Of all the types of books written, biographies have a beauty of their own. There is something incredibly compelling about the story of a life -the great, the terrible and the triumph. Biographies and memoirs remind us of all we have in common, and yet, how unique is each and every life.
Good biographies help us stand in the shoes of another, experience the details of their life, and gain new perspectives. They allow us to see beyond the facade of the famous image and understand the journey that brought them to fame.
Below are 5 brilliant, but intense, biographies that everyone should read.
1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. A touching story of the lessons learned on how to live when Mitch is reconnected with his former professor during the professor’s last months of life. Touching and easily applied to our own lives.
2. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. The story of a miserable Irish childhood, complete with poverty, alcoholism, and personal transformation. Despite the abject conditions, the story is charming and funny. I credit this book as the catalyst for me having my beautiful daughter. But that’s another story for another day.
3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This poignant personal story, captured in the personal diary, of a young teenaged girl as she and her family stayed in hiding from the Nazi’s during WWII. Powerful, with an insightful point of view on life, hope and humanity.
4. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. The moving tale of a computer science professor from Carnegie Mellow University who delivered his last lecture entitled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. A perspective-lending and thought-provoking read.
5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The captivating story of Louis Zamperini from childhood delinquent to the Berlin Olympics, with a harrowing, unimaginable journey through hell as a POW in between. A story of perseverance, hope and determination.
If you are looking for a brilliant biography to give you some perspective-lending reading, the five books noted above are a fantastic place to start. Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what brilliant biographies you would add to the list. Please share.