Our Favourite Autobiographies
By Emily De Vogele and Cameron Phillips
Autobiographies are extremely interesting forms of storytelling, as they are told from a first-person perspective. Whether it be politicians, celebrities or famous sporting figures, autobiographies serve to unpack the complexities of people, who have lived most of their lives in the public eye, divulging things that they previously would never have revealed publicly. There is something extremely unique about listening to someone reveal hidden stories about their life, more specifically within an audiobook format; it almost feels like we’re being told a secret through our headphones. With hundreds of incredible autobiography audiobooks to choose from, thankfully you’re not limited by choice. We have managed to narrow it down to our top picks for you.
Currently, I am a suffering Manchester United fan, but was fortunate enough to live through a sustained period of success as a fan during my youth. You hear many stories from ex-players about Sir Alex Ferguson that are undoubtedly true, but are probably exaggerated for the cameras to emphasise his utter brilliance. I wasn’t interested in these stories, partly because I had heard them all before, but rather, I was interested in the more subtle influences on Sir Alex’s managerial career. Narrated by himself and by James McPherson, the simply titled Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography is a peek into the absolute greatness of a working-class Govan man, who became one of the most successful and inspirational figures in sport.
I emphasise his birth town of Govan because it is one of the reasons I picked up the audiobook. There is the cliche saying, “You can take X out of Y, but you can’t take Y out of X.” This is very overused, but is emblematic of Sir Alex’s life and career. All throughout the recording, from his gruff Glaswegian accent to the way in which he talks about the path to success, his working-class Scottish background shines through, and you can tell that it is the foundation of everything that follows. Furthermore, insights into his relationship with his wife, Cathy, cement this, and is best heard during the part when Ferguson recalls the moment he was on the brink of getting the sack in December 1990. Cathy’s unwavering support and steely determination quite clearly influence Sir Alex far more than people know, and it is fascinating to listen to the few snippets we get of their relationship. Sir Alex is a widely recognised figure, but his life-long companion and equal is just as important.
I love the man and everything he has done for my club and my city, but as I’ve grown older, I have become interested in the facets of his character that go beyond the touchline. Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography succeeded in giving me a glimpse at that.
Formula One has been a big part of my life for many years. I’ve gone from loving the sport to hating it, back to loving it, all in the span of a single race. The edge-of-your-seat adrenaline that comes from watching such a high-pressure sport is unlike anything else. Despite what you might hear, I promise they don’t just drive in circles! Which is why my audiobook pick for this issue is Jenson Button’s How To Be An F1 Driver.
I started watching the sport back in 2012 when Jenson Button was driving for McLaren, alongside a younger Lewis Hamilton. Immediately, I had a favourite team and a favourite driver. There was something electrifying about watching Button’s car race around the track, setting fastest lap times or ending up on the podium. When Button eventually retired at the end of the 2016 season, it felt like a loss, not just for Formula One, but for British Motorsports as a whole.
In How to Be an F1 Driver, everything a fan wants to hear is shared. It doesn’t feel like a press interview or a journalist write up; it feels personal, real and exciting. Button reveals secrets about his Formula One career that had me laughing and smiling at the light-hearted way in which the story was told. I also appreciated the honesty in which Button reflects on his career. Throughout the book, there is a real sense of gratitude and adoration for his time behind the wheel of a Formula One car, even if every race didn’t end the best for him. Whether you’re just getting into the sport, only know of Button by name, or have been watching for years (like myself), I think this makes for a perfect listen if you want to delve back into the world of Formula One.
Button has remained a fan favourite since his departure from the sport, and this book further justifies that. He’s known as the nice guy, the down-to-earth driver, who always made the best of his situation, whether that was accidently crashing out of a race, or being underestimated by everyone around him. This autobiography highlights the reasons why Jenson Button is still talked about to this day in the sport, and remains legendary.