It’s great to make mistakes and learn from them, but surely better to learn from the mistakes of others. This is part of the enduring power of biographies: to understand how people have achieved things in their lives and to understand the mistakes they have made along the way.
There’s something comforting about a narrative where we see the challenges and are able to discover the outcomes, especially where the people who have lived that life can provide a personal perspective along the way.
What makes people inspiring? Why do we choose to read certain biographies? Who do we emulate? Maybe there is something about the people who we wish we were, or the vicarious pleasure of having adventures through the pages of other people’s books.
Learning doesn’t have to be first hand: we can learn from others. We do it by understanding their feelings, their reactions, their challenges and their responses. Biographies can inspire us by letting us piggyback on their learning, or by throwing us some challenges. It can be enough to know that other people have managed to clear a hurdle to give us the inspiration and motivation to clear hurdles ourselves.