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Napoleon by Paul Johnson

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Napoleon Bonaparte was powerful for only a decade and a half but his impact lasted until near the end of the 20th century, nearly 200 years after he died.

He was born on 15th August 1769 on the island of Corsica, the second of eight children.

At the age of ten, Napoleon and his older brother Joseph left for mainland France. They spent a year at a preparatory school in Autun, followed by five years at military college and a year at the officer academy in Paris. By the end of these seven years, Bonaparte was a professional French soldier.

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Open by Andre Agassi

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Even at the age of seven years old, Andre Agassi hated tennis. His father used to make him return 2,500 balls a day on the tennis court, that’s nearly a million a year, all being fired at him from a souped-up ball machine he called ‘the dragon’.

The tennis court was built by his father in the backyard of their house, which sat in the middle of the desert next to Las Vegas. What was a tennis court to most people was a prison to Andre Agassi.

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The Story Of My Life by Helen Keller

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Helen Keller was born in Alabama, USA on 27th June 1880. As a youngster she was a fast learner, speaking words at 6 months old and walking on the day she turned one.

After 19 months of her life, she developed an illness which left her completely blind and deaf and she also lost her ability to talk.

A few months after the illness, Helen began to communicate from simple nods and shakes of the head, to imitating the cooking of a particular type of food that she wanted to eat.

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Plato by Julia Annas

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The philosopher Plato was born in Athens in 427BC and died about 80 years later in 347BC.

His parents were both Athenians and he had two brothers and a sister. His mother remarried and had another son after his father died.

Plato rejected his family and never married, which was a duty at the time to continue the family and the city.

From early on, Plato was seen as an outstanding philosophical figure. He was heavily influenced by another Athenian, Socrates.

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My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey and Maria Burns-Ortiz

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Ronda Rousey has been fighting her whole life. On the day she was born on 1st February 1987, she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and had to fight for her first breath.

She fought to communicate as the lack of oxygen at birth affected her ability to speak and be understood as a child.

At three years of age, Ronda’s family moved from California to North Dakota and she began intensive speech therapy.

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Alexander the Great by Hugh Bowden

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Alexander the Great was born in 356BCE, he became king of Macedonia a mere twenty years later, reigning until his death in 323BCE.

Once he was the king, he entered the territory of the Persian Empire, leading an army and taking control of an area of land that became part of one of the largest empires of the ancient world.

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The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

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The idea for Amazon came to fruition in 1994. Over 20 years later the company employs over 90,000 people and has become one of the most well known businesses on the planet.

The visionary of this corporation was a gifted child and he’s evolved into a driven CEO, who with the help of the internet has created a single store that sells nearly everything. His name is Jeff Bezos.

Early in his career he showed many leadership qualities. He was charismatic, persuasive and confident.

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography was written in two parts, the first was composed as a letter to his son. The second half was penned several years later and was ultimately never finished.

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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

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Glenn Greenwald is a former law and civil rights attorney. He is now a journalist and author. His first communication from Edward Snowden was on 1st December 2012. At the time Snowden did not reveal who he was, simply signing off emails as ‘Cincinnatus’. Cincinnatus was the Roman farmer who was appointed dictator of Rome, defeated all her enemies before voluntarily giving up all power and returning to farming.

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Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

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Elon Musk has long since entered the consciousness of the general public. Back in early 2012 people started to take notice. One of his companies had just built and delivered an all-electric car. Another of his companies had just flown a capsule to the International Space Station and back. He was being lauded as an entrepreneur on a par with the likes of Steve Jobs. However, whilst Jobs had succeeded in achieving similar feats in two different industries at the same time, Musk has since achieved it in three of them.