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Get inspired with these must-read autobiographies

From newer releases to well-loved classics, we’ve rounded up our favorite autobiographies that are worth a read.

Published Nov 30, 2023
4 min. reading time
six of the best autobiographies from celebrities, politicians, athletes and writers

If you’re looking for a book that will inspire you to make a change in your life, reading an autobiography is always a great starting point.

Known for their honesty, realism and ability to provide a glimpse into a well-known figure's behind-the-scenes life, autobiographies generally make for insightful reads.

So, if you’re ready to tuck into a book that will keep you entertained, you have come to the right place. Here are 12 of the best autobiographies that are worth adding to your reading list this year.

Read more: Top desk lamps for work and reading

Editors’ picks at a glance

pink and black book titled The Stories We Tell: Every Piece of Your Story Matters by Joanna Gaines
The Stories We Tell: Every Piece of Your Story Matters by Joanna Gaines
$16.92 at Amazon
Book titled I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala
$15.84 at Amazon
light blue book titled Becoming with a portrait of Michelle Obama
Becoming by Michelle Obama
$14.96 at Amazon
book titled Being Henry: The Fonz with a portrait of Henry Winkler
Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond by Henry Winkler
$20.80 at Amazon

Must-read autobiographies 

New York Times bestselling author Joanna Gaines' memoir explores the good, the bad and the ugly of every chapter in her life. By sharing her story, Gaines hopes that it will help her readers understand themselves, be more gracious to others and be more open to exploring their past and present.

There is a lot to learn from this book. It’s intimate, relatable and deeply authentic, so if you're looking for inspiration to reflect on your own life, this is a good place to start.

As the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala has lived an experience that few could imagine. After being shot in the head on her way home from school with little expectation of survival, her story gained widespread attention worldwide.

Those events led her to become an advocate for girls' rights to education, peaceful protest and a battle against war. Her autobiographical book demonstrates just how powerful one’s voice can be in moments of political turmoil.

light blue book titled Becoming with a portrait of Michelle Obama
Photo: Amazon

Becoming by Michelle Obama

You save $17.54 (53.97%)

We know her as The First Lady of the United States but in this powerful memoir, Obama takes us back to the defining moments in her childhood, her first job, motherhood and her years at the White House.

This inspirational book, which ranks among some of the best-selling autobiographies in the United States, gives us a glimpse into the life of one of the most compelling female figures of our time.

Henry Winkler, best known for his role as The Fonz, documents his journey towards boosting his self-esteem and reveals the realities beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

In his honest account of his life, from struggles with dyslexia to the pressures of celebrity typecasting, he leaves no stone unturned, and for that reason, this book is one of the best celebrity memoirs at the moment.

book titled Open with a potrait of Andre Agassi
Photo: Amazon

Open by Andre Agassi

You save $8.45 (44.47%)

At the age of 22, Agassi had already achieved his first of eight championship titles and was on his way to becoming a world-class tennis player.

But in his memoir, he gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of success and reveals how he was not always satisfied with the sport in which he was forced to train as a child.

His honesty, detail and realism make “Open” one of the best sports autobiographies ever written.

a yellow book titled I'm Glad My Mom with a picture of Jennette McCurdy
Photo: Amazon

This memoir quickly became an international bestseller for its refreshing honesty and painfully heartbreaking narrative.

In her memoir, Jennette McCurdy discusses the struggles she faced as a child actor, her struggles with eating disorders and addiction, and her complicated relationship with her mother. After her mom’s passing, McCurdy begins therapy, leaves the industry and starts on a journey of self-discovery, living independently for the first time in her life.

deep orange titled I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Photo: Amazon

A literary classic, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” is considered one of the most popular and best autobiographies of all time.       

Through the exploration of topics such as racism, trauma and the journey towards independence, this book reveals the early life story of the much-beloved American writer and poet as she overcame the many challenges of 1930s America.

After a mystery illness in her childhood left her blind and deaf, Keller struggled with frustration and isolation due to the inability to communicate with those around her. It is only after she is introduced to her tutor that she begins to fall in love with education and realizes her dreams of becoming a writer.

This book is a deeply inspirational autobiography that deals with issues surrounding disability, determination and the power of expression.

book titled The Mamba Mentality: How I Play with a picture of Kobe Byrant
Photo: Amazon

As one of the best basketball players and athletes in the world, Kobe Byrant enjoyed an extensive career with the Los Angeles Lakers that spanned over 20 years.

The key to his success? The Mamba Mentality.

In his book, he provides a glimpse behind the curtain of his most celebrated moments on the court and how he attained such success under the famous Mamba Mentality.

A sense of loneliness in a big, old city is something we all know but seldom share, but Olivia Laing takes up that challenge in her deeply moving memoir, “The Lonely City”. In this book, the critically acclaimed author takes us through her thirties living in New York City as she navigates what it means to feel alone and isolated through art.

book titled The Chiffon Trenches by André Leon Talley
Photo: Amazon

Get the inside scoop on the fashion industry from legendary style icon, André Leon Talley.  

From his first job working with Andy Warhol to becoming the creative director of Vogue, Talley explores the world behind the scenes of some of the world's biggest fashion brands and magazines. In this book, he dives head-on into some of the most cutthroat moments, his friendships that have spanned decades and the enemies he made along his way to the top.

As the creator of hit television shows such as “Grey's Anatomy”, “Bridgerton” and “Scandal”, Shonda Rhimes knows what it takes to produce a hit, and her memoir is no different. In this instant New York Times bestseller, Rhimes reveals how saying YES to everything that scared her for a year completely changed her outlook on life. 

This book is a must-read if you’re looking for inspiration to overcome your everyday fears and leap out of your shell.

What are the best autobiographies of 2023?

While we think all of these picks deserve a spot on your bookshelf, we do have a few favorites:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama: Incredibly inspirational and motivating, Becoming provides a great insight into the life and workings of one of the most influential women in the US.

  • I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy: One of the newer autobiographies on this list, McCurdy's account of her childhood and personal struggles makes for an extremely moving yet heartwarming book.

  • Open by Andre Agassi: With its honesty and candor, this autobiography provides a real look behind the perils of pursuing fame and success.

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Prices updated on 11/30/2023. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

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Written by
Lauren Pascal

A self-proclaimed ‘obsessed TikTok user,’ Lauren Pascal uses her knowledge to help readers shop for trendy new products. Lauren is also an experienced travel writer and recently wrote informative pieces for travellers during the pandemic.