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20 Inspiring Books Like “Educated” For Empowering Reads

Embark on a Journey of Transformation: Explore 20 Books Like "Educated" That Echo the Power of Resilience, Personal Growth, and Education.
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 27 2024

Books Like

Tara Westover’s “Educated” is a riveting memoir that chronicles her journey from growing up in a strict and abusive household in rural Idaho to earning a PhD from Cambridge University. It’s a testament to the power of education and the resilience of the human spirit.

For many, “Educated” is more than a memoir; it’s an inspiration, a call to believe in oneself despite the odds. If you’re on the lookout for more books that explore themes of personal growth, resilience, and the transformative power of learning, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 20 books that will resonate with fans of “Educated” and leave you feeling empowered and motivated.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “Educated” by Tara Westover


1. “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls

This memoir details the nomadic and poverty-stricken childhood Jeannette faced, highlighting her rise above her upbringing.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Overcoming a dysfunctional family dynamic.
  • The importance of resilience and self-determination.
  • A profound narrative on personal growth and identity.


2. “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance

Vance’s account of growing up in a poor Appalachian family stretches the understanding of American social dynamics.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Exploration of family and social issues affecting education.
  • A journey of personal advancement against challenging conditions.
  • Insights into overcoming societal and familial barriers.


3. “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed

After a personal tragedy, Strayed hiked over a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone, rediscovering herself.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • A physical and emotional journey towards self-discovery.
  • The healing power of nature and solitude.
  • An inspiring story of overcoming loss and hardship.


4. “The Sound of Gravel” by Ruth Wariner

Wariner recounts her impoverished childhood in a polygamist cult in Mexico, and her eventual escape to liberation.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • A harrowing escape from an oppressive environment.
  • The role of family in shaping and challenging personal identity.
  • The quest for education and a better life.


5. “A Piece of Cake” by Cupcake Brown

This autobiographical account shows Brown’s journey through foster care, addiction, and her remarkable turnaround.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Transformation from dire circumstances through strength and perseverance.
  • The impact of education and mentorship in changing one’s life.
  • A compelling narrative of survival and self-discovery.


6. “North of Normal” by Cea Sunrise Person

Person describes her unconventional upbringing in the Canadian wilderness and her eventual emergence into mainstream society.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Growing up outside traditional societal norms.
  • The pursuit of normalcy and education as paths to freedom.
  • Overcoming familial dysfunction through resilience.


7. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama

This memoir by the former first lady chronicles her life from her childhood in Chicago to her role in the White House.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • An intimate look at the personal and professional growth.
  • The transformative power of education and hard work.
  • Insights on overcoming obstacles related to gender and race.


8. “In Order to Live” by Yeonmi Park

Park’s journey from the oppressive regime of North Korea to freedom is a testament to the human spirit’s resilience.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • An escape from oppressive conditions in search of freedom.
  • The crucial role of education in expanding worldviews.
  • A deeply personal narrative of survival and empowerment.


9. “Breaking Night” by Liz Murray

Homeless at 15, Murray eventually went to Harvard. Her story is a powerful testament to the possibility of change and the power of dreams.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Overcoming extreme poverty and instability.
  • The paramount importance of education in changing one’s life trajectory.
  • An inspiring, against-the-odds success story.


10. “The Sun Does Shine” by Anthony Ray Hinton

Wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years on death row, Hinton’s memoir is a story of hope, love, and justice.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • An inspiring story of resilience and hope in the face of injustice.
  • The power of the human spirit to overcome the darkest circumstances.
  • A compelling argument for the importance of fighting for one’s rights and education.


11. “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai

The youngest Nobel Prize laureate’s memoir details her fight for girls’ education under Taliban rule in Pakistan.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • A powerful advocacy for education and women’s rights.
  • Overcoming violent oppression to champion a global cause.
  • The transformative impact of education on personal and societal levels.

12. “Educated” not only charts Tara Westover’s educational journey but also her struggle to carve out a personal identity separate from her family’s beliefs and expectations. Each book listed here echoes similar elements of struggle, resilience, and the quest for self-discovery through education.

Whether these stories are set in remote rural landscapes, within the confines of oppressive regimes, or amidst personal crises, they all share a common thread: the unwavering belief in the power of education as a means to freedom, self-awareness, and empowerment. Consider these narratives as your roadmap to inspired living and a deeper understanding of the world around you.

Dive in and let these stories of triumph and determination fuel your own journey toward a more enlightened and empowered self.

13. “This Boy’s Life” by Tobias Wolff

Wolff’s memoir of a troubled childhood and adolescence captures his experiences with poverty, restlessness, and the quest for a stable family life.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • A story of transformation amidst adversity.
  • The search for identity and belonging in a chaotic environment.
  • The significant role of education as an escape and path to a better life.


14. “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren

A memoir that intertwines the challenges of pursuing a career in science with personal growth, showcasing Jahren’s passion for plant life and her journey as a female scientist.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • The struggle for self-discovery and professional achievement.
  • A deep appreciation for education and the natural world.
  • Overcoming gender barriers in a male-dominated field.


15. “The Color of Water” by James McBride

This memoir and tribute to McBride’s white Jewish mother explores her life’s journey, including her marriage to a black man, her conversion to Christianity, and raising her children in a racially divided America.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • An exploration of racial and religious identity.
  • The importance of family history and education.
  • Overcoming societal expectations and prejudices.


16. “Boy Erased” by Garrard Conley

Conley recounts his experience in a church-supported conversion therapy program that aimed to “cure” him of homosexuality, highlighting his struggle for identity, acceptance, and understanding.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • The conflict between personal identity and familial beliefs.
  • A journey towards self-acceptance and authenticity.
  • The critical role of education and exposure to new ideas in self-discovery.


17. “Educating Esme” by Esme Raji Codell

This diary of a rookie teacher in an urban Chicago school presents the challenges and triumphs of teaching, advocating for progressive education and the difference one dedicated educator can make.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • The transformative power of education in various contexts.
  • Overcoming challenges within educational systems.
  • A narrative that celebrates resilience and innovation.


18. “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah

Noah’s autobiography details his upbringing in apartheid South Africa as a mixed-race child, emphasizing the role of language, culture, and education in shaping his life and career.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Navigating identity in a divided society.
  • The essential role of education and humor as survival tools.
  • Personal growth against the backdrop of social and political challenges.


19. “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

A neurosurgeon’s memoir of facing terminal cancer, this book explores what makes life worth living through the lens of both a doctor and a patient.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Deep reflections on personal identity and transformation.
  • Facing life’s challenges with strength and introspection.
  • The quest for meaning through adversity and change.


20. “Unorthodox” by Deborah Feldman

Feldman’s escape from her strict Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn to find freedom and her own identity in the outside world is a profound exploration of faith, education, and self-discovery.

Elements in common with “Educated”:

  • Breaking free from oppressive religious and societal norms.
  • The significant role of education in expanding personal horizons.
  • A journey toward self-autonomy and empowerment.

These recommendations showcase a common thread of resilience, transformation, and the pursuit of knowledge and identity. These books, much like “Educated”, offer a unique perspective on how education can serve as a beacon of hope and guide individuals towards a path of enlightenment and self-actualization, even in the most challenging of situations.

By exploring these narratives, readers can find encouragement, insight, and the confidence that growth and change are possible for anyone who seeks them out. So, get ready to be inspired by these captivating stories!


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