In the age of personal memoirs and inspiring autobiographies, it’s important to find personal histories and stories that you can vibe with and enjoy for 350 pages. And for boss babes and killer ladies, finding autobiographies about equally amazing women who’ve done fantastic things is a must. Here’s a list of our favorite memoirs and autobiographies that you should read to feel inspired to break glass ceilings.
To start our list of inspiring autobiographies by amazing women, Greta Thunberg’s collection of speeches on global warming and climate change is a must-read. Thunberg is a young inspiration that shows us that no one is too young or too small to make a big difference, showcased by her countless inspiring actions and words that have sparked global revolutions and inspired countless others to take action to save our planet from a climate crisis.
The woman, the myth, the legend–Michelle Obama is an absolute inspiration in every way, and her inspiring autobiography “Becoming” is no exception. The memoir begins with her roots and childhood and follows her personal journey that eventually led to her years serving as the first lady. Obama uses her memoir as an opportunity to tell her story, discussing how she found her voice, her time in the White House, her health campaign, and her experiences as a mother.
As far as inspiring autobiographies go, very few are as inspirational as the story of Malala, who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. The book details the early life of Malala, her father’s experiences in activism, the rise of the Taliban in Swat Valley, and the assassination attempt made against her when she was 15. She has since gone on to do amazing work in the field of activism and fighting for female education.
Amy Poehler is one of the queens of comedy, and her “Yes Please” deserves a place on the list of inspiring autobiographies for its quick wit and relatable story. In her memoir, Poehler discusses personal stories and offers funny commentary on sex, love, relationships, and parenting. She also discusses some deep topics and offers genuinely helpful advice for getting through difficult struggles in life, such as rejection and what to do when relationships fall apart.
Another one of my favorite queens of comedy, Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” is not only one of my favorite inspiring autobiographies, but also one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Her life story is incredibly real and relatable, and if you listen to the audiobook (like I did) you can hear the stories straight from the horse’s mouth. The story follows Fey from her youth as a young girl who dreamed of being a TV star all the way to her achievement of said dreams, starring on SNL and Thirty Rock. She inspires us not only to reach for our biggest dreams, but also to accept the “insults” thrown at us and become true bossy pants.
If you can’t tell, I love a funny memoir, and Mindy Kaling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” is another one of my top 10 inspiring autobiographies. Her memoir not only follows her journey from the child of immigrant professions and a timid kid afraid of her own bike to a world-famous comedy actress and writer, but it also looks into some of her most pressing concerns, such as what makes a genuinely good best friend and what is the perfect amount of fame. As readers follow these personal observations about love, friendship, and fame, they can be inspired to be boss babes just like her.
“My Beloved World” is a must for readers looking to find more inspiring autobiographies to add to their book club reading list. This memoir tells the inspiring story of the first Hispanic justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, following her childhood, youth, and life through the early 1990s. Hearing the story of her tumultuous childhood and her personal truths and deepest fears will inspire us all to remember that we are always capable of rising above our fears and worst struggles. It’s an incredibly powerful memoir about coming of age and finding your identity.
“Funny In Farsi: A Memoir in Growing Up Iranian in America” by Firoozeh Dumas is another one of my top 10 inspiring autobiographies, and is another amazing memoir full of humorous anecdotes and personal stories about Dumas’ experiences growing up as an Iranian in America. The autobiography chronicles the fascinating story of her family’s move from Iran to California and showcases the amazing stories and personalities of the members of her family.
For those looking for inspiring autobiographies centered on the LGBTQ+ community, Jennifer Finney Boylan’s “She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders” is a must-read. This memoir follows a man named James on his journey to becoming his true self, a woman named Jenny. A seminal work in transgender literature, Jennifer Boylan discusses her journey changing genders, and the ways it affected not only her life, but the lives and relationships of the people around her.
To complete my list of inspiring autobiographies, I want to take a moment to discuss the amazing Grace Jones and her autobiography “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs.” Jones offers a vulnerable account of her amazing career and tumultuous life, following her journey as a bright presence in the entertainment industry since the 1970s. The memoir also includes sixteen pages of amazing full-color photographs to go alongside her stories about her upbringing in Jamaica, her rise to stardom, and how she achieved her boss babe status.
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