The world can feel like a scary and uncertain place at times – especially during a pandemic – but the good news is, getting lost in a great book can help transport us somewhere much more positive.

Biographies in particular offer us access to some of the world’s most successful and fascinating people, and when you’re looking for a bit of escapism, sometimes an inspiring non-fiction story is just the thing.

From incredible ‘rags to riches’ stories, to laugh out loud comedy memoirs, we’ve picked out some of the most uplifting celebrity biographies of all time…

1. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Reflecting on her early improv comedy days, right through to her breakout success on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, Tina Fey explains some home truths about being a woman in an industry dominated by men.

As you’d expect, Fey is ruthlessly funny throughout, and the way she writes her life story is just as observational and witty as her stand-up gags. Aptly titled Bossypants, Fey isn’t afraid to examine the sexism she’s encountered, and does it in a smart, biting, no-BS manner.

2. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

This bestseller is another great addition to your bedside table if you’re looking for more laughter during lockdown. Funny and frank, the Parks And Recreation star dishes the dirt on everything from her experiences with sex and drugs, to her funniest SNL memories.

Part memoir, part self-help book, Poehler also has lots of easy-to-digest advice, encouraging women to be their authentic selves. In her own words: “If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.”

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

Like checking in with a close friend, Obama’s biography is a warm and intimate memoir that delves into the experiences that shaped one of the most influential First Ladies of all time.

Reflecting on her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years in the White House, Obama is honest about her successes and disappointments, and how her experiences as a mother helped her forge her position as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the US and around the world. Spoiler alert: it’s also an incredibly uplifting love story too.

4. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

Iconic entrepreneur Richard Branson penned the ultimate feel-good business biography in Losing My Virginity. Branson takes his readers back to his adolescence, where he decided to skip college, diving straight into the business world with no experience instead – in fact, the name ‘Virgin’ was suggested by one of Branson’s early employees because they were all so new at business. From there, it’s a non-stop ride to the top, with plenty of frequently outrageous anecdotes and lessons they wouldn’t teach you in business school.

Proving time and again that hard work and the ability to take risks can serve you better than qualifications on occasion, Branson’s book is a magnetic read for anyone looking to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

5. What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

As one of the most successful women on the planet, Oprah’s memoir is great for tips on how to live honestly and fearlessly.

For many years, she’s shared her life lessons in O, The Oprah Magazine’s wildly popular ‘What I Know For Sure’ column. These nuggets of wisdom have been collected into one candid and moving book of essays, which ruminate on joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power. As an advocate for living the life you want, Oprah has plenty of sage and eye-opening wisdom to share.

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