The Most Successful Memoir: Ranking the Finest Tales of Personal Triumph

Choose the memoir you think is the most successful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 20, 2024 07:55
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinions truly matter! Today, we invite you to weigh in on a riveting subject – "What is the most successful memoir?" As you journey through the pages of history, you'll find that gripping personal stories have captivated the hearts and minds of readers across the globe. From inspiring tales of overcoming adversity to heartwarming narratives of love and friendship, memoirs offer a unique window into the lives of extraordinary individuals. Now, it's your chance to rank your favorite memoirs and be part of the conversation! Join thousands of avid readers and vote for the memoirs that have made the most significant impact on you. Don't see your favorite on our list? Feel free to suggest a missing option, as we're eager to discover the gems that have left a lasting impression. So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, settle in, and let the rankings begin!

What Is the Most Successful Memoir?

  1. 1
    This memoir is a harrowing account of Elie Wiesel's experiences as a Jewish teenager during the Holocaust. It has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and is considered a classic of Holocaust literature.
    Night is a memoir written by Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. The book recounts Wiesel's personal experiences during World War II, specifically his time spent in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. Through powerful and haunting prose, Night explores themes of loss, dehumanization, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable horrors.
    • Publication Year: 1956
    • Original Language: French
    • English Translation: 1960 by Stella Rodway
    • Genre: Memoir
    • Number of Pages: 120
  2. 2
    This memoir tells the story of McCourt's impoverished childhood in Ireland and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1997.
    Angela's Ashes is a highly acclaimed memoir written by Frank McCourt. It is a powerful depiction of his childhood and early adulthood growing up in extreme poverty in Limerick, Ireland. McCourt eloquently narrates his experiences and offers a raw and honest insight into the challenges he faced, including his family's struggle with alcoholism, the loss of siblings, and the harsh living conditions they endured. The memoir has received widespread critical acclaim for its poignant storytelling and vivid portrayal of McCourt's hardships and resilience.
    • Publication Date: 1996
    • Genre: Memoir
    • Page Count: 426
    • Publisher: Scribner
    • Nationality: Irish-American
  3. 3
    This memoir chronicles Walls' unconventional upbringing with her dysfunctional family. It has sold over 4 million copies worldwide and spent over 260 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
    The Glass Castle is a bestselling memoir written by Jeannette Walls. It recounts the author's unconventional and tumultuous childhood with her eccentric and unpredictable parents. The book takes readers on a journey from the author's impoverished upbringing in the desert to her eventual success as a journalist in New York City. Walls writes with raw honesty, exploring themes of resilience, family dynamics, and the enduring power of hope.
    • Genre: Biography
    • Publication Year: 2005
    • Pages: 288
    • Publisher: Scribner
    • Language: English
    "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls in other rankings
  4. 4
    This memoir follows Gilbert's journey of self-discovery as she travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia. It has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and was adapted into a successful film starring Julia Roberts.
    Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert, published in 2006. The book chronicles the author's journey of self-discovery and personal transformation after a difficult divorce. Gilbert embarks on a year-long adventure, traveling to Italy, India, and Bali in search of pleasure, spirituality, and balance in her life. Through her experiences in each country, she learns to savor the pleasures of food in Italy, find inner peace through meditation in India, and finally discover love and healing in Bali. Eat, Pray, Love is a deeply personal memoir that resonates with readers seeking inspiration, self-reflection, and a greater understanding of the power of love and self-acceptance.
    • Publication Date: 2006
    • Genre: Memoir
    • Setting: Italy, India, Bali
    • Themes: Self-discovery, spirituality, love, healing
    • Writing Style: Personal and introspective
  5. 5
    This memoir details Pelzer's abusive childhood and has sold over 6 million copies worldwide. It is often used as a tool for child abuse prevention and awareness.
    A Child Called 'It' is a memoir written by Dave Pelzer that tells the heartbreaking and inspiring true story of his childhood filled with severe abuse and neglect. Pelzer recounts the horrific abuse he endured at the hands of his alcoholic and mentally unstable mother, who referred to him as 'It'. Through his memoir, Pelzer shares his journey of resilience and survival, ultimately finding hope and healing.
    • Genre: Memoir
    • Publication Year: 1995
    • Pages: 184
    • Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.
    • Language: English
  6. 6
    This memoir is a first-hand account of Frank's experiences as a Jewish teenager hiding from the Nazis during World War II. It has been translated into over 70 languages and is considered a classic of Holocaust literature.
    The Diary of a Young Girl is a non-fiction book based on the diary entries of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who went into hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. The diary provides a first-hand account of Anne's experiences, emotions, and thoughts while living in hiding with her family for over two years.
    • Publication Date: 1947
    • Genre: Autobiography
    • Original Language: Dutch
    • Country of Origin: Netherlands
    • Number of Pages: 283
    "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank in other rankings
  7. 7

    "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed

    Cheryl Strayed
    This memoir tells the story of Strayed's journey of self-discovery as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail. It has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide and was adapted into a successful film starring Reese Witherspoon.
    Wild is a memoir written by Cheryl Strayed. It chronicles Strayed's 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA, as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and healing following the death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage. In the book, Strayed shares her experiences, challenges, and personal growth during her transformative hike.
    • Genre: Memoir
    • Publication Year: 2012
    • Number of Pages: 336
    • Setting: Pacific Crest Trail, USA
    • Themes: Self-discovery, healing, grief, nature
  8. 8
    This memoir recounts Westover's upbringing in a strict, survivalist family and her eventual escape to pursue higher education. It has sold over 3 million copies worldwide and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2019.
    Educated is a memoir written by Tara Westover, recounting her journey from a childhood in a strict and abusive Idaho family to her pursuit of education and self-discovery. It is a compelling and thought-provoking narrative that explores themes of family, identity, resilience, and the power of education.
    • Genre: Memoir
    • Pages: 334
    • Publication Date: February 20, 2018
    • Publisher: Random House
    • Awards: Goodreads Choice Award for Memoir & Autobiography (2018)
  9. 9
    This memoir tells the story of Noah's childhood in apartheid-era South Africa and his rise to success as a comedian and television host. It has sold over 1 million copies worldwide and was a #1 New York Times bestseller.
    "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah in other rankings
  10. 10
    This memoir is a humorous account of Fey's life and career in comedy. It has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide and was a #1 New York Times bestseller.
    Bossypants is a memoir written by Tina Fey, an American actress, comedian, writer, and producer. In this book, Fey narrates her personal experiences, providing a humorous and insightful perspective on various aspects of her life and career. With her signature wit, Fey discusses topics such as her childhood, career in comedy, work on Saturday Night Live, roles in films and television shows, and the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
    • Publication Date: 2011
    • Number of Pages: 288
    • Genre: Memoir
    • Bestseller List: New York Times Best Seller
    • Narrative Style: First-person

Missing your favorite memoir?


Ranking factors for successful memoir

  1. Critical acclaim
    Reviews from literary critics can be a good indicator of the overall quality of the memoir. Awards and nominations from reputable organizations such as the Pulitzer Prize can also be a good gauge of a memoir's success.
  2. Impact on readers
    The memoir's impact on its readers can also be a factor in determining its success. This can be measured through reader reviews, social media buzz, and general cultural impact.
  3. Historical or cultural significance
    Memoirs that document important historical or cultural moments can be especially successful. This can include memoirs written by individuals who lived through important historical events or who represent marginalized or underrepresented communities.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most successful memoir. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Memoir is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 179 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Memoir once every 24 hours. The rank of each Memoir is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most successful memoir

Memoirs are a form of autobiographical writing that allows individuals to share their personal experiences with the world. They offer readers a glimpse into the author's life, their struggles, and their triumphs. Memoirs have become increasingly popular over the years, with many becoming bestsellers and even being adapted into movies or TV shows. When it comes to determining the most successful memoir, there are several factors to consider. Sales figures are undoubtedly one of the most significant factors, as a high number of copies sold indicates widespread appeal. Another measure of success is critical acclaim, as positive reviews can help boost a book's reputation and popularity. However, success can also be subjective and personal. A memoir that resonates with one reader may not have the same impact on another. Ultimately, the most successful memoir is one that touches readers on a deep, emotional level, and leaves a lasting impression long after the final page has been turned.

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