Biography; from the Greek Bios - Life & Graphia - Writing; are books that chronicle the lives of real people.

The subject of a Biography can be a celebrity, athlete, politician, athlete, historical figure or ordinary person that has achieved something of note. Reading Biographies is a valuable and oftentimes rewarding experience, with many potential benefits to the reader.


Biographies often recount successes and struggles of those people who have, over the course of their lives, achieved something. In reading how they have overcome or survived the challenges in their lives; we can gain motivation to persevere through our own.

Empathy and Insight

Biographies let us 'walk a mile in another person's shoes' allowing the reader to glimpse the life experiences and perspectives of people from completely different backgrounds. This in turn allows the reader to empathise and understand worldviews, different than their own and how that can shape different beliefs. By understanding these struggles and challenges, we can become more open-minded and accepting of different perspectives.

Learning from mistakes

Many Biographies chronicle the failures and mistakes of the subject; The reader can learn vicariously and, hopefully, avoid experiencing the same situations.

Historical Context

Biographies can open a window into the past, providing historical context on the events of a particular historical period. Reading the experiences, particularly in an Autobiography, grants personal insight that can help to understand the social, cultural and/or political climate of an era or event.

If the idea of reading a biography appeals, try reading about someone who you find interesting or would like to know more about, or try one of the suggestions below.

Lion: A long way home

Saroo Brierley

When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines.

Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia.

Despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. He spent hours staring at the map of India on his bedroom wall. When he was a young man the advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.

Then he set off on a journey to find his mother.

JT - Jonathon Thurston: The autobiography

Jonathon Thurston

This is a story that began in a Brisbane backyard. With a boy, a ball and a big, big dream. They all said he was too skinny, too slow, and too wild to succeed. Most would have quit. This is the story of how Johnathan Thurston transformed himself into a world champion - how he went from a kid with dreadlocks to a State of Origin star and Dally M Medal winner in just three years - and went on to become rugby league's greatest player.

In his autobiography, JT recounts the complete and remarkable story of his life. Of setbacks and scandals. Of agony and pain. Of love and hate. Of victories and losses. And of Clive Churchill Medals, Dally M Medals, State of Origin shields and of fairy tale premierships - and of a girl called Samantha and how love conquered all.

The Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM brilliantly re-creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. Emotive, compelling and uplifting, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader.

Diddly Squat: A year on the Farm

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson takes us into the pitfalls (and pratfalls) of his new life as gentleman farmer in this thigh-slapping collection of stories from a year on Clarkson's Farm

Welcome to Clarkson's farm. It's an idyllic spot, offering picturesque views across the Cotswolds, bustling hedgerows, woodlands and natural springs. Jeremy always liked the idea being a farmer. But, while he was barrelling around the world having more fun with cars than was entirely reasonable, it seemed obvious that the actual, you know, farming was much better left to someone else

Then one day he decided he would do the farming himself.

After all, how hard could it be?

Well . . .

Mr Dan Crook in the Senior School Library

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