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The 10 Best Inspirational Biographies

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Looking for inspirational biographies for 2021 and beyond?

We got you!

When a person is down on their luck and needs advice, there is no better place to look than in a biography about a successful person.

Many people have instilled within themselves the notion that successful individuals do not go through hardships.

Inspirational biographies, however, provide insight into life struggles of the rich and successful.

They show how those individuals resolved conflict in their lives, and how they went on to become the best.

Inspirational biographies are awesome because they give ordinary people confidence to conquer any hardship they face.

10 Inspirational Biography Books

Below is my personal list of the top 10 most inspirational biographies that are sure to inspire readers to change their lives and the world.

10. Geronimo, by Geronimo

Many tales have been told about Geronimo, the great Apache Tribe leader.

Some of those are facts and some are fiction.

Geronimo tells his story to set the record straight.

In this autobiography, he tells us about the Apache culture, his family, his youth, and his journey to becoming the legendary warrior who we are familiar with. 

In this epic, the reader witnesses true dedication and determination.

Quotes from Geronimo

“When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms.

She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom, and protection.

We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men.” – Geronimo

“Since my life as a prisoner has begun I have heard the teachings of the white man’s religion, and in many respects believe it to be better than the religion of my fathers.”

 – Geronimo

“I was no chief and never had been, but because I had been more deeply wronged than others, this honor was conferred upon me, and I resolved to prove worthy of the trust.”


9. 12 Years A Slave, by Solomon Northup

Solomon was living the dream of every man: having a family and making a living doing what he loved.

One day however, Solomon was sold into slavery.

Throughout his unimaginable misfortune, his love for his family and his resilient hope kept him going when so many others would have given up.

Quotes by Solomon Northup

“What difference is there in the color of the soul?”

Solomon Northup, 12 Years a Slave

Inspirational Biographies

“Life is dear to every living thing; the worm that crawls upon the ground will struggle for it.”

Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

“Really, it was difficult to determine which I had most reason to fear—dogs, alligators or men!”

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Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

You will also enjoy our article on motivational books.

8. The Pursuit of Happyness, by Chris Gardner

Eversince he could remember, Chris battled challenging circumstances. He was faced with being a fatherless child and experienced abused by his step-father. Never giving in to despair or his surrounding situations, Chris achieved what only a few believed he could do.

Quotes from Pursuit of Happyness

“The future was uncertain, absolutely, and there were many hurdles, twists, and turns to come, but as long as I kept moving forward, one foot in front of the other, the voices of fear and shame, the messages from those who wanted me to believe that I wasn’t good enough, would be stilled.”

Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

“The world is your oyster.

It’s up to you to find the pearls.”

Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

Inspirational Biographies to read

“Walk that walk and go forward all the time.

Don’t just talk that talk, walk it and go forward.

Also, the walk didn’t have to be long strides; baby steps counted too. Go forward.”

Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

“Still a dreamer, yet more of a realist than ever before, I knew this was my time to sail.

On the horizon I saw the shining future, as before.

The difference now was that I felt the wind at my back.

I was ready.”

Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

“Wealth can also be that attitude of gratitude with which we remind ourselves everyday to count our blessings.”

Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

7. Steve Jobs, by Walter Issacson

Steve Jobs, one of the world’s most beloved yet confusing figures granted Walter Issacson all access to his life.

Jobs takes us back to his childhood and how he dealt with being adopted.

In one of the most inspirational biographies, he shows us how his shortcomings had shaped him to be the person we love and one of the most stubborn, innovative geniuses of all time.


“One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.”

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs

best Inspirational Biographies

“If you act like you can do something, then it will work.”

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs

Inspirational Biographies to motivate you

“Steve Jobs: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs

“People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”

Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs

the best Inspirational Biographies

6. Young Mandela, by David James Smith

Nelson Mandela is revered all over the world.

He is a symbol of freedom, kindness, and moral authority.

However, Mandela did not always share these qualities.

Journey back in this biography and one will find the sacrifices and bad decisions Mandela had to make to become a world symbol.

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5.  Mohandas K. Gandhi Autobiography

Monandas Mahatas Gandhi takes the reader on a journey into his experiments with truth, non-violent protest, and his fight for India’s freedom.

Gandhi shows us how having a deep understanding of spirituality and love can overcome anything.

Quotes from The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi

“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible.

But in the end, they always fall. Always.”

Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth

“What barrier is there that love cannot break?”

Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth

“But you can wake a man only if he is really asleep.

No effort that you make will produce any effect upon him if he is merely pretending sleep.”

Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth

“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings.”

Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth

4. Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda

This is an inspiring and entertaining classic that has been selected as one of the Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century.

Yogananda introduces the reader to the ancient science of Yoga and his journey of becoming an Yogi. 

This classic was a favorite of Steve Jobs, George Harrison, Elvis Presley and many more.

Quotes from Autobiography of a Yogi

“Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you.

The future will take care of itself……”

Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi

“You have come to earth to entertain and to be entertained.”

Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi

“The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery” ― Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi

“You do not have to struggle to reach God, but you do have to struggle to tear away the self-created veil that hides him from you” ― Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi

3. Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr., by Clayborne Carson

Through unpublished interviews, writings, and recordings, Clayborne pieces together a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. that expands from his childhood to moments before his death. We get a firsthand look at Dr. King’s inspirations, hardships, and passion.

Quotes from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”

Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.”

Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There is nothing more majestic than the determined courage of individuals willing to suffer and sacrifice for their freedom and dignity.”

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Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty. ”

Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

2. Up from Slavery, by Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington takes us on his journey from being born into slavery to being one of the most prominent and influential African-American spokesman ever. One of the most inspirational biographies you shouldn’t miss.

Quotes from Up from Slavery Quotes

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery: An Autobiography

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed.”

Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

“The thing to do when one feels sure that he has said or done the right thing and is condemned, is to stand still and keep quiet.

If he is right, time will show it.”

Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery

1. Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

This book was one of Time Magazine’s 10 Most Important Nonfiction of the 20th Century. Malcolm rose from a childhood of poverty and petty crime, to becoming one of America’s great speakers and debaters for social and cultural equality.
“Extraordinary . . . a brilliant, painful, important book.”The New York Times

Quotes from The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“The main thing you got to remember is that everything in the world is a hustle.”

Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“So early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”

Malcolm X, The Autobiography Of Malcolm X

“The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”

Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“In fact, once he is motivated no one can change more completely than the man who has been at the bottom.

I call myself the best example of that.”

Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Pick up any of these inspirational biographies today and learn from their wisdom. Apply the learnings to your own life to help you succeed and become a source of inspiration to others as well.

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  1. Parikrama Das

    September 21, 2019 at 8:26 PM

    Thank you so much

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