Boss Babes, Mompreneurs, 4-Hour Workweeks, and Me: The Search for the Perfect Business Self-Help Book


This is the first post in a series about Mompreneurs and finding the perfect business self-help book.


a dictionary-style page with the words mom, mommy, and mompreneur with the last word circled in red marker


Here are some facts about me:


  • Almost everyone I knew well enough to understand their financial situation growing up was a wage worker. No one owned their own business, and very few were even salaried. My understanding of labor was very much tied to these influences.
  • I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I obtained a PhD with the sole focus on teaching at a community college because I believed so deeply in educational access.
  • I landed my dream job even before I finished that degree, working at a community college as a full-time professor while finishing my doctoral work and raising two babies. I spent six years there.
  • I was unceremoniously and heartbreakingly laid off from what had been promised to be a lifetime position, leaving me flailing in an academic job market that was completely devastated and left with only poor-paying and poor-resourced adjunct positions that didn’t give me the autonomy to teach the way I wanted.
  • Rather than throw my hat back into the ring, I took a different path (deemed “alt-ac” by those in the educational field) and started doing freelance curriculum design, ghostwriting, and private tutoring and classes for homeschoolers as I homeschooled my own children.


Here are some facts about the United States economy:


  • Self-employment (which was already on the rise) saw a steady increase during the pandemic. Some people found that being forced out of the labor market during shutdowns gave them time to reflect on how they really wanted to spend their laboring hours, and they created a different version of work for themselves.
  • The rise in nontraditional labor sources (the “gig economy”) and self-employment of other types has created a high demand for developing skills that have traditionally been sectioned off in business schools and delivered to a small segment of the population. As this Entrepreneur article about “mompreneur” skills lays out, there are many skills a successful self-employed person needs to develop:
    • Time Management
    • Outsourcing
    • Negotiation
    • Networking/Connecting
    • Team Management
    • Communication
  • Business-focused self-improvement books are an immense industry unto themselves, and their influence and popularity continue to grow.


Photo by Valentina Conde on Unsplash



I give you all these facts — about myself and the world around us — to introduce a new series.


You see, I never pictured myself as a “boss babe” or a “mompreneur.” I’ve never strived to build a life of leisure by systematically outsourcing the actual work of my day so I could retire to the beach while working a four-hour workweek.


I just love teaching and writing, and I am happiest and most fulfilled when I am doing meaningful work that makes me feel productive and engaged. I suspect most of us are.


So I’m in search of the perfect business-focused self-improvement book for me. Along the way, it’s possible I’ll find the perfect self-improvement book for you. Each month, I’m going to be summarizing the books I’ve read recently and looking at their pros and cons.


Hopefully, some patterns and themes will emerge that can make all of us — boss babes to tired moms just trying to make ends meet — feel a little more prepared for whatever is coming next. At the very least, I’m hoping to open up some conversations about labor, productivity, and the narratives we get about how we’re supposed to spend our days.


Fair warning: These will not be light and fluffy reviews. I’m a voracious reader of the genre, but I’m also a fierce critic. I believe that self-improvement books are one of the primary drivers of a dangerous story about self-reliance that ignores collective responsibility, and that’s certainly at the forefront of my readings of these books. I’m hoping to bring it all to you: the good, the bad, and the infuriating.


If you’ve got a recommendation I should add to the list for this series,

please drop a comment!