Best Autobiographies

8 minute read
Best Autobiographies

When we read an autobiography, turn its pages one by one, we gradually immerse ourselves into a world filled with fascinating stories, dreams and efforts of the author. To read about great personalities through their own voice is always a joyful journey because we experience their lives and feel their raw sentiments. It is like experiencing someone else’s story through their own lens and feeling all their emotions, fears, feelings and takeaways. This blog brings you a complete list of some of the best autobiographies in the world, digging deeper into the stories they tell and the lessons you can learn from them!

Best Autobiographies

Giving us a first-person narrative of an individual’s life, autobiographies paint the stories of their authors thus helping us percieve them as truly human and their life as the testament of their mistakes, lessons and untold stories. Here are some of the best autobiographies you should read once in your life!

Best AutobiographiesAuthorBuy Here
Long Walk to FreedomNelson MandelaBuy Here 
The Diary of a Young GirlAnne FrankBuy Here
I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsMaya AngelouBuy Here 
The Autobiography of Benjamin FranklinBenjamin FranklinBuy Here 
The Story of My Experiments with TruthMohandas K. GandhiBuy Here 
Agatha Christie: An AutobiographyAgatha ChristieBuy Here 
Dreams from my FatherBarack ObamaBuy Here 
Open: An AutobiographyAndre AgassiBuy Here
Born to RunBruce SpringsteenBuy Here 
Set the Boy FreeJohnny MarrBuy Here 
MilesMiles DavisBuy Here
Stories I Only Tell My FriendsRob LoweBuy Here 

Now, let’s explore some of these popular autobiographies in further detail:

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Elaborating upon the life story by one of the famous revolutionaries from the past century, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ is a must-read for people of all ages. In his own words, Nelson Mandela, narrates a stirring account, his odyssey and how he led a political struggle against the very foundation of a system that was inherently discriminatory against people of colour. In a riveting account, he recalls his years spent struggling behind the bars during the apartheid period. In this book, Mandela gives an insightful analysis of the successful anti-apartheid movement from which a new South Africa was born.

The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

“But you can wake a man only if he is really asleep; no effort that you may make will produce any effect upon him if he is merely pretending sleep.”

What made an ordinary law practising young man to become one of the greatest political leaders in modern history? This autobiography gives a brilliant understanding of Mahatma Gandhi’s early life and how he conceptualised the notion of truth and his globally lauded ideas of non-violence and civil cooperation. He talks about his political struggles, his days in England, and how he led the independence struggle against the British in India. If you want to know about Mahatma Gandhi’s journey and why he is revered as an idol by millions of people around the world, this book is one of the top autobiographies for you to read.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

“I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”

Chronicling her detailed and personal diary entries while hiding away from the Nazis, the words of a young Anne Frank still haunt the world to this day. To protect themselves from the brutalities of the Nazi regime, the family of Anne Frank went into hiding for a long period of two years while Jews were being executed. It is an evocative description of horrors, that followed the days of the Holocaust, from the eyes of a teenager. Anne has also written about her personal joys, like the birthday present she had received making it a wholesome read. This is considered one of the best autobiographies to learn about the days of Nazi Germany as explores the fears of a teenager in a time of extreme emotional turmoil and mortal danger. 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill,
of things unknown, but longed for still,
and his tune is heard on the distant hill,
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

In this first part of the six-volume autobiography, Maya Angelou vividly paints her life as a woman born in a black family facing impoverishment and discrimination. Soon after its release, this book became one of the best-selling autobiographies worldwide. Maya Angelou brilliantly reconstructs her childhood days in the America of 1930s which was dominated by a racist division. As a child, she was extremely conscious of her marginal place in society and how the black community was relegated to a non-entity by the system.

Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them. ”

One of the best-selling novelists renowned for her detective novels and short story collections, Agatha Christie’s autobiography is scarcely spoken of. The book is an honest and compelling narrative of her life. Word by word, she untangles the mysterious threads of her own life with an easy candour. Disregarding the numerous hurdles she faced, she opens up about her most intimate episodes of life that left a lasting impression on her. She narrates how the death of her mother left her shaken and the trauma she went through after coming to know about her first husband’s extramarital relationship. This book is evidence of her strength as a woman. One of the best autobiographies written by a woman, you will get to explore the personal life of Agatha Christie, unravelling her mysterious personal life from her childhood till the time this memoir was concluded.

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

“Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.”

From the day the Olympic Gold Medalist and Grand Slam Champion Andre Agassi walked on the verdant tennis field with a racket, he stunned the world with his innate potential. Even as his early days are a reminder of his constant struggles, his swift triumph in the Wimbledon of 1992 made him a renowned tennis star. In his book, he talks about the days of rigorous training and his violent relationship with his father. He narrates the emotional trauma he felt after his three Grand Slam defeats. He has also delightfully penned down the happy times of his life and enchants the world with his humble portrayal.

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

“My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn’t, end there.”

Through this book, Barack Obama clears away the mist surrounding his personal life as he was born to an inter-racial couple. Inquisitively exploring his roots, he takes us through his relationship with his father Barack, a black man from Kenya. He discovers the narratives about his father as told by his grandparents and his mother and then from his step-sisters and step-brothers.

Obama takes the reader through his childhood, teenage years and then his time as an organiser in Chicago working with black communities. He also talks about his days when his family moved to Hawaii and his political struggle until he became the first Black President of the United States. Dreams From My Father is amongst the most cherished and best autobiographies around the world because of its foundings in ground reality and people’s relatability to the struggle.

20 Best Biographies of All Time!

Now that we have explore the best autobiographies, let’s also take a look at the top 20 biographies of all time!

  1. Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges
  2. Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert
  3. Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera
  4. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  5. Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson
  6. Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts
  7. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
  8. Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss
  9. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  10. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt
  11. E=mc²: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis
  12. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  13. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
  14. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
  15. War and Peace: FDR’s Final Odyssey by Nigel Hamilton
  16. Mozart: A Life by Peter Gay
  17. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard P. Feynman
  18. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
  19. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley
  20. Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

Best Memoirs of All Time

There is a slight difference between autography and memoir and there are various intriguing and interesting memoirs that capture a certain phase of the author’s life. So, here is a list of some of the best memoirs you must read once in your lifetime:


What are the best autobiographies to read?

Following are the best autobiographies to read:

1. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
2. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
3. The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi
4. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
5. Chronicles, Vol 1 by Bob Dylan

Are biographies worth reading?

Yes, reading biographies is beneficial, you get to have a closer look into the life of a person. There are various things to learn from the journey of an individual. Apart from that, you get to explore a new culture, country and perspective of a different person.

What celebrities have written autobiographies?

1. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer
2. Bossypants, Tina Fey
3. In the Country We Love, Diane Guerrero
4. Wildflower, Drew Barrymore
5. If You Ask Me, Betty White
6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
7. Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick

Thus, reading the aforementioned best autobiographies and biographies, you will surely get to see these world-famous personalities in a whole new light and perspective! Aiming to study creative writing? Leverage Edu experts are just a click away from helping you explore the top creative writing courses across the globe and finding the best one that suits your interests! Register for a free counselling session with us today!

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