Whether your plan this year is to get fit, change career or simply be happier; here are five autobiographies to inspire your 2018 self.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou’s story has continually awed millions across the world: The poor single mother struggling to survive went on to become a famous dancer, civil rights activist and world-renowned poet. But while Angelou has documented her past in a whopping seven autobiographies, her first book is still the most popular.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings records Angelou’s life between the ages three and 17. Abandoned by her parents, she and her brother are sent to live with her Grandmother in Arkansas. There, she comes up against a wall of racism; from being refused dentist treatment to watching family members hide from the Ku Klux Klan.
While Angelou’s account is undeniably tragic, she remains hopeful—herself a testament to withstanding oppression and having courage against the odds. Over the course of her story, she transforms from a victim struggling with an inferiority complex into a self-assured young woman with the ability to articulately respond to prejudice.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir
by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight
Just do it! Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father in an attempt to create his own start-up: importing and selling high-quality, low-cost sports shoes. Skip ahead to over 50 years later and Nike is a multi-billion brand, beloved by designers and superstars alike. So just how did he do it?
Whether you’re a business owner or even someone with a big idea, Phil Knight’s autobiography is a warts-and-all story of pursuing a dream at all costs. Covering the ups and downs, the many risks and the daunting setbacks, the Nike creator tells readers not to settle for anything less than their calling. It’s much easier to understand the rapid growth of his business with his determination, attitude and persistence in mind.
But the entrepreneur’s words are not sugar-coated either. Be prepared for some tears as Knight bares his soul and reveals his own vulnerabilities when it comes to his personal life and family.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
by Stephen King
For any budding writers out there, it should come as no surprise that Stephen King is an inspirational force to be reckoned with—having been known to write a minimum of 2,000 words a day. But for further instruction from the literary giant, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft offers insight and wisdom in abundance.
Part autobiography, part advice-sharing, King details the habits and conventions that have helped him create smash hits such as It, The Shining and Carrie. Not afraid to get personal, readers will feel almost as if the author is sat across from them, telling his life story and giving them a stern talking to if one of his rules gets forgotten.
But if writing is not your game, King also offers valuable guidance on the subject of happiness. He readily admits he did not enter his career to make money, get famous or go on dates. Instead, King states that work should be about “getting up, getting well and getting over. Getting happy.” A good motto to go by.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
by Malala Yousafzai
Sometimes speaking out for what you believe in can be the hardest thing in the world. For those who might need some inspiration: look no further than I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.
Malala Yousafzai was just 11 years old when she began blogging about the growing Taliban influence on her hometown in Pakistan. Beginning at first to write anonymously about the banning of education for girls, she later became a global activist and advocate for change. At the age of 15, she was then forced to fight for her life after the Taliban shot her during her bus ride home from school.
Malala’s account illustrates the power that one person can have if they have the courage to raise their voice above the rest. As her own charity, the Malala Fund, declares on their website: If one girl with an education can change the world, what can 130 million do?
Chris Hoy: The Autobiography
by Chris Hoy
Often when we have grand aspirations it can be difficult to tune out the little voice of self-doubt. What if all the hard work never pays off? What if I fail? It’s not something you would expect Sir Chris Hoy MBE, Britain’s most successful Olympian and six times gold medallist to understand.
But he just might. Over the course of his self-titled autobiography, Hoy charts the life of a seven-year-old BMX obsessed boy who, supported by his family, squared up to face his own paralysing fears. Written with humility and a sense of awe, readers will follow the star through each of his fantastic achievements. Driven by his pure love of sport, the athlete’s sheer determination is enough to get anyone out of bed and on their bike.
What’s more, Hoy has some advice for those of us crippled by anxiety. While confirming self-doubt is normal, the superstar has even admitted he kept him on his toes throughout his career.
*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.