Episode #15

Book Review Gift Guide

Need a gift for the academic woman in your life, or ideas for what to put on your own wish list? In this episode I’m reviewing 5 of my favorite books for academic women.


In this episode of The Academic Woman Amplified, I’m sharing 5 of the books you should gift yourself or someone else to make this the best year yet for your professional life. 


The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy by Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber

  • The authors of The Slow Professor explain how academia is wrapped up in ‘fast capitalism’ and what that means. They point out patterns that show why we are being asked to do more and more with less and less time and how it leads to overwork and overwhelm.
  • They give us ways to push back against these ideas and expectations, and point out the universal nature of these issues. 
  • I especially love the introduction and first chapter, so if you read nothing else (although it’s a short read, you can do it!), be sure to read those.

Click here for a copy of The Slow Professor.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff

  • The big idea in this book is that we go about goal-setting in the wrong way, and therefore start a lot of things we have trouble finishing. The author talks about how to change this pattern, and finish the projects that are important to us. It’s funny, accessible, and full of practical wisdom.
  • He gives concrete ideas for creating processes to set yourself up for success. Two of the methods are cutting our goals in half, and giving ourselves double the time to do them (sound familiar? He talks about a lot of the same things I do!).
  • It’s not your average productivity book. It’s engaging and fun, and it’s a whole new way to view goals and goal-setting.

Get a copy of Finish here.

Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr

  • This is an excellent book for women in academia, and any woman who is trying to make an impact and have her voice heard. The author connects feminist history and conditionig to our current experiences as women creators and leaders.
  • She shows us why we may have fear around “playing big”, explains the different types of fear, and ideas for how to deal with our inner critics. 
  • She also makes an argument for why we should disconnect from both criticism and praise as we present our work and ideas to the world. (Hint: they both tell more about the person giving the feedback then they do about your work.)

Get a copy of Playing Big here.


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

  • The author explains the difference between “deep work” and “shallow work” and why it’s important to stay in deep work as much as possible. Deep work as an academic would be writing and other creative, idea rich work. Shallow work is things like email, scheduling, and other maintenance tasks.
  • Newport talks about the importance of boundary setting, and how to protect your deep work time. He also gives advice for how to accomplish more deep work. 

“When we get lost in the shallows…our energy is not going to the most useful place.” 

Get a copy of Deep Work here. 


The Positioning and Making of Female Professors: Pushing Career Advancement Open (Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education) edited by Rowena Murray and Denise Mifsud

  • This book is a collection of chapters written by women in academia, including yours truly! The journeys and theories of success in academia are told in narrative form by each woman. 
  • My chapter is “Baby’s Taught Me How to do Academia: Crafting a Career in an Institution That Was Not Built for Mothers”. I tell the story of my career through the births of each of my 3 children, framed through a feminist and motherhood lens. 

Get a copy of The Positioning and Making of Female Professors: Pushing Career Advancement Open here.


This episode marks the end of my first podcasting “semester” of 15 episodes to match the 15 week semester model. I will be back after a break with a spring semester of 15 more episodes, and a summer session after that. 

I wish you a Happy New Year filled with growth and purpose. If you are making writing and professional development a priority in the coming year, be sure to visit my website for all kind of resources and programs for pre-tenure and tenured academic women.


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