Our July Future Female Leaders Book Club pick was Dare to Fly by Martha McSally which is part-memoir, part-self help and part-military expose and we couldn’t put it down. We loved learning about her life leading through the Air Force and ultimately to the Senate, and we wanted to highlight books that you might also enjoy if you enjoyed Dare to Fly. These books are by other veterans serving in Congress, books about being in the military, and books by strong leaders in general.

We hope you’ll enjoy them!

Daughter of the Heartland by Joni Ernst

In her inspiring memoir, Joni shares her struggles and the invaluable lessons she learned through hardship—on the farm, in the home, and at work. As a woman fighting for position in the boys’ clubs of the military and politics, she found strength in courage and vulnerability, becoming a role model for women everywhere. As a US Senator, Joni is well-known and respected for her fight to hold Washington accountable and her demand for bipartisanship in a time of fierce tribalism. Daughter of the Heartland tells Joni’s incredible story in four parts, defined by the values she’s learned along the way—leadership, service, courage, and gratitude.

Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw

Fortitude is a no-nonsense advice book for finding the strength to deal with everything from menial daily frustrations to truly difficult challenges. More than that, it is a roadmap for a more resilient American culture. With meditations on perseverance, failure, and finding much-needed heroes, the book is the antidote for a prevailing “safety culture” of trigger warnings and safe spaces. Interspersed with lessons from history and psychology is Crenshaw’s own story of how an average American kid from the Houston suburbs went from war zones to the halls of Congress – and managed to navigate his path with a sense of humor and an even greater sense that, no matter what anyone else around us says or does, we are in control of our own destiny.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink 

Since its release in October 2015, Extreme Ownership has revolutionized leadership development and set a new standard for literature on the subject. Required reading for many of the most successful organizations, it has become an integral part of the official leadership training programs for scores of business teams, military units, and first responders. Detailing the mindset and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult combat missions, Extreme Ownershipdemonstrates how to apply them to any team or organization, in any leadership environment. A compelling narrative with powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win.

With All Due Respect by Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley is widely admired for her forthright manner (“with all due respect, I don’t get confused”), her sensitive approach to tragic events, and her confident representation of America’s interests as our ambassador to the United Nations during times of crisis and consequence. In this book, Haley offers a firsthand perspective on major national and international matters as well as a behind-the-scenes account of her tenure in the Trump administration. This book reveals a woman who can hold her own – and better – in domestic and international power politics, a diplomat who is unafraid to take a principled stand even when it is unpopular, and a leader who seeks to bring Americans together in divisive times.

Danger Close by Amber Smith

Amber Smith flew into enemy fire in some of the most dangerous combat zones in the world. One of only a few women to fly the Kiowa Warrior helicopter, Smith rose to pilot in command and air mission commander in the premier Kiowa unit in the army, repeatedly flying into harm’s way during her 2005 and 2008 deployments with the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. Smith takes you into the heat of battle, enabling listeners to feel, hear, and smell the experience of serving as a combat pilot in high-intensity warfare. She learned to perform under pressure and persevere under extreme duress – both in action against an implacable enemy and within the elite boys’ club of army aviation.

Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hager

On June 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar was shot down while on a medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve….In Shoot Like a Girl, MJ takes the listener on a dramatic journey through her military career: an inspiring, humorous, and thrilling true story of a brave, high-spirited, and unforgettable woman who has spent much of her life ready to sacrifice everything for her country, her fellow man, and her sense of justice.

Never Quit by Jimmy Settle

Never Quit is the true story of how Jimmy Settle, an Alaskan shoe-store clerk, became a Special Forces Operator and war hero. After being shot in the head during a dangerous high mountain operation in the rugged Watapur Valley in Afghanistan, Jimmy returns to battle with his teammates for a heroic rescue, the bullet fragments stitched over and still in his skull. In a cross between a suicide rescue mission and an against-all-odds mountain battle, his team of PJs risk their lives again in an epic firefight. When his helicopter is hit and begins leaking fuel, Jimmy finds himself in the worst possible position as a rescue specialist – forced to leave members from his own team behind. Jimmy will have to risk everything to get back into the battle and bring back his brothers. 

Heroism Begins with Her by Winifred Conkling

From the Revolutionary War to present day, women have proudly served in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard as nurses, pilots, engineers, soldiers, and more. They dressed as men, worked for little pay and no benefits, and endured prejudice to break down barriers and earn their place beside their fellow servicemen. The achievements and courageous acts of these women forever changed the way the military operates!  From well-known women to unsung heroes, this beautifully illustrated book tells incredible, captivating tales of gutsy women like Margaret Corbin, Harriet Tubman, Tammy Duckworth, and countless others. And it will prove just one thing: Women really can do anything!

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member