M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
Looking for the best biographies of all time?
You're in the right place!
Here's what you'll find on this page...
What Is a Biography?
I’ve scoured the internet for lists of top biographies, I’ve taken your suggestions on the best memoirs and best autobiographies you’ve ever read and I’ve collected them here in the definitive list of best biography books ever written.
What is a biography? As far as this list is concerned, a biography is any story that follows the life of a person. Some books explore events, objects or places. Many of those may use people’s stories to colour their narratives. But the difference between those books and the best historical biographies is that good biographies keep both eyes on their heroes.
The 70 Best Biographies Ever Written
Why these best biographies and not others? To stay objective, I rank all my book recommendations by what’s most loved (Goodreads rating), what’s most popular (Goodreads review count) and what’s proven timelessly relevant (first publication date).
This isn’t a whimsical list. It’s a data-driven, crowdsourced collection of the best biographies ever published as decided by book lovers just like you. (Note: To maximise diversity, I only include the top ranking book from any series in a list.)
And if you think something's missing? I LOVE book recommendations so if there are any other best biographies that you think deserve mentioning, email me and I’ll be sure to include them in the next round of updates.
Until then, enjoy this ultimate list of the 70 best biographies of all time...
Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Biographies of All Time
The top 10 best biographies of all time are...
Books 11-70: The Best Biographies to Read Next
Here are the next best biographies from my database...
Best Biographies FAQs
Why you should read biographies?
The best biographies combine the life-wisdom and lessons you'd expect from nonfiction with the readability and storytelling you'd expect from a novel. They're often easy to read and they're a wonderful way to experience the world through the eyes of someone who may see and have experienced things very differently. Click here to check out my ranked list of the 70 best biographies of all time.
What is the best selling autobiography of all time?
The best selling autobiography of all time is almost certainly The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. While there's no accurate data on best selling biographies, Anne's diary ranks highest on this list of the best selling books of all time, which makes it a likely contender. Other best selling autobiographies include Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) by Elie Wiesel and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
What's the best autobiography to read?
The top two books on this list - Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) and The Autobiography of Malcolm X - are both fantastic autobiographies. Other top-ranked options include famous autobiographies like The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Want more ideas? Click here to read the full list of best biographies and best autobiographies ever written.
What are some good biographies to read?
More Book Recommendations
Enjoyed this list of the best biographies of all time?
You'll also like TAoL's other book recommendations...
More Best Books of All Time (by Type)
These are some lists of overall best books to read...
More Best Nonfiction Books (by Topic)
These are some lists of best nonfiction books to read...
More Best Fiction Books (by Genre)
These are some lists of best fiction books to read...
Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
Wish There Was a Faster/Easier Way?
Whenever you’re ready, here are four ways I can help you be more productive, find more balance and live life more on purpose…
- Curious? Discover how productive you really are… Take this free, 2-minute assessment to unlock your PQ and discover the top 25 habits you need to get big things done. Take the 2-minute quiz →
- Overwhelmed? Get a free chapter of my book… Let me show you how to beat procrastination, permanently, with this free sneak peek inside TAoL’s ultimate productivity primer. Download your free chapter →
- Stuck? Grab a 90-Day TRACKTION Planner… Get the tool thousands trust to help them take control of their time, master their habits and hit goals in every part of their lives. Order your 90-day planner →
- Burned out? Join the TRACKTION Community… Take the 6-week masterclass, get weekly group coaching, find accountability partners and connect with like-minded self-starters. Get started FREE →