I used to like reading history and politics books when I was an undergraduate. In my opinion, reading biographies and autobiographies was a waste of time. Last year, I stumbled upon a book by Victor Frankl entitled “Man’s search for meaning.”. The book is an autobiography telling how the author survived one of the most horrifying experiences in modern history, the Holocaust.
Having read that book, I changed my opinion of reading autobiographies. I felt as if I had been there at Auschwitz, seeing first-hand the horrors perpetrated by Nazi forces on the prisoners. The book transported me back in time, and it was a magical experience. By reading that book, I fell in love with biographies because by reading them, you can immerse yourself in the lives of the most inspiring people.
We can learn a lot by reading biographies. We can gain insight into other cultures, see life through other people’s eyes, and learn from their successes and failures. This article discusses the top 10 benefits of reading biographies and autobiographies.
1. They provide us with the most successful mentors.
Reading biographies of successful people in all walks of life, from politics and religion to sports and business, gives us a great chance to interact with the most successful people in human history.
We see their personal lives and closely observe how they came across different crises, failures, and challenges. We also get to see how they reacted to these crises and challenges.
We can relate this to our personal lives and identify loopholes. In this way, we get free successful world-class mentors, and by observing their lives, we can prepare ourselves for the challenges of the future.
2. They teach us invaluable life lessons.
Life teaches lessons to all of us, but we cannot learn everything from our own lives. There are many important lessons that we need to learn to lead a successful life. Biographies allow us to learn life lessons from others without actually experiencing the challenges they faced.
There’s an old saying: “Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” I always add, “But the very best comes from someone else’s bad judgement!” Learning from other people’s mistakes and challenges is an invaluable skill. All history is personal, and biographies are the entrance to history.
3. They transport us back in time.
We all want to go back in time, but we don’t have a time machine. What’s the alternative, then? The answer is “reading biographies of historical figures.” Do you want to go back more than two thousand years ago? Read the Biography of Buddha to feel immersed in the jungles of North India, where he was mediating to achieve Nirvana.
As I mentioned in the introduction, we can get the emotional aspect of historical events by diving into people’s lives at that time. Biographies of people during the partition of India, During the American Civil war, and slavery are great examples.
4. They teach us success patterns.
There are certain very common characteristics among all successful people. They can be very small and basic habits like waking early in the morning. Dealing with challenges and failures is also a success pattern. Not everyone can stand the crisis that life offers us. We get to learn perseverance and patience from the giants.
We learn by imitation. It becomes easier for a reader to decode the patterns and apply them in their personal life after seeing a successful person navigating through the obstacles.
5. Develop the courage to face failure.
When reading biographies, we discover that success doesn’t just happen. It would be best if you faced your fear of failure. You must learn to embrace it and realize that success isn’t always guaranteed.
If we want to achieve great things in life, we have to study the biographies of successful people. We’ll learn that success isn’t guaranteed and that even among those who succeed, there are often failed attempts. So what’s life without failures?
I doubt we would have learned anything if we hadn’t learned to face our failures.
6. They give us the power of foresight.
Foresight is a superpower bestowed to a blessed few. Not all of us can foresee the next challenge in our lives. But we all wish to have this power. By reading biographies and relating them to our lives, we can diagnose the problem that can cause long-term damage.
We can make our future better once we diagnose the problems in the present and start working on their solution. The lives of successful people are the best model to imitate and implement in our lives because through them; we can foresee our future.
“Biography is history seen through the prism of a person.”
7. They enable us to reverse the harsh life lessons
The process of inversion assists us with identifying and eliminating obstacles by approaching them from the opposite end of the natural starting point. As discussed earlier, we can foresee the problems by diagnosing them after reading biographies.
Life lessons from successful people can help us save ourselves from the disasters they faced in their lives. Why should we face a problem if we can foresee and solve it before it appears?
8. They help us develop empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. A question arises in our minds, “What would have happened if I were at their place?” when we read biographies and see different people in tough circumstances.
In today’s world, this is a much-needed ability. Empathy makes us more kind, compassionate, and caring because we understand what others might be going through. Therefore, we must read biographies to become good humans.
9. They give us a new perspective on the world.
In our lives, our worldview is formed by our culture, country, religion, and many such factors. We always see everything in the world from that perspective with biases and prejudices. It’s almost impossible to see things from a different perspective.
We can approach things completely differently if we read the biographies and observe how these people reacted to a certain situation.
10. They are easy to read.
Biographies are the easiest non-fiction books. They resemble a novel story but a true one. They are also easy to read because we can relate many of our experiences with the life stories of those in question.
Anyone who wants to become an avid reader should begin with biographies because usually, they are very interesting and easy to read. This increases the confidence of the reader and makes them read more books.