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Best Biographies

Discover the lives of remarkable individuals through the best biographies, chosen from a wide array of reputable literary sources and biography enthusiasts. These compelling reads offer intimate portraits and have earned accolades across numerous literary discussions.

Recommendations from 80 articles, Barack Obama, Rihanna, Jimmy Fallon and 210 others.
Best Biographies
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks book cover
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot - 2010-02-02
Goodreads Rating
Discover the remarkable story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951, becoming one of the most important tools in medicine. Her cells have been bought and sold by the billions for medical advancements, but her story and legacy remain virtually unknown. This New York Times bestseller tackles the collision between ethics, race, and medicine, and the daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. A riveting tale of scientific discovery and faith healing that will leave you questioning the ethics of medical advancements.
Alexander Hamilton book cover
Alexander Hamilton
Ron Chernow - 2005-03-29 (first published in 2004)
Goodreads Rating
Unleash the life and legacy of one of America's most debated and misunderstood Founding Fathers with this landmark biography. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow tells the captivating and human story of Alexander Hamilton, who overcame all odds to inspire and shape the newborn nation. Discover Hamilton's passionate patriotism, ambitious aspirations, and countless sacrifices that led to the political and economic greatness of America today. This biography goes beyond Hamilton's public life, delving into his intimate relationships and infamous duel with Aaron Burr. Don't miss out on this vivid and vital account of the man who built the foundations of American prosperity and power.
Steve Jobs book cover
Steve Jobs
Walter Isaacson - 2011-10-24
Goodreads Rating
Explore the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries in this exclusive New York Times bestselling biography. Based on over forty interviews with the subject and over a hundred interviews with colleagues, friends, adversaries, and family members, this riveting story delves into the demons that drove this innovative icon to both great success and deep despair. From personal computers to digital publishing, he connected creativity with technology to create value, leaving a legacy that is both instructive and cautionary.
Team of Rivals book cover
Team of Rivals
The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin - 2006-09-26 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Discover the inspiring leadership techniques of one of America's greatest presidents with this bestselling and award-winning book. Team of Rivals is a thrilling narrative history that shows how Abraham Lincoln saved America by appointing his fiercest rival to key cabinet positions. This book was so impactful that it inspired Barack Obama during his presidency. Doris Kearns Goodwin, one of the most acclaimed non-fiction authors, presents a compelling portrait of Lincoln as a virtuosic politician and managerial genius.
Einstein book cover
His Life and Universe
Walter Isaacson - 2007-04-10
Goodreads Rating
Explore the fascinating story of a rebellious genius, Albert Einstein, in this riveting biography by Walter Isaacson. Based on newly released personal letters, Isaacson shows how Einstein's scientific imagination sprang from his impertinent personality and creativity. Discover how a struggling patent clerk became the mind-reader of the cosmos, unlocking the mysteries of the atom and universe by questioning conventional wisdom and embracing a morality based on free minds and individuals. This compelling read is a testament to the power of creativity and freedom, just as relevant today as it was during Einstein's extraordinary life.
Leonardo da Vinci book cover
Leonardo da Vinci
Walter Isaacson - 2017-10-17
Goodreads Rating
Discover the life and genius of history's most creative figure in this new biography. In it, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that shows how Leonardo da Vinci's art and science intersected, and how his innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, flying machines, and more made him a true Renaissance man. With the help of thousands of pages from Leonardo's notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Isaacson shows how we can learn from Leonardo's passionate curiosity, careful observation, and imaginative mind.
Eisenhower in War and Peace book cover
Eisenhower in War and Peace
Jean Edward Smith - 2012-02-21
Goodreads Rating
Eisenhower in War and Peace delves into the life and achievements of America’s 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Drawing from untapped sources, Smith offers insight into Eisenhower's rise through the military ranks, his mastery of politics, and his canny leadership style. Smith explores Eisenhower's pivotal role in World War II and his ability to foster peace abroad during his presidency. This magisterial work offers a glimpse into the personal life of the man behind the politics, including his finances and wartime affair. Ultimately, Eisenhower in War and Peace offers an Eisenhower for our time, one that is both compelling and comprehensive.
The Power Broker book cover
The Power Broker
Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Robert A. Caro - 1975-07-12 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
This Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Power Broker, uncovers the untold story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of 20th-century New York City and State. Robert Moses, the single most powerful man of his time in New York, led urban renewal efforts with a political machine that was virtually the fourth branch of government. By mobilizing banks, contractors, labor unions, insurance firms, and even the press and the Church, Moses created an empire, living like an emperor and completing public works costing $27 billion. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the inner workings of power in American cities.
Shoe Dog book cover
Shoe Dog
A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Phil Knight - 2016-04-26
Goodreads Rating
Discover the inspiring tale of how a young entrepreneur borrowed $50 from his father and built a global brand - Nike. In Shoe Dog, the founder and board chairman of Nike, Phil Knight, reveals the early days and evolution of the world's most iconic and profitable shoe brand. Knight's story tells of the terrifying risks, crushing setbacks, ruthless competitors, and countless doubters that he encountered along the way, but also of the thrilling triumphs and relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike. With a shared belief in the redemptive power of sports, Phil Knight and his team created a brand and culture that changed everything.
Elon Musk book cover
Elon Musk
Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
Ashlee Vance - 2015-05-19
Goodreads Rating
This authorized biography explores the life and work of one of Silicon Valley's most exciting and ambitious entrepreneurs - a real-life Tony Stark. Through the lens of Elon Musk's technology and vision, author Ashlee Vance examines the renewal of American invention and its new "makers", while asking the pressing question of whether America can still compete in a world of global innovation. This fascinating and insightful book brings to life the dramatic arc of Musk's life, from his tumultuous upbringing to his technical innovations and accomplished career as the founder of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity. A must-read for anyone interested in the technology industry and its powerful figures.
John Adams by David McCullough
Totto-Chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Washington by Ron Chernow
A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Destiny and Power by Jon Meacham
Churchill by Martin Gilbert
Thomas Jefferson by Jon Meacham
Frida by Hayden Herrera
Shirley Jackson by Ruth Franklin
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
Ida by Paula J Giddings
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
The Accidental President by A. J. Baime
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Boyd by Robert Coram
Truman by David McCullough
Edison - A Biography by Matthew Josephson
Custer's Trials by T. J. Stiles
Alan Turing by Andrew Hodges
Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon
Grant by Ron Chernow
The Passage of Power by Robert A. Caro
Sam Walton by Sam Walton
Titan by Ron Chernow
A. Lincoln by Ronald C. White Jr.
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Snowball by Alice Schroeder
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
Napoleon by Andrew Roberts
Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2 by Plutarch
Radioactive by Lauren Redniss
Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 1 by Blanche Wiesen Cook
FDR by Jean Edward Smith
Reagan by H. W. Brands
Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser
Washington by Douglas Southall Freeman
Life by Keith Richards
Gentleman Boss by Thomas C. Reeves
Socrates by Paul Johnson
Night by Elie Wiesel
The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
An Unfinished Life by Robert Dallek
President James Buchanan by Philip S. Klein
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" by Richard P. Feynman
How to Live by Sarah Bakewell
The Fish That Ate the Whale by Rich Cohen
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
Being Nixon by Evan Thomas
Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie
Richard Nixon by John A. Farrell
The Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Washington by James Thomas Flexner
Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Jane Sherron de Hart
Beethoven by Jan Swafford
Wrapped in Rainbows by Valerie Boyd
John Adams by John Ferling
Gandhi Before India by Ramachandra Guha
Chronicles by Bob Dylan
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
On Writing by Stephen King
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
The Last Lion by William Manchester
Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
The Path to Power by Robert A. Caro
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
Educated by Tara Westover
The Mayor of Castro Street by Randy Shilts
King by Jonathan Eig
A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell
Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick