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15 Best Autobiographies Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

15 Best Autobiographies Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

An autobiography is a first hand experiences of the authors written by the authors, thus, making them interesting to the readers and enabling them to understand the “other,” unseen side of the authors.

Autobiographies are mainly written by famous persons. They teach us different stories, the authors’ struggles in life, the emotions they went through, making the autobiographers more human. Here are 15 of the best autobiographies in no qualitative order.

1. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

franklin

    Written from 1771 to 1790, this book contains the life history of one of America’s founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography will tell you how a lower-middle classed youth raised up into one of the most admired men in the world.

    It will also tell you how Mr. Franklin believed in the American Dream, and indicated the possibilities of life in the New World. He proved to the world that hard works paid off, and that undistinguished persons could become of great importance in America.

    Another reason why this is a classic is due to the historical factors. It reveals how life was in the 18th Century, the idealism, the intellectualism and optimistic beliefs are very well expressed. This autobiography contains four parts and is totally worth a read!

    Get the book here!

    2. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

    mandela

      Nelson Mandela’s autobiography contains every elements of knowledge you want to know about this legendary leader. Starting from his childhood, growing up in to a freedom fighter, to his twenty seven years in prison, and his significant role in molding up a new, democratic South Africa, this book has it all.

      It also contains in depth analysis of Mandela’s perception of the anti-apartheid struggle of the South Africans. In simple words, this book is Mandela’s long walk to freedom!

      Get the book here!

      3. The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

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      gandhi

        Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is a frank and humble account that highlights the moral and spiritual side of an extraordinary leader. This book is firmly rooted in the historical background of the forty years he spent in India. It has every detail of Gandhi’s life, historical and political incidents, and his personal philosophy on life. It is a beautiful book, not to be missed at all!

        Get the book here!

        4. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

        annefrank

          This diary is very unlike your usual autobiography. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl, who, along with her family and few friends, went into hiding during World War II. This beautiful piece describes everything that a thirteen year old girl would experience: typical girlhood consciousness, friendships with other girls, her crushes on boys, and her academic performances.

          It also states how her life was while in hiding, her emotional roller coasters, her opinions on other people’s behavior, and her loneliness. Her diary ends shortly after her fifteenth birthday.

          Get the book here!

          5. Chronicles, Vol 1 by Bob Dylan

          dylan

            Bob Dylan needs no introduction. This is the first volume of his autobiography and it contains three chapters. Here he talks about his life in New York in 1961, his experiences while recording his first album and his devotion towards two of his lesser albums.

            This is something all the music lovers will enjoy, especially those who adore him. He is planning to write two more chronicles, thanks to the immense success of his volume one.

            Get the book here!

            6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

            maya

              This autobiography is the first of Maya’s seven autobiographies, but this has claimed fame for her. This book tells a wonderful, emotional journey of a struggling Black American, who went through bitter experiences in the course of her first seventeen years.

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              It starts from how her life changed after her parents’ divorce, how she was raped by her mother’s live-in boyfriend, how she overcame her trauma, and all the events that interlocked in between. This beautiful piece of literature teaches us the hardships of life and the extreme racism the Black Americans used to face at one time.

              Get the book here!

              7. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X

              malcolm

                This particular book is a solid example of the underside of 20th Century American life. Malcolm X poured out the details of his life, from the poverty of his childhood, to his criminal teen, and then his emergence as a national figure and world leader.

                The readers are never allowed to forget that converting to Islam was the major turning point in Malcolm X’s life. This is considered a spiritual classic.

                Get the book here!

                8. Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie

                agatha

                  This autobiography can be considered as the unraveling of one of the best mysteries, Agatha Christie herself. She bespeaks of the delight of her happy childhood, her affectionate acquaintance with her mother, the tragic episodes that touched her, her mother’s death and her first husband’s adultery, marrying her second husband, and most importantly, about her works.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

                  agassi

                    During the early 1990s and mid 2000s, this dashing man had dominated the tennis court by not only his charm and fashion, but also with his talent in the game. This former world number one wrote about his life account, confessing to controversies, his love life, and his “hate” for the game. This memoir is darkly funny and is regarded to be one of the National Best sellers of that time!

                    Get the book here!

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                    10. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

                    sking

                      This memoir is crafted exceptionally well and does not contain the slightest hint of horror in it (unlike King’s other books!). After reading this, you will have learned about King’s personal life, experiences, his struggles during pre-fame and post-fame, and what makes him such a popular horror novelist. The style contains good humor and good dexterity. Each part (there are three parts) is equally informative and enthralling.

                      Get the book here!

                      11. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

                      ernest

                        A Moveable Feast is a story of innocence lost. It tells the life events of the great American author and journalist, how he was shaped into becoming an author, his love interests, and his perspectives on things. Though the events are scattered, the book is still interesting in its own way.

                        Get the book here!

                        12. Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain

                        twain

                          In this first volume of Mark Twain’s memoirs, we see a colorful presentation of this great author’s long life. The book is a classic itself, and every element, like style, scope, imagination, laughter and tragedy, prove it all. It also manifests the different roles he had in life – a family man, an author, a son, a brother, and a friend.

                          Get the book here!

                          13. I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne

                          ozzy

                            The vocal of Black Sabbath may be not have a good reputation, but, at the end of the day, he is a human being too. And this is exactly what he tells us here. There are many things to learn from this man’s experiences. This is a book written in details and humor.

                            Get the book here!

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                            14. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

                            hitler

                              To understand Hitler, you must read this autobiography. If you start reading this book, you will be able to comprehend the “other side” of this tyrant and mass murderer. Mein Kampf is a German phrase meaning My Struggle. This book depicts his childhood, early aspirations, his conflict with his father, his rise to the politics, and his hatred of the Jews. The chronicles are poised frankly.

                              Get the book here!

                              15. Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama

                              obama

                                This is a rendition of the struggles, of the relationships between families, of the racisms faced, and of the love affair of the current most powerful man in the world. Obama’s writing style shows class and exclusiveness as he reflects on his personal experiences on the racial relationships in the USA.

                                The knowledge one acquires from reading one autobiography is more than that acquire from reading a few novels. The readers can blend into the characters and witness the history from first-hand experience. Besides, why wouldn’t you learn from successful people who have experienced all the ups and downs before they succeeded?

                                Get the book here!

                                I believe that people who love reading MUST have one at least one of these books in their collection. And if you’re looking for more books to help you improve and get closer to success, these are must-reads:

                                35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

                                Top 25 Books to Unleash Your Creative Potential

                                15 Best Leadership Books Every Young Leader Needs To Read

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                                Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                                13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

                                13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

                                For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

                                “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

                                “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

                                Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

                                You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

                                Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

                                1. Take a step back and evaluate

                                When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

                                1. What is the problem?
                                2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
                                3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
                                4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
                                5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

                                Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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                                2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

                                If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

                                At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

                                Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

                                3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

                                Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

                                4. Process your thoughts/emotions

                                Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

                                1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
                                2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
                                3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
                                4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

                                5. Acknowledge your thoughts

                                Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

                                By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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                                Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

                                6. Give yourself a break

                                If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

                                7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

                                A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

                                Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

                                After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

                                8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

                                As Helen Keller once said,

                                “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

                                Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

                                9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

                                In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

                                1. What’s the situation?
                                2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
                                3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
                                4. Take action on your next steps!

                                After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

                                10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

                                A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

                                Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

                                For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

                                11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

                                No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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                                12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

                                No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

                                13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

                                There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

                                After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

                                Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

                                Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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