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The Female Founder World Reading List

LISTEN: Our very own co-founder/COO Sam Safer Valentine joined Jasmine to teach listeners how to stop renting and start owning their social media audience.

Female Founder World is an educational universe where women build their consumer businesses. Twice a week on the podcast we interview founders about the moves they’re making to turn their ideas into things (and money!). Often there’s an insightful book that cut-through and helped get these women to the top, and that’s what we’re spotlighting today. Scroll on for your business reading list curated by successful female founders.


Book: Cultish by Amanda Montell

If you want to know how Jen Batchelor has built a cult-like following around her beverage business, Kin Euphorics, read Amanda Montell’s ‘Cultish’. The book explores what it takes to make certain communities cultish, whether it’s an actual cult like Heaven’s Gate or a modern start-up like Peloton.

“[Montell] goes into the good, bad and ugly about why people gravitate towards brands and organizations that have a culture that sticks and you can see yourself within,” Jen said, adding: “A lot of people say Kin has built this cult following around our brand and I think it’s because we saw our guests and our initial customers in a way that not a lot of people had. We wanted to give them something that they would feel proud to walk into a party with and not feel stigma about not drinking.”


Newsletter: 2pm by Web Smith

“This resource helped me build Topicals and think about building a brand in a very different way,” Olamide told Female Founder World. That’s a valuable recommendation, considering Topicals’ product releases consistently sell out within hours.

2pm is a compilation of essays in which Web Smith dives into consumer trends, DTC, and what’s happening in that world—and Olamide says the $20 monthly subscription is the best money you'll spend as a founder.

“He talks a lot about how every company is a media company. We’re media companies that then sell whatever product they sell to people.” Olamide said in her podcast interview. “I think that idea has really transformed the way I’ve thought about company building. This analogy can work in any category.


Book: Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne

Michelle sold her apparel business, Lively, for $105 Million after three years, and suggests anyone looking for similar success picks up this book. “It teaches you that you do not need to be the one to do something from scratch, or to invent. You need to be the one that figures out a new way to do it,” she told Female Founder World.

Based on a study of 150 strategic moves made across 30 industries over a century, ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ argues that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating ‘blue oceans’ or untapped new market spaces that are primed for growth.

“That’s what LIVELY is, is we took a category—bras and lingerie that was dated and dusty—and turned it into something that feels great, incredible, exciting, fun. This book shows you that the world is so full of possibilities and it's not about competition and room. It's about pivots and open-mindedness.”


Book: The Diamond Cutter by Geshe Michael Roach

Ilia has doubled its year-over-year revenue every year since 2017 and reportedly neared $100 million in sales in 2021. The founder, Sasha Plavsic, wants you to read ‘The Diamond Cutter’ by Geshe Michael Roach if you’re looking to follow a similar path.

The author gives fresh insight into ancient wisdom by using examples from his own experience as the founder of a diamond business that grew from zero to more than $100 million in annual revenue.

“There’s a mindset delivered in this book I would recommend to anyone starting a business, or anyone even working or having challenges with their team,” Sasha explained on the Female Founder World podcast. The book teaches that being accountable for your actions and figuring out how to change a negative thought to a positive thought will help you become a formidable business leader.

“It’s really helpful because when you’re starting something there’s a lot of self-doubt. It’s the scariest thing to put yourself out there in the world and wonder if it will work or if it won’t. This book helps you to get over your own fear and not be afraid of who you are and what you want to show to the world."


Book: The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkin

Natalie Mackey is the founder of clean beauty brand Winky Lux. Her book recommendation, ‘The Culting of Brands’ teaches that once a brand achieves cult status, it becomes almost impossible for a competitor to dethrone it.

“I think about this book all the time. It’s full of case studies looking at brands that have really high emotional relationships with their customers.”

The book promises to teach marketers and founders how to align themselves with a specific segment of the population, how to attract and keep new members, how to establish a mythology about the company, and how to manage a workforce filled with true believers.

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