Grace Bonney’s new book, In the Company of Women, includes gorgeous portraits and snapshot interviews with more than 100 women who are makers, artists, innovators or entrepreneurs. I was immediately interested in picking this up because I knew that many of my favorites were profiled (including Roxane Gay, Neko Case, Kate Bornstien, Janet Mock and Carson Ellis), and I’m glad I nabbed a copy, because, in addition to being a great read, this book introduced me to so many interesting, inspiring women who are now on my radar (Preeti Mistry, Rebecca Wood, Samin Nosrat, Matika Wilbur, Julia Rothman and the list goes on!)
At first, I was a little put off by some of the focus on business; to me, personally, business acumen and money-making aren’t the primary hallmarks of success, and I think a focus on wealthy folks can leave a lot of us feeling alienated, or like we’ll never have what it takes to be successful. As the book went on, though, I realized I was being too harsh. Firstly, business success is important to lots of people (and to many people in this book, their creative endeavor is their livelihood, after all) so it’s powerful to see so many women talking candidly about it.Secondly, the profiles in the book are truly as varied and thought-provoking as the women themselves, so I really do think there’s something for everyone here. (I still would have loved to see more representation from bad-ass ladies working in the nonprofit sector, but maybe that’s a book yet-to-be-written!)
As always, the more open and vulnerable women were in their interviews, the more interesting they were to me. The profiles that struck me most were the ones with a focus on creativity, with varied definitions of what success means, and contained discussions about how to lift others up.
Bonney writes in her introduction that part of her inspiration for the book was to have a diverse cross-section of successful women represented, because “We can’t be what we can’t see”. I think she did a wonderful job bringing that vision to life. While reading, I found myself snapping photos with my phone and taking notes on the concepts that resonated with me most, and I think I’ll revisit a lot of these ideas during conversations with my own cohort of phenomenal female friends.
Find inspiration from women who are makers and innovatorsReserve a copy of "In the Company of Women"
Ginny is a baker of treats, reader of fiction and Coordinator of Volunteer Services based out of the Office of Programs and Partnerships at CLP – East Liberty. She wants to pet your dog.