100 books like Educated

By Tara Westover,

Here are 100 books that Educated fans have personally recommended if you like Educated. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Melanie McNally Author Of The Emotionally Intelligent Teen: Skills to Help You Deal with What You Feel, Build Stronger Relationships, and Boost Self-Confidence

From my list on revolutionize your life from a personal development enthusiast.

Who am I?

I’ve always looked to books for support, even as a child when in need of comfort from my parents’ constant fighting. As I became older, I looked for ways to build stress resilience and optimism, so it was only natural that I would turn to books again. I would spend hours in libraries and bookstores reading the self-help books. I eventually went on to get a master’s degree in counseling and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, each providing plenty of opportunity to expand my collection. I now write my own self-help books and cherish the idea of giving someone else the support I once so desperately needed.

Melanie's book list on revolutionize your life from a personal development enthusiast

Melanie McNally Why did Melanie love this book?

Reading Mr. Frankl’s story of surviving the holocaust and being able to find purpose in the direst of circumstances puts everything in perspective.

Not only is it mind-blowing to think of what he (and others) went through, but he also managed to create meaning and find a way to inspire others. It’s truly remarkable. 

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

40 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.

Book cover of Memoirs of Hadrian

Larry Mellman Author Of The Man With Sapphire Eyes

From my list on historical fiction with a twist.

Who am I?

I have always loved historical fiction as a reader, but my passion to write it caught fire during the years I lived in Venice, Italy, when I discovered the curious institution of the ballot boy within the Byzantine complexities of the thousand-year Venetian Republic. Since ballot boys were randomly chosen over a period of six hundred years, choosing my particular Doge and ballot boy required a survey of the entire field before I circled in on Venice, 1368, IMHO the peak brilliance of that maritime empire. It is a peculiarity of history that the names of all 130 doges of Venice are recorded, but none of their ballot boys are mentioned. The challenge was irresistible. 

Larry's book list on historical fiction with a twist

Larry Mellman Why did Larry love this book?

It’s not Hadrian’s love affair with the beautiful boy Antinous that swept me off my feet, nor the way Hadrian makes him a god after his mysterious death and builds a city dedicated to worshiping him.

That’s only a small part of a book overflowing with the emperor’s interior life, his fears and doubts and dreams. Yourcenar spent most of her life on and off writing this book, her life’s work. Filled with the exhilaration and perplexity of achieving absolute power and then holding onto it, we experience Hadrian as a profoundly paradoxical genius from the inside out. 

By Marguerite Yourcenar, Grace Frick,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Memoirs of Hadrian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Framed as a letter from the Roman Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, Marguerite Yourcenar's Memoirs of Hadrian is translated from the French by Grace Frick with an introduction by Paul Bailey in Penguin Modern Classics.

In her magnificent novel, Marguerite Yourcenor recreates the life and death of one of the great rulers of the ancient world. The Emperor Hadrian, aware his demise is imminent, writes a long valedictory letter to Marcus Aurelius, his future successor. The Emperor meditates on his past, describing his accession, military triumphs, love of poetry and music, and the philosophy that informed his powerful…

Book cover of The Glass Castle

Who am I?

My life and work have been profoundly affected by the central circumstance of my existence: I was born into a very large military Catholic family in the United States of America. As a child surrounded by many others in the 60s, I wrote, performed, and directed family plays with my numerous brothers and sisters. Although I fell in love with a Canadian and moved to Canada, my family of origin still exerts considerable personal influence. My central struggle, coming from that place of chaos, order, and conformity, is to have the courage to live an authentic life based on my own experience of connectedness and individuality, to speak and be heard. 

Caitlin's book list on coming-of-age books that explore belonging, identity, family, and beat with an emotional and/or humorous pulse

Caitlin Hicks Why did Caitlin love this book?

The fact that this book is a memoir makes it more amazing than a work of fiction.

The writer, Jeannette Walls, has so much more at stake in this story because it’s about her family, her childhood, and her parents. Her life. I raced through the book, from the first page, with my mouth open in almost disbelief because the level of neglect that Jeannette’s parents floated around in was astounding.

The story of childhood should not be so suspenseful, but Jeannette tells her realities so casually; her experience was truly like a frog in a pot of warming water, so familiar to the narrator as to be almost unremarkable but so dangerous. The appalling nature of the stories and fables told to her by her parents, in relief, made me question my own family narrative. And then there’s the question of the choices her parents deliberately made.


By Jeannette Walls,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Glass Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents.

At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane,…

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

Book cover of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

Manni Coe Author Of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a gay man born into an evangelical Christian family, my coming out story was wrought with pain, trauma, and separation from family and loved ones. In the same year I lost my best friend in an accident. My world tumbled and I had to crawl back to a place of reckoning. Walking became my path to healing. So when my brother Reuben, who has Down's syndrome sent me a message from the isolation of a care home in the pandemic, I knew he was in trouble. Those five words - ´brother. do. you. love. me.´changed our lives. I thought I might know a way to save him.

Manni's book list on memoirs that capture the struggle of everyday life

What is my book about?

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me. is a true story of brotherly love overcoming all. Reuben, who has Down's syndrome, was trapped in a care home during the pandemic, spiralling deeper into a non-verbal depression. From isolation and in desperation, he sent his older brother Manni a text, "brother. do. you. love. me."

This cry for help, this SOS in the sand unleashed a brotherly love that had Manni travelling back to the UK mid-pandemic to rescue his brother from the care home, and together they sheltered from the world in a cottage in deepest, darkest Dorset. There began a journey of recovery and rediscovery. Little by little, the brothers had to piece back together Reuben's world, help him to find his voice and find ways for him to trust the world again. This is a book about care, about Down's syndrome, about love. It is a story of resilience and patience in a world that Reuben thought had abandoned him.

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

What is this book about?

The story of two brothers, one with Down syndrome, and their extraordinary journey of resilience and repair.

"Profoundly moving and hugely uplifting."—Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Reuben, aged 38, was living in a home for adults with learning disabilities. He hadn’t established an independent life in the care system and was still struggling to accept that he had Down syndrome. Depressed and in a fog of antidepressants, he hadn’t spoken for over a year. The only way he expressed himself was by writing poems or drawing felt-tip scenes from his favorite musicals…

Book cover of Unbroken

Steve Pemberton Author Of The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World

From my list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit.

Who am I?

I’m most drawn to stories of overcoming. My own childhood was about exactly that-overcoming a multi-generational inheritance of family separation and orphaned children. When I wrote my first book about that story, A Chance in the World, an unanticipated magic unfolded: I began to receive stories of strangers from all across the world who wrote to tell me their own story of overcoming. Each and every day I hear from someone and the steady stream of those stories of overcoming affirms something I have to come to learn: we all have a story and none of us look like that story.

Steve's book list on demonstrating the power of the human spirit

Steve Pemberton Why did Steve love this book?

If it’s possible to have lived multiple lives in a single lifetime, then Louis Zamperini did it.

I am a big fan of The Greatest Generation and Unbroken is the story of that generation, the deep beliefs they held, and the many sacrifices they made, not for themselves but for the generations that would follow them. You can’t miss the examples of selflessness, perseverance, and faith that jump out at you from the very first chapter.

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Unbroken as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man's journey into extremity. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood,…

Book cover of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Rosalyn W. Berne Author Of Waiting in the Silence

From my list on people who show moral courage.

Who am I?

I am an ethicist—a scholar and professor who thinks and writes about “right” and “wrong” in terms of human behaviors, actions, and relationships, especially where technology is involved. I went into this field because my first pregnancy was a baby girl named Zoe whose brain never developed (anencephaly). When I tried to do what I thought was right, arranging to have her organs donated, some thought it was wrong, and my efforts ultimately failed. In working through my grief, I wrote a SF novel about one woman’s struggles and strength in the face of a frightening use of technology. Books about enduring personal struggles with integrity remind me that this is part of life. 

Rosalyn's book list on people who show moral courage

Rosalyn W. Berne Why did Rosalyn love this book?

Trevor Noah is the funniest living comedian, and he is brilliant. Who would ever guess that his childhood was filled with so much trauma? Being set in Apartheid South Africa, I was able to keep a personal distance from the story. But it still touched and inspired me, perhaps because my own children are mixed race and had they been born there, I’d not have been allowed to marry or live with their father. Unimaginable. This autobiographical accounting of Trevor’s tormented life is a testimony to his inner strength. An average person from his background might be in prison or dead. But not Trevor. The question is why he made it through with such integrity and heart. He gives a lot of credit to his mother and I appreciate that.

By Trevor Noah,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Born a Crime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his…

Book cover of Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family

Rosemary Sullivan Author Of Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

From my list on courage and putting your life on the line.

Who am I?

In Villa Air-Bel, I wrote about an extraordinary man, Varian Fry. A journalist sent to France in 1940 with a list of 200 artists to save, he expected to stay 2 weeks. He stayed 15 months, establishing the Emergency Rescue Committee. By the time the Vichy police expelled him, he’d saved 2,000 people. Who has the courage to put their lives on the line for strangers? In The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation, I recorded how five people risked their lives to hide the Frank family until they were finally betrayed. Two of the helpers were sent to concentration camps.  It takes courage to resist Fascism. Would I/ we have that courage?

Rosemary's book list on courage and putting your life on the line

Rosemary Sullivan Why did Rosemary love this book?

Miep Gies was one of the people who hid Anne Frank, her family, and four friends in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam in 1942.

At great risk, four of Otto Frank’s employees secured food stamps from the underground and took care of the hiders for an astonishing two years and one month before they were betrayed. Gies’s book gives a real sense of what it was like to live under enemy occupation when it was impossible to trust anyone.

“We were no longer keeping silent. We had lost the habit of speech. Do you understand the difference?” she once said. She didn’t consider herself heroic for helping the Franks. “It was simple. You were asked. You said yes.”

By Miep Gies, Alison Leslie Gold,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Anne Frank Remembered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the millions moved by Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, here is Miep Gies's own astonishing story. For more than two years, Miep and her husband helped hide the Franks from the Nazis. Like thousands of unsung heroes of the Holocaust, they risked their lives every day to bring food, news, and emotional support to its victims. From her remarkable childhood as a World War I refugee to the moment she places a small, red-orange-checkered diary -- Anne's legacy -- into Otto Frank's hands, Miep Gies remembers her days with simple honesty and shattering clarity. Each page…

Book cover of The Choice: Embrace the Possible

Karen Cassiday Author Of The No Worries Guide to Raising Your Anxious Child: A Handbook to Help You and Your Anxious Child Thrive

From my list on becoming a better human even when you're not sure you want to.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated with how people overcome terrible circumstances ever since my childhood when my parents took me through the Tower of London and told me people survived the horrible torture devices on display. I got into reading biographies of war heroes, concentration camp survivors, and athletes who survived torture, betrayal, illness, and cruelty only to become people I admire. I became a clinical psychologist because I love inspiring others to discover their own greatness during life’s worst moments. I’ve had to learn how to find love, hope, and meaning when trauma, disability, death, and broken promises have ground me down to a bloody pulp.

Karen's book list on becoming a better human even when you're not sure you want to

Karen Cassiday Why did Karen love this book?

This memoir is a gripping narrative of Eva's survival as a gifted dancer and gymnast in pre-war Hungary, the Nazi concentration camps, and her long journey toward wholeness after immigrating to the United States. 

She details the mental and interpersonal ravages of complex trauma poignantly describes her struggle to gain mental wellness in a world that contains suffering.

She is one of the world's experts on healing from trauma and it shows in her riveting descriptions of how she and her patients learned to bear the pain of great suffering while reclaiming the beauty of compassion, forgiveness, and loving relationships.

By Edith Eva Eger,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Choice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Even in hell, hope can flower

'I'll be forever changed by her story' - Oprah Winfrey

'Extraordinary ... will stick with you long after you read it' - Bill Gates

'One of those rare and eternal stories you don't want to end' - Desmond Tutu

'A masterpiece of holocaust literature. Her memoir, like her life, is extraordinary, harrowing and inspiring in equal measure' - The Times Literary Supplement

'I can't imagine a more important message for modern times. Eger's book is a triumph' - The New York Times

In 1944, sixteen-year-old…

Book cover of America's First Daughter

Julia Amante Author Of Let Us Begin

From my list on parent/child relationship leading to redemption.

Who am I?

Women’s fiction is about relationships and issues that women deal with daily. I wish I could write thrillers or fantasy—those are so much fun to read, but I’m most fascinated by people and the life-changing choices they make. Being the daughter of immigrants has made me obsessed with two things, one is identity and the second is success. My books touch on the discovery of self and how that leads to success. And if we're honest, our relationships with our parents have a massive effect on who we become and our beliefs. I’ve explored parent/child relationships in all my novels, but most intimately in Let Us Begin which is based on my father’s life.

Julia's book list on parent/child relationship leading to redemption

Julia Amante Why did Julia love this book?

This is a fascinating historical novel about Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Patsy Jefferson. Aside from learning much more about history than I ever did in high school or college, I enjoyed reading about the relationship that she had with her father. 

It’s difficult, I think, to have a relationship with a man like Jefferson who was devoted to his ideals and dreams first and to his family second. He had goals that were so immense that there was no competing with them. And yet, Patsy is completely devoted to her father and his goals. It’s a story about loving an imperfect man and making sacrifices.

It gave me a different perspective on a historical figure, but it also made me think about my own relationship with my father because I could relate to coming second or third in the life of a father you love. I know what it’s like…

By Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked America's First Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph--a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of…

Book cover of Crying in H Mart

Christine Ma-Kellams Author Of The Band

From my list on From Christine's list of books for BTS fans.

Who am I?

I discovered BTS a few years ago right in the middle of an era when the world was falling apart and everyone was stuck at home. I know they’ve gotten a lot of people through hard times, but for me they did something arguably more life-changing: they inspired me to write my debut novel featuring a Kpop band who has also achieved worldwide domination, but in my fictional story, must face cancellation, violence, and a retributive girl band who disbanded under the most tragic of circumstances. Now that we’re waiting for BTS’ return from military service, I hope that these books will help hold us over until their return. 

Christine's book list on From Christine's list of books for BTS fans

Christine Ma-Kellams Why did Christine love this book?

In my defense, I read this book long before Jungkook recommended it, and it single-handedly became my gateway drug into memoir. I had never heard of Japanese Breakfast beforehand, but no matter—hers was the kind of story around food and loss that I found incredibly relatable in feeling, even if not in the actual details. 

By Michelle Zauner,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Crying in H Mart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2021

The New York Times bestseller from the Grammy-nominated indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean mother, and forging her own identity in the wake of her loss.

'As good as everyone says it is and, yes, it will have you in tears. An essential read for anybody who has lost a loved one, as well as those who haven't' - Marie-Claire

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer,…

Book cover of Night

James Taing Author Of Under the Naga Tail: A True Story of Survival, Bravery, and Escape from the Cambodian Genocide

From my list on surviving impossible odds.

Who am I?

Since arriving as a refugee in America, my father, Mae Bunseng has always wanted to tell his story. It would take many decades later for me, as I was coming of age, to consider what exactly my father had lived through. I was shocked at what he told me and knew his story had to be told. Thus over a decade ago I worked with my him to what eventually became Under the Naga Tail. In addition to this book, along the way, a short documentary called Ghost Mountain was created and released on PBS, which is accessible for streaming here. The film would win the best documentary at the HAAPI Film Festival.

James' book list on surviving impossible odds

James Taing Why did James love this book?

The masterpiece memoir by Elie Wiesel is an astonishingly short autobiographical of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. His account of surviving a concentration camp is important as any other, a narrative that is chilling, yet with compassion put into each word. Night is a book that has to be read. Elie would become an important human rights activist and this continued beyond the subject matter of the Holocaust. During the refugee crisis on the Thai-Cambodia border in 1980, he and several other notables (such as Joan Baez, Liv Ullman, and Bayard Rustin), mobilized to bring relief assistance for Cambodians fleeing the dangerous borders of their country. When asked by a journalist why help Cambodia, he replied, “When I needed people to come, they didn't. That's why I am here.” It demonstrated Elie’s resolve and will to prevent the next genocide from happening somewhere else.

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor's perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Idaho, survivalism, and domestic violence?

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