PresidentsFormer US President Jimmy Carter signs copies of his book ‘A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety’ in New York City on July 7, 2015.D Dipasupil/Getty Images

  • Former presidents often turn to writing to explain the important decisions they made and actions they took while in office.
  • Some autobiographies offer riveting first-person accounts of presidents’ journeys to the White House, challenges they faced in office, and plans they have post-presidency.
  • Others are selective about what they include or are simply boring reads.
  • Here are the five worst and five best autobiographies written by presidents.

At the time of this writing, there are 44 former presidents of the United States of America. The roads that led each man to the White House — from military service to state-level politics to real estate investing and reality-TV show hosting — vary, as do the lives lived by these heads of state after their years in office.

But many former presidents have a common thread in their post-POTUS years: They write, often about themselves.

Some former American presidents used memoirs to explain decisions they made and actions they took while in office, as Richard Nixon did with his 1990 memoir, “In the Arena.” Others write personal books that reveal more about themselves and their lives in the pre- and or post-presidential years — Jimmy Carter has penned several such works.

Some presidential autobiographies turn into runaway hits, topping bestseller lists and making millions of dollars for their esteemed authors. Others fade into obscurity.

Here we highlight a few of the notable hits and misses from this decidedly elite club of memoirists: