By definition, a great biography is one that brings a person to life for the reader. It allows you to delve inside the person’s mind, heart and soul to better appreciate the bold achievements they enjoyed. And the most inspiring biographies are those that encourage us to go out and lead the best lives we can. By sharing their story with others, they fuel passions that may otherwise lay beneath the surface. These are the types of biographies that help us lead a bold life and attain the goals and dreams we desire.
Notably, there are hundreds of great biographies available to read, and many describe exceptional personalities and individuals. Some help us understand the lives of famous people while others tell tragic stories of an incredible life journey. But a truly inspiring biography is one that makes us want to live a bold life. With this in mind, the following are among the top 10 biographies designed to do just that. If you’re looking for additional inspiration, these powerful books are must-reads in your pursuit of a bolder life.
- Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
This inspiring biography is the tale of a young man from Honduras. At age 5 years, his mother left to go to America, promising to return. But eleven years later when she did not, Enrique set out on a journey of his own to find her. Nazario describes the dangers and trials he faced in his efforts to reunite with his mother. His own passion for a more fulfilling life is certain to encourage others to live a bold life as well.
- The Stranger in the Woods – The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
This may not be everyone’s idea of an inspiring biography, but it will certainly pique your interest regardless. Christopher Knight, labelled as the last true hermit, chose to live alone in rural Maine for nearly 30 years. Finkel details how Knight was able to survive the rough conditions of the wilderness as well as those of isolation. For Knight, this depicted how he wanted to live a bold life. And even if you don’t agree, this book will allow you to appreciate the degree of commitment that takes.
- Unbroken – A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Imagine being an Olympic runner, recruited into the war, and then having your bomber crash and burn in the ocean. Then imagine being tortured in a POW camp for the next two years. That is what happened to Louis Zamperini at age 26 years. But it’s not these events alone that makes for an inspiring biography. Instead, its Zamperini’s mental resilience and ability to forgive his captors this showcases how to live a bold life.
- Barracoon – The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zura Neale Hurston
Though Hurston is well known for novels and essays, this is one of her few biographies. This inspiring biography was written in the 1920s but was only recently published in 2018. It details the struggles of Cudjo Lewis, the last African individual to be sold in the Middle Passage slave trade. Not only will this biography empower you to live a bold life. But it will also make you aware of how racism and other issues persist even in today’s society.
This inspiring biography concerning Steve Jobs, Founder and CEO of Apple, is on most everyone’s must-read list. Isaacson’s account of Job’s effort to live a bold life goes beyond his professional achievements however. It also includes details concerning his childhood, his personality, his relationships, and his influence on others. Though many may not agree with his approach, few would deny his life was among one of the boldest.
Edna St. Vincent Millay was notable Jazz Age poet and well-recognized feminist that might be best described as an enigma. While her poetry was soft and beautiful, Millay was more assertive in nature. She not only chose to live a bold life through her poetry but also through her social influences as well. Milford explores these juxtapositions in Millay’s life and the impact they had a result.
- Mountains Beyond Mountains – The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Cured the World by Tracy Kidder
Paul Farmer, about whom this inspiring biography is written, was a physician who sought to stamp out infectious disease. In his travels around the globe, he made a tremendous impact on the health of thousands. In this book, Kidder is able to portray Farmer’s passion, personality, and perseverance as a personal friend during his life. It is this deep connection that makes this book stand out as a must-read biography of an inspiring life.
As a legendary music icon, Freddie Mercury certainly was able to live a bold life and inspire others. Likewise, both film and novels have explored the Queen’s front man and his unique personality. However, this inspiring biography offers a richer insight into Mercury’s life. Jones gather information from hundreds of interviews in order to allow a richer perspective of Mercury’s persona.
As a well-known icon of modern art, Frida Kahlo has been the subject of many books. Likewise, her physical struggles after an accident at age 18 years and a promiscuous husband has been well-described. But these aspects of Frida’s life are not the focal points of this inspiring biography. Instead, it’s her commitment and desire to leave a lasting impact on the art world well after her death. It was this underlying passion that truly drove her to live a bold life and excel.
This scientific power couple are well-recognized as Noble Prize winners for discovering radioactivity. But few know just how deeply they loved one another and the effect this had on their professional careers. In essence, their passion for each other drove their passion to live a bold life together. Redniss does a wonderful job of highlighting their relationship, creating an inspiring biography in the process.
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