Best Autobiography Audiobooks Read by the Author
Before books, there were storytellers.
Autobiographies and memoirs are more than just a peek into someone’s private life. These authors bravely capture the pivotal moments where life’s big lessons are learned, whether gained through loss or triumph. Icons, heroes, and artists — to hear these stories told in their own voices makes them all the more significant.
By Jessica Dukes
Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, at Home and Abroad
By John O. Brennan, narrated by the author. 14 hours, 22 minutes.
This is what decades of civil service looks like. Since applying to the CIA in 1980, Brennan has served as an analyst, station chief, chief of staff, and in 2013, Obama tapped him to be Director. He advised presidents from Reagan to Trump with a tight grip on the values instilled in him by his Irish immigrant father. In Undaunted, he unpacks his wins and losses along the way. It’s a treasure to have John Brennan as our guide through the halls of the CIA during some of the most important events in recent political history, and to get his unique perspective on America’s future.
By Mikel Jollett, narrated by the author. 11 hours, 45 minutes.
In the early 1970s, Jollett is born into the Church of Synanon, a cult that separates infants from their parents to be raised by cult teachers. One night, Mikel, his mother, and his older brother, Tony, make a desperate and dangerous escape. With no understanding of life on the outside, it takes Jollett years to realize that they live in poverty, that his mother is severely depressed and emotionally abusive, and that his brother is struggling, too. Through the decades, Jollett reconnects with his father, goes to college, forms the indie rock band The Airborne Toxic Event, and learns to forgive. Bonus: The audiobook includes original music from The Airborne Toxic Event’s album of the same name, which acts as a soundtrack to the book.
A Promised Land
By Barack Obama, narrated by the author. 29 hours, 10 minutes.
We all witnessed Barack Obama’s road to the White House, but now he tells the story as only he can. In the first of more presidential memoirs to come, Obama pinpoints the moments that changed him from a community organizer, to a senator, to a historic candidate, and finally, POTUS. History lovers will thrill to his in-the-room-where-it-happened retellings of key events. Heartfelt stories of family life are peppered throughout. And in the end, his defense of hope and change is a love song to the country he once led.
Eat a Peach
By David Chang, narrated by the author. 9 hours, 6 minutes.
Chef Chang never imagined that his tiny ramen noodle spot in NYC would be the birthplace of the next big culinary trend. What started with late-night ramen noodles and pork buns is now the Momofuku empire with a Netflix show to boot. Navigating restaurant culture is difficult enough for a young chef, but throw in a struggle with mental illness amid runaway success, and you’ll see why Chef Chang’s victories are so delicious.
Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics
By Dolly Parton, narrated by the author. 5 hours, 18 minutes.
Songteller is part autobiography, part concert, and all Dolly. Her decades of iconic songs, big-hearted personality, beloved movies, and complete inability to take herself too seriously are what make Dolly Parton a living legend. What a treat to hear these songs, plus the history and the creative process behind them, straight from the woman herself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…probably all at once.
Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America
By Maria Hinojosa, narrated by the author. 12 hours, 12 minutes.
Hinojosa is an award-winning reporter and the host of Latino USA on NPR. Her Mexican-American family of immigrants has long informed her journalism and her understanding of our nation. Here, her own experience growing up in Chicago is the diving board for a deeper look at how America talks about all immigrants, how immigrants are afforded pathways to success (or not), and the current state of America’s immigration system.
The Best of Me
By David Sedaris, narrated by the author. 13 hours, 8 minutes.
Sedaris has been inviting readers into every corner of his life for years, which is why this collection of stories hand-picked by him, told by him, is already such a fan favorite. The greatest hits include some of his most popular tales and probably a few you missed. Never boastful, always hilarious, often heartbreaking, Sedaris’ selections run the gamut from silly observations to melancholy regrets about friends and family.
By Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author. 6 hours, 42 minutes.
Who would have guessed that McConaughey is an avid diarist? For the last 35 of his 50 years, he has kept journals with, as he calls them, “my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls.” From an early age, he realizes that life is complex and deserving of reflection. It takes a milestone birthday for him to pore over his many diaries and synthesize them into Greenlights, his framework for accepting reality and then moving forward in peace.
By Glennon Doyle, narrated by the author. 8 hours, 22 minutes.
Doyle goes deeper than almost anyone else these days in writing about what it means to be a woman. In Untamed, she pays tribute to her inner voice — the one that questions and doubts then questions again. Finally, Doyle realizes that to fix her life, she has to break it first. Hear how she stopped worrying about people’s expectations and created a life she always knew she was intended to live.
World Wild Vet: Encounters in the Animal Kingdom
By Evan Antin, narrated by the author. 6 hours, 51 minutes.
If you follow Dr. Antin’s veterinary adventures on his show, Evan Goes Wild, you already know how serious he is about wildlife conservation. With World Wide Vet, we learn what sparked his passion from an early age and we go behind the scenes on hard-earned lessons about how to interact with wild animals. Antin’s at his most poignant when talking about wildlife abuses he has witnessed first-hand and what we all can do to help prevent them.