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Biographies that Inspire


New member
I recently finished "Paddle Your Own Canoe" by Nick Offerman and was inspired to start working with my hands more and paving my own path.
I am curious to hear what auto-biographies or biographies that you all recommend that inspire you to change? Also, I always love to learn about interesting people's lives!


New member
I'm not sure if this is pertinent to you but after I finished George Carlin's autobiography "Last Words" and it changed my whole perspective on stand up comedy. As someone struggling to find my way as a comedian in NYC, this book became my bible. I always looked up to Carlin and thought his style of comedy was so unique. The book gave insight to his life, his writing, and what he thought about the world around him. But more importantly it had this profound effect on how I approach stand up comedy. Upon finishing the book, I put my other notebooks on a shelf and started with a brand new one. Six months after that I got into my first comedy club and it was the start to my career.


New member
I really enjoyed Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. His discussion of finding his passion for cooking as well as his addiction issues was insightful.


New member
If you are looking for some great autobiographies/memoirs by female authors, I would recommend BossyPants by Tina Fey, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor. All three books are all a couple of years old, but I enjoyed them all.

- In true Tina Fey fashion, BossyPants is hilarious. It focuses on her experience as a woman in comedy/balancing work-life.

- Lean In speaks to the working woman and how to ensure we get a seat at the table in corporate America. She discusses her personal life and experiences working at Google and Facebook.

- My Beloved World is the most serious of the three and follows Sotomayor’s life chronologically from the Bronx to the Supreme Court bench.


New member
Great discussion! My Beloved World is on my to-read list and I loved Kitchen Confidential (so sad that he's gone). I wasn't a fan of BossyPants, unfortunately...it felt kind of superficial to me but I'm not a comedy fan so that might be why.

Here are some of my favorites:

-Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
Really fascinating look at Dr. Farmer, who co-founded Partners in Health. PIH is a nonprofit organization that builds hospitals, hires and trains local staff, and delivers healthcare services in countries like Haiti, Rwanda, and Mexico. Interesting to learn how PIH started and then expanded, and how it became a key player in confronting global healthcare crises like HIV/AIDS.

-Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Very detailed look at the Lincoln administration with particular focus on key players in his cabinet (who had also run against him for the Republican presidential nomination). I learned how he balanced opposing viewpoints within his own cabinet and how that influenced his policy and war decisions. I read this when it first came out but I feel like it might be even more interesting now, given our political climate.