Everyone out there has had days when they lose all self confidence and feel like they are going nowhere. All your ideas start sounding stupid and you don’t know why you’re still trying in the first place. This is where these inspirational biographies come into play. People who have held on to their ideas and passions and executed them regardless of how difficult it was to keep going and hopefully by reading some of these, you will know exactly where your passions lie and figure out just what you need to keep doing to make them happen.
The extraordinary and inspiring account of both the professional and personal life of Steve Jobs. Based on three years of exclusive interviews conducted by Isaacson with both Jobs and his family, colleagues and competitors. A great insight into Jobs’s life and thoughts making it a very motivational and inspirational read, one of the best inspirational biographies out there.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
2. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson
Richard Branson followed a very interesting ideology that gained him, in slightly more than twenty-five years, successful ventures all around the place from Virgin Atlantic Airways to Virgin Megastores and nearly a hundred other myriad ventures. Reading this tale of someone doing business his way will surely encourage all you closet-entrepreneurs to just “screw it, let’s do it” in the words of Branson himself.
“I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
Many of these books happen to be about business successes but that is the key to pushing ourselves to implementing all the ideas we have in mind. This book is Corcoran’s best advice for anybody starting a business but it’s also beyond that because despite failing at 22 jobs by the time she was 23, she borrowed a 1000 bucks form her boyfriend and started a tiny real estate office in NYC. This developed into a $6 billion dollar business. Now that is enough to keep me persistent!
“Taking chances almost always makes for happy endings.”
Paul Allen was a world-famous billionaire by his early 30s and Time has named him one of the hundred most influential people in the world as the cofounder of Microsoft. Rushed into sharing his story by a diagnosis of lymphoma, this memoir was created filled with his passion, rigor, thoughts and most importantly his endeavors; both the triumphs and the failures. This will emphasize the importance of ideas in all of our minds and we could all use a little of that.
“For the most part, the best opportunities now lie where your competitors have yet to establish themselves, not where they’re already entrenched.”
Richard Brandt has brought us the intel behind the creator of the world’s most popular online shopping site, Amazon.com. With its super easy and convenient layout, Amazon has helped Bezos rise from computer whiz to a world-changing entrepreneur. Through interviews with employees, competitors and observers, we get an insight into how Bezos thinks enabling us to sharpen up our decision making skills and maybe, finding something that gives us a higher meaning to our lives.
“… working at Amazon was not just a job – it was part of a visionary quest, something to give higher meaning to their lives.”
This one is now sitting on my “Want To Read” shelf on Goodreads because it is a slightly different kind of biography than the ones prior. This literary adventure teaches you to live deliberately without fear or compromise because only when you know what you want and stand for it will you be able to succeed. The book proposes many other conflicts and thought processes but Chris’s desire to live on his own terms and his pursuing of that is the inspirational essence.
“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”
This one is a classic, discovered in the attic in which Anne Frank spent the last years of her life during the war and the holocaust. Anne has a remarkable voice that in itself makes you feel guilty for letting some of your hardships – that now might now seem as hard – get in the way of what it is you want to do. Perhaps this might not be lighthearted but it is most definitely positive because that is what Frank intended it to be. She broke the Maslow’s hierarchy theory because she didn’t need a sense of security to write and express herself and reach self-actualization, she just did, and in her strength we can all find ours.
“Although I’m only fourteen, I know quite well what I want, I know who is right and who is wrong. I have my opinions, my own ideas and principles, and although it may sound pretty mad from an adolescent, I feel more of a person than a child, I feel quite indepedant of anyone.”
8. Front Row: Anna Wintour – What Lies Beneath the Chic Exterior of Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief by Jerry Oppenheimer
The list would be incomplete without the chic and that is embodied in Vogue’s Queen Bee: Anna Wintour. Behind her trademark sunglasses and bob she essentially controls the fashion world, what’s in and what’s out, and every month millions of women and men are influenced by the pages of the wish-book that she has earned fighting her way to the most prestigious position in fashion journalism. Wintour’s belief in her opinions and voice makes you want to wear whatever you want and even carry through that attitude, ambition and drive into the rest of your endeavours.
The title in itself is the lesson. Mycoskie tells the story of TOMS, one of the fastest-growing shoe companies in the world, and includes the innovative lessons he has learned from other organisations such as charity: water, TerraCycle and FEED Projects. Blake makes it easier for us by presenting six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business so the first step, is to pick it up and give it a read if you’re ready to make a difference in your world and most importantly, your personal life.
“Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.… If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
10. By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis-Wilson
Alexis and Alexandra went to Harvard Business School and while they were learning all they could at the top training ground for future Wall Street titans, they had no idea that 5 years on the line, they’d be famous at the intersection of fashion and technology. Gilt began with one bold idea: to bring sample sales online and change the way millions shop. The quintessential lesson is that anything is possible if you have the confidence to embrace your creativity, spontaneity and ability to recognise an opportunity and just go for it.
“The reason we wrote our book, By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt And Changed The Way Millions Shop, is to inspire entrepreneurship – especially among women. We want to help increase the chances of success with more startups.”
Featured photo credit: Grow via youandsaturation.com