Among all genres, the biggest source of motivation is (Auto)biographies.
The reason is: Those are the stories that actually happened. When we read fiction, in one corner of our mind- we know that this is not possible in reality or it feels good to read it but it doesn’t work actually.
While, with biographies- you don’t have this doubt or question. All the incidents have actually happened- and they give you goosebumps when you actually visit how wonderful the struggles and experiences of that person’s life were.
I’ll recommend a few biographies- which you must read- to feel motivated:
Socretes: A man of our times, Napoleon: A life and Churchill by Paul Johnson
These books are short, but truly motivational. Paul Johnson is known to be unbiased in his opinions and judgement, and that makes the books worth reading.
Totto-Chan: The little girl by window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
Only in Japan, 5 million copies of this book are sold. Totto-Chan is a famous celebrity in Japan- at par with Oprah or Ellen. The story is of pre-WWII time, and it is about a small girl who suffered from attention disorder. It was her principal who understood her, cared and supported her throughout. The book truly inspires us to have faith in life.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
The book comprehensively succeeds in showing how prophetic, creative and determined Jobs was. But with that, Walter, being unbiased, succeeds in showing how selfish and tyrannical Jobs was at his worst. By this book, you can learn as much on what kind of leader you want to be as you will learn on what kind of leader you don’t want to be. That’s the best thing about a biography is- You get the real picture, and it’s up to you to decide what to choose for yourself.
Edison: A biography by Matthew Josephson
The book is all about ambition, dreams and goals. It is perfectly accurate in showing how a focused attitude towards our dreams can make us do wonders. We all know Edison, but there are many things, struggles and works that we probably are not aware of. (For example: Did you know about his friendship with Henry Ford?) Read this book and inspire yourself for life.
The Fish that ate the Whale: The life and times of America’s banana king by Rich Cohen
According to me, a biography doesn’t only reveal one personality (About whom the book is), but it also reveals how magnetic the second key person of the book is (The writer). Don’t read the book only for the story of Sam Zemurray but also for the uniqueness of the writer- Rich Cohen. The story is all about the American dream, business strategy and the power of ambition.
Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Officeby Zack O’Malley Greenburg
The book is relatively new. It gives us the lessons of how Jay-Z applied hustling techniques to the music industry and grew his empire. This book will make you finish the whole reading in one stretch.
It’s not about the bike: My journey back to life by Lance Armstrong
The way Lance Armstrong’s journey was unfolding- this has to be my favorite book. In 1993, he got his name into some of the best cyclists around the world, and in 1996- he got diagnosed with Testicular cancer. He took this unknown battlefield with the same challenging attitude that he always has- while climbing through Alps. He fights cancer, and also keeps excelling in his cycling career too. His mother quotes in the end that her son’s life had always been challenging. We can see here that she wasn’t exaggerating even a bit. If you want to develop the “ Never give up” attitude, read the book. Must read.
I too had a dream by Verghese Kurien
Kurien, the architect of Operation Flood (The largest dairy development programme in the world), has enabled India to be one of the largest milk producers in the world. The book is all about how he shaped the dairy industry in India. Each page of this book leaves some deep mark on our minds which will keep pushing us ahead during the darkest times of our lives.
Vivekananda: A biography by Swami Nikhilananda
If you want to energize and rejuvenate yourself, read this book. This man- with his clear vision and mind- inspires us with his powerful speeches, quotes and his whole life. The book will be the best source of inspiration for all the age groups, but for students- this book will make sure that they excel in their careers.
Wings of fire: An autobiography of Abdul Kalam
How to live a dream- you will learn from his life. With very few resources, he does wonders in the defense industry of India. His aspirations, hopes and dreams will stay alive till centuries, and will keep guiding the nation towards its long-term goal. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam always wanted to fuel every Indian with the pride that he had. I can be sure that he was successful through the book that he gifted to the world.
Do suggest some of your favorites. I will keep adding them in the list.
Till then, thank you for reading.
-Arjuna@War (Parth Shah)