The books I’ve read over the past decade have had a huge impact on my life, and I feel grateful to have come across them at a young age.
The memoirs and biographies I mention in this article have helped me understand myself better, expanded my mind, made me feel less alone, and inspired me to make decisions that have changed my life.
Perhaps reading these books could do the same for you. So, let’s get started.
The Diary of a Young Girl
The Diary of a Young Girl is a true story of a Jewish girl named Anne Frank set during World War II when she and her family stayed in the Secret Annex to hide from the Nazis.
This was a book I had heard a lot about over the years, and was on my to-read list for a long time. I finally started reading it when my pen pal mentioned that this book had the biggest impact on him growing up.
At the start of the book, Anne’s writings seem like the musings of a typical teenager.
However, it is incredible how much she grows and matures by the end of the book.
You would never think these were the writings of a 15-year-old. Anne is a perfect example of someone who typifies the phrase “someone who is wise beyond their years”.
The Diary of a Young Girl is a book I’d highly recommend to everyone. In many countries, it is required reading for many high school students and with good reason.
I have never been a big Apple fan or a tech fan, but I found Jobs’ biography to be a riveting read. Jobs’ life story is interesting, and his biographer Walter Isaacson has narrated it beautifully.
The book made me realise for the first time the powerful impact of childhood conditioning, and reading it made me more empathetic and understanding towards certain people in my life. (Jobs was put up for adoption at birth. He carried a sense of hurt and anger from arising this throughout his life.)
Jobs had a tendency to be a control freak, but he surprisingly gave Walter Issacson complete editorial freedom over writing the book.
Though I was not a fan of Jobs' personality, I could resonate with his mindset and outlook on life in many ways, and I am deeply grateful that he tasked Walter Isaacson to write a book on him before he passed away due to cancer.
The Story of My Experiments with Truth
The Story of My Experiments with Truth is the autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi often referred to as Mahatma Gandhi.
The book covers his life from early childhood, child marriage, studying in London, his fight against injustice in South Africa and India, his experiments with diet and celibacy.
Some tend to be dismissive of Gandhi because he had certain controversial habits. However, I’d say no human is perfect, and everyone has their share of flaws. Moreover, Gandhi makes no attempt to paint himself as a flawless person in the book, but rather, he is open about his shortcomings.
Gandhi expresses himself candidly throughout the book, and I found it incredibly moving and inspiring.
Shoe Dog is a highly engaging memoir written by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The book mainly focuses on the first ten years of Nike and shares the inside story of the sports company’s rise.
The book stands out due to its beautiful storytelling and the way the Knight expresses himself candidly about the ups and downs of his entrepreneurial journey.
Eat, Pray, Love
I don’t recall what exactly prompted me to read Eat, Pray, Love. But I am sure glad I did. It was one of the books (the other being Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master) that gave me the inspiration to travel solo for the first time.
Eat, Pray, Love is the story of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert’s one-year solo trip, which included 4 months each in Italy, India and Indonesia.
People seem to have a lot of polarizing opinions about this book, however, I think there is lot of lot of takeaways to be gained from the book that makes it well worth reading.
Here are some special mentions:
Autobiography of a Yogi: Reading this book was life-changing for me. The only reason why I haven’t mentioned this book earlier in this post is because I have already written a separate article exclusively about this.
OPEN: Tennis player Andre Aggasi’s Memoir. Highly entertaining read.
Will: A revealing look into the life of Hollywood actor Will Smith. Another entertaining read.
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