5 Biographies To Consider Reading

Being an avid reader of books in the areas of leadership, business, marketing, productivity and personal development, there are many books I could recommend that are worth reading. However, I tend to learn more from biographies as they are more personal and more relatable.

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There are many excellent biographies available today and here are five to consider reading.

  1. Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson
    Steve Jobs was considered one of the world’s greatest innovators and entrepreneurs in recent times and Walter Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, wrote this book based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs himself. Isaacson masterfully shares the interesting and roller-coaster life of Jobs and whose passion for simplicity and perfection revolutionized six different industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

    My reasons for reading this book included:
    i. To appreciate the journey of Apple from where they started off to where they are now today.
    ii. To get to know about the life of Steve Jobs and his genius.
    iii. To truly appreciate how personal computing as an industry evolved over the past 30 years.

  2. Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson
    The Business Age said, “Branson bares his soul – and everything else – in a non-fiction blockbuster… a must read.”

    This is an autobiography of one of the great business minds of our time. Sir Richard Branson has had so many successful ventures from Virgin Airlines, Virgin Music, Virgin Cola, Virgin Megastores and so many more. However he has had his share of failures as well and Sir Branson is not afraid to reveal where he went wrong. In this well written autobiography, Sir Branson portraits himself as a hardworking entrepreneur who also enjoys living life to the fullest. The book is filled with rich and colourful stories of his various adventures.

    My reasons for reading this book included:
    i. To get an up-close account of the life of Richard Branson, the successful entrepreneur.
    ii. To understand his drive to start and build so many different businesses and how he kept going even after major failures.
    iii. To appreciate the working culture with the Virgin companies.

  3. How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic in Your Every Day Life by Pat Williams with Jim Denney
    Disney Scholar, Tim O’Day said, “I have read every book that has ever been written about Walt Disney, going back to some that were published in the 1930’s. How to be like Walt is by far the most enjoyable to read of them all!”

    This is a very inspiring biography of one of the most influential and beloved figures of the 20th century. In “How to Be Like Walt”, there are 17 lessons are exemplified by Disney’s life. This book details the struggle, perseverance and optimism of the Walt Disney. Through inspiring stories, this book illustrates how one can achieve a high level of success through hard work and determination.

    My reasons for reading this book included:
    i. To get to know the Disney history a lot better.
    ii. To learn the 17 lessons that have been detailed based on Walt Disney’s life.
    iii. To know what it takes to keep going for one’s visions even though there is strong opposition to one’s ideas.

  4. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
    Walter Isaacson said, “Jeff Bezos is one of the most visionary, focused and tenacious innovators of our era. Brad Stone captures his passion and brilliance in this well-reported and compelling narrative.”

    If you are a big fan of Amazon, then this book will interest you. This meticulously reported book has plenty of interesting anecdotes related to Jeff Bezos, the Amazon brand, entrepreneurship, leadership or the inspiring story of building a company in less than two decades that now employs almost 90,000 people.

    Brad Stone, a journalist and writer, interviewed many Amazon employees, both current and former, for this book and came out with first-hand narrative of the world’s largest online retailer. Stone also throws light into Jeff Bezos’s hyper-competitive business strategies which resulted in taking Amazon from being just an online retailer store to other ventures like e-readers and tablet PCs, web hosting for some of the world’s most valuable companies, book publishing and even a top secret space program.

    My reasons for reading this book included:
    i. To understand how the world’s largest online retail store operates.
    ii. To get some insight into the drama that goes on in Silicon Valley.
    iii. To get an in-depth analysis of the personal side of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

  5. Business As Unusual: My Entrepreneurial Journey, Profits With Principles by Anita Roddick
    This is an interesting autobiography by founder of the internationally renowned cosmetics brand, The Body Shop. In this autobiography, Roddick explains how she founded The Body Shop and how she introduced a mix of organic products for the very first time, and how she successfully challenged the BBC and ABC television networks on documentaries that nearly destroyed her company.

    The Body Shop was one of the first companies to integrate recycling into its daily operations, and committed time and money to various environmental causes. This book also sheds some light into her philosophy that companies should be more than simply profitable – they “must actively do good” in the environment and serve as “incubators of the human spirit.”

    My reasons for reading this book included:
    i. To learn how to create, nurture and operate a successful global company.
    ii To know how to rebrand your business when you need to survive.
    iii. To appreciate the fine balance of managing a successful business and caring for the environment.

These biographies are filled with business and life lessons that will uplift your spirits and challenge you to give the best you can every single time. I highly encourage you to get and read these books.

Question: What other biographies do you recommend reading?

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  • Jane Ransom

    Great list, Neel! Thanks so much. 🙂

    • Neel Raman

      Thanks Jane! Glad you found this useful. 🙂