Why You Should Read a Memoir This Year

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Angela’s Ashes, a memoir by Frank McCourt, was gifted to me by a dear friend of mine. As I have been reading through this page-turning Pulitzer Price winning story one thing has been apparent to me: I hit the absolute lottery being raised in such a way that I did not have to think about where my next meal is coming from. While reading about this starving family being raised in Ireland, every meal I have had has felt like a feast that needs to be rejoiced with every bite.  Being put in Frank’s childhood shoes for 300 pages has been eye opening and overwhelmed me with gratitude for what I have. If you are fortunate like I am this will be a grounding read.

If you are like me, you tend to read books with clear deliverables. You know when you read a book about personal finance you will learn more about personal finance. Same thing applies for leadership, health, business, philosophy, etc. It can be harder to commit to something that you are not sure you will benefit from. Yet, I have found time and time again that a good memoir gives me more perspective and lessons learned wrapped up in a great story than I expect.

Here are two other memoirs that I have learned a lot from over the recent years:

  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – the story of how an accountant launched a billion dollar shoe business. This book was a blast to read as it mostly focuses on the early days of Nike through Phil’s eyes. You learn about his track career at Oregon, his trip around the world, and his first time pitching his idea to Japanese businessmen amongst many other experiences and lessons learned.
  • About Face by David Hackworth – this story is Jocko Willink’s most recommended book (podcast episode here). This 800 page tome takes you through Hackworth’s journey through WWII, Korea & Vietnam through the eyes of a soldier’s soldier. He focused his entire career on leading the front line troops on the cutting edge. There is so much to learn here around bravery, leadership, challenge ideas, and what it meant to be a soldier during these times.

Let me know if you have any other favorites.


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Teacher by Max Hancock from the Noun Project

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