The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African, first published in 1789, is the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano. The narrative is argued to be a variety of styles, such as a slavery narrative, travel narrative, and spiritual narrative. The book describes Equiano's time spent in enslavement, and documents his attempts at becoming an independent man through his study of the Bible, and his eventual success in gaining his own freedom and in business thereafter.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790; however, Franklin himself appears to have called the work his Memoirs. Although it had a tortuous publication history after Franklin's death, this work has become one of the most famous and influential examples of an autobiography ever written.
The Story of My Life, first published in 1903, is Helen Keller's autobiography detailing her early life, especially her experiences with Anne Sullivan. The book is dedicated to inventor Alexander Graham Bell. The dedication reads, "To ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL Who has taught the deaf to speak and enabled the listening ear to hear speech from the Atlantic to the Rockies, I dedicate this Story of My Life."
Twelve Years a Slave is an 1853 memoir and slave narrative by American Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. Northup, a black man who was born free in New York state, details his being tricked to go to Washington, D.C., where he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. After having been kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana by various masters, Northup was able to write to friends and family in New York, who in turn secured his release with the aid of the state. Northup's account provides extensive details on the slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, and describes at length cotton and sugar cultivation and slave treatment on major plantations in Louisiana.
Though the title of "My Life and Work" suggests the book to be the autobiography of Henry Ford, this is in fact a manual of business philosophy by one of the world's greatest industrialists, businessmen, entrepreneurs and visionaries. The book describes how Ford introduced the assembly line, reduced working hours, a minimum wage, the five-day work week, etc. at the beginning of the previous century. Manufacturing methods such as "Just-in-Time" (JIT) manufacturing are described. The JIT methodology was later on adopted by Toyota in Japan and is in common use today amongst many large manufacturing concerns in the world. Ford's story and business philosophy is brilliantly chronicled in this biography. Much of Ford's wisdom has been forgotten today and therefore entrepreneurs and business managers alike would do well to take another look at this classic work on business management.