Culture

The Best Autobiographies Ever Written

List Rules
Which autobiographies were the best and most moving reads? Vote them up and add all of your favorites.

The best autobiographies ever written include memoirs by famous historical figures, authors, politicians, celebrities, and more. This list includes a wide variety of books that are considered autobiographical, including more recent memoirs. Which one is the best? That's for you to decide, with votes of course. Some of the books listed here have proven to be life-changing reads. If you are an avid reader of autobiographies, you'll likely recognize a vast majority of the books listed here. If one of your favorites is missing, by all means, please do add it to the list. Those of us who love reading a beautifully written autobiography will be grateful!

When talking about the best-written autobiographies ever, any list would be woefully incomplete without Anne Frank: 'The Diary of a Young Girl,' as well as 'The Autobiography of Malcolm X' and Frank McCourt's heartbreaking (and humorous) memoir 'Angela's Ashes.' These books are not only notable autobiographies, they are certainly among the best non-fiction eBooks ever.

Not all of the best autobiographies ever written are dark and serious. Some manage to mix an ample amount of humor in. Tina Fey's brilliant 'Bossypants' and Steve Martin's 'Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life' are excellent examples of must read books by stand up comedians. FYI: You don't necessarily have to spend a small fortune to purchase these best autobiographies ever written. Some of them are available as free ebooks, or even as audiobooks so be sure to check before you shell out a ton of money. If you're a reading fanatic, you might also like this list of famous autobiographical novel books, as well as this list of the top must-read books of all time.

list ordered by
  • The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the ...more
  • Autobiography is a book written by Mahatma Ghandi.
  • Angela's Ashes is a 1996 memoir by the Irish author Frank McCourt. The memoir consists of various anecdotes and stories of Frank McCourt's impoverished childhood and early adulthood in Brooklyn, New ...more
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1965, the result of a collaboration between human rights activist Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley. Haley coauthored the autobiography based on a ...more
  • Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiographical work written by South African President Nelson Mandela, and published in 1995 by Little Brown & Co. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, ...more
  • The Glass Castle is a 2005 memoir by Jeannette Walls. The book recounts Walls' and her siblings' unconventional, poverty-stricken upbringing at the hands of their deeply dysfunctional parents. The ...more
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790; however, Franklin himself appears to have ...more
  • The story of my life, with her letters (1887-1901) and a supplementary account of her education is a book written by Helen Keller.
  • Night
    11
    Night is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–45, at the height of the Holocaust toward the end of the ...more
  • Steve Jobs
    12
    Steve Jobs is the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. The biography was written at the request of Jobs by Walter Isaacson, a former executive at CNN and Time who has written best-selling biographies ...more
  • Confessions is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written in Latin between 397 and 400 AD. Modern English translations of it are sometimes ...more
  • Scar Tissue
    14
    Scar Tissue is the autobiography of Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist Anthony Kiedis. It was released in 2004 by Hyperion and authored by Kiedis with Larry Sloman, who compiled information and ...more
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a seven-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that ...more
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, published in 2000, is a memoir of the author's experiences as a writer, and also serves as a guide book for those who choose to enter the craft. In ...more
  • "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character is an edited collection of reminiscences by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. The book, released in 1985, ...more
  • A Moveable Feast is a memoir by American author Ernest Hemingway about his years as an expatriate writer in Paris in the 1920s. The book describes Hemingway's apprenticeship as a young writer while ...more
  • Girl, Interrupted is a best-selling 1993 memoir by American author Susanna Kaysen, relating her experiences as a young woman in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s after being diagnosed with ...more
  • Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his personal experiences in working to rise from the position of a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties ...more
  • The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant is an autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, focused mainly on his military career during the Mexican-American War and ...more
  • Life and Times of Frederick Douglass is Frederick Douglass' third autobiography, published in 1881, revised in 1892. Because of the emancipation of American slaves during and following the American ...more
  • A Walk in the Woods may be: A Walk in the Woods (book), a 1998 book by Bill Bryson A Walk in the Woods (film), a 2015 film by Ken Kwapis, based on Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods (play), a 1988 ...more
  • Primo Levi is in every way a better writer than Elie Wiesel. // First published as If This Be a Man, which is neither informative nor compelling.
    If This Is a Man is a work by the Italian Jewish writer Primo Levi. It describes his arrest as a member of the Italian anti-fascist resistance during the Second World War, and his incarceration in ...more
  • Running with Scissors is a 2002 memoir by American writer Augusten Burroughs. The book tells the story of Burroughs's bizarre childhood life after his mother, a chain-smoking aspiring poet, sent him ...more