Reading biographies allows me to experience other people’s lives
Published: Apr 11, 2024 01:54 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Throughout my childhood, I was an avid reader and explored a variety of genres, such as non-fiction, fantasy, and comedy. However, none left a more substantial mark on me than biographies. Famous people and their experiences are incredibly fascinating to me, and I have spent countless hours reading their stories. 

Eternal passion 

What I found most appealing about these books was the individuality of each person that I could incorporate into my own character development. Through short but meaningful biographies, I learned about the lives of leaders, inventors, artists, musicians, and many more people who have resonated through history. To this day, individuals I read about, such as George Washington, Maya Angelou, and Helen Keller, stand out as remarkable examples of what people can achieve.

However, as I grew older, I slowly realized these books were no longer intriguing. Soon, I discovered what was missing: open, down-to-earth accounts of famous people's lives. As a result, I began reading more lengthy autobiographies that immersed me in an authentic perspective of these peoples' stories. I directly experienced the events, big and small, of their lives. 

The most remarkable person is someone who can overcome hardships and achieve greatness despite the challenges they face. Autobiographies exposed me to plenty of them, as I read a variety of these books that showed the significant difficulties faced by the narrators.

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

By far, the most memorable autobiography I have read is Becoming by Michelle Obama. In this book, she gives a genuine account of her life, starting with her experiences as a young girl in Chicago, facing racial adversity at school and in her social life. Later, she was met with discrimination in the workplace and racial adversity in the environment surrounding her, making a lasting impact and sparking what would lead to monumental changes. 

Ultimately, she fought against these barriers, and her advocacy against racism and many other issues as First Lady substantially impacted society, inspiring many to join her fight. This book made me understand the importance of perseverance and speaking out for equality, and helped me realize the hardships that she went through to achieve equality.
Another motivating autobiography I encountered was Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Likewise, this book gives an account of his childhood and what it was like growing up in a racially segregated world through a flashback of significant events. 

Born from a South African mother and a Swiss father, he was considered illegal at the time, as regulations outlawed relationships between different races. Throughout the book, he goes into detail about segregation in a world where he is considered an anomaly, as he experiences severe bullying and struggles to find a group he can fit into. However, he defied the racial odds at the time and became one of the world's most renowned and successful comedians. Similarly, this book taught me the importance of not giving up even in challenging situations and made me realize the significance of equality.

On the other hand, autobiographies also taught me history and gave me a broader view of the world. They taught me about meaningful events that I would not otherwise have known, helping me understand the more complicated events that have occurred. 

Vital lessons 

Without a doubt, Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most well-known autobiographies in the world. Anne Frank meticulously wrote down every detail of her daily life in the Annex, telling a fascinating story of a teenage girl in hiding. In her diary entries, she mentions her difficulties living as the "trouble child" in her household and the questions that come up during her teenage years, making the story far more relatable and intriguing for readers of her age. Throughout her diaries, however, she also mentions the daily fears the household goes through and acknowledges the importance of family in difficult times. Anne Frank's diary taught me a lot about the conditions at the time and helped me perceive these events through a firsthand account, making it far easier to understand. 

To sum up, these autobiographies have helped me significantly develop my character and have taught me various vital lessons in life. By immersing myself in these stories of famous people and their experiences, I have gained a more robust understanding of their challenges and a stronger sense of resilience and determination. Moreover, reading about these peoples' struggles has been life-changing for me, as they have helped me through obstacles, and I now know that these hardships are a vital part of success. Thus, I believe that reading other people's stories will be truly transformative for your life, as they are the best way to learn about obstacles everyone will face.

The author is a student at Dulwich College Beijing