Top 10 Most Popular Autobiographies of All Time

Author: Sherry Helms

Autobiographies — a popular, exciting, and mind-expanding way to learn about other life, especially of those who have/had beyond the ordinary life story and experiences, can be entertaining and inspirational, both at one time. Many of us can move to a deeper understanding of life by curling up with the autobiographies of extraordinary people.

If you are looking for a well-written autobiography to read or a well-told true yet inspirational life story to know about, you can go through the following list of the top ten Best-Selling Autobiographies of all time. Based on the rigorous online research executed by our deft editorial team, this list, we believe, may help you to get in to some remarkable lives which, in turn, introduce you to new hope, courage and morale.

The Diary of a Young Girl

This is an Autobiography of Anne Frank. Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic as a powerful reminder of the horrors of the holocaust in Nazis occupying Holland and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, when Nazis overpowered the Holland, Anne Frank, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl, and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding with another family. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences she had during this period.


The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

If there was any one man who articulated the anger, the struggle, and the beliefs of African Americans in the 1960s, that man was Malxolm X. His Autobiography is now an established classic of modern America, a book that expresses like none other the crucial truth about our times. The New York Times quoted for this books as, “Extraordinary. A brilliant, painful, important book.”


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

An Autobiography of Maya Angelou, a phenomenal number one bestseller that has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three years, this memoir traces Maya Angelou’s childhood in a small, rural community during the 1930s. Filled with images and recollections that point to the dignity and courage of black men and women, Angelou paints a sometimes disquieting, but always affecting picture of the people and the times that touched her life.


The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Few men could compare to Benjamin Franklin. Virtually self-taught, he excelled as an athlete, a man of letters, a printer, a scientist, a wit, an inventor, an editor, and a writer, and he was probably the most successful diplomat in American history. Written initially to guide his son, Franklin’s autobiography is a lively, spellbinding account of his unique and eventful life. Stylistically his best work, it has become a classic in world literature, one to inspire and delight readers everywhere.


Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Before Barack Obama became a politician he was, among other things, a writer. This Autobiography is his masterpiece: a refreshing, revealing portrait of a young man asking the big questions about identity and belonging. The son of a black African father and a white American mother, Obama recounts an emotional odyssey. He retraces the migration of his mother’s family from Kansas to Hawaii, then to his childhood home in Indonesia. Finally he travels to Kenya, where he confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.


On Writing

This Autobiography is a part memoir, part master class by Stephen King, one of the bestselling authors of all time, revealing the practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999, and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, this book will inspire and entertain everyone who reads it – fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.


Just Kids

An Autobiography of poet and performer, Patti Smith. This is Smith’s evocative, honest, and moving life story that reveals her extraordinary relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Begins as a love story and ends as an elegy, “Just Kids” is about friendship in the truest sense, and the artist’s calling. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists’ ascent, a prelude to fame.


Long Walk to Freedom

Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time who fought against racial oppression in South Africa that won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country.

In this Autobiography, he tells of his early years as an impoverished student and law clerk in Johannesburg, of his slow political awakening, and of his pivotal role in the rebirth of a stagnant ANC and the formation of its Youth League in the 1950s. Further, while describing his family and the unsuccessful yet painful married life, he talks on his struggle on political front, his underground leadership, his life imprisonment and the escalating political warfare in the fifties between the ANC and the government. He recounts the surprisingly eventful twenty-seven years in prison and the complex, delicate negotiations that led both to his freedom and to the beginning of the end of apartheid.


My Life

My Life Bill Clinton

An exhaustive, soul-searching Autobiography, President Bill Clinton’s My Life is the strikingly candid portrait of a global leader who decided early in life to devote his intellectual and political gifts, and his extraordinary capacity for hard work, to serving the public. This book allows a refreshingly candid look at the former president as a son, brother, teacher, father, husband, and public figure highlighting the history behind his greatest successes and failures, including his war against a “vast right-wing operation” determined to destroy him, and the “morally indefensible” acts for which he was nearly impeached.


Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

The true story of a boy whose mother gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who resembles to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a paedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment. This is a funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

More Autobiographies are available at (USA) | (UK) (Japan)


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