Sometimes there is nothing like a 900-page biography. Most of the time though, nobody has time for such a thing. Especially with many modern biographers who refuse to take a stand that resembles judgement towards their subjects.
After all, we read biographies to learn and improve ourselves, not to simply accumulate facts about someone we’ll never meet.
This leads to one of my favorite categories of books I like to recommend: moral biographies. That is, short biographical sketches about great men and women in history, written with an eye towards practical application and advice. As in, have a moral rather than about morality. They are often more anecdotal than historical, apocryphal than accurate but they get the job done. (Incidentally, this was the model I tried to base my book The Obstacle Is The Way on, though I hardly consider myself in the same league.)
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