The pursuit for fulfillment, success, and acknowledgment is life and inspiration is the fuel that powers us to move forward in the face of mounting challenges. Although inspiration can derive from anything in the world, it helps to find inspiration through human connection. It is the opportunity to relate our life experiences with others, that invokes insight into the life and offers self-discovery. And that is why we are drawn to life stories of great and successful individuals. Immersing stories and personal accounts of people who have broken the monotony and made their own path can help us achieve emotional empowerment and makes it easier to find the best versions of ourselves.
It has always fascinated me to search and find the moment, the decision, the action that transcends a common man and makes their life story a guideline for those who aspire to soar. In this blog, I would like to discuss three of my favorite biographies that can offer insight into life, work, and choices that can add value and depth in one’s personal and professional life.
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson
The book emphasized on Steve Job’s obsession for ‘doing things right’. It speaks about how Steve had an exceptional eye for details and ability to focus on things people generally miss or intentionally overlook in favour of more demanding aspects.
The book carefully unfolds how his personal life experiences moulded into the man he was and celebrates how he successfully broke stereotypes through upholding creativity and made a difference. I was drawn by the book’s description of how Steve cared about his work and how passionate he was about identifying simplicity, utility and beauty of things in constructing dreams into reality. And how he kept moving forward never doubting himself in the midst of naysayers and skeptics.
His Biography presented a strong case to-
- Be Passionate About Work: The obsession he repeatedly displayed in his work is actually passion in its truest form. He pursued perfection and never settled and even accepted defeat or delays in product launch in favour of a better product. It says a lot about business ethics and human will that can shape people in personal life as well.
- Make Big Choices: He used to say “A players like to play with A players”. And he insisted that if you have big dreams, you need to make bigger choices. He spent $100,000 to just get his ‘NeXT’ logo designed proving his point.
- Culture Creates Creativity: The book reveals that Steve credited art, culture and history for his creativity. He used to say, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” I can personally vouch for this. Culture has a vibe that changes perception, makes you more humble and brings out creativity.
Warren Buffett: The life, Lessons & Rules for Success
It makes sense that the man who has been consistently voted as one of the wealthiest, most influential people in the world and known to be the most successful investor of the entire 20th century can give us a couple of advises that can help us build a successful future.
This billionaire investor’s business acumen has always seemed something akin to supernatural to me. However, his autobiography clearly showcased the steps to ascend and reach success. The book allows us to take a look at Buffett’s life. From humble beginnings to major successes and from principles to reality of life. The book offers a plethora of knowledge that can be transformed into actionable intelligence.
Here is what you can take away from his autobiography-
- Make Wise Decisions: Warren Buffett is known for long-term investment strategies that indicate his farsightedness and favourism of market and business analysis. Buffett’s investment ventures were all about identifying quality businesses that have reasonable valuations and potential for growth. His in-depth understanding of the business he investing in, helped him get results. And it teaches us the merit of making calculated and wise decisions in business and life.
- Build Relationships: As a high schooler, Buffett used to deliver papers for The Washington Post. And when he started building and expanding his business, he kept that relationship alive and became the largest shareholder for the paper. It speaks aloud to me as I was brought up with the same ideology and would recommend everyone to practice it in professional and personal life.
- Communication Is The Key: The “Oracle of Omaha” Buffett’s autobiography speaks about the virtues of good communication. At the beginning of his career, he was afraid of public speaking. However, understanding the importance of being able to speak one’s mind carefully and concisely, he took a course of Dale Carnegie and saw growth in business dealings. It is an important lesson for everyone. In every aspect of life communication plays a major role. Especially in business, good communication can help one manoeuvre the competitive sector easily.
We would be fools not to follow the billionaire investor’s life lessons, but if you go through the autobiography, you will see how all of it actually makes sense and how easy it is to incorporate small changes in life to see triumphant results in future.
Long Walk to Freedom: Nelson Mandela
Long walk to Freedom portrays one of the great political leaders of our time. Someone who had a lifelong battle against racial oppression and actively worked to shape a country’s future. His work in human rights and equality had made him one of my idols long ago. And reading through his autobiography opened my eyes to the turn of events leading to his political awakening and re-birth of a country. His struggle, will, and the complex and delicate negotiations that he presided over gave me a few ideals to live by.
Let me share these with you-
- Never Give Up: Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years in the fight against apartheid, and his words were “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” And later he became the President of South Africa. This opened up my eyes to the capability of human will and pursuit for what we believe in. A never give up attitude is what we all need to claim excellence in personal or professional life.
- Arriving AT Mutual Acceptance: Mandela believed it is perfectly natural for people to have different opinion than each other. What he stressed upon is coming to a mutual understanding through accepting each other’s ways. He spoke of a better world through mutual understanding and it gave me a lesson in compassion, humility, and made me aware of the importance of knowledge.
- Challenges Are Makers Of Greatness: In his words “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Difficulties break some men but make others.” He impressed upon that the unique idea you are so passionately pursuing will be fraught with challenges. The challenges may throw you out of your comfort zone, but it will endow you with new skills, new perception and make you better equipped to move forward.
Who would not love to sit and talk with great visionaries; let their experiences, knowledge, and worldview transform us into a better version of ourselves. Although, that is not possible for the majority of us, fortunately, we have books to fill the gap. I have enjoyed my time with these books. And what makes me glad is that every time I go back to these books, I get a much clearer vision of the future they envisioned.