.
Women, Race and Class (1981) is a collection of essays that expose how racism, sexism, and classism intertwined in the struggle for women’s suffrage in the United States. With special emphasis on the historical missteps of the mainstream feminist movement, it charts a path for an anti-racist and anti-classist feminism.
All In (2021) tells the remarkable life story of Billie Jean King, the woman who led a call for equality in women’s sports that soon reverberated around the world. King’s activism and refusal to back down led to real changes in the US legislature, with results that spread far beyond the realm of sports. All the while, King grappled with personal issues that would only find resolution later in life.
The Soul of a Woman (2021) is an honest and personal meditation on life, feminism, and what it means to be a woman. Drawing on experiences from the author’s life, it explores issues around women’s oppression, love, ambition, aging, and abuse. It is at once the story of one woman and the story of all women.
Why Love Hurts (2012) is about the history of love, romance and relationships. These blinks detail the gender differences, cultural expectations and social structures that shape our conception of love and make it one of the more difficult emotions to experience.
Ancient Egypt is a historical anomaly: the Egyptians called upon women to lead their country more frequently than any other culture. Tracing their rise to power within the authoritarian system of divine kingship, When Women Ruled the World (2018) tells the stories of Egypt’s six most important female leaders – Merneith, Neferusobek, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, Tawosret and Cleopatra – and explores what lessons they hold about female leadership for us today.
Good and Mad (2018) lists the many reasons for feminist political anger. This anger, though repressed for the past few decades, has recently reemerged, as evidenced by the 2017 Women’s March and the #MeToo movement. By understanding the historical, political, cultural and economic currents underlying these two landmark events, we can better understand history as it unfolds before our eyes.
Moody Bitches (2015) is your guide to the female body and brain. These blinks explain some of the reasons behind the emotions and fluctuating moods that women can experience and how they can better tune into themselves, embrace their feelings and their bodies.
In The Witches are Coming (2019) writer and feminist activist Lindy West applies her scalpel-sharp intellect to today’s political landscape. She uncovers the ideological agendas behind everything from Adam Sandler movies to the wellness movement, abortion rights to Louis C.K.’s comeback. This is feminism for the post #metoo era.
Good for a Girl (2023) chronicles the career of pro runner Lauren Fleshman, and the issues with the sports system she encountered along the way. It’s both a memoir detailing her life and a manifesto crying for change.
Dear Ijeawele (2017) is a series of suggestions for raising young girls to be strong, independent women. A few years ago, a childhood friend of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie asked her advice on a very important topic – how to raise her daughter to be a feminist. Her friend was called Ijeawele, and this book is the author’s response.
All The Single Ladies (2016) chronicles the history and changing circumstances of single women in America. These blinks explain how cultivating female friendships and seeking alternative strategies to balancing personal and professional obligations help women achieve greater success and independence.
This is a Blinkist staff pick
“A book-in-blinks all about capital-L Love: love of place, love of one’s work, and most important, the romance of friendship between a single woman and her female familiars. Come for the history and politics, stay for the feels. The chapter on friendship made me cry.”
– Caitlin, Simplify Co-host & Podcast Lead
The Moment of Lift (2019) relates the journey that Melinda Gates embarked upon to help empower women all around the world. Whether through stories of people she met via her charitable work or from experiences recounted by others, this part-memoir, part-call-to-action explores the myriad social and economic issues women and girls face on a daily basis. But while many of these hurdles seem insurmountable, only by overcoming them can humanity as a whole move forward to a more egalitarian and just future.
Sex and the Citadel (2013) offers a revealing look at the sex lives of people in Muslim countries, especially Egypt, which, about 200 years ago, was a hotbed of sensual and sexual activity, but has since become a conservative and sexually repressed society. These blinks take you through the taboos, censorship and gender discrimination that many Muslims continue to resist.
Unscrewed (2017) looks at the numerous obstacles that women face every day on their path to equality and respect. Author Jaclyn Friedman shows the way forward. She shines a light on those who are already hard at work dismantling these barriers and explains why even though the current system may be imbalanced, but we can build a new one.
In Women and Power (2017), Mary Beard brings her considerable expertise and wry wit to bear on history's treatment of powerful women. Britain's best-known classicist retells stories from the ancient world and brings her analytical insight to the modern day. Beard explores the cultural roots of misogyny, the vilification of women’s voices, and asks whether it’s time for power to be redefined.
The Managed Heart (1983) is the seminal sociological text that introduced the concept of emotional labor. These blinks reveal how we adjust our emotions to our advantage in social and professional contexts, and shed light on the risks and consequences of this form of self-management.
Unfinished Business (2015) offers a frank analysis of a pressing question. Is it really possible for men and women to “have it all” in our modern society? Can we hope to have a great family life and great career? As these blinks reveal, striking a balance between the personal and the professional isn’t only possible; it’s easier than you might think.
Galileo’s Middle Finger (2015) tackles head on the controversial issue of transgender research, intersex issues, and the conflicts that have arisen between academics, scientists and activists. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at just how dangerous an idea can be when it challenges a familiar narrative or an established ideology and reminds us that, in the face of harmful threats and accusations, it’s important to be open, honest and persevering—and that science and social justice need each other in order to work.
In Know My Name (2019), Chanel Miller presents her side of what happened when she was sexually assaulted by Stanford student Brock Turner and forced to endure a long and traumatizing trial in the public eye. Drawing parallels between her own experience and the structural mistreatment of women in the court system, she explains what made her determined to share her story and empower other survivors.
Asking for It (2015) is about rape culture, the social and cultural practices that normalize rape by diminishing the experiences of victims and vindicating perpetrators. These blinks outline the various manifestations and effects of rape culture, and the steps we can take to dismantle it.
How Not To Be a Boy (2017) is writer and actor Robert Webb’s personal account of what it was like to grow up as a boy in rural England. In particular, what it was like to be the kind of boy who wasn’t all that into typically “manly” stuff. Webb’s tale is both a heartfelt autobiography and a humorously critical assessment of the pressures society can put on young men.
Unbound (2021) is a powerful memoir by Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement. Survivors of sexual abuse stay silent because of shame and victim-blaming around the abuse. The Me Too movement has created a remarkable community of survivors who support each other in challenging stigma and holding perpetrators to account.
Brotopia (2018) explores the male-dominated culture permeating the technology industry and looks at why and how women are excluded from it. Looking especially at Silicon Valley and the companies based there, the book argues that the tech world is anything but progressive.
In The Professor in the Cage (2015), professor Jonathan Gottschall enters the world of mixed martial arts to discover the sources of our fascination with violence. Through the power of modern science and by applying the weight of human history, these blinks reveal how our love of fighting is grounded in our deepest human instincts.
Bloody Brilliant Women (2018) shines a light on some of British history’s most remarkable women, who, for years, were conveniently left out of history books mainly written by men. Newman rights this wrong, providing an exhaustive history of the multitude of women responsible for shaping Britain from the 1880s to the present day.
Fast Forward (2015) is about one of the most underappreciated resources on earth: women. These blinks, which argue that women will be the key to this century’s greatest achievements, outline many of the myriad problems that women face, as well as the steps we can take to solve them.
Power Up (2017) aims to empower women in the workplace with practical advice and heartfelt anecdotes from a Silicon Valley pioneer. Although primarily focused on the tech industry, it’s a guidebook that can be applied to breaking glass ceilings in all industries. From taking ownership of career choices to navigating sexist office politics, Magdalena Yesil offers a call to action for women who want appropriate credit for their hard work and a salary to match.
Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism (2018) makes an argument that’s even more provocative than its title suggests. More than just better sex, it claims that women have better lives in general under socialism. To prove this claim, it compares and contrasts women’s lives under state socialism, democratic socialism, and neoliberal capitalism.
Abortion and the Law in America (2020) offers a comprehensive legal history of abortion rights in the US. It highlights the social and cultural shifts that have contributed to the abortion debate and looks closely at the types of arguments invoked by both sides.
Half the Sky is about unlocking the greatest untapped resource on Earth: women. It outlines some of the most serious problems facing women throughout the world, such as human trafficking and gender-based violence, and why it’s so difficult for the world to overcome them, and what we stand to gain if we do.
Engines of Liberty (2016) is an exploration into the influence citizens can have on government, and the changes that can be brought about through activism, the spreading of information and the mobilization of one’s peers. When it comes to the big issues of our time, like gay marriage, guns and human rights, it’s passionate citizens who are speaking up for what they believe in and bringing about change.