Best Autobiographies: Top 7 Titles Most Recommended By Experts

True tales of fascinating lives have been a popular storytelling device for as long as stories have been told. Epic poems, folk stories, and tall tales are all forms of narration that would lend their storytelling styles to the autobiography. While biographies and memoirs tell the story of a person’s life events, the autobiography is self-authored by the subject of the book. Our list of the top seven best autobiographies is a collection of best-sellers and page turners you won’t want to put down.

There is a certain satisfying quality to holding a real book in hand. Digital books on tablets, smartphones, and devices like Amazon’s Kindle are certainly convenient, but according to a new survey, most people still prefer a good old fashioned paper book. There’s just something satisfying about turning the page and holding a physical book in one’s hands, as over two-thirds of adults say they always opt for a real book over digital reading.

But what about times when a book is not feasible, like during a long commute? Audiobooks have become a popular means for consuming books. For those looking to feel the ultimate emotional connection to their favorite bestseller-turned-blockbuster? They might want to reconsider renting the movie then. Instead, pop in a pair of earbuds and download the audiobook for the best experience, according to a new study. Researchers from the University College London found that listening to audiobook versions of popular novels and movies has a greater overall emotional impact than watching films.

An excellent autobiography can be a diary, dictated from notes or adapted from journal entries. In the greatest examples of the genre, authors interject their thoughts and emotions throughout the text. Our sources helped us find seven of the best autobiographies by fascinating people. Let us know your favorite autobiographies in the comments below!

A woman laughing while reading
A woman smiling while reading (Photo by ViDI Studio on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Autobiographies, According to Experts


1. “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin (1909)

Benjamin Franklin was an educated man and one of the founding fathers of the United States. Franklin was a scholar, statesman, and a great American patriot. “‘The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin’ was written between 1771 and 1790 but was not published until the early 1900s. It focuses on his early life and unique adulthood, particularly his role as a founding father of the United States,” exclaims Become A Writer Today.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
“The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”

LifeHack raves, “Through writing, Franklin creates a place where his memories can live on in perpetuity, separate from his physical body, as part of collective memory. ‘The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin’ is an intentional attempt to rewrite his past in a way that readers – including his son and American society – will understand, even if they did not fully live it.”

Reader’s Digest praises, “One of the book’s most notable sections describes Franklin’s attempts to achieve ‘moral perfection’ through the achievement of 13 virtues, including temperance, silence, and order. Although the book was written more than 200 years ago, Franklin’s suggestions for bettering one’s life remain as current and essential to humankind as ever.”

2. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” by Frederick Douglass (1845)

Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist, powerful public speaker, and a writer. Douglass commits to record the hardships of racism and injustice in America. Reader’s Digest compliments, “This historic work of nonfiction is widely considered to be one of the best autobiographies ever written. It’s a vivid retelling of Douglass’ childhood and the torturous abuse he suffered at the hands of numerous slave-owners, as well as his harrowing escape to freedom, after which he became a respected orator and prominent abolitionist.”

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”

“His autobiography, ‘Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,’ gives people a first-hand look at his harrowing childhood and adventurous adulthood. Even though it is difficult to grapple with some of the darker sides of American History, it is critical to take a closer look at his experience,” assures Become A Writer Today.

Read This Twice articulates, “Experience the life of one of America’s most influential civil rights champions through his powerful storytelling. In this autobiographical masterpiece, the author shares the harrowing experiences of his childhood and life as a slave, as well as his dramatic escape to freedom.”

3. “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank (1947)

This book is an important document of the Holocaust. Frank writes of her experiences in a narrative that must never be forgotten. Urban:List comments, “With the threat of WWII breathing down her neck, Anne Frank received a diary for her 13th birthday. Little did she know that she would spend two years in hiding with her parents and sister and record every brave, terrified and beautiful moment they spent together. Written in Dutch, it was later translated into English with much acclaim.”

The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition
“The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition”

Glamour adds, “An enduring and indelible testament to the human spirit’s resilience amid the heaviest of darkness. This diary represents the power of literature, both on the world and on societies understanding of history. Through Anne’s intimate musings, the Holocaust’s horrors are humanized in the searing voice of a Jewish child never to grow old.”

LifeHack details, “It has been a best-seller worldwide and a staple of Holocaust teaching programs for decades. Her legacy is honored by several humanitarian groups, and hers is one of the best autobiographies, read in several languages by people all around the world.”

4. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama (2018)

“Becoming” is the autobiography of former first lady, Michelle Obama. Read This Twice says, “With unflinching honesty, Obama recounts both the triumphs and disappointments of her life, offering insights into her advocacy work for women and girls and her efforts to create a more inclusive White House. Her inspiring story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the importance of staying true to oneself.”


Bookauthority elaborates, “In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.”

Elle describes, “One of the bestselling memoirs of recent times, Michelle Obama’s book is a page-turner. The former First Lady recounts her upbringing in Chicago, her successful career as a lawyer, meeting her husband Barack Obama, moving into the White House and ‘breaking royal protocol’ with the Queen with equal doses of humility and pride.”

5. “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King (2000)

Stephen King is a prolific American writer. Though his typical medium is fiction, this honest look at his life makes for a fascinating read. ShortList claims, “‘On Writing’ is everything you could want from a Stephen King book, it just so happens that it’s based on the author himself. It mixes autobiography with essential tips on writing and then ends things with his graphic recollection of his near-death experience of being hit by a van.”

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
“On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

LifeHack relates, “Readers are taken on a journey through a wide range of topics, from plotting and character development to work habits and rejection, by the author. It is a poignant tale of how King’s intense drive to write propelled him to recovery and brought him back to his life, which was serialized in the New Yorker to great acclaim.”

Urban:List reviews, “Beginning with his childhood, King recounts his battle with drugs and alcohol and the incident that almost killed him while he was writing the book. In the second half, he moves into the craft of writing, encouraging people to stop overthinking, forget the blocks and just do it.”

6. “Agatha Christie: An Autobiography” by Agatha Christie (1977)

The master of murder mystery books, Christie penned one of her best works on the subject of her own life. This book is an engrossing read that details the significant moments of her life. “Christie was a private person who rarely spoke to the media, never did interviews, and even disappeared for some time… Christie fans finally had a chance to discover more about their favorite mystery author thanks to the release of one of the most inspiring autobiographies,” according to LifeHack.

An Autobiography
“Agatha Christie, An Autobiography”

“Any fan of mysteries is likely a fan of Agatha Christie. Her autobiography looks at what it takes to become one of the most prolific mystery writers ever. This autobiography accounts for her life through to the age of 75. It is more than 500 pages long but reads like a conversation with the author herself,” asserts Become A Writer Today.

ShortList evaluates “The book is great, as not only do you get an understanding of the inspiration of her famous characters, but it turns out her personal life was just as exciting as any of the plots she came up with for her books.”

7.“Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner (2021)

Michelle Zauner shares the heartbreaking story of her mother’s passing. It is also a story that shares her modern experience as a Korean American. GQ explains, “It’s a candid, heart-wrenching exploration of how food connects us to our heritage and our loved ones, even when they’ve passed, and of the turbulent, tender, sometimes-suffocating, but always treasured relationship between mother and daughter.”

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir
“Crying in H Mart: A Memoir”

Elle offers, “Zauner, the singer behind indie-pop band Japanese Breakfast, writes this thoughtful memoir about identity and loss… Ultimately, it was this grief that led her to embrace her family’s culture in a way she never had before.”

Glamour states, “Through her heartfelt storytelling, she navigates the emotional landscape of loss and the quest to understand her Korean heritage. The book is a bittersweet journey of self-discovery, touching on the universal experiences of longing, belonging, and the impact of cultural assimilation.”

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