Do you sometimes feel stuck in your own head? Perhaps you’re looking for guidance or a new hobby.
Reading is an incredible activity which can improve your mind and enhance your thinking. It’s also a great way to become more aware of your surroundings and improve yourself as person. Therefore, in this article, we’re exploring the best biographies you can read in your spare time. All of which provide a level of creativity and real-life experiences which can change a person.
A Bit About Why You Should Read the Best Biographies
Reading is a favorite hobby for many people. But why should you try out the best biographies? What are the benefits of reading? We've broken it all down below.
The History of Biographies
Before we look into the best biographies, it might be helpful to appreciate how this genre of books began. It’s said that this began during the 5th century when a famous poet began portraying other people’s lives through literature. This continued with other writers and poets. People became fascinated with reading about other people’s lives – even those they’d never met or even heard of.
However, it wasn’t until the 9th century that biographies became increasingly popular amongst readers. They also became more accurate and researched to provide an excellent and honest point of view. With carefully-sourced facts, rather than opinions it became the reader’s responsibility to make their own opinions and assumptions about another person. The writer simply told the facts.
If we skip forward to the 15th century, the Renaissance expressed a new chapter for biographies. They had to meet certain standards and consisted of different narratives and dialogues. Presenting itself as an exciting book to read, it became apparent that readers would pick up a biography for fun and sheer enjoyment. However, it was also a clear factor that people enjoyed reading biographies to escape from their own lives and truth.
The 17th and 18th century was a time when biographies really became worth their own value. The industry began to hire writers for this specific niche, and biographies became more obtainable. Writers loved experimenting with different formats and perceptions to make reading more enjoyable and less heavy.
The Benefits of Reading and Why You Should Do More of it
Many of us love to read, but what are the benefits to indulging in an exciting book? Firstly, one of the benefits of reading is that we get the opportunity to temporarily become another person. Depending on whether you choose to read fiction or non-fiction books, this could be someone you know or someone you’ve never met. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your own head and routine and part yourself in someone else’s shoes for a short while.
If you live a busy/stressful lifestyle, it can be hard to find things which relax you. However, reading is a great activity to occupy and relax your mind. Many studies have found that reading can help to relax you more than listening to music.
Also, one of the most obvious benefits of reading is that you learn to obtain new information and process this in your head. It’s also an excellent opportunity to develop your personality and emotional attitude to others and situations. For example, as you’re faced with new circumstances, you’ll program these in your brain to learn how you can solve these in real life.
Another of the most important benefits of reading is that it’s practically a workout for your brain. Rather than listening to information from the TV, you get the opportunity to solve situations, learn more and educate yourself. Over time, reading can actually help to prevent memory loss and even cure depression.
Why Everyone Should Read Biographies More
Before we look into the best biographies to read for inspiration, let’s discover the main benefits of reading these types of books. Firstly, biographies enable you to look into someone’s life and take a break from your own problems and conflictions. This can be a healthy task from time to time because you get to put on someone else’s shoes for a short period of time.
You might ask why this is beneficial to your life. Well, doing so develops important qualities such as empathy and understanding. Reading what someone has really gone through in their life encourages you to feel real emotions. Understand someone else’s point of view. Appreciate what they were going through.
Reading biographies is also a great way to encourage self-discovery. By looking at someone else’s life and seeing what they’ve been through, you can find inspirational processes and methods to further improve your life. It’s also helpful to discover new approaches by looking at how someone else got through a certain segment in their life. Perhaps you’re feeling lost and searching for a way to get out of a hole. Knowing that someone else has been through a similar situation to you can make you feel less alone.
Finally, the best biographies can give you perspective on your life. Do you dwell on the small things? Are there moments you find difficult to recover from? Whatever your struggles, you can look to biographies to seek guidance and use them as a mentor. This is also a healthy approach if you tend to keep problems to yourself, but still need assistance. Reaching out can help you feel more disciplined and focused.
The Best Biographies to Read for Inspiration
Perhaps you’re fixated on a certain person. Maybe you love to learn. Or, maybe reading is simply one of your favourite hobbies. No matter your reason for picking up a book, we’ve searched the Internet for the best biographies to read.
1. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood – Marjane Satrapi
This is one of the best biographies which we’re excited to share with you. Marjane Satrapi tells an incredible story about her life – with a specific interest from age six to 14. During these specific years, Satrapi was a part of the Islamic Revolution and even witnessed some of the devastating after effects of the wars in Iraq.
As one of the best biographies, Satrapi writes it from the perspective of being a child again. As a result, there are many elements which you can sympathize with, and it puts you in the same position Satrapi must have experienced. However, the writing is so intelligent and expertly crafted that this biography isn’t written for the sole purpose to get a sympathy vote. In fact, every reader will likely take away a different emotion and reaction.
Furthermore, Satrapi shares daily life experiences in Iran – which are sometimes unimaginable to the average person. Satrapi talks about witnessing whippings, brutality and sheer abuse. As you get more involved in this biography, you develop a sheer love and understanding for the little girl. It’s also a fascinating way of learning about life in Iran without hearing it from third-party sources. Therefore, you get an honest appreciation for what life was really like.
Finally, there are aspects of this biography which are comical. Satrapi works hard to deliver an incredible book which isn’t always doom and gloom. You also get positive feelings from this book, and during many moments will feel hopeful and excited about your own daily life. From reading this biography, you’ll learn so much about the history of Iran, and how politics and the news don’t always share this side to the rest of the world.
2. Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is another of the best biographies to read for inspiration. This book utilizes actual quotes and interviews by Steve Jobs to create an honest interpretation of his life. It also aims to provide some factual information and unknown aspects of his personal life and career for anyone who might have followed his success. If you’re looking for the best biographies to spark your creative energy, then this is a great option for you. With pure honesty and intellect, this book is designed to show you a behind-the-scenes look into Jobs’s life and how he made a successful career out of nothing.
This book also goes into immense detail about how he managed to channel his creativity and business mind into a company which would then become one of the most influential ones of its kind. Walter Isaacson expertly writes about Steve Jobs’s life and shares with us moments which many people didn’t know about. It also touches on sensitive matters such as when Jobs became ill and how that affected business. Although this is a biography and not an auto-biography, Jobs has some input into the creativity of this book in the beginning. However, he expressed that he’d rather step away and witness someone else talking about his life.
Finally, this book is also intended to offer you advice about beginning your own career. Perhaps you’re passionate and eager to learn and push yourself, but have no idea of the direction to head in. If this sounds like you, reach for this book and what your passion and professionalism grow. Once you put this book down, you’ll be itching to get started and make a name for yourself like Jobs did.
3. Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft - Paul Allen
This is another of the best biographies to read for inspiration and general life motivation. Firstly, who is Paul Allen? He co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and created this successful company which would then influence the rest of the industry as well as individuals. By battling enemies and their inner fears, these two powered through everything which got in front of them and never lost faith. This book talks about how these creative geniuses made it to the top and everything they faced to make it there. Not only is it an insightful intellect of their career, but it provides the truth and factual evidence on making it in the technology industry.
When you consider Microsoft, you only really think of Bill Gates. However, this book is interesting because it shows another side and person to this company. It also goes into great detail of the original Microsoft team and everything it could have been. Written with sheer honesty and an emotional reflection of Microsoft’s journey, this book endeavours to fill you in on the missing fragments of the company and people behind the scenes. However, Paul Allen makes it clear that it was never his intention to negatively portray any individual in this biography.
Finally, this book also goes into detail about how he and Bill Gates met, what paths and passions they shared and what led to their incredible success. They quickly became obsessed with their new line of work and did everything they could to watch it succeed. The reason why this is one of the best biographies to read is because it makes you feel like you can accomplish anything. When you look at someone else’s life and what they’ve been through, it seems like anything is possible for you to achieve also.
4. One Click – Richard Bandt
It’s no surprise that Amazon is one of the most successful businesses in the world. However, how did it get to this point? And how did it become so successful? If you’re eager to know the answers to these questions, then this might be one of the best biographies for you to read. This book explores how Amazon looked into their audience’s desires and needs to create such an established business. It also touches on how the online retail world has changed in recent years and where it’s heading. As a result, it’s a great biography to read if you’re interested in the retail world and have inspirations of growing your own business one day.
What we like about this biography is that it doesn’t just talk about their experiences. However, it goes into great detail about their employees, plans, strategies and information about their competitors. It’s also interesting to appreciate how it talks about the future of Amazon and the industry as a whole. The e-commerce world is constantly evolving and it’s up to the people behind the business to make a stand and work hard to make a difference. However, reaching them goals isn’t easy.
Reach out to this book if you have ambitions to begin your own e-commerce business. Alternatively, it’s an informative resource if you already are but have reached a brick wall. Learn from the best and you’ll soon realize that getting through these hard times isn’t impossible, but just requires a healthy mindset and a drive to succeed.
5. The Dairy of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Without a doubt, this is one of the most known and best biographies available right now. If you aren’t aware of this book, it’s about a young girl who fled Amsterdam with her family. For two years, they lived in hiding during the Second World War to remain safe. There are so many beautiful things to learn and appreciate from this book, but its main purpose is survival. Anne Frank is an exceptional writer who isn’t afraid to voice her opinions – both the good and bad. As a result, we see many sides to her personality.
This biography is filled with many important messages a reader can take something away from. The most obvious message to take away is that everyone has a right to be free. When you read this diary, you get a true understanding about the human side of WW2 and how it affected people on a personal level. It experiences things we never were supposed to know about and how it felt to live with such an antagonizing fear.
Despite living in such unbearable conditions and with tremendous fear, Anne Frank presented a positive and cheerful side to her personality. This biography goes into tremendous detail about the people she temporarily lived with and the emotions involved in hiding away. If you have an interest in way or the human spirit, this is one of the best biographies you can read to get another view of the Second World War. Rather than being overwhelmed with facts, get inside the mind of a teenager and put yourself in her shoes. This truly remarkable book brilliantly captures the alienation and how to get through such a devastating time in your life.
6. A Life in Parts - Bryan Cranston
A Life in Parts uncovers the life of actor Bryan Cranston (star of Breaking Bad) and how he rose to stardom. If you’re looking to break into the acting industry, you might be excited to read this book for help with opportunities and advice about what life is really like in Hollywood. However, it wasn’t an easy career move for him and nothing was ever straight forward. Cranston suffered many family trauma – especially when his father left – and struggled with how to deal with the pain. As a result of this sudden and unfortunate change, Cranston gave up on his aspirations to become an actor and decided to pursue another career in law.
This is also an exceptional read as a way to get to know Cranston more and find out about his career and personal life. If you follow him through media and his career, there are plenty of things you won’t know about him. This biography shares the ups and downs he experienced and a level of his personality which isn’t exposed through our TV. A Life in Parts is certainly not an upsetting read, but is one which will help you feel inspired and ready to pursue anything you want.
Finally, Cranston goes into exceptional detail about what it’s like to break into the acting industry. He also includes a large emphasis on many duties and activities involved in creating your character. As a result, you’ll receive plenty of advice if you’re searching for career and acting advice. Cranston can help you to create memorable moments on and off stage and completely change your life for the better. With simple hard work and a sheer passion to succeed, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
7. Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
Whilst looking for the best biographies to read, it’s a good start to look into people who’ve made a positive impact on the world. These should be people who weren’t afraid to stand up for themselves and helped to make the world a better place. This biography by Nelson Mandela goes into great detail about what it’s like to be him and the challenges he faced and what he overcame during his life. Since being released from prison in 1990, Mandela has fought to inspire and change the political issues in the world. As a result, he’s earned himself a positive name fighting for human equality no matter your race or background.
This is one of the best biographies to read for its moving and capturing emotions. Mandela shares his extraordinary truth like you’ve never heard it before. This biography also has many recurring themes to it. One of them is violence and what Mandela went through. We also get to appreciate his personal and family life and that he was the first person in his family to go to school.
No matter what he was faced with, Nelson never walked away from what he truly believed it and always had equality and human rights at the front of his mind. As a result, many people turned to him for support and knowledge to help change their thinking and the world as a whole. We also learn from this book that Nelson had a problem challenging himself with authority, though he broke out of statuses and groups, and remained true to himself. Even whilst in prison, Nelson never stopped educating himself and working hard to push his mind to make positive decisions.
8. Life – Keith Richards
There are so many reasons to read this biography by Rolling Stones star, Keith Richards. This is one of the best biographies to provide an honest, fun, and informative reflection of life in the fast lane. The book begins by talking about Richards getting arrested during a tour and the reasons for this. It goes into exact detail of the account, including areas of the arrest you probably didn’t know about. The creative genius of this rock ‘n’ roll star also shares how he creates and produces most of his music. For example, one section of the biography touches on how he wrote the song, Satisfaction in his sleep. When he woke up, he recorded it and then worked on finishing and refining the song.
As a famous singer, Richards had many things to discover and learn during his career. He lost a lot of friends, but gained so much intelligence and passion for the industry. This biography also goes into great detail about the substances used in the music world. Richards is very vocal about talking about the ways in which drugs actually helped him to become more productive.
This is also one of the best biographies to answer questions which you’ve been dying to know the answers too. Richards isn’t one to keep quiet, so if you as him a question, he’ll give you the honest answer. This includes all areas of his life, including relationships, drugs, music, love and everything in-between. Speaking from his heart and true emotions and experiences, Richards aims to deliver nothing other than the truth to his fans. As a result, you’re left with an exceptional book which explores Richards’s life inside and outside of stardom, including the good and the bad.
9. To the Survivors – Robert Uttaro
If you’re looking for the best biographies which provide a moving tale and help you to reflect on your life, then this is a great example for you to read. Robert Uttaro is a rape counselor who talks about the years of sexual abuse he’s seen during his professional career. However, this definitely isn’t a doom-and-gloom book, but instead focuses on the incredible stories of the people who survived these tragic events. With such surprising revelations, this book looks at many of the individual stories and what survivors went through. By opening your eyes to the sexual suffering which goes on behind closed doors, this book is insightful and spreads awareness.
If you’re someone who prefers to shut their eyes and forget that things like this happen in the world, you’ll be shocked at the truth behind it. But with this shock, you’ll be able to reflect on your own life and hopefully, help to create a positive change for those around you. This biography also goes into immense detail of the people who were involved in these horrendous sexual crimes, without exposing their identity.
Uttaro also likes to include several poems in this biography to provide an extra level of depth and sensitivity. To keep readers involved and drawn into this biography, he often asks questions. As a result, you constantly assess what you’re being told and can’t help to admire the survivors behind these stories. Not only is the content truly inspirational, but Uttaro writes this biography with pure creativity and emotion. By shifting between voices and personalities, you become drawn to the book and can’t help but want to continue reading.
10. Becoming – Michelle Obama
Becoming by Michelle Obama is one of the best biographies you can read for motivation, self-help and a true appreciation of life. This book shows many different sides to Michelle Obama and everything she’s been through. After reading this biography, you’ll be astounded at the amount of upset and negativity she’s experienced which you never knew about. She talks heavily about her youth and what life was like for her growing up. Living on the south side of Chicago was incredibly different to life in The White House. This biography also talks about what it was like to live in her skin colour and what she thought this meant for her future.
Furthermore, this book heavily talks about race and the equality issues she faced. Finding herself being molded to a certain demographic, Michelle talks about how she faced these obstacles and issues during her youth and teenage years. With so many hardships, Michelle continued to dream and work hard to obtain an amazing life, but that was never easy for her. As you read these particular fragments of the book, you may find yourself beginning to well up as you imagine living a life in a similar manner. With so much emotion and truth involved in this book, it’s one of the best biographies to really get to know someone else’s life when you haven’t even met them.
Finally, once you’ve reached the end of this book, you’ll feel inspired and ready to live your life to the maximum. It’s also a great way to find inspiration and happiness in your own existence. Her wise words and honesty are powerful to leave a positive mark on every reader who touches this book.
11. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men – James Agee
If you’re looking for the best biographies to read for inspiration, then this is certainly an excellent choice. This biography looks at how James Agee and Walker Evans began to explore the lives of sharecroppers in the South. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is an authentic biography which goes into detail about how these people had to live and exist. Unlike some of the best biographies, this goes into extensive depth and provides research to share a fair and honest angle of life for these daily workers. However, we appreciate how this biography is respectful and presents itself in an elegant format to not offend anyone.
Not only is this an educational biography to help extend your mind and learn about American history, but it’s also an entertaining and joyful book to indulge in. James Agee goes into extensive detail about a farmer’s mother. The way he describes her personality and attitude is honest, funny and wonderful to read. Also, there are so many more fascination fragments of this book which makes it hard to pick just a few to go into detail about. However, the vivid imagery he uses and talking about the truth of living in these conditions is a gentle reminder that life isn’t so bad on the other side.
After you put this biography down, you’ll feel inspired, influenced and almost re-born. Through the imaginative writing, you get a feeling that you were actually there alongside James Agee. Isn’t this why you read biographies and books? To feel like you’re somewhere else and not just reading someone else’s experience of a situation?
12. Titan: The Life of John D Rockefeller - Ron Chernow
This is one of the best biographies to read if you consider yourself career-driven and motivated by business and money. John D. Rockefeller was history’s first billionaire, and still to this day is one of America’s most famous business men. By literally changing the way business is done in America, he’s also influenced individuals and professionals around the world too. However, life wasn’t always so easy for Rockefeller, and building his infamous dynasty took a lot of hard work and motivation. With many mistakes and losses along the way, Rockefeller committed himself to powering through and keeping his vision clear in his head.
This biography goes into depth about Rockefeller’s humble beginnings and the first steps he took to begin growing such an impressive dynasty. However, there are many sides to Rockefeller that the media hasn’t portrayed and the world hasn’t seen. Through this informative biography, we get the opportunity to unravel the missing pieces and get a thorough and unbiased understanding of what it was like to be him.
The sustained narrative and interesting approach throughout this biography makes it an incredible read for an array of people. We love that it reveals the man behind the billion-dollar career and how he made baby steps to completely transform the industry as we know it. Many competitors feared Rockefeller and didn’t know how to approach him. He was everything business heads inspired to be, and yet everything they were scared of. As you’re reading this biography, we recommend taking important notes of his advice so that you can begin building your own empire too.
13. Life Without Limbs - Nick Vujicic
Life Without Limbs is one of the best biographies you can read for inspiration. Inspirational speaker Nick Vujicic helps people to live positively and achieve their dreams and goals. This speaker dedicates his life to guiding people to live their best life. His overall message in his speakers are to never give up – no matter how impossible or difficult something might seem. No matter what life throws at you, you’re capable and strong enough to get through it.
In this biography, Vujicic shares the store of his physical disabilities and everything you had to overcome and teach himself throughout his life. However, this wasn’t easy for him and definitely was a journey, but he’s inspired to tell the rest of the world how he found the inspiration to live his life without worrying what other people think. By finding confidence within himself and his attitudes, Vujicic remained productive and took life into his own hands. By sharing personal experiences and everything he went through, Vujicic confidently expresses what it takes to become the best version of yourself. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself and hoping for change, take action.
After reading this biography, you’ll genuinely feel like you can accomplish anything. Through his inspiring voice and motivational words, Vujicic is dedicated to helping everyone around the world to appreciate their own self-worth. Rather than just telling you that you can ‘achieve anything you put your mind to’, Vujicic provides practical tips and advice. This is one of the best biographies to read if you’re feeling like you’re not getting anywhere in life. Or, perhaps you feel like there are so many things you want to accomplish but don’t know which direction to head in.
What Are the Best Biographies You’ve Ever Read?
We hope you enjoyed reading a synopsis of the best biographies to purchase for inspiration. With each book, we’ve included some legitimate reasons why you should take the time to indulge in these chapters.
Now that you’ve heard from us, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the best biographies. What are your favourite reads? Share your advice and/or recommendations in the comments to inspire others.
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