Our favorite celebrities are almost always in the spotlight, and with social media we feel more connected to them than ever. We’re able to get a peek into their everyday lives and see what they’re really like when the cameras are turned off. While social media is a great way to get to know the actors and athletes we admire, often times they get even more personal in their memoirs and autobiographies.
We’ve gathered some of our favorite celebrity books, and summarized the best takeaways from each. Whether you need a good laugh, a good cry or maybe both, these books will give you the feels and inspire you to reach for more.
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Memoirs and autobiographies
In The Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero
Diane Guerrero is an actress known for roles in the Netflix megahit series Orange is the New Black, and the modern-day take on a telenovela Jane the Virgin. Besides her acting resume, Diane is well-known as an Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization by the White House to help immigrant families in the United States.
In The Country We Love: My Family Divided, Diane recounts the heartbreaking story of her parents and brother being arrested and deported while she was at school and only 14 years old. Her story is one of personal strength and resilience as she remained in the United States to continue her education and build a life without the support system of her family with her.
Best lesson/quote: “The worst thing I could’ve done would have been to deny myself the opportunity because of fear or feeling like I didn’t deserve it. It was one of those times when I really saw the power of having a dream and making it come true, no matter the obstacles.”
Me by Ricky Martin
Ever since he was a young boy, Ricky Martin has found himself in the spotlight. He started his career acting in commercials, and at the age of 12 he became a member of the popular Latin American boy band Menudo. After leaving his position as lead singer of the internationally known band, Ricky took on a role in a Mexican telenovela.
While the world has followed Ricky’s professional career for many years, he’s kept his personal life behind curtains. In Me, Ricky opens up for the first time about his childhood in the spotlight, struggling with his sexual identity, embracing relationships that truly fulfilled him and the experience of becoming a father.
Best lesson/quote: “Life is a journey and every step we take moves us in some direction. When we are ready and willing, we learn, we advance, and we grow. But it’s very easy...to not take that first step and to stay exactly where we are.”
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Fans know comedian Amy Poehler well from her role as the quirky and passionate Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. However, it took Amy quite some time before finding her place in the comedy world. She knew that she wanted to be a performer from a young age. After graduating from Boston College, she moved to Chicago to chase her dreams. She joined improv groups, eventually becoming a member of the well-known comedy troupe Upright Citizens’ Brigade. In 2001, Amy eventually made her debut on Saturday Night Live, and her success hasn’t slowed since.
In Yes Please, Amy gets real about parenthood, falling in and out of love, life advice, and even features a haiku about plastic surgery — she is a comedian, after all. With rich humor and smart commentary, this memoir will make you laugh and show you just how relatable stars can be.
Best lesson/quote: “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”
I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart is a well-known comedian and actor who has produced a number of stand-up specials, and played roles in large Hollywood films such as The 40-Year Old Virgin and Get Hard. He’s a household name today, but like many other comedians, it took Kevin many years to come into his own. He did shows at small comedy clubs and comedy competitions to develop his own comedic style, using trial and error to grow into one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
In his literary debut, Kevin takes readers through his life story and the challenges he has overcome to get to where he is today. He discusses how to stand up for yourself, how you must take life’s hardest lessons as an opportunity to grow and lastly — when things go wrong, learn to laugh at them instead of cry.
Best lesson/quote: “Every experience is a potential life lesson. Even if you don’t appreciate it at the time, each struggle in the present is preparing you for something else in the future.”
Health and wellness books
The Longevity Book by Cameron Diaz
Now retired from acting, Cameron Diaz first came into the Hollywood scene in 1994, starring in The Mask alongside funnyman Jim Carrey. She quickly grew her acting resume, receiving roles in well-known films such as There’s Something About Mary and the 2000 remake of Charlie’s Angels. After a successful career spanning more than two decades, Cameron chose to retire from acting in 2016.
Following her New York Times bestseller The Body Book, Cameron Diaz published The Longevity Book as a guide that looks at the science of aging, the biology of strength and the privilege of time. She takes on the somewhat taboo subject of the aging female body, using scientific research to discuss how and why we age, offering helpful tips for maintaining optimal health and how we can enjoy all stages of life.
Best lesson/quote: “What will the future hold? There’s no way for any of us to know. Not one of us can anticipate what will happen... We know it will be hard sometimes. We know that there will be challenges. We know that we will need resilience and determination. Everything else is a guess, a hope, a wish. Like the wish we all share to live lifetimes that are full of strength and love.”
Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year by Demi Lovato
One of the biggest modern stars to have come from the Disney Channel, Demi Lovato is a talented actress and singer who has been in the spotlight since 2007. She uses her celebrity status for good and serves as an advocate for mental health. She was even named the official ambassador for mental health by Global Citizen in 2017, in addition to being given the Artistic Award for Courage by the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
Demi has always been open about her personal struggles with mental health and substance addiction, and Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year is a testament to how well she understands the process of self-reflection. This book features daily affirmations and words of inspiration from Demi herself, encouraging readers to recognize their self-worth.
Best lesson/quote: “Life is precious and it’s what you do with it that keeps you alive on the inside. It’s not enough just to live and take that gift for granted. Each one of us has fears, but the more we work to overcome them, the more we are able to enjoy our lives.”
Self-help and inspirational books
Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life by Gisele Bündchen
It can be easy to make quick judgements about fashion models. The world is quick to think of them as “just a pretty face,” but for Gisele Bündchen, nothing could be further from the truth.
In her first novel, Gisele shares the lessons she’s learned about living a full life and making a positive impact on the world. She brings readers through her life journey beginning in South Brazil, where as a little girl she had dreams of becoming either a volleyball player or veterinarian, but eventually was discovered by a modeling scout and launched her distinguished career. Lessons describes her challenge of having a successful career while also balancing motherhood and marriage.
Best lesson/quote: “In the end, the longest and most important relationship any of us will ever have it with ourselves. That’s why I believe self-awareness is so important. We all need to learn to become comfortable with ourselves as early as possible, and to grasp that we are responsible for who we are.”
The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose by Oprah Winfrey
One of the most well-known women in modern history, Oprah Winfrey is touted as an independent, generous, genuine and influential entrepreneur. She has an incredible ability to connect with people and tell their stories in a way that is both meaningful and impactful.
In her book The Path Made Clear, Oprah shares some of her most heartfelt insights about looking deeper into yourself to create a joyful life of success and significance. She offers her guidance to help readers discover who they are truly meant to be, and also shares lessons from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jay-Z and more.
Best lesson/quote: “The true meaning of courage is to be afraid — and then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing, take the leap anyway.”
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Former First Lady Michelle Obama has become one of the most iconic women of our time. Whether you love Michelle for being an advocate for women and girls around the world, or you envy her for her impressive arms, she is someone that millions look up to. Even after their time in the White House, the 44th First Lady still uses her voice to make a difference and hopes that she inspires others to chase their dreams and become whatever they aspire to be.
In Becoming, Michelle opens up her world to readers and invites them to learn about the experiences that have shaped her into who she is today. She offers an intimate look into both her public and private life, beginning with her childhood in southside Chicago all the way to the White House. Many believe they understand the life story of public figures since they are in the spotlight so often, but Becoming shares a truly moving first-hand experience.
Best lesson/quote: “There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others.”
Sports and recreation books
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Known by Oregonians as “Uncle Phil,” Nike founder Phil Knight is a legend in the sporting goods world. Not only is he known for his business prowess, which has made him one of the wealthiest people in the world, Phil is also known for his philanthropic donations. He’s donated more than $2 billion dollars to various organizations and schools in Oregon.
In his autobiography Shoe Dog, Phil shares his life story after shying away from the spotlight for so long. His candid account of his entrepreneurial journey shows readers that the path to business success isn’t always clear or easy. Before the Nike swoosh became one of the most recognizable logos in the world, Phil was fearful his venture would end in failure. Shoe Dog is a refreshing reminder that success comes with making mistakes and sacrifices.
Best lesson/quote: “Let everyone else call your idea crazy...just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where ‘there’ is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”
The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant
Whether you’re a basketball fan or not, you know the name Kobe Bryant. The legendary NBA player spent all 20 years of his professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won five championships. Kobe had many other impressive milestones, including being the youngest player to reach 30,000 points and winning two Olympic gold medals with Team USA.
Nicknamed “The Black Mamba,” Kobe published The Mamba Mentality in 2018 as a reflection of his illustrious career. It teaches us what it takes to be successful. He was always well-known in the basketball community for his attention to detail, thorough game preparation and extreme competitiveness, and Kobe’s book invites fans to take an in-depth look at his process.
Best lesson/quote: “One of the main takeaways was that you have to work hard in the dark to shine in the light. Meaning: It takes a lot of work to be successful, and people will celebrate that success, will celebrate that flash and hype. Behind that hype, though, is dedication, focus, and seriousness — all of which outsiders will never see.”
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
Have you ever thought about running a marathon? 26.2 miles can seem like a daunting task for even some of the most experienced athletes. But what about an ultramarathon of 100 miles? Former Navy SEAL David Goggins doesn’t even blink an eye at it. Considered to be one of the toughest men alive, David is the only member of the US Armed Forces to complete SEAL training, US Army Ranger School and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. Completing one of these is impressive, let alone all of them.
In Can’t Hurt Me, David shares an insightful look into his challenging life that shaped him into becoming one of the world’s top endurance athletes. He also shares his philosophy he calls the 40% Rule, believing that humans only tap into 40% of our capabilities and we can all reach greater potential by pushing past our fears.
Best lesson/quote: “It won’t always go your way, so you can’t get trapped in this idea that just because you’ve imagined a possibility for yourself that you somehow deserve it. Your entitled mind is dead weight. Cut it loose. Don’t focus on what you think you deserve. Take aim on what you are willing to earn.”
Memoirs provide readers with a rare glimpse into the entire life story of celebrities. Many come from humble beginnings and have worked hard to overcome adversity and challenges in their lives. The best memoirs and autobiographies are raw, honest and share with us deep and sometimes unexpected emotion. We’re used to seeing these actors play characters, and it’s refreshing and insightful to learn their stories.
Whether you’re looking for a good read to help you unwind at the end of the day, or wanting to learn more about your favorite actors and public figures, these memoirs and autobiographies will give you a great look into the real lives of stars.