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sumitupImagine you’re the coach of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols basketball team. On the way to a game, the 15 passenger rental van gets a flat tire and after searching for a non-existent jack, you realize your only resource is the 13 players sitting inside the van. Would you make these women lift and hold the van while you changed the tire in order to get to the game on time? Pat Summitt would.

This and many other stories entertained and inspired me through her 408 page biography titled, “Sum It Up.” (Co-authored by Sally Jenkins) From her humble beginnings (a cabin in the woods without running water or electricity) to a career coach at the University of Tennessee, her competitive spirit and determination were prevalent. Even as she was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, she continued to coach to the best of her ability and truly care about her players and coaching staff.

Biographies have always interested me because usually we already know about the key moments or accomplishments in a person’s life, but an excellent biography really allows the reader to sink into the intricacies and motivations of the subject’s life. For Pat Summitt, it was shown through countless examples that her passion was truly the mentoring relationships with the players she coached. And what a role model she was. Her track record includes 1,098 victories, 8 national championships and a 100% graduation rate for players on her team for four years. Truly a career and life of accomplishments.

reluctantJon Stafford, BQB author of “Reluctant Warriors,” was a history teacher for more than 30 years and earned his master’s degree in Civil War History from Alabama. Of his favorite biographies, he says, “Being a history guy I contend that Sherman’s autobiography is the best soldier’s memoir since Caesar’s. Grant’s is close, Eisenhower’s third. The best biography in the last 30 years may be David McCullough’s Truman.”

If you also love reading biographies, here are a few from BQB and WriteLife Publishing that we think you’ll find intriguing:

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And do tell, what is the most interesting biography you’ve ever read?