7 Best Biographies & Autobiographies (Having a Mentor)

Biographies, as well as, autobiographies are very important for learning and personal growth. I am sure you must have read at least one biography in recent years.

Looking at your life now and going back to the content of the book, can you think of some inspiration, motivation, important concept or maybe real-life experience that you took from that book and applied to your own life?

I am sure you can.

That’s the power of biographies. Unlike self-development books such as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or Think and Growth Rich, biographies are giving us not only the concepts but also the story behind it.

They are an unbelievable source of motivation and inspiration and most importantly they are full of life experiences. If we immerse ourselves in them, well, to me, it is like living the person’s life and learning from his or her mistakes.

I regard biographies and autobiographies to be almost as good as a real mentor in my life. It’s almost a perfect substitute.

I say almost because, if you had Elon Musk mentoring you, then sure, it would be 1000 times better. But still, having a book written about him with all his significant failures and successes isn’t bad either.

As you read a biography, pay attention to:

  • the mistakes and failures of that person and how he overcame them.
  • the successes of that person and what steps led to them.
  • the changes in habits, principles, and mindset of that person during his life.
  • the validity of the concepts drawn from that book and test them in your life. (Which means taking a lot of action and disregarding concepts that don’t work for you.)

This article consists of 7 must-read Biographies & Autobiographies:

  1. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
  2. Warren Buffett by Alice Schroeder
  3. Arnold Schwarzenegger by himself
  4. Mike Tyson by himself
  5. Benjamin Franklin by himself
  6. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  7. Mahatma Gandhi by himself

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Summary and thoughts:

In my opinion, anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur should read it. I like this book a lot because it doesn’t only tells you about the successes, it also tells you about the journey and failures before any success could have been reached.

“A failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

By Elon Musk

Elon Musk is currently worth 16,5 billion USD. He is someone who basically started from nothing living in South Africa. Elon moved to Canada early in his life and for about a year, he was doing various part-time jobs. Then he managed to get to America and in 1995 he and his brother Kimbal started a company named Zip2. In February 1999, Compaq Computer paid 307 million USD to acquire Zip2, Elon earning 22 million dollars.

Immediately after that, Elon started a new company called X.com. Do not be mistaken, it was not some inappropriate website for audience +18. It was the very first attempt for online banking. The company was eventually renamed PayPal after merging with Confinity.

Then came Space X, Tesla Motors, Solar City and The Boring Company.

Iron Man movies were inspired by Elon Musk’s character and lifestyle, therefore he got a nickname “the real-life Iron Man. “

This Book is great if you are interested in:

  • entrepreneurship
  • investing
  • banking
  • electric cars
  • sustainable energy
  • rocket industry

Visit the Amazon page for details and reviews.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

Summary and thoughts:

Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha is, in many peoples’ eyes, the most successful investor of all times.

The book is full of inspiration and life-lessons for anyone who wants to follow Ben Graham’s philosophy of value investing.

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”

By Warren Buffett

This Book is great if you are interested in:

  • long-term investing
  • finance
  • banking
  • journalism
  • business
  • acquisition and mergers

Visit the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Summary and thoughts:

An absolutely unbelievable story of Arnold’s life written by himself. He talks about how he served in the Austrian army, how he became the most famous bodybuilder of all times, how he became a movie star and, finally, how he became a governor of California.

Moreover, he is a publisher who wrote several body-building books.

I found this autobiography incredibly motivating. Especially, Arnold’s self-discipline, dedication for work and a constant learning of new things.

“You can have results or excuses. Not both.”

By Arnold Schwarzenegger

This Book is great if you are interested in:

  • bodybuilding
  • business
  • politics

Visit the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson

Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson

Summary and thoughts:

Mike Gerard Tyson is a former professional boxer who is the record holder of the youngest boxer to win the heavyweight title at 20 years old. He won his first 19 professional matches by knockout, 12 of them in the first round.

Mike Tyson is also a movie star, playing in Rocky Balboa (2006) or Ip Man 3 (2016).

This Book is great if you are interested in:

  • boxing
  • acting
  • sports

Visit the Amazon page for details and reviews.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Summary and thoughts:

He was one of the founding fathers of the United States. I think this story is interesting because of the variety of things he liked to do. As a result, he developed a deep understanding of what he really wanted out of life.

He was successful in many professions. Most noteworthy are the following: politician, political theorist, diplomat,  author, scientist, investor, and inventor.

He lived from 1706 to 1790, hence if you want to know more about the 18th century, this autobiography is not a bad read at all.

“An investement in knowledge pays the best interest.”

By Benjamin Franklin

This Book is great if you are interested in:

  • politics
  • science
  • history 18th century

Visit the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (biography, biographies)

Summary and thoughts:

He is the father of smartphones and probably the greatest phones’ and personal computers’ visionary of all times.

Steve Jobs really knew how to lead people, so this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to become a manager or CEO. In addition, the story is very motivating. There are a lot of failures. But yeah, you only have to be right once.

In my opinion, this is one of the best biographies of the 21st century.

Innovation distinquishes between a leader and a follower.

by Steve Jobs

This Book is great if you are interested in:

  • business
  • leadership
  • innovation

Moreover, visit the Amazon page for details and reviews.

The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

Summary and my thoughts:

Mahatma Gandhi was the leader of Indian Independent movement against British rule.

Most of all, this autobiography is about his struggles as a kid and his profession as a lawyer. Then, it’s about his journey to South Africa and his fight against human rights and inequality. Finally, probably last 10% of the book is actually about the Indian Independence.

It’s a great book and it teaches a lot about his principles and beliefs.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

By Mahatma Gandhi

This Book is great if you are interested in:

  • human rights
  • history
  • law

Moreover, visit the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Daniel Pelnar

Hey, I am the founder of GrowthTotem.com. If you would like to contact me, tweet me @DanielPelnar or drop a comment below for this specific article. I wish you happy reading. ^_^

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