I’ve told you about Plutarch, the father of biography, who has an important place in my bibliography. A lot of people of course love Plutarch. J.K. Rowling does, Truman did. And so does Sam Donaldson, who recommends the Parallel Lives here:
Plutarch’s Lives is simply the biographies of people back in an ancient era, Caesar and the Antonines. You study how they lived and what they did, and how they thought. I can’t tell you I came away from it saying, “Now I’ll pattern myself after this guy, and this guy.” But I came away with the sense that some of the people who were very ordinary when they started out could make something of themselves. … But lives, what is it about various people’s lives who are successful, who make something of themselves, who make a mark on history and on the world? That book influenced me.