How to write an effective biography

The definite guru on graphic design and typography for us dummies, Robin Williams, puts her ‘real bio‘ on her official website. It is a story of an incredible life from an ordinary person who took an incredible path by choice. I went there hoping to get a tip or two on writing an effective self introduction. I did get a tip. A big one:

You want to write a good biography? Live a life.

Here is a long snippet. Few words can encourage us more than this paragraph to move on with what we believe in.

I am a teacher. It is my path. It is what I am supposed to do. No matter what is going on outside–divorce, unhappiness, anger, poverty, death–when I walk into my classroom nothing else exists except my students and our work. Teachers certainly don’t teach for the money. Real teachers teach because they are supposed to. I didn’t plan do what I’m doing. When I was in high school I had a small business teaching swimming in my parents’ backyard, and all the moms and dads assumed I was going to be a kindergarten teacher. “A teacher!” I exclaimed with dismay. “Oh no, I will do something much more exciting than be a teacher!” It took many years for my path to unfold, and I had no clue where it was leading. But now that I am here, I see that it happened the way it was supposed to. I did not know I was on a path, but I see now that having the courage to live in the “wisdom of uncertainty,” to take jobs I had a passion for instead of the ones that offered the most benefits and highest pay, to be willing to struggle to happily make ends meet rather than live in a miserable partnership, to take the anger and bitterness after a divorce and direct that energy to getting my own life together rather than trying to get money out of him, eventually led me to a very satisfying place, a place that offers so much more to me than I ever thought would happen in my life.

This is the book from her that any aspiring designer should own.
The Non-Designer’s Design and Type Books, Deluxe Edition

P.S. This biography is also totally funnier than the recent works from the actor with the same name. I think he agrees.