Tell us what the one thing that keeps you sane is? Let us guess, you would say reading a book for sure. Bringing an ocean of learning, books are the most precious belonging to the world. Especially when it comes to autobiography, the unique insights top the learning chart. If you are seeking some of the best autobiographies of all time, keep scrolling to the list and explore your favorite picks.
The Diary of A Young Girl, Anne Frank
The diary begins on the 13th birthday of Anne Frank on 12 June 1942. With World War Two going on, she pens down her story when she gets the diary as a gift. She lived with her family in Frankfurt but hid with the other Jews because of the Nazi killings. The book tells everything about her journey and how she still believed that people are good from the inside. Also, she writes how everyone has the right to live in freedom and peace irrespective of religion or race.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin wrote his biography. He states that you can only live once, but you can surely capture the moments of your life again by writing them down. The book describes his early life, his love for books and how he ran away from home at sixteen. This autobiography has four parts, each representing different aspects of Franklin’s life. A scientist, an inventor, a politician, a printer and a polymath pens down his life in the hope that it will interest his son and inspire others like him to pursue their dreams.
Autobiography Books: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
This book sheds light on the endless and countless struggles of the black people in South Africa. After three centuries of white rule, Nelson took oath as the first black president. Dignitaries from around the world took part in this inauguration ceremony. In his speech, he declared democracy and promised that there would be no discrimination based on caste, colour or creed. He put an end to the harshest and most inhumane practices against black people. A Long Walk to Remember focuses on the journey of Nelson Mandela and his battles.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
In the book, Malcolm talks about his traumatic childhood, where racism was a vital part of his world. From his years as a drug dealer, a pimp, and a militant activist to his conversion to the Black Muslim, Malcolm X did it all. He believed in Islam with all his heart as that was the only religion free of racism. Also, he used his fame to build his Muslim foundation. Malcolm X’s life is full of struggles, and he composes different parts of his life, from childhood to adulthood.
Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie
Christie had a long career as a book writer and wrote some of the best mysterious books. The interesting fact is that Agatha herself was a mysterious person. She even disappeared for a bit and rarely came in front of the media. This autobiography is a must-read for all her fans as her mystery unfolds in the book. Also, this is one of the most inspiring books on your read list. Uncover the truths of Agatha’s life and learn how she managed to have such a successful career.
The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell by Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson was a singer, songwriter, musician and poet. He also enjoyed writing horror stories and wrote an unpublished story about how he despised himself and others but figured out a way to make people like him. Although he was an excellent writer, he couldn’t sell any of his work. Moreover, bands like his were not popular back in the day as people thought they badly influenced young fans. Mason struggled all his life until he left his cocaine addiction and started to re-experience emotions like love and respect.
Autobiography Books: The Anti Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland
Standing as one of the best selling autobiographies in the whole world, this book takes you to a parallel universe for obvious reasons. Get ready to explore the dark side of humanity with this book. From weight issues, abuse and alcoholism, Rosie faced everything in her life. She spent her early life trying to fit into the social norms until one day; she decided to change. Hence, she became the anti-cool girl who lived life by her choice. Rosie does not hold back anything in this book and spills all the beans. Moreover, she does not shy away from sharing the extreme downs in her life, whether pooping in her bed or anything else.
The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Joan is a celebrated writer as she wrote non-fiction books as well as novels. She starts to pen down raw emotions when her life changes instantly. Joan and her husband were struggling with the disease of their adopted daughter. Shortly after, her husband faced a heart attack leading to his demise. Joan writes how she figured this all out and tried to find a way out of these events by trying to make sense of them. This is a dominant insight into mourning and how to cope with grief.
On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King
Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books and sold more than 350 million copies of his books across the world. This is a must-read book for everyone, whether you are a writer or a reader who just started to read books. Stephen King has a unique way of telling stories that can get a hold of people’s attention. In this book, he tells his life story of how he got addicted to drugs but the second half of his life is inspiring and motivating.
Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
This story is about one of the most hard-working and talented tennis players who set the bars of the game-high. See how his journey sounds impressive, but everything in life comes at a cost. At just 13 years, he started his training, but he did not like it. By the time he was 16, he was already a champion at the game. In this book, he writes about it all, from professional setbacks to personal heartbreaks. He shares how attention to obstacles can ruin one’s dreams and goals. Every heart-touching component of the Open makes it one of the best autobiographies that you must read at least once in your lifetime.
Autobiography Books: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mary Hemmingway, the wife of Ernest, published this book after his demise. The book takes inspiration from the diary notes of Ernest from the 1920s. When Ernest lived in Paris with his first wife and child, he wrote ʼA Movable Feastʼ but never published this. Plus, the book is from when Hemmingway was a journalist and wished to become a full-time novelist. He mentions a lot of artists and writers who were with him during his initial Paris days. It is a must-read for everyone as the book is truly a masterpiece.
Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s autobiography is brilliant, inspiring and highly thoughtful. It takes place in the timeline from 1835 to 1910, which is significant in his life and the history of the United States. From slavery, racism, and casteism to Civil War, Mark Twain throws light on several aspects. Moreover, Twain was a brilliant writer who was popular among audiences in the 19th and 20th centuries. People waited long for his memoirs as they were insightful, and above all, Twain was naturally a great storyteller.
Autobiography Books: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Mein Kampf is one of the most popular autobiographies in the world. Written by Adolf Hitler, this is the first part published in 1925, and another part came out the following year. In this book, Hitler expressed his views on politics and different races. During the Hitler era, he made it compulsory for the Germans to read the book as it spread Nazi ideology. Not only this but it was also given as a gift to newlywed couples. By the end of world war 2, the book had sold more than 10 million copies in Germany.
Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama
Before being a politician, Barack Obama was an author. Barack pondered over his identity, who he was and where he belonged. This is an insightful and profound book that tells what goes in the mind of a young man. Obama shares what it was like to be born to an American mother and an African American father. The book follows the life of Barack Obama from his early life and tells how he was as a young man. After his father’s death, see how he coped with it and moved on with his life.
Autobiography Books: I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne
I am Ozzy is a New York Times bestseller and one of the must-read autobiography booksfor everyone. In this book, Ozzy reveals his life details to the public for the first time. Not only did he release a TV show, but he also wrote this book to address his family’s privacy invasion. He divided the book into two portions, and the choice of dividing and naming the chapters was quite interesting. From his drug problems, his early childhood, leaving his factory job, and his band to finally writing a book, he mentions everything in I am Ozzy.
Autobiography Books: Educated by Tara Westlover
Educated by Tara Westover is an International bestseller that is about love, family and struggles in life. Tara never attended school as she did not have her birth certificate as well as other documents. At 17 years of age, she attended school for the first time in her life. However, she was an expert in making plant medicine because that’s what her mother used to do. Her story is inspiring, from her unrivaled background to getting a Ph.D. in Cambridge. The way of storytelling in this book is delicate and will strike the right chords while you read it.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
This book by Trevor Noah sold over one million copies and is the #1 New York Times bestseller. Trevor won several awards for this autobiography, like the NAACP Image award. He considers his birth a heinous crime because, at that time, the marriage of a black Xhosa and white Swiss was a punishable crime. Many of his childhood went in hiding as his mother always thought the government would take him away. See how a small child turns into a restless man he never intended to exist.
Here, Right Matters: An American Story by Alexander Vindman
Alexander Vindman writes about himself for the first time, and the story quickly becomes a bestseller. Vindman mentions his childhood, family structure and the history of his time in this book. Throughout his school life, he had immense respect for truth and honesty. Right Matters is a tribute to the unsung warriors who keep the nation safe and secure. Alexander also mentions his father, who left the Soviet Union to provide a better future for the family. From taking risks to learning moral values, he mentions everything in this book that affected his life.
Autobiography Books: Open Book by Jessica Simpson
Jessica Simpson opens up about her intimate struggles in this autobiography. It quickly became the number-one New York Times Bestseller as Jessica pens down her raw emotions. America’s sweetheart had a constant burden of pleasing everyone despite being a billionaire and a pop sensation. As the book’s name suggests, she is completely open about her life here. From her music and marital status to her fashion choices, she is always the talk of the town. Jessica shares the bullying, name-calling and other aspects that arrive with fame in your life and how it changes everything.
Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson blesses us all with this wonderful autobiography. She talks about her career as an actress and how important it is to have faith in yourself. Cicely states how easy it is for her to be herself and not get blinded by the industry’s glamour. Also, she talks about the times when she was shy, a church-going girl who found peace in the lines of the hymns. Cicely lived a wholesome life and shares it all at the age of ninety when she finally feels that she now has something to write.
Autobiography Books: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Born to run by Bruce Springsteen took a long time to come out because he worked on the autobiography for seven years. The book has the same honesty and comedy that his songs portray. Born and brought up in New Jersey, he recalls how fear and poetry surrounded him. All these things led to his imagination running wild, which created his career. It is not just one of the phenomenal autobiography booksabout a rockstar, but it is so much more than that. He shares how he reached the top instantly but still had to run away from himself.
Autobiography Books – Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel
This autobiography of Taylor Jenkins Reid is thrilling, exciting and raw. Maybe that is why it became a New York Times Bestseller so quickly. The book is about how a rock group in the 1970s rose to the top and what was the reason behind the group falling apart. Daisy, an aspiring rockstar, sneaked out as a teenager to strip clubs and dreamt of singing at the Whisky A go-go. Until she was twenty, she gained confidence and beauty, which were the key elements of rock n roll, and her voice started to become famous.
A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer
Although the book is short, each of its pages contains the weight of a thousand pages. This is the first of the four books that Dave wrote to convey his story to the world. His childhood was full of torture and pain as Dave’s mother beat him beyond any means. Since his mother was an alcoholic and emotionally unstable, she starved and tortured Dave. The book sold over 1.6 million copies worldwide and soon became New York Times’ Bestseller. Plus, the other parts of the book are equally successful as well.
Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s Mass Market by Ray Kroc
Have a sneak peek into the world’s largest fast-food corporation. Ray Kroc shares his life-changing stories in his autobiography and how life happened to him at 52. He met the McDonald’s brothers at this time and opened the first-ever franchise of McD. Get deep insights into his life and the visionary mind that made him who he is. Know the recipe for his success and what it takes to achieve your dreams and goals, irrespective of age.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Mass Market by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou brings the struggles of the black children to the surface and lets the world know how difficult it can get. The book focuses on the first sixteen years of Maya’s life and the way she had to live through it all. From racism and rape to literacy, the book is honest and raw. Being uncensored, one can see into the life of a black child and how she gained enough courage to give a voice to her experiences. Explore her journey of becoming one of the world’s most prominent figures of literature.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson shares that this book is entirely valid except for the parts that are not. We will never know whether the parts of the book that are so extreme are authentic or not. As usual, Jenny is hilarious and a great storyteller as well. Some chapters will make you cry, and you won’t stop laughing while reading the other chapters. In some parts, you will think that this cannot happen to anybody, but again, you never know as this memoir is primarily true.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott mentions the start of her career as a writer in Bird by Bird. She stresses that she does not like perfection when it comes to writing. Moreover, the mess attracts her the most when she talks about writing. Anne opens the mystery inside a writer’s head and talks about the struggles of a professional writer. If you think about writer’s block or writer’s jealousy, these are all real things, and Anne addresses them in her book. This is also a guide on how to overcome these obstacles.
Autobiography Books: This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
Adam Kay opens up about his journey of choosing medicine as a career. He highlights that it is not fair for students to make such a big decision at 16. Moreover, he talks about how medical schools stress over activities that are not even important rather than evaluating the needed skills. This book will show the struggles of the medical field and how difficult it can be to survive in school. Kay is honest in his storytelling and makes excellent points while writing this book.
Autobiography Books: Butterfly by Yusra Mardini
From saving fellow refugees from drowning to becoming an Olympic swimmer, this inspiring story by Yusra Mardini is a must-read for everyone. From Syria to Greece, she saved many people, not caring about her own life. After that, she only had one goal in mind: to compete in the Olympics, which she did in Rio De Janeiro. Later, she worked at the UN as a goodwill ambassador. The butterfly is an inspiring story that will send chills down your spine. Please read about how a young girl reached heights with her courage.
An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi
This book is one of the most recognized works of the twentieth century. Gandhi, an Indian activist, wrote about his early childhood till 1921 in this autobiography. He mentions everything in this book, from his personal truths to his morality and spirituality. Explore how his lifestyle changed for the better, his early losses, mistakes and how he overcame all of them. Gandhi worked at several places abroad before coming to India to become an activist. Read his inspiring journey to know the life of the father of the nation.
A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi
Mohsin Zaidi writes about his experience as a gay in the conservative Muslim community. He begins the story from the day he brings his boyfriend home to meet his family. Mohsin describes his early childhood and the time when he realized he was gay. He talks about keeping it a secret and not telling anyone about his sexuality to anyone. From Pakistan to East London, see how his journey changes. Despite the hate and intolerance for gays, he is still humble and says that it takes time for people to accept things, which is okay.
Coming Undone: A memoir by Terri White
This book by Terri White is raw and beautifully written. Terri shares how she covers her pain and emotions by indulging in alcoholism. With a traumatic childhood, she was a child to a teenage mom. Not only did she face sexual abuse from her mom’s boyfriends, but she was also poverty-stricken. She then talks about her adulthood and how her job in New York was not good for her in any way. The best thing about the book is that Terri is incredibly honest, spares no details of her life and is not ashamed of her past.
Inferno by Catherine Cho
Explore how crazy and difficult motherhood can be. Catherine experienced postpartum psychosis and started to see devils in her son’s eyes. Things got a little out of hand when she had to go to a psychiatric hospital. During this time, she got separated from her newborn son. Here, she kept a note of her progress and everything going on with her in the ward. Look at a mother’s struggles and how she overcame them. From mental breakdowns to experiencing the unimaginable, this story will give you goosebumps in a literal way.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
With several unanswered questions about death, one does wonder what the purpose of living, after all, is. Realizing to judge whose life is more important than the others or who should get treatment on priority is a vital part of the lives of doctors. Paul Kalanithi did his best by guiding people to the right people. His goal was not to save lives because everyone does eventually, but he gave realistic solutions that may help the patient or the family. Good intentions are simply not enough in the neurological department.
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster
Into Thin Air describes the deadliest season of Mount Everest and how little mistakes can lead to so many people being dead. Krakauer examines the condition of Mt. Everest and how everything changes when climbing the highest altitude. However, he wants to know what is so attractive about Everest that people are risking everything to go on this deadly journey. What is so inviting is that people happily leave their jobs, families and their life behind to climb Mt. Everest? Explore the journey with the author to know the secrets.
Living for Change: An Autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs
In the life of Grace Lee, she led several movements in the hundred years she lived. From working with leaders like Malcolm X to evolving as an activist, her autobiography is fascinating and inspiring. She also wrote an autobiography with her husband that is quite famous too. However, this book focuses entirely on Grace and how she chose to fight her battles. Grace’s personal and professional lives are motivating and will push you to see the bigger perspective and bring about a change in the world.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
While some people like to call the book a memoir, it is one of the bestselling autobiographies of all time. It revolves around the life of the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Michelle divided the book into three parts: Becoming Me, Becoming Us and Becoming More. From her early childhood, her initial days with Barack, to her days in the White House, she writes it all in the book. With great power comes great responsibility, and Michelle handles it with grace that it all looks so easy. However, the struggle behind everything is present in the book.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Malala, easily one of the most famous figures, writes about her journey. She is the epitome of strength, sacrifice and bravery and is the face of the future generations. Moreover, her activism began with writing, so it only makes sense that she will have more autobiographies in the future. Also, she is inspiring to all the girls who wish to pursue education. Read the legendary story of Malala in her writing. This is a must-read book for everyone.
Autobiography books of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
Published in 1946, the book remains extremely popular and is still printed. Sold over four million copies worldwide, the book inspired so many people. More than just an autobiography, this is also a guide for the readers that tells people how to refine their inner lives. The book has a loyal fan base, and Steve Jobs arranged for the book to be handed out to everyone at his memorial service. Yogananda’s legacy is still going on, and so is the legacy of this book which makes it a must-read.
Chronicles Volume 1 by Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan, who won multiple Grammy awards for his music, also won a Quill award for writing his autobiography. Not only this, but he also got a Nobel Prize for his contributions to literature. After knowing all this, one gets compelled to know more about the leading man, Bob Dylan. His life story is excellent and inspiring, but his way of expression makes it more impressive. Moreover, he has a way with words and knows how to write a story. Like every other book, this one also has some controversies.
Becoming A Visible Man by Jamison Green
An author and an educator but best known as a transgender activist, Jamison Green had a challenging journey. More than just an autobiography, the book is informative and contains contexts of history that give a better understanding of trans rights. For anyone who is trying to know more about trans privileges and laws, this book is an excellent place for you to start. After reading this book, you will realize that only a little has changed for trans people over the years, which is very saddening.
Autobiography Books: Cash – The Autobiography by Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash has a particular image of himself in front of the audience. While most people view him negatively and think of him as a troubled and dark man who is always in black clothes, the reality is entirely the opposite. This autobiography tells his life story in a different way and lets you meet the real Johnny Cash. From his music to spirituality, Johnny writes about memories he never revisited before. Even though a movie is made about Johnny Cash, the book touches on his life on a deeper level. Give it a read and know his extraordinary journey.
Flying Free: My Victory over Fear to Become the First Latina Pilot on the US Aerobatic Team by Cecilia Aragon
Cecilia Aragon, a shy teenager who never thought she could fit in, overcame her fears to soar above it all. A bullied girl chose the path that led to the sky and never looked back. Cecilia was great at Math but never figured out what she wanted with her life until she got introduced to flying. Explore the journey of the skies and see how even the sky is not the limit for Cecilia.
Courage to Soar: a Body in Motion, a Life in Balance by Simone Biles
Who wouldn’t be willing to read the life story of Simone Biles? Simone is the greatest of all time and deserves several books about her. She tells her story in a raw, inspiring and empowering way that will inspire several people. Standing as one of the best autobiographies of all time, this piece is quite fascinating. Starting from her obstacles and how she overcame them to tales of her side every element will leave you awestruck. Whether you are a fan of Simone or not, you must read this book because that is how amazing it is.
Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodríguez
Always Running is an award-winning book that is one of the classics if you talk about autobiographies. Moreover, this book was the point of attraction when it came to controversies and was banned often in the 1990s. Always Running is a book about gang life in LA and how it affected the author while he was growing up. Luis J wrote sixteen books and won several awards, but this was not the case always as he had to fight his battles. This is an important story that needs to be heard by everyone.
Mostly Sunny: How I Learned To Keep Smiling Through The Rainiest Days By Janice Dean
Signifying the brave story of a girl who moved to a new city, Mostly Sunny is a ray of hope for every working woman. Janice achieved countless things all through her life journey, but her autobiography highlights how she faced the most challenging days of her life. Whether dealing with a jerk boss or surviving in the town with no friends and family, Janice made her way. So, if you are in the mood to read something hard-hitting that settles best with a vital source of motivation, then Mostly Sunny deserves to be there on your reading table with no delays.
Autobiography Books: Brown Girl Like Me by Jaspreet Kaur
Spreading the sensational Mantra of Feminism, Jaspreet Kaur’s Brown Girl balances the art of being a lady in every possible manner. Written as the captivating combination of a memoir and a manifesto, Brown Girl Like Me teaches every girl to live life like a legend. Brown Girl has left no stone unturned so far, whether mental health, menstruation, higher education or whatnot. Above all, in the end, this piece will sow a revolutionary seed of change. Undoubtedly, you can count on this Brown Girl as one of the best autobiography books.
The Beautiful No And Other Tales Of Trails. Transcendence, And Transformation by Sheri Salata
Filled with maximum ups, and most minor downs, everything was going well in the life of Sheri until one day she realized that she had the career of her dreams but not the life of her dreams soon after she decided to transform from one hundred pounds overweight lady to a fit woman. Not just that, but what made this book one of the best selling autobiographiesis indeed her bold move of leaving The Oprah Winfrey Show at one take. To everyone, who can’t wait to read a head-shaking piece adorned with some seriously insane decisions of life, The Beautiful No is the voracious pick for you.
Autobiography Books: World In My Eyes, The Autobiography By Richard Blade
Appropriately written to take you back a decade, Richard Blade has gathered all of the possible limelight through his autobiography. While representing some of the unfortunate facts of the music industry, tv industry and movie world, World In My Eyes offers you enough jaw-dropping events that are hard to believe. From her early days as a Disco DJ in Europe to his journey to America with Michael Jackson, the life tale of Richard will add yet another name to your favourite books.
Selecting the best autobiography books not easy, but now you surely know which book you are about to pick next. So, keep spreading the amazement of reading and ensure to read all the lovely pieces enlisted in the list mentioned above.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s challenging to pick the best one, but you can consider The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklinas the best autobiography to read.
An autobiography books are a written reflection of the writer’s life. These books are written in the first-person style and involve primary public life events, private affairs, experiences, emotional reactions, failures, achievements, and the whole life journey of the writer.
The 4 types of autobiography are as follows:
A biography is a life story of any famous person written by someone else. On the other hand, an autobiography is a life story of a famous person’s life explicitly written by that person. So, in the front of creating the unmatchable interest for the readers, autobiography books is better.