• Key Differences

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Difference between Biography and Autobiography

biography vs autobiography

Both of these two presents the view of, what happened in the past where the author lived. These are non-fiction books, written in chronological order, tells a story about the person who made a significant contribution in a specific field. Many think that the two writing forms are one and the same thing, but there are noticeable difference between the two, that are presented in the given article.

Content: Biography Vs Autobiography

Comparison chart.

Basis for ComparisonBiographyAutobiography
MeaningBiography refers to an account that tells someone else's life story.Autobiography means an account that tells your life story.
AuthorizationCan be written, with or without the authorization of the subject.Not required
Written inThird personFirst person
PurposeTo informTo express and inform
OutlookBased on facts collected by the author.Full of emotions and thoughts.

Definition of Biography

A biography also referred as ‘bio’ is a detailed account of a person’s life written or produced by another person. It gives an elaborate information regarding the birthplace, educational background, work, relationships and demise of the person concerned. It presents the subject’s intimate details about life, focusing on the highs and lows and analysing their whole personality.

A biography is usually in the written form but can also be made in other forms of a music composition or literature to film interpretation.

It is the recreation of the life of an individual composed of words by another person. The author collects every single detail about the subject and presents those facts in the biography, which are relevant and interesting, to engross the readers in the story.

Definition of Autobiography

An autobiography is the life sketch of a person written by that person himself or herself. The word auto means ‘self.’ Therefore, autobiography contains all the elements of a biography but composed or narrated by the author himself. He/She may write on their own or may hire ghostwriters to write for them.

An autobiography presents the narrator’s character sketch, the place where he is born and brought up, his education, work, life experiences, challenges, and achievements. This may include events and stories of his childhood, teenage, and adulthood.

Key Differences Between Biography and Autobiography

The difference between biography and autobiography are discussed in detail in the following points:

  • Biography is a detailed account of a person’s life written by someone else, while an autobiography is written by the subject themselves.
  • Biography can be written with (authorised) or without permission (unauthorised) from the person/heir’s concerned. Therefore, there are chances of factual mistakes in the information. On the other hand, autobiographies are self-written and therefore doesn’t require any authorization.
  • Biographies contain information that is collected over a period of time from different sources and thus, it projects a different outlook to the readers. On the other hand, autobiographies are written by the subject themselves, therefore, the writer presents the facts and his thinking in his own way, thus providing an overall narrow and biased perspective to the readers.
  • In an Autobiography, the author uses the first narrative like I, me, we, he, she, etc. This, in turn, makes an intimate connection between the author and the reader since the reader experience various aspects as if he/she is in that time period. As opposed a biography is from a third person’s view and is much less intimate.
  • The purpose of writing a biography is to introduce and inform the readers about the person and his life whereas an autobiography is written in order to express, the life experiences and achievements of the narrator.

Video: Biography Vs Autobiography

There are several autobiographies which are worth mentioning like ‘The Story of My Life’ by Helen Keller, ‘An Autobiography’ by Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank, ‘Memoirs of the Second World War’ by Winston Churchill, ‘Wings of Fire’ by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and much more.

Examples of some famous biographies are- Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett, His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis, Einstein: The Life and Times by Ronald William Clark, Biography of Walt Disney: The Inspirational Life Story of Walt Disney – The Man Behind “Disneyland” by Steve Walters, Princess Diana- A Biography Of The Princess Of Wales by Drew L. Crichton.

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autoiography vs memoir

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October 18, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Amazing! Very helpful and useful. Thank you!

May 7, 2023 at 6:47 am

your article is very well explained

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June 21, 2023 at 11:51 am

Great explanation by Surbhi S, it clears confusion between biographies and autobiographies.

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Biography vs Autobiography: Similarities and Differences

Biography vs Autobiography: Similarities and Differences

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

Learn about our Editorial Process

biography vs autobiography, explained below

A biography is an account of someone’s life story that is written by an author who is not the subject of the nook. An autobiography, on the other hand, involves an individual narrating their own life experiences.

The differences between biographies and autobiographies relate most prominently to the authorhship:

  • Autobiography: When you read an autobiography, you’re getting the author’s own interpretation of their life.
  • Biography: When you read a biography, you experience the subject’s life through someone else’s lens (Schiffrin & Brockmeier, 2012).

Biography vs Autobiography

1. biography.

A biography is a detailed account of a person’s life, scripted by an author who is not the person who is featured in the text itself.

This type of life story focuses both on factual events in the person’s life, such as birth, education, work, and death, but often also delves into personal aspects like experiences, relationships, and significant achievements.

It may also weave-in cultural and contextual factors that help illuminate the person’s motivations and core values .

Origins of Biographies

The concept of biography as a literary genre dates back to antiquity. Such works were primarily used to capture the lives of dignified individuals, mainly rulers and war heroes.

Suetonius’s Lives of the Caesars and Plutarch’s Parallel Lives are landmark examples from this ancient period (Sweet, 2010).

The popularity of biographical works only grew in the ensuing centuries, and they became a prominent part of many cultures’ literary traditions. 

Into the 18th century and during the Enlightenment, biographies began to present a more balanced portrayal of the subject. They would present both their strengths and flaws, providing a holistic perspective on the subject.

Dr. Samuel Johnson’s compilation of English poets biographies, Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1779-1781) ushered in a new era of biography writing by focusing on examining human nature (Ditchfield, 2018).

In the modern era, the genre has evolved and broadened, encompassing a diverse range of figures from all walks of life – there’s a biography in every niche imaginable, with each offering readers an in-depth exploration of their lives, their struggles, and their triumphs.

This demonstrates the enduring appeal of biographies and their value in providing snapshots of history through individual lenses.

Key Characteristics of Biographies

The author of the biography is not the person who the story is about. The writer is an observer who collects, verifies, and narrates the life story of the person in focus (Smith et al., 2012).
A biography doesn’t have the of an autobiography. So, a biography is often more trustworthy, but we still need to examine the incentives of the actual author (Jones, 2015).
A biography covers all the significant aspects of the person’s life. From birth to death, or their most noteworthy accomplishments, it encompasses a wide array of life events (Johnson & Johnson, 2017).
A biography prioritizes facts and major milestones in an individual’s life, such as , careers, relationships, and more. It does not delve into trivial details unless they are relevant to the person’s life story (Williams, 2019).

Examples of Biographies

Title: The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets Author: Dr. Samuel Johnson   Description: Dr. Johnson’s work profiles the lives of 52 poets from the 17th and 18th centuries, including John Milton and Alexander Pope. He critiques not just the works, but also explores their personal lives and the sociopolitical contexts of their times (Johnson, 1781). Johnson’s study is invaluable for its integrated historic and biographic approach.

Title: The Life of Samuel Johnson Author: James Boswell   Description: This work by Boswell explores, in great depth, the life of his friend and mentor, Dr. Samuel Johnson. The biography offers a compelling portrayal of Dr. Johnson’s life, character, eccentricities, and intellectual prowess (Boswell, 1791). Boswell’s vivid account creates a near-physical presence of Johnson to the readers, making it one of the greatest biographies in English literature.

Title: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt Author: Edmund Morris   Description: In this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Morris chronicles the early life of Theodore Roosevelt until his ascension to the U.S presidency. The work brilliantly captures Roosevelt’s extraordinary career and his transformation from a frail asthmatic boy into a robust and vigorous leader (Morris, 1979). Morris accurately represents Roosevelt’s indomitable spirit, making it an engaging and educational read.

Title: Steve Jobs Author: Walter Isaacson Description: This comprehensive biography provides a deep-dive into the life and career of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. Isaacson had unparalleled access to Jobs and those closest to him, thus presenting an intimate and detailed account. He explores Jobs’ professional endeavors as well as his personal life, revealing his ambition, intensity, and visionary mind that revolutionized several high-tech industries (Isaacson, 2011).

Title: Alexander Hamilton Author: Ron Chernow Description: Ron Chernow provides a sweeping narrative of one of America’s most compelling founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Chernow combines extensive research with a flair for storytelling, charting Hamilton’s evolution from an orphan into a political genius. The book sheds light on Hamilton’s crucial role in the formation of the United States’ financial system and his political ideologies (Chernow, 2004).

2. Autobiography

An autobiography is a self-written record of someone’s own life. It is a personal narrative in which the author writes about their life from their own perspective.

Autobiographies are usually centered around the author’s personal experiences, including key milestones, challenges, and achievements (Eakin, 2015).

They’re also often a defense of the person’s perspective (especially in political autobiographies) or insight into their thought processes, which can make them very intimate.

Origins of Autobiographies

The term ‘autobiography’ was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid but condemned it as ‘pedantic’.

Pioneering examples of the genre form include Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) and the memoirs by veterans of the Napoleonic Wars (Lejeune, 2016).

However, apart from these early instances, autobiographies have been composed by a wide array of individuals from history. 

In the early 20th century, the genre witnessed major transformations, and autobiographies started to cover a broader spectrum of experiences, including trauma, struggles, and successes.

‘Black Boy’ by Richard Wright, for instance, shares the author’s experiences with racism and his journey towards developing a literary career (Wright, 1945).

This was followed by a host of autobiographies by public figures sharing their diverse stories, such as Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’, depicting his days as a struggling young writer in Paris (Hemingway, 1964). 

Autobiography as a genre has continued to evolve over the years, and a variety of forms have emerged to communicate individual experiences globally.

As history has progressed, we see more and more people with diverse perspectives sharing their stories, broadening our understanding of the human experience (Smith & Watson, 2010).

Key Characteristics of Autobiographies 

The author of the autobiography is the person the story is about. They are the principal actor and the of the information (Miller, 2014). As a result, we can get a deeper ‘insider’ insight into their mentality and expereinces.
An autobiography emphasizes the personal viewpoint adopted by the author. The story is told from their own emotions, biases, and interpretations, providing a very personal perspective. However, we also need to be aware that it’s going to only present one self-serving perspective on the matter.
Autobiographies go beyond factual accounts and include the author’s internal thoughts, emotions, and introspections about their experiences (Baker et al., 2013).
Unlike a biography, an autobiography may not cover the entirety of the author’s life. Instead, they’re more likely to concentrate on specific themes (like resilience) or significant periods (like childhood or a specific career phase) (Brown & Brown, 2018).

Examples of Autobiographies

Title: Long Walk to Freedom Author: Nelson Mandela   Description: “Long Walk to Freedom” provides an in-depth exploration of ex-President Nelson Mandela, his political journey, and his stand against apartheid in South Africa. The biography offers a unique perspective into Mandela’s noble character, his indomitable spirit, and his commitment to justice when faced with grave adversities (Mandela, 1995). Mandela serves as one of our times’ great moral and political leaders through this biography.

Title: The Diary of a Young Girl Author: Anne Frank  Description: This biography provides a startling firsthand account of a young Jewish girl named Anne Frank, who with her family, hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. Her diary entries offer profound insights into the fear, hope, and resilience she demonstrated during her two years in hiding (Frank, 1947). Frank’s posthumous biographical record serves as a reminder of the injustices of the past and as a symbol of endurance in the face of oppression.

Title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Author: Maya Angelou  Description: This moving autobiography charts Maya Angelou’s early life, from experiencing racial discrimination in the South to becoming the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. Angelou portrays her journey of self-discovery and overcoming traumatic experiences, including racial prejudice and personal trauma, with remarkable strength and grace. Her story is one of resilience, and it speaks powerfully about finding one’s voice (Angelou, 1969). 

Title: Night Author: Elie Wiesel  Description: “Night” is Wiesel’s personal account of his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II with his father. This heartbreaking narrative describes not only physical hardship and cruel atrocities but also examines the loss of innocence and the struggle to maintain faith in humanity. It stands as a testament to human resilience in the face of unimaginable horror (Wiesel, 1960).

Title: Dreams from My Father Author: Barack Obama Description: In this engaging memoir, the 44th President of the United States narrates the story of his diverse background and early life. The narrative extends from his birth in Hawaii to his first visit to Kenya, from dealing with racial identity to self-discovery. “Dreams from My Father” not only provides personal insights about Obama’s life and values but also discusses issues of race, identity, and purpose (Obama, 1995).

Similarities and Differences Between Biographies and Autobiographies

1. AuthorshipWritten by a third party. The author and subject are different individuals (Smith et al., 2012).Written by the subject themselves. The author is the person the story is about (Miller, 2014).
2. PerspectivePresents an objective perspective, offering a balanced view of the subject’s life (Jones, 2015).Emphasizes a subjective perspective, providing a very personal view of the author’s life.
3. ContentFocuses on facts and major life events, offering a comprehensive account of an individual’s life (Johnson & Johnson, 2017).Often includes personal reflections and feelings, may focus on specific themes or periods in the author’s life (Baker et al., 2013; Brown & Brown, 2018).
4. Personal ReflectionsContains limited personal reflections or emotions of the subject.Contains an abundance of personal reflections and emotions from the author (Baker et al., 2013).
5. Subjectivity / ObjectivityMore objective due to the distance between the author and the subject (Jones, 2015).More subjective due to the close relationship between the author and the subject – they’re the same person.
6. StrengthsProvides an impartial and factual account of a person’s life, which can be helpful for historical or academic study (Williams, 2019).Gives a deeper insight into a person’s thoughts and emotions, providing a unique perspective on their life experiences (Baker et al., 2013).
7. WeaknessesMay lack personal insight or emotional depth due to its objective approach (Williams, 2019).May be biased or overly emotional due to its subjective approach, and may not cover the entirety of the author’s life (Brown & Brown, 2018).

While both biographies and autobiographies are excellent sources of information and entertainment about significant figures in history (or the present!), they serve different purposes. By knowing the different purposes of each, we can develop stronger media literacy , understanding what the intention of the author is, and how we should approach the text.

Angelou, M. (1969). I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings . Random House.

Baker, J., Davis, E., & Thompson, K. (2013). Reflection and Emotions in Autobiography . Chicago University Press.

Boswell, J. (1791). The Life of Samuel Johnson . J.R. Taylor.

Brown, J., & Brown, S. (2018). Thematic Focus in Autobiography Writing . Princeton University Press.

Chernow, R. (2004). Alexander Hamilton . Penguin Books.

Ditchfield, S. (2018). Extracting the Domestic from the Didactic: Transmission and Translation of the Sacred in The Lives of the Ancient Fathers (1672–1675). Church History and Religious Culture, 98 (1), 28-50.

Eakin, P. J. (2015). How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves . Cornell University Press.

Frank, A. (1947). The Diary of a Young Girl . Contact Publishing.

Hemingway, E. (1964). A Moveable Feast . Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs . Simon & Schuster.

Johnson, M., & Johnson, S. (2017). A Comprehensive Guide to Biography Writing . New York: Penguin.

Johnson, S. (1781). The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets . Printed by C. Bathurst, J. Buckland [and 28 others in London].

Jones, B. (2015). The Art of Writing Biographies: An Objective Approach . Oxford University Press.

Lejeune, P. (2016). On Autobiography . University of Minnesota Press.

Mandela, N. (1995). Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela . Macdonald Purnell.

Miller, R. (2014). The Self as the Subject: Autobiography Writing . Stanford University Press.

Morris, E. (1979). The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt . Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

Obama, B. (1995). Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance . Crown Publishing Group.

Schiffrin D., & Brockmeier J. (2012). Narrative Identity and Autobiographical Recall. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 70 , 113-144.

Smith, J., Davis, M., & Thompson, S. (2012). Third Party Narratives: An Exploration of Biography Writing . Cambridge University Press.

Smith, S., & Watson, J. (2010). Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives . University of Minnesota Press.

Sweet, R. (2010). Biographical Dictionaries and Historiography. Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, 72 (2), 355–368.

Wiesel, E. (1960). Night . Hill & Wang.

Williams, T. (2019). The Importance of Facts in Biographies . HarperCollins.

Wright, R. (1945). Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth . Harper & Brothers.

Chris

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Autobiography vs Biography: Differences and Similarities

difference of autobiography and biography

So you want to learn more about your favorite influential figure. Should you read an autobiography or a biography about them? 

It depends on what you’re looking for! 

Need A Nonfiction Book Outline?

In this guide, we’ll explain autobiography vs biography and help you choose which one you want to read. We’ll also touch on where memoirs fit in with these genres. Let’s dive in! 

This autobiography vs biography comparison includes:

The similarities between biographies and autobiographies.

Both biographies and autobiographies are written accounts of a person’s life. They typically recount the person’s life experiences, challenges, and accomplishments. 

Usually, each of these genres is written in a narrative style. In other words, it uses storytelling techniques to convey information about its subject. 

Autobiographies and biographies both feature context about the subject’s life by discussing the time in which the subject lived (or is living), the culture and location in which they live(d), and more. 

Like any good story, the best biographies and autobiographies often feature narratives about trials that are overcome and lessons that are learned. They may also focus on the influence and impact of the book’s subject. 

Difference between biography and autobiography

The biggest difference between an autobiography and a biography is that an autobiography is written by the subject of the book about their own life, while a biography is written by another person. 

For example, actress Lucille Ball wrote an autobiography about her life called Love, Lucy . Meanwhile, an author named Kathleen Brady wrote a biography about Lucille Ball called Lucy: The Life of Lucille Ball .

YouTube video

Here are a few other key differences between the two genres: 

1. Different perspectives

Naturally, an autobiography is written from the first-person perspective, which means the author is providing a personalized point of view on their own life. 

Meanwhile, a biography is written from a third-person perspective, meaning the author is writing from an external point of view, with limited insight into the subject’s personal thoughts or feelings. 

2. Control of the narrative

When someone writes their autobiography , they control which parts of their life story they include and which they omit. They can choose which perspective they share and which parts of themselves they want to spotlight. 

Meanwhile, a biography relies on research, interviews and sources to construct a complete picture of a subject’s life. A biographer is likely to be more objective in their presentation of a person—perhaps even including unsavory details about their subject that the subject themselves wouldn’t include. 

3. Levels of objectivity

Even the best autobiography will be subjective because it’s based on the author’s personal memories and feelings. 

On the other hand, many biographers strive to be more objective in their writing. They tend to consult multiple sources, conduct a variety of interviews, and more to make sure they’re writing an accurate portrayal of their subject. 

4. Sources used

Because an autobiographer is writing a story about their own life, their sources will primarily be self-generated. Though they may rely on those close to them, like family members, to verify or recount certain memories they hold. 

That said, many autobiographers still need to do research to add context and depth to their life stories, whether that’s learning about the town they grew up in, their family history, or something else. 

Meanwhile, biographers rely on archival materials, research, interviews, historical documents, and more to help them write the story about their subject. 

5. Writing style

Because autobiographies are more personal, they often reflect the author’s unique writing style and personality. 

On the other hand, biographies generally strive to be more objective, with a focus on a cohesive, well-researched narrative. (But to be clear: they can still be very engaging!)

Where do memoirs fit in? 

We’ve learned about the differences and similarities between autobiographies and biographies, so where do memoirs fit into the puzzle? 

Like an autobiography, a memoir is written by the subject of the book. Both genres tend to focus on the author’s personal life, are written in the first person, and can be highly subjective. 

However, where autobiography vs memoir differs is partially in the scope of the book. An autobiography often encompasses most of the author’s life, while a memoir is likely to focus on one specific event, theme, or period in the author’s life. 

Memoirs also adhere less to chronological storytelling than autobiographies do. They can jump around in time and tend to be centered more on themes, reflection, or specific, impactful moments in the author’s life. 

In summary, you can think of memoirs as even more personal than autobiographies, focusing on a selected part of the writer’s life. They’re also more likely than autobiographies to be written by folks who aren’t famous. 

Final thoughts

While biographies, autobiographies and memoirs all tell a subject’s life story, they do it in different ways. The type of genre you’d like to read (or write) will be contingent on what you’d like to learn about your chosen subject. 

If you’re interested in writing your own memoir, autobiography or memoir, we can help you do it. Simply schedule a book consultation to get started. 

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What Is The Difference Between An Autobiography And A Biography?

What are the differences between autobiographies and biographies? 

The two words are not interchangeable .

And neither is a subset of the other.

Once you get a handle on what sets them apart, you’ll never get them confused again. 

You’ll be able to explain the difference between autobiography and biography as proficiently as any publisher or semantics expert .

And you’ll know just how to market your book to get your ideal reader’s attention . 

Let’s get started. 

1. Autobiographies are written by (or with) the subject. 

2. autobiographies are in the first person; biographies are (typically) in the third person. , 3. biographies don’t require the permission of the subject. , 4. autobiographies can include the subject’s thoughts and feelings. , 5. autobiographies are more subjective; biographies are meant to be more objective. , 6. autobiographies generally cover the entire life from childhood to the present. , 7. autobiographies inform the reader about the subject’s motives. , the difference between autobiography and biography: 7 distinctions you should know .

You’re here for one reason: to finally settle the autobiography vs. biography question. Maybe someone asked you, and you weren’t sure of your answer. Or perhaps you’ve confused autobiography and biography one too many times. 

You’re not alone. And you’re about to learn the critical differences and what these two have in common. 

If you’re writing a book about your own life, you’re writing either an autobiography or a memoir . 

Even if you’re paying a ghostwriter to write most or all of it for you, based on conversations with them, you’re still considered the author, and it’s still an autobiography (or memoir ). 

Every autobiography results from the subject’s own writing or a collaboration between the subject and their ghostwriter. 

With an autobiography, you address the reader using the first-person point of view . You’re telling them a story about your life. 

Since someone other than the subject (or their ghostwriter) writes the biography, it’s written about the subject — not from their point of view. The author of a biography typically refers to the subject using the third person. 

Using the third person creates distance between the narrator and the subject. 

Before writing the book, the author of a biography may or may not reach out to the (living) subject. They may want the subject’s permission and input. 

On the other hand, they may choose to write an “unauthorized biography” with shock value, in which case permission from the subject is more an obstacle than an advantage.

the difference between autobiography and biography

Much depends on whether the biographer has any real interest in understanding the subject and their motives. 

Unlike biographies, where the author typically doesn’t have access to the subject’s thoughts and feelings, the author of an autobiography does. 

Because the author is the subject, they know and can share their deepest motives behind the actions they’ve taken. They remember thoughts that came right before they did something they regret (or not). 

They remember how they felt during the most significant moments of their lives. 

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Biographies are supposed to be objective retellings of the subject’s life or the most noteworthy parts of it. 

Autobiographies, by contrast, are more subjective since the one writing them is the subject . 

When you write your autobiography, you give the world your unique take on your life, what happened to you, and what you did with it.

Your autobiography is not meant to be objective; it’s meant to be personal. 

Autobiographies generally cover the entirety of the subject’s (i.e., author’s) life up to that point. Memoirs typically focus on a particular part of the subject’s life. 

Biographies, too, focus on certain parts or aspects of the subject’s life, whether it’s a scandal, a collection of little-known fact-based anecdotes, or the secret to the subject’s success (or downfall). 

the difference between autobiography and biography

The point of a biography is to satisfy the ideal reader’s curiosity about the subject. 

Autobiographies focus less on facts than on the motives behind them — specifically the subject’s motives since those are the only ones the author knows. 

The author-subject writing their autobiography is in a unique position to understand the true motives of their book’s main character. 

And readers who genuinely care about that are more likely to take the subject-author’s word than that of an unauthorized biographer speculating as to the subject’s motives.. 

Now that you know the facts behind the biography vs. autobiography question, we hope you find it easier to explain the differences to anyone who asks. 

Whatever type of life story you’re writing, may you have all the information, insight, and resources you need to make it unputdownable — and a credit to your name. 

Happy writing! 

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Autobiography vs Biography: Must-Read Key Differences

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  • November 17, 2023

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Table of Contents:

What is the difference between autobiography and biography.

  • 1- Author's Perspective: 

2- Authorship: 

  • 3- First-Person vs. Third-Person: "I" or "They"?

4- Level of Subjective Information: 

5- personal emotions and reflections:, 6- control over the narrative: , 7- personal insights: , 8- reliability and objectivity: , 9- writing style: , 10- memories vs. research, faqs: autobiography vs biography, what is an autobiography, what is a biography, what is a major difference between autobiographies and biographies, are there notable examples of autobiographies and biographies in literature, conclusion:.

Autobiography vs Biography: Must-Read Key Differences

Autobiography Biography

This article will unravel the ten key differences between an autobiography and a biography.

1- Author’s Perspective: 

When you dive into a life story, whether an autobiography or biography, the first thing to consider is the author’s perspective. 

In an autobiography, it’s like sitting down with the person. They share their experiences, emotions, and personal take on their life’s journey. It’s as if they’re inviting you into their world for a chat. 

On the other hand, a biography is written by someone else, an outsider looking in. It’s like having a skilled artist create a portrait based on available information, akin to the purpose of composition in art. 

Overall, a biography is similar to an autobiography , but the viewpoint in a biography is external, offering a different angle on the subject’s life.

Another key difference between an autobiography and a biography is the authorship of these life stories.

Autobiographies are a bit like a personal diary; the author is the person the book is about. They take up the pen, crafting their narrative in their unique voice.

In biographies, someone else steps into the role of the author. It’s like a skilled biographer, often associated with an eBook writing company , becomes the storyteller. They research and piece together the subject’s life, giving it their distinct narrative style.

3- First-Person vs. Third-Person: “I” or “They”?

The way the story is told is another key difference between autobiography and biography.

In an autobiography, it’s a first-person narrative. The author uses “I” and “me” to recount their experiences. They’re saying, “I did this, I felt that.” It’s a personal touch, much like sharing a personal take on a purpose for composition in art .

In a biography, it’s more of a third-person perspective. The biographer uses pronouns like “he,” “she,” or the subject’s name. It’s akin to saying, “They did this, they felt that.” The subject becomes the character, and you get an external viewpoint on their life.

Now, let’s talk about how much personal touch you’ll find in an autobiography and biography.

Autobiographies often pack in a hefty dose of subjective information. Since the author shares their life story, it’s full of memories, emotions, and interpretations. It’s like reading someone’s diary, where every word carries their unique perspective. 

On the flip side, biographies aim to maintain a balance. They include personal insights filtered through the biographer’s lens, much like how a professional ghostwriter crafts a story.

Autobiographies are like a deep dive into someone’s emotional world. The author shares their joys, sorrows, and reflections on life’s twists and turns. It’s like chatting with a close friend about their experiences. 

In biographies, the focus is broader, and they touch on the subject’s emotions, but it’s not the main event. It’s like hearing someone else talk about their friend’s feelings. It’s a bit more distant, even though it provides an emotional backdrop to the story.

Regarding control, think about it like this: the author is the boss in an autobiography. They have full control over the narrative. They decide what to include and what to leave out. It’s like being the director of their own life story. 

On the other hand, in a biography, the biographer takes the reins. They make the calls on what goes into the story. It’s like a best book writing service managing a project – they have a say in what stays and what goes.

In an autobiography, you get to explore the author’s insights. They’re letting you in on their ‘aha’ moments, deeply understanding their thoughts and emotions. 

The insights come from the biographer’s research and analysis in a biography. It’s like an ‘aha’ moment seen through a third party. While you still get insights, they are shaped by the biographer’s perspective.

It’s a bit like receiving information from an insider versus an outsider. So, whether you prefer the author’s direct take or appreciate a more objective viewpoint, you’ll find it in an autobiography and biography pages.

Regarding reliability and objectivity, autobiographies and biographies have different approaches. Autobiographies can be seen as less objective. Since the author writes their own story, it can carry personal bias and subjectivity. It’s like telling a story from your vantage point. 

In contrast, biographies are usually considered more objective. As an external observer, the biographer aims to present a balanced and accurate portrayal of the subject’s life. It’s like getting a report about someone from a neutral source, similar to how eBook marketers present their findings. The idea of freedom connects the poem to the autobiography by illustrating the nuanced and subjective nature of personal narratives, emphasizing the diverse ways individuals express their experiences and perspectives.

So, if you’re after a story with a unique personal touch, you might lean towards an autobiography. But a biography might be your cup of tea if you’re looking for a more objective, balanced narrative.

Let’s chat about writing style in an autobiography and biography.

Autobiographies often have a more personal, informal tone. It’s like having a conversation with the author. They share their life story in a way that’s as relaxed as chatting with a friend. It’s all about that personal touch, similar to a candid conversation. 

In biographies, the writing style tends to be more structured and formal. It’s as if you’re reading a well-crafted report or an article. The biographer’s voice comes through, giving the story a distinct formality. It’s like listening to a seasoned researcher or a presenter. 

Regarding accessibility to information, there’s a difference between an autobiography and a biography.

Autobiographies have a direct line to the author’s memories and experiences. It’s like having the author’s memory bank at your disposal. They can give you the nitty-gritty details, the hidden gems of their life story. 

In biographies, information comes from research, interviews, and available documents. Biographers work like eBook marketers, analyzing existing data and creating a comprehensive story based on what’s available. 

An autobiography is a self-written account of one’s life, narrated from the author’s perspective.

A biography is a written narrative of someone’s life, usually written by another person.

The major difference lies in authorship. Autobiographies are written by the subject themselves, offering a first-person account of their life. In contrast, biographies are authored by someone else, providing an outsider’s perspective on the subject’s life. Autobiographies convey personal insights, while biographies offer a more objective portrayal.

Yes, examples include “ How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories ” by Holly Black (autobiography) and “ How To Read Literature Like A Professor ” by Thomas C. Foster (biography).

Are autobiographies and memoirs the same?

No, memoirs, which are often categorized under the broader umbrella of memoir and autobiography , concentrate on specific facets of a person’s life, offering a more thematic and subjective exploration. In contrast, autobiographies traditionally aim to provide a comprehensive account covering the entirety of the author’s life.

An autobiography and biography offer distinct ways of exploring the lives of remarkable individuals.

Autobiographies provide an intimate look at the author’s personal experiences, while biographies offer a more objective and external perspective. 

Both genres have unique merits, allowing readers to uncover the extraordinary stories shaping our world.

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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > What’s the difference between a biography and an autobiography?

What’s the difference between a biography and an autobiography?

If you’ve ever set foot in a bookstore, you’ve likely come across both autobiographies and biographies that tell about the lives of notable individuals. Let’s take a look at the most important differences between these non-fiction books.

A picture of Steve Jobs and his autobiography

What is a biography?

Typically written in the third person, a biography is a detailed story about a living or deceased person’s life. A third party writes this non-fiction account of someone’s life. Let’s say Person A is a famous singer who recently passed away. Person B researches and writes a fact-based story on the famous singer’s life from start to finish. Person B’s factual story of Person A’s life is a biography.

Types of biographies

Biographies don’t always take the same approach or follow the same structure. Some are more official, while others get more creative. Writers can choose from a few common biography types, including:

  • Authorized biographies, which received the subject’s input and/or permission.
  • Unauthorized biographies, which were written without the subject’s approval or input.
  • Biographical novels, which were inspired by a real person’s life, but feature embellishments that may make the story more interesting.
  • Group biographies, which focus on groups of people rather than a single person.

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Examples of biographies

Each biography is a window into someone’s life, offering unique insights and perspectives. From the struggles of historical figures to the triumphs of artistic icons, biographies are not just informative but can also be deeply inspiring. Here are a few examples:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a biography that describes the life of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cells were extremely important for medical research.
  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie is a biography that describes Catherine the Great’s origins and rise to power as a Russian empress.
  • Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera details the painter’s life and famous works.

What is an autobiography?

Usually written in the first person, an autobiography is when the author writes about their own life. This subjective account is unique because it allows the author to share details of their life that another writer might not have been able to uncover.

Types of autobiographies

There are two main types of autobiographies: complete autobiographies and memoirs. In a complete autobiography, the author begins their story with their roots or birth and ends the autobiography at their current age. In a memoir, the author writes about a specific period of their life. For example, a famous actor may begin a memoir by sharing their first role in a movie, rather than sharing details about the beginning of their life or their childhood.

Examples of autobiographies

Autobiographies offer a unique lens into the lives of their authors, providing firsthand accounts of their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Here are a few examples of notable autobiographies:

  • In Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, Yogananda provides a first-hand account of his life and spiritual growth.
  • In The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, Keller shares her life from birth until she was 22. She shares how she learned to communicate despite being blind and deaf.
  • In The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, he shares his life from childhood through adulthood and how he impacted the civil rights movement.

In summary, a biography is a story of someone’s life, written by a different person, versus an autobiography where an author writes about their own life.

Why should you read biographies (or autobiographies)?

Biographies and autobiographies are a great way to get an in-depth look at the lives of politicians, musicians, historical figures, innovators, and more. If there’s a famous person that you admire, there’s likely a biography written about them or an autobiography that they wrote themselves that can teach you more about their accomplishments.

If you’re interested in writing a biography or autobiography, see how you can write, research, and organize a book using OneNote . Whether you’re just putting together your first draft or you’re still outlining your story , you can elevate your writing in real time with Microsoft Editor .

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Difference Between Biography and Autobiography (With Table)

Photo of Basir Saboor

Biography and autobiography are two literary genres that revolve around the life stories of individuals. Despite sharing a common subject matter, there are distinct differences between these two forms of literature. While both biography and autobiography aim to tell the life story of an individual, they differ in terms of authorship and perspective. In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between biography and autobiography with the help of a table and other key differences.

Table of Contents

Biography Vs Autobiography (Chart)

BiographyAutobiography
Biography refers to a written account of someone else’s life, usually written by a third-party author.An autobiography refers to a written account of one’s own life, written by the person themselves.
It is written in the third person point of viewIt is written in the first-person point of view
For biography, research is required to gather information from primary and secondary sourcesIn this case, the author writes from their own perspective and relies on their own memory
Biography is intended for a general audience interested in learning about the subject’s life.It is intended for a specific audience interested in learning about the author’s life
It can be written anytime.It is usually written later in life.
“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson, and “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley, “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank.
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What is Biography?

A biography is a written account of a person’s life story, written by another person. It is an objective account of the life of an individual, including significant events, accomplishments, and notable contributions. A biographer conducts extensive research to gather information about the individual, including interviews with family members, friends, and colleagues. Biographers often use primary sources such as diaries, letters, and other personal documents to gain a deeper understanding of the subject’s life.

A biography can be written in various formats, including a chronological account of the subject’s life, a thematic approach that focuses on specific aspects of the individual’s life, or a combination of both. Biographies can be written for a wide audience or targeted to a specific demographic. Biographies can also be written in different styles, such as academic or popular, depending on the intended readership.

What is Autobiography?

An autobiography is a written account of a person’s life story, written by the individual themselves. It is a first-person account of one’s life experiences, providing insights into the author’s thoughts, feelings, and personal perspectives. Autobiographies often provide a deeper understanding of the subject’s life, as they offer unique insights into the individual’s thought processes and motivations.

Autobiographies can also be written in various formats, including a chronological account of the author’s life, a thematic approach that focuses on specific events or experiences, or a combination of both. Like biographies, autobiographies can be written for a wide audience or targeted to a specific demographic.

Key Differences Between Biography and Autobiography

While comparing biography and autobiography, here we have included some of the key differences between them. They are as follows.

  • Authorship: The most significant difference between biography and autobiography is authorship. A biography is written by another person, while an autobiography is written by the individual themselves. Biographies are therefore objective accounts of the subject’s life, while autobiographies are subjective accounts of the author’s experiences.
  • Perspective: Biographies offer an outsider’s perspective on the subject’s life, while autobiographies offer a first-person perspective. Autobiographies provide unique insights into the author’s thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences. On the other hand, biographies rely on interviews and primary sources to gain a deeper understanding of the subject’s life.
  • Purpose: Biographies are often written to provide an objective account of an individual’s life. On the other hand, autobiographies are often written to offer a personal perspective on the author’s life experiences. Biographies can also be written to provide insights into historical events or cultural movements. In contrast, autobiographies are often written for therapeutic or personal reasons.

The following comparison table also shows the difference between biography and autobiography in a brief manner.

comparison table for difference between biography and autobiography

3 Similarities between Biography and Autobiography

  • Both genres aim to tell the life story of an individual. Whether written by an author or the individual themselves, both biographies and autobiographies aim to provide a comprehensive account of the subject’s life experiences.
  • Both genres rely on extensive research to gather information about the subject’s life. Biographers conduct interviews and use primary sources to gain a deeper understanding of the individual’s life, while autobiographers draw on their personal experiences and memories to create a first-person account.
  • And finally, both genres can be written in various formats, including a chronological account of the subject’s life or a thematic approach that focuses on specific events or experiences.

In conclusion, biography and autobiography are two distinct genres that share a common subject matter. whether you prefer reading about the lives of others or writing about your own experiences, both biography, and autobiography offer rich and engaging narratives that can inspire, educate, and entertain readers for generations to come.

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5 Key Differences between Autobiography and Biography [with Examples]

Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Introduction

Many people define autobiography as a story about themselves, written by themselves. But what about biography? Is that a story about someone, written by someone who is not themselves? And if not, how do these two categories differ? This article will unveil the answers to these questions and give you some examples to help you understand the key differences. So scroll on to read more about the different types of biography!

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is a book that a person writes about their own life. As a result, an autobiography encompasses all the features of biography but is written or narrated by the author himself. They may compose on their own or outsource the composition to ghostwriters.

The narrator’s character sketch, as well as information about his birthplace and upbringing, education, employment, life difficulties, and accomplishments, are described in the autobiography. Events from his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood may all be included.

What is a Biography?

An in-depth account of a person’s life produced or written by another person is a biography, also known as a “bio.” It provides detailed information about their birthplace, educational history, employment, connections, and death. It looks at the highs and lows of a person’s life, analyzes their entire personality, and reveals the subject’s secrets.

It’s when another person puts words together to replicate a particular person’s life. To captivate the readers in the tale, the author collects all of the information on the topic and presents it in a relevant and fascinating biography.

5 Key Differences Between an Autobiography and Biography

In the following points, I go into detail about the difference between biography and autobiography:

The distinction between an autobiography and a biography is who writes the book. The person the book is about always writes their autobiography. Other than the book’s subject is almost always the author of a biography.

For instance, famous people who have already lived a long life span can write life stories that are sometimes known as biographies, autobiographical novels, and memoirs.

The individual discussed in the story writes their autobiography. On the other hand, biographies may be written by anybody and about anybody, and Biographies may offer less realistic portrayals of a person’s personal experiences, explaining this.

Narrative Voice/Point of View

The narrative voice is another aspect that distinguishes biography from autobiography writing. First-person stories (using I and me) are used in autobiography writings. Third-person narratives are used to write biographies, and this is a much less intimate third-person narrative.

The first person point of view (I, me, my) gives the experience and thoughts of one person or an entity in a certain situation.

In the third-person point of view you have “he” was born on Tuesday 30th September 1948 in Liverpool he has been married three times but divorced twice his first wife died after giving birth to their son by her death Robert suffered a mental breakdown he moved into the house with his father who later committed suicide.

Level of Objectivity

In comparison to an autobiography, a biography is more objective. Biography writers normally investigate data via a journalistic study effort that may include investigating archives of occurrences and speaking with the book’s subject and others.

Rather than including input from other sources, an autobiography writer usually bases the content on their recollections of events. Biographies are written to introduce and educate the reader about the individual, whereas autobiographies are authored to express, through words, the narrator’s life experiences and accomplishments.

Unauthorized vs. Authorized

The book is written with the collaboration and permission of the person it refers to if that person is authorized. If not, it is written without their permission. An autobiography is always authorized, even if it is unauthorized.

There is no rule against self-authored autobiographies. But, when a writer creates a biography about someone else, the situation becomes more complicated. Autobiographies, on the other hand, need no permission to be written!

Timeline: Both forms of writing are most commonly written in chronological order, and this means that they write events from birth to death or the present day.

Purpose: although different people may write memoirs and biographies, both share the same purpose: telling a story about an individual’s life and experiences.

Kind of Information

Biographies give readers a different perspective since they contain information obtained from many sources over a long period. On the other hand, autobiographies are authored by the individual himself, and the author portrays events and his philosophy, giving readers an overall restricted and biased viewpoint.

Some Famous Examples of Autobiographies & Biographies for Better Understanding

Biography and autobiography are the most basic non-fiction genres. A biography is a non-fiction account of the life of an individual or group, while an autobiography is similar but focuses on telling events in a person’s lifetime. Both can write accurate stories about their subjects without bias: biographer David McCullough said he wanted his book “1776” to tell “the story as it happened.”

The book is not precisely the same as an autobiography, even though it is written by the individual. Memoirs, unlike autobiographies, focus on a specific incident or aspect of a person’s life rather than the whole narrative. The tone of a memoir is usually informal and emotional.

Autobiography Examples

Our Anne Frank Reading Comprehension, ideal for students interested in autobiographical writing, will introduce them to this form of writing by focusing on one of the most well-known examples .

I am Malala

Malala Yousafzai tells the narrative of her remarkable life in I Am Malala : The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. At a very early age, she was an outspoken supporter of education as a youngster in Pakistan. Consequently, she was shot in the head by Taliban members when she was 15 years old. She spoke about her experiences at the UN after recovering from her trauma and returning to school.

Many autobiographies worth mentioning include Helen Keller’s “The Story of My Life,” Jawaharlal Nehru’s “My Autobiography,” Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl,” and Winston Churchill’s “Memoirs of the Second World War.” P. is an actor born in Australia and moved to England in the early 2000s. J. is the final letter in the alphabet. Abdul Kalam, among others, is mentioned.

Biography Examples

In his biography of Steve Jobs , journalist and author Walter Isaacson tell one of the most important persons in the technology business. Isaacson spent over two years researching Jobs’ life and spoke with more than 100 individuals who knew him to tell this tale. The author has narrated the story of Jobs’ life in biography form by piecing together accounts from those who lived, loved, worked with, competed with, and were influenced by him.

And other famous biographies include Florence Nightingale, Snow White, Mary Mackillop, and more.

Memoir Example

Born a crime.

In Born a Crime , Trevor Noah discusses another aspect of his life as a stand-up comedian and host of The Daily Show. Noah’s early years as a multiracial kid in South Africa during apartheid are the subject of this memoir, which he wrote with his white father and black mother. Noah’s existence was unlawful because interracial relationships were prohibited in his country. This book gives fresh insights into the author’s upbringing in difficult times under extraordinary circumstances and is written in a light storytelling style that is both touching and funny.

Final Words

All autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs accomplish one thing: they tell a person’s non-fictional life story. Each, however, is distinctive in its way, as you can see.

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Sharon Baisil

Hi, I am a doctor by profession, but I love writing and publishing ebooks. I have self-published 3 ebooks which have sold over 100,000 copies. I am featured in Healthline, Entrepreneur, and in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology blog.

Whether you’re a busy professional or an aspiring author with a day job, there’s no time like now to start publishing your ebook! If you are new to this world or if you are seeking help because your book isn’t selling as well as it should be – don’t worry! You can find here resources, tips, and tricks on what works best and what doesn’t work at all.

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Difference Between Biography and Autobiography

Raees Ahmad

The written accounts of people’s lives have always been a source of inspiration, knowledge, and understanding of history and human experiences. Two common forms of such literary works are biography and autobiography. While they both delve into the lives of individuals, there are significant differences between the two genres. In this article, we will explore the dissimilarities between biography and autobiography, understanding their definitions, characteristics, and significance as unique forms of storytelling.

Table of Contents

The main difference between Biography and Autobiography is that a biography is a written account of a person’s life written by someone else, while an autobiography is a written account of a person’s life written by the individual themselves.

Below is a table highlighting the possible differences between a Biography and an Autobiography:

AspectBiographyAutobiography
AuthorshipWritten by someone else about a person’s lifeWritten by the person about their own life
PerspectiveThird-person narrativeFirst-person narrative
Source of InformationRelies on research, interviews, and recordsBased on the author’s memory and experiences
AccuracySubject to potential biases and interpretationsMay reflect the author’s personal bias
Knowledge of SubjectLimited to available informationOffers unique insights and personal experiences
Perspective on EventsExternal view of the subject’s lifeInternal view from the subject’s own viewpoint
Personal FeelingsAuthor’s emotions may not be as prominentAuthor’s emotions and feelings are prominent
ObjectivityStrives for objectivity and impartialitySubjective and reflective
Author’s InvolvementExternal observerActive participant in the events
Writing StyleOften more formal and detachedCan be more intimate and emotional
ConfidentialityMay reveal personal details with permissionMay disclose intimate details without consent
CompletenessMay not cover the subject’s entire lifeCovers the author’s life comprehensively

What is a Biography?

A biography is a written account of a person’s life, typically written by someone else. It is an objective narrative that delves into the person’s background, experiences, achievements, challenges, and impact on society. Biographies often aim to provide a comprehensive and unbiased view of the subject’s life, capturing the essence of their character and accomplishments.

Characteristics of Biographies

  • Third-Person Perspective: Biographies are usually written in the third person, maintaining a degree of detachment between the author and the subject.
  • Research and Fact-Based: Biographers extensively research and verify the information presented, ensuring accuracy and authenticity.
  • External Insight: Biographers analyze the subject’s life from an outsider’s perspective, often incorporating historical and cultural context.

Importance of Biographies

Biographies hold significant value in various ways:

  • Preserving History: Biographies document the lives of notable individuals, preserving their legacy for future generations.
  • Inspiration: Reading about the lives of accomplished individuals can inspire and motivate readers to overcome challenges and achieve greatness.
  • Understanding Human Nature: Biographies provide insights into human emotions, behaviors, and decision-making processes.

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography, on the other hand, is a self-written account of a person’s life. It offers a first-hand perspective as the author narrates their own experiences, memories, and reflections. Autobiographies are deeply personal and provide an intimate understanding of the author’s thoughts and emotions.

Characteristics of Autobiographies

  • First-Person Perspective: Autobiographies are written in the first person, offering a direct connection between the author and the reader.
  • Subjective Narration: Authors infuse their personal feelings, perspectives, and interpretations into the narrative.
  • Reflection and Introspection: Autobiographies often include self-reflection and introspection, allowing readers to understand the author’s growth and development.

Importance of Autobiographies

Autobiographies hold significance for various reasons:

  • Personal Connection: Readers can emotionally connect with the author’s experiences and empathize with their journey.
  • Insight into Personal Development: Autobiographies provide insights into how life experiences shape an individual’s character and choices.
  • Authenticity: Being a firsthand account, autobiographies are considered highly authentic and genuine.

Key Biography vs. Autobiography Differences

Perspective.

The primary difference between biography and autobiography lies in the perspective of the narrative. Biographies are written by someone else, providing an external view of the subject’s life, while autobiographies are self-written, offering a subjective and personal viewpoint.

In biographies, the author is an outsider who researches and writes about the subject’s life. In contrast, autobiographies are authored by the individual whose life is being depicted.

Reliability

Biographies are often regarded as more reliable since they are based on extensive research and multiple sources. Autobiographies, while authentic, may carry some degree of bias and subjectivity.

Biographies typically cover the entire life of the subject, including early life, achievements, and later years. Autobiographies, on the other hand, may focus on specific life events or periods.

Biographies target a broader audience, offering an impartial account of the subject’s life. Autobiographies may attract readers who seek a personal connection with the author’s experiences.

Writing Styles of Biography and Autobiography

Narrative approach.

Biographies often use a chronological approach, presenting events in the order they occurred. Autobiographies may use a more fluid and reflective approach, emphasizing personal experiences and emotions.

Third-Person vs. First-Person

Biographies adopt the third-person perspective, providing objectivity. Autobiographies, as a first-person account, offer a sense of intimacy and direct involvement.

Impact and Significance of Biography and Autobiography

Both biography and autobiography play crucial roles in literature and history:

  • Impact: Biographies provide insights into the lives of historical figures, leaders, and influential individuals, offering valuable lessons and inspiration for readers.
  • Significance: They contribute to preserving and understanding the past, shaping collective memory, and promoting empathy and understanding of diverse experiences.

Autobiography:

  • Impact: Autobiographies offer a direct and personal perspective, enabling readers to connect intimately with the author’s life journey, struggles, and achievements.
  • Significance: Autobiographies empower individuals to share their unique stories, inspiring others, fostering self-reflection, and promoting the importance of personal narratives in human history.

Examples of Famous Biographies and Autobiographies

Famous biographies.

  • Nelson Mandela: “Long Walk to Freedom”
  • Steve Jobs: “Steve Jobs”
  • Albert Einstein: “Einstein: His Life and Universe”

Famous Autobiographies

  • Maya Angelou: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
  • Benjamin Franklin: “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”
  • Malala Yousafzai: “I Am Malala”

In conclusion, the difference between biography and autobiography lies in the perspective, authorship, and focus of the narrative. Biographies are written by others, providing an objective account of a person’s life, while autobiographies are authored by the subject, offering a subjective and personal viewpoint. Both genres contribute significantly to literature and history, presenting diverse perspectives on the lives of remarkable individuals and providing readers with valuable insights into the human experience. Whether it is the impartiality of biographies or the intimate self-reflection of autobiographies, these literary forms enrich our understanding of the world and the people who shape it.

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Literary English

Difference between Biography and Autobiography

Biography and autobiography and are two ways to explain a person’s life story. These two have some key differences and similarities. This article will discuss biography and autobiography in detail. Moreover, we will find some best autobiographies and biographies as well.

What exactly is a biography?

A biography, often known as a bio, is a detailed description of a person’s life. It shows a person’s experience of life events such as school, jobs, relationships, and death, rather than merely the basic facts. A biography book can represent the whole life events of an individual.

Unlike a resume or profile best biography explains the events in a person’s life in detail. We can write about essential aspects of their life and do a personality analysis in a biography book.

What exactly is an autobiography? 

The author writes an autobiography to represent their life experiences and success. That is why writers mostly write autobiographies at the end of their lives. It uses a first-person point of view because the main character writes it.

It is usually written by any famous personality who people want to know more about. It is not a rule that only well-known people can write their autobiographies. Anyone can write the story of their life.

Differences between biography and autobiography

Main differences between biography and autobiography are:

Anyone can write a biography of someone.

A biography book is often considered less accurate because someone else writes about another person.

Permissions are necessary to write a biography about someone. It can cause issues if the person is not comfortable to be written about.

A person who writes a biography book usually collects data through newspapers or journals. They can also interview the main character.

Some biography examples: are Steve Jobs, Leonardo the Vinci, Alexander Hamilton

Autobiography :

Any person can write an autobiography about themselves based on their perspectives.

An autobiography book is more accurate because the narrator has faced the events themselves.

There is no need of taking anyone’s permission to write an autobiography

Some autobiography examples are: The Diary of a Young Girl, Dreams from My Father, and Born a Crime. 

Memories and occasions of one’s life are the basis of an autobiography book.

Similarities between biography and autobiography

There are differences as well as some similar things between these two writing styles. These are:

Biographies and autobiographies are both nonfiction texts. They are based on reality.

Both types of writing are typically written in sequence. This indicates that they write events from birth to death, or from the present to the future.

We write biographies and autobiographies for the same objective. These narratives are intended to educate the reader about facts, events, and experiences from someone’s life.

Focus/subject: The subject of both are famous personalities. Many celebrities, scientists, politicians, and historical personalities have biographies and autobiographies.

Types of biographies

Biographies have four categories: historical fiction, academic, fictional academic, and prophetic biography.

Historical Fiction Biography

In this type, the author writes about the persons who are still alive. They can be celebrities, politicians, or any other famous personality. Their true stories inspire people and motivate them. Historical fiction biography book often becomes a movie with additional fiction added. It provides both entertainment and information. Facts related to the person are sometimes not accurate in this kind. Historical fiction does not need to be perfectly precise in information.

Academic Biography

An academic biography is based on documented facts and figures. This type requires accuracy and no fiction at all. A person’s life events and success are described with fact-checked data.  Academic biographies are not so simple to read. They provide many references related to the work. It is all history so people do not prefer to read something so dry. These biographies have a small readership and are rarely used outside of the classroom.

“John Wyclif: Myth and reality” is one of the academic biography examples.

Academic Fictional Biography

This type combines history and fiction. The combination is great because people get information in a fun way. The outcome is a balanced portrayal of how someone may have lived. It is done by mixing the author’s unique insights into life with the facts and teachings of the personality.

East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart is one of the academic fictional biography examples.

Prophetic Biography

A prophetic biography varies from fictional biography. It tries to inspire the reader through the written personality. This type of biography creates a purpose along with entertainment. The goal is to give life lessons for the betterment of the readers. A fan of a prophetic biography will return to it again and again throughout their life for comfort, meaning, and guidance. “Free Eric. Bonhoeffer” and “Muhammad (PBUH) Islam and The First Arab Empire” are prophetic biography examples.

Types of Autobiography

An autobiography can be classified into four basic categories: thematic, religious, philosophical, and fictionalized.

Thematic Autobiography

Thematic autobiographies are typically more than just life stories. They express an underlying purpose within the narration. In this type, the author write autobiography to convey specific thoughts or ideals. The ideals can be any message that the author believes should be conveyed to the audience through this story.

Religious Autobiography In this type, author write autobiography that covers the journey towards religious enlightenment. People can take guidance from these autobiographies to follow the religious path. Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Storey Mountain” and “My Spiritual Journey” by the Dalai Lama are religious autobiography examples.

Scientific Autobiography

Scientific autobiography is about telling people about your journey. It tells important events that brought you to where you are now. You consider what has shaped your ideas and share it with the reader. Someone who reads this is curious about what has shaped you into who you are.

Fictional autobiography reflects the true experiences of the author. Some parts are dramatized to hide the identity of many people. Fiction is added to increase the artistic quantity of autobiography.

After reading all these types, you must be curious about how to write a biography or an autobiography. In this part we will teach you main points to write them.

How to Write a Biography

Following are the main points to write a Biography

Choose a subject

Take permissions

Research the subject

Form thesis

Outline the story

Include your thoughts

Choose a subject : The first step to write a biography is deciding on a subject. The method will be largely the same either way. You should look at important life events, relationships, and the person’s impact on society. Read more biography examples to get a better idea of writing it.

Take permissions: Once you’ve decided on a biography subject, get permission to write about their lives. If the person accepts, they will be able to provide accurate facts about their life.

Research the subject: To get the facts correct, research is essential. There are two types of research: primary and secondary. Primary sources are initial information about your subject’s life and are generally the most trustworthy sources. You can also use secondary information from magazines or documentaries if they are from valid sources.

Form Thesis : The first paragraph of your biography should tell the reader what they will learn about this individual from it.  It should be interesting to grab the reader’s attention.

Outline the Story: Determine the major argument, or thesis, and then outline how each section will tell a different element to support that thesis. Determine whether you want to write about the subject’s entire life or simply a portion of it.

Include your thoughts: The author might add their ideas in the biography. This will assist you in explaining to the audience why a particular personality influences you. will show the purpose of why you wrote about this person. It will keep the audience reading from the first to the last sentence.

How to Write an Autobiography

Writing about your life can be intimidating but it can become easy by following some rules.  Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to write an autobiography book:

Generate ideas

Create outline

Do research

Begin writing

Generate ideas: Make sure to cover all events of your life as you go through your memories. Begin with your youth, then move on to high school. Make sure to write about the event that made you famous.

Create Outline: Begin organizing a story based on the most interesting moments from your imagination. Then write every point that you will include in your autobiography book.

Research: You can interview your family and friends to remind you of details about different events.  Examine your journals or old diaries, if you have any.

Begin writing: For the first time, you will be unable to write well. Write down all of the information you remember. Then, sort them out and write again.

Proofread: You should identify weak points in the story and make positive changes. Consider what you’d seek in a biography of another individual and apply it to your autobiography.

List of some most famous biographies and autobiographies are given below:

Examples of Biography

Churchill: A life by martin gilbert

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

A beautiful mind by Sylvia Nasar

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

Shelley: The Pursuit by Richard Holmes

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Examples of Autobiography

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Open by Andre Agassi

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Autobiography of Mark Twain

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

Conclusion :

There are many differences as well as similarities between biography and autobiography. You can write a biography of any famous personality by following the tips given above. The main tip to write a biography or autobiography is to read most of them first. Reading these is best for people who are interested in exploring non-fiction materials and history.

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Home » Writing » Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir

difference of autobiography and biography

What is a Biography?

A biography, also called a bio, is a non-fiction piece of work giving an objective account of a person’s life. The main difference between a biography vs. an autobiography is that the author of a biography is not the subject. A biography could be someone still living today, or it could be the subject of a person who lived years ago.

Biographies include details of key events that shaped the subject’s life, and information about their birthplace, education, work, and relationships. Biographers use a number of research sources, including interviews, letters, diaries, photographs, essays, reference books, and newspapers. While a biography is usually in the written form, it can be produced in other formats such as music composition or film.

If the target person of the biography is not alive, then the storytelling requires an immense amount of research. Interviews might be required to collect information from historical experts, people who knew the person (e.g., friends and family), or reading other older accounts from other people who wrote about the person in previous years. In biographies where the person is still alive, the writer can conduct several interviews with the target person to gain insight on their life.

The goal of a biography is to take the reader through the life story of the person, including their childhood into adolescence and teenage years, and then their early adult life into the rest of their years. The biography tells a story of how the person learned life’s lessons and the ways the person navigated the world. It should give the reader a clear picture of the person’s personality, traits, and their interaction in the world.

Biographies can also be focused on groups of people and not just one person. For example, a biography can be a historical account of a group of people from hundreds of years ago. This group could have the main person who was a part of the group, and the author writes about the group to tell a story of how they shaped the world.

Fictional biographies mix some true historical accounts with events to help improve the story. Think of fictional biographies as movies that display a warning that the story is made of real characters, but some events are fictional to add to the storyline and entertainment value. A lot of research still goes into a fictional biography, but the author has more room to create a storyline instead of sticking to factual events.

Examples of famous biographies include:

  • His Excellency: George Washington  by Joseph J. Ellis
  • Einstein: The Life and Times  by Ronald William Clark
  • Princess Diana – A Biography of The Princess of Wales  by Drew L. Crichton

Include photos in your autobiography

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is the story of a person’s life written by that person. Because the author is also the main character of the story, autobiographies are written in the first person. Usually, an autobiography is written by the person who is the subject of the book, but sometimes the autobiography is written by another person. Because an autobiography is usually a life story for the author, the theme can be anything from religious to a personal account to pass on to children.

The purpose of an autobiography is to portray the life experiences and achievements of the author. Therefore, most autobiographies are typically written later in the subject’s life. It’s written from the point of view of the author, so it typically uses first person accounts to describe the story.

An autobiography often begins during early childhood and chronologically details key events throughout the author’s life. Autobiographies usually include information about where a person was born and brought up, their education, career, life experiences, the challenges they faced, and their key achievements.

On rare occasions, an autobiography is created from a person’s diary or memoirs. When diaries are used, the author must organize them to create a chronological and cohesive story. The story might have flashbacks or flashforwards to describe a specific event, but the main storyline should follow chronological order from the author’s early life to their current events.

One of the main differences between an autobiography vs. a biography is that autobiographies tend to be more subjective. That’s because they are written by the subject, and present the facts based on their own memories of a specific situation, which can be biased. The story covers the author’s opinions on specific subjects and provides an account of their feelings as they navigate certain situations. These stories are also very personal because it’s a personal account of the author’s life rather than a biography where a third party writes about a specific person.

Examples of famous autobiographies include:

  • The Story of My Life  by Helen Keller
  • The Diary of a Young Girl  by Anne Frank
  • Losing My Virginity  by Richard Branson

A collection of letters and postcards

What is a Memoir?

Memoir comes from the French word  mémoire , meaning memory or reminiscence. Similar to an autobiography, a memoir is the story of a person’s life written by that person. These life stories are often from diary entries either from a first-person account or from a close family member or friend with access to personal diaries.

The difference between a memoir vs. an autobiography is that a memoir focuses on reflection and establishing an emotional connection, rather than simply presenting the facts about their life. The author uses their personal knowledge to tell an intimate and emotional story about the private or public happenings in their life. The author could be the person in the story, or it can be written by a close family member or friend who knew the subject person intimately. The topic is intentionally focused and does not include biographical or chronological aspects of the author’s life unless they are meaningful and relevant to the story.

Memoirs come in several types, all of which are written as an emotional account of the target person. They usually tell a story of a person who went through great struggles or faced challenges in a unique way. They can also cover confessionals where the memoir tells the story of the author’s account that contradicts another’s account.

This genre of writing is often stories covering famous people’s lives, such as celebrities. In many memoir projects, the celebrity or person of interest needs help with organization, writing the story, and fleshing out ideas from the person’s diaries. It might take several interviews before the story can be fully outlined and written, so it’s not uncommon for a memoir project to last several months.

Memoirs do not usually require as much research as biographies and autobiographies, because you have the personal accounts in diary entries and documents with the person’s thoughts. It might require several interviews, however, before the diary entries can be organized to give an accurate account on the person’s thoughts and emotions. The story does not necessarily need to be in chronological order compared to an autobiography, but it might be to tell a better story.

Examples of famous memoirs include:

  • Angela’s Ashes  by Frank McCourt
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  by Maya Angelou
  • Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S.  Grant by Ulysses S. Grant

Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir Comparison Chart

An account of a person’s lifeAn account of one’s own lifeA personal account of a specific time or experience
Written in the third personWritten in the first personWritten in the first person
ObjectiveSubjectiveSubjective
Presents information collected from the subject, their acquaintances, or from other sourcesPresents facts as they were experienced by the personPresents facts as they were experienced by the person
Written to inform and establish a contextWritten to inform and explain the motivation and thoughts behind actions and decisionsWritten to reflect on and explore the emotion of an experience
Has restricted access to the subject’s thoughts and feelingsOffers access to personal thoughts and feelingsOffers access to personal thoughts, feelings, reactions, and reflections
Can be written anytimeUsually written later in lifeCan be written anytime

Check out some of our blogs to learn more about memoirs:

  • What is a memoir?
  • 5 tips for writing a memoir
  • Your memoir is your legacy

Ready to get started on your own memoir, autobiography, or biography? Download our free desktop book-making software, BookWright .

Autobiographies , Biographies , memoirs

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Autobiography vs. Biography

What's the difference.

Autobiography and biography are both forms of non-fiction writing that focus on the life of an individual. However, there is a key distinction between the two. Autobiography is a self-written account of one's own life, where the author narrates their personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It provides an intimate and subjective perspective, allowing readers to gain insight into the author's unique journey. On the other hand, biography is a written account of someone's life, written by another person. It involves extensive research and interviews to gather information about the subject's life, achievements, and impact on society. Biography offers a more objective and comprehensive view of the individual, often including historical context and analysis. Both genres serve as valuable sources of inspiration, knowledge, and understanding of the human experience.

Autobiography

AttributeAutobiographyBiography
AuthorWritten by the person themselvesWritten by someone else about a person
PerspectiveFirst-personThird-person
SubjectThe author's own lifeAnother person's life
AccuracySubjective, influenced by the author's memory and perspectiveObjective, based on research and interviews
IntimacyCan provide personal insights and emotionsMay lack personal insights and emotions
ReliabilityMay be biased or selective in presenting eventsStrives for objectivity and balance
Writing StyleMay reflect the author's unique voice and styleDepends on the biographer's writing style
ScopeFocuses on the author's life experiencesExplores a broader range of events and influences

Biography

Further Detail

Introduction.

Autobiography and biography are two distinct genres of literature that provide insights into the lives of individuals. While both share the common goal of documenting someone's life, they differ in terms of perspective, authorship, and narrative style. In this article, we will explore the attributes of autobiography and biography, highlighting their unique characteristics and discussing their significance in understanding the lives of notable individuals.

Autobiography

An autobiography is a literary work in which the author writes about their own life experiences, providing a first-person account of events, emotions, and reflections. As the author and subject are the same person, autobiographies offer a direct and intimate perspective on the individual's life. The author has the freedom to express their thoughts, feelings, and personal interpretations of events, allowing readers to gain a deeper understanding of their motivations and experiences.

Autobiographies often cover a wide range of topics, including childhood, education, career, relationships, and personal growth. They can be highly subjective, as the author's memories and perceptions shape the narrative. Autobiographies also provide an opportunity for self-reflection and self-analysis, allowing the author to explore their own identity and share their life lessons with readers.

One of the key advantages of autobiographies is the authenticity they offer. Since the author is the primary source of information, readers can trust that the events and emotions described are based on the author's personal experiences. Autobiographies can be incredibly powerful, as they allow readers to connect with the author on a personal level and gain insights into their unique journey.

However, it is important to note that autobiographies may also be influenced by the author's biases, selective memory, or desire to present themselves in a certain light. While they provide a personal perspective, they may not always provide a completely objective account of events. Readers should approach autobiographies with a critical mindset, considering the author's motivations and potential biases.

Unlike autobiographies, biographies are written by someone other than the subject of the book. Biographers extensively research the life of the individual they are writing about, gathering information from various sources such as interviews, letters, diaries, and historical records. Biographies aim to present an objective and comprehensive account of the subject's life, providing a broader perspective that goes beyond the author's personal experiences.

Biographies often delve into the historical and cultural context in which the subject lived, offering insights into the societal influences and events that shaped their life. They provide a detailed examination of the subject's achievements, struggles, relationships, and impact on the world. Biographers strive to present a balanced portrayal of the individual, considering multiple perspectives and analyzing the significance of their actions.

One of the key advantages of biographies is their ability to provide a more objective and well-rounded view of the subject's life. By drawing on a wide range of sources, biographers can present a comprehensive narrative that takes into account different viewpoints and historical context. Biographies also allow readers to explore the lives of individuals they may not be familiar with, expanding their knowledge and understanding of different eras and cultures.

However, it is important to acknowledge that biographies may also be influenced by the biographer's own interpretations and biases. Despite their efforts to present an objective account, biographers may still make subjective judgments or interpretations based on the available information. Readers should approach biographies critically, considering the biographer's expertise, sources, and potential biases.

While autobiographies and biographies have distinct characteristics, they also share some similarities. Both genres aim to provide insights into the lives of individuals, allowing readers to learn from their experiences and gain a deeper understanding of their motivations and impact. Both genres can be highly informative and engaging, offering valuable lessons and inspiration.

Autobiographies and biographies also have the potential to inspire empathy and connection. By exploring the lives of others, readers can develop a sense of empathy and understanding for different perspectives and experiences. Both genres offer opportunities for personal growth and self-reflection, as readers can relate their own lives to the challenges and triumphs of the individuals they are reading about.

However, the key difference between autobiographies and biographies lies in the perspective and authorship. Autobiographies provide a first-person account, allowing readers to directly engage with the author's thoughts and emotions. On the other hand, biographies offer a third-person perspective, providing a more objective and comprehensive view of the subject's life.

Autobiographies are often more subjective, as they are influenced by the author's personal memories, interpretations, and motivations. Biographies, on the other hand, strive to present a balanced and well-researched account, drawing on multiple sources and perspectives. While autobiographies offer a more intimate connection with the author, biographies provide a broader understanding of the subject's life within a historical and cultural context.

Autobiographies and biographies are two valuable genres of literature that offer unique insights into the lives of individuals. Autobiographies provide a personal and subjective perspective, allowing readers to connect with the author on a deeper level. Biographies, on the other hand, offer a more objective and comprehensive view, drawing on extensive research and multiple sources.

Both genres have their own strengths and limitations, and readers should approach them with a critical mindset. Autobiographies can be powerful in their authenticity, while biographies provide a broader understanding of historical and cultural contexts. By exploring both genres, readers can gain a well-rounded perspective on the lives of notable individuals and find inspiration in their stories.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.

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Biography Vs Autobiography: Similarities and Differences with Examples

difference of autobiography and biography

Do you ever get confused between biography and autobiography? If so, you're not alone. These terms are used interchangeably, but each has its own unique approach. In this blog, we'll discuss biography vs autobiography. After reading this guide, you'll be able to make the difference between an autobiography and a biography. 

What is biography?

Here is a simple definition of biography: 'A biography is a detailed account of an individual's life written by someone else. The author is not the subject of the story. It is also referred to as a bio.' A biography can be about someone who is alive or deceased. It highlights essential moments and happenings in the life of the person in question. This genre essentially incorporates a person's extensive data, including given name, origin, birth date,occupation, and connections. Creating an exceptional piece requires perusing diverse materials such as records, manuals, memoirs, pictures, and interviews. Effective biographies come in writing; however, they can also take other forms such as music, movies. If the targeted subject is dead, then the writer has to do an immense amount of research. You may need to interview the people who knew that person or read already written biographies about that person. But if the person is alive, the writer can interview the target person several times to know about their life experiences.  Biography writing seems like a tiresome job. But you can ease this task by reading our latest guide on professional biography writing . 

Purpose of Biography

The primary goal of biography writing is to tell the readers about the subject's life from childhood to adult life and the rest of the years. Additionally, the biography tells a story of how the person learned life lessons and navigated through the challenges. The person's biography should give a clear picture to the reader about the subject's personality, traits, and how they interact with the world. You must cover all the essential features of biography.

Definition of Autobiography

The story about a person's life written by that person himself or herself is called an autobiography. The literal meaning of the word auto is 'self.' It covers all the elements of the biography but is narrated by the writer himself. Anyone can write their life story as an autobiography. Moreover, the author is himself the subject of the biography.

Purpose of Autobiography

The basic purpose of an autobiography is to portray the author's accomplishments and experiences of life. The majority of autobiographies are written from the author's perspective later in the person's life. So, the first person account is used to tell the author's story.  An autobiography usually starts with the early childhood years. Then, covers information about the person's brought up place, their education years, career, challenges they faced and how they tackled them. These are the key features of autobiography. It is created from the person's diaries. Moreover, the story may have flashbacks and flash forwards, but it must follow the chronological order. Describe the person's life occasions in a sequential manner from early life to their current years. 

Important Aspects of a Strong Autobiography

The primary features of autobiography are as follows:

  • The facts are always told in the first person.
  • More in-depth and personal than a biography.
  • Goes into great depth about the character's life.
  • It also explains the motivation behind the main character's behavior.

Common Elements of Biography and Autobiography

Here are a few elements that are common in both types of written formats:

  • The purpose of both is to portray a person's life.
  • Both are nonfiction because they deal with real-life events that occur during the subject's life.
  • Both follow the same chronological order, starting from their early life to the various life stages.
  • They include personal insights about the subject's life.
  • Both genres may use multiple sources like newspapers, interviews, diaries, photographs and other documents to provide context and in depth narrative.
  • The key elements, such as growth, character development, and transformation, are discussed in both. 

Recommended Reading : How to write a biography essay with tips, sample & outline

What is the difference between biography and autobiography?

Along with the similarities, there are also some notable differences between them. The basic difference between autobiography and biography is that autobiography tends to be more subjective in nature. That's why they are written by the subject themselves. Let’s explain the difference between autobiography and biography in detail.

It is written by someone else. 

It is written by the person himself. 

It is written by the author, who is not the subject of the story. Moreover, the biography is written in the third person point of view like he, she, him, her. 

The author is the subject of the story. Moreover, the autobiography is written from a first person point of view like I, me, my.

A biography portrays the life of another person. 

An autobiography focuses on the author’s own life.
Objective viewpoint Subjective viewpoint
The biography contains limited personal reflections and emotions of the subject’s life.  It contains a lot of the author's emotions and personal reflections.
It can be written anytime in life. It is usually written in the later years of life. 
The biography offers an unbiased and factual portrayal of the subject's life, making it valuable for historical and academic research. An autobiography provides a unique perspective on a person's life events and a thorough understanding of their personal thoughts and emotions.

Autobiography Vs Biography Examples

Biography example.

  • Name: Alexander Hamilton Author name: Ron Chernow Alexander Hamilton is one of the most fascinating founding fathers of America, and Ron Chernow tells his story in great detail. Chernow traces Hamilton's transformation from an orphan into a political genius by fusing in-depth research with a narrative style. The book clarifies Hamilton's political beliefs and his pivotal role in the development of the US financial system (Chernow, 2004).
  • Name: The Life of Samuel Jhonson Author name: Boswell Boswell delves deeply into the life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, his mentor and friend. The biography portrays Dr. Johnson's life, character, unique traits, and intellectual prowess in a fascinating way (Boswell, 1791). Boswell's vivid portrayal brings Johnson to life for the readers, making this one of the best biographies in English literature.
  • Name: The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets Author name: Dr. Samuel Jhonson Some of the 17th and 18th century's greatest poets, such as Alexander Pope and John Milton, are discussed in Dr. Johnson's work. In addition to critiquing the works, he delves into the authors' private lives and the geopolitical context of their eras (Johnson, 1781). Johnson's research is very significant because it takes a combined historical and biographical approach.

Autobiography Examples

  • Name: The Diary of a Young Girl Author: Anne Frank It is a unique story of a little Jewish girl. Her name is Anne Frank. This book told the story of her and her family's escape from Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. She spent two years in hiding, and her diary writings provide important insights into the dread, hope, and resiliency she faced (Frank, 1947). Frank's autobiography posthumously acts as both a symbol of perseverance in the face of adversity and a reminder of the injustices of the past.
  • Name: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Author: Maya Angelou This moving autobiography traces the early years of Maya Angelou, from being the first black streetcar operator in San Francisco to facing racial discrimination in the South. With incredible grace and courage, Angelou depicts her path of self-discovery and overcoming catastrophic events, including personal pain and racial prejudice. Her narrative of tenacity conveys a powerful message about discovering one's voice (Angelou, 1969).
  • Name: Night Author: Elie Wiesel The autobiographical story " Night " by Elie Wiesel describes his and his father's experiences in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. This devastating story explores the loss of innocence and the fight to hold onto faith in humanity in addition to detailing physical suffering and cruel acts. It is proof of the human spirit's ability to persevere in the face of unimaginable evil (Wiesel, 1960).

Bottom Line

It's often challenging to distinguish between an autobiography and a biography. Although there are some significant distinctions between the two genres, you should be aware of them if your aim is to write in any of them. While both biographies and autobiographies are valuable sources of information and amusement about historical personalities (or current figures! ), they serve different purposes. We can enhance our media knowledge and gain a better understanding of the author's aim and appropriate approach to the material by being aware of the distinct objectives of each.  We really hope you find this information useful. You can get in touch with experienced writers who are highly qualified and have years of experience in providing biography writing services .  Take your time and make sure you are creating an engaging narrative that makes the reader feel as though they are right there with you when writing your own life story.

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difference of autobiography and biography

Autobiography vs. Biography: Understanding Between Two Life Narratives

  • January 18, 2024

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Our stories unfold in countless unique ways, each thread woven with experiences, emotions, and aspirations that make us who we are. Whether through the pages of a book or the pixels of a screen, we find ourselves drawn to the lives of others, eager to peek behind the curtain of existence and explore the intricate narratives that shape them.

When it comes to exploring the lives of notable individuals, we’re often faced with two fascinating literary genres: autobiography and biography. While both offer glimpses into the lives of the extraordinary and the every day, they do so in strikingly different ways. 

Let’s embark on a literary journey to unravel the distinctive charms and insights that these two life narratives have to offer. Autobiography vs. Biography – a captivating exploration into the intriguing world of real-life stories and the perspectives that shape them.

Autobiography vs. Biography – What’s the Actual Difference

Since this is an Autobiography vs. Biography, this blog will emphasize their definitions, key characteristics, voice, and perspective, as well as provide examples of famous autobiographies and notable biographies about historical figures. Here we go!

Definitions

Autobiography: the personal journey.

An autobiography is a genre of literature where the author, also the subject of the narrative, tells the story of their own life. It is an intensely personal account, as the writer recounts their experiences, feelings, and perspectives throughout their life journey. Autobiographies typically allow individuals to express their unique voices and insights, and they often serve as a means for self-reflection and self-expression.

Biography: Crafting Lives from Afar

On the other hand, a biography is a written account of someone’s life, usually authored by another writer who is not the subject of the narrative. They are often meticulously researched, drawing from various sources, and may involve interviews, letters, diaries, and other historical documents. The aim of a biography is to provide an in-depth, well-rounded portrayal of the individual’s life without the influence of the subject’s personal perspective.

Key Characteristics of Autobiography Vs Biography

Autobiographies are written from the first-person narrative, (author’s own point of view), offering a deeply personal and subjective account of their life. Biographies are written in the third person, offering an objective and external perspective on the subject’s life.
The author is also the subject of the narrative, allowing for a direct insight into their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Biographies are created by authors who are not the subject of the narrative. This ensures a more detached and impartial view.
Autobiographies often provide a close and emotional connection between the author and the reader. They are driven by personal reflections and emotions. Biographies aim to be objective, relying on research and a wide array of sources to provide an accurate portrayal of the subject’s life.
Autobiographies are a means for the author to express themselves and share their unique voice and life story. Authors of biographies engage in extensive research, often delving into historical documents, interviews, and various sources to piece together the subject’s life story
Autobiographies may include significant personal events, achievements, challenges, and reflections on the author’s life. Biographies may incorporate the historical and cultural context in which the subject lived, offering a broader understanding of their life.
Many autobiographies explore the author’s personal growth, transformation, and the lessons learned from their life journey. Biographies often include the viewpoints of people who knew or interacted with the subject, providing a well-rounded view of their lives.

Now, at this stage, you might be wondering about who can write the autobiography or who are autobiography writers . Read on!

“Autobiographies are typically written by the individuals whose lives are being recounted. And autobiography writers are the primary authors and storytellers of their own experiences.”

In addition to autobiography writers, there are also other people who have evolved into them, called ghostwriters .

What Actually Autobiography Ghostwriters Are? 

“ In some cases, individuals may enlist some autobiography ghostwriters to assist in crafting their autobiography, but the content is still based on the subject’s personal experiences and perspective. ”

What Biography ghostwriters and How do they come in?

“Occasionally, notable figures may employ biography ghostwriters to create their biographies, but the writing process is more collaborative, with the author’s perspective being a significant influence rather than the primary voice.”

Voice and Perspective

Voice and perspective are significant elements, whether it’s an autobiography or a Biography. Voice represents the author’s unique narrative style and tone, shaping how the story is conveyed. Perspective refers to the point of view, whether it’s a first-person account in an autobiography or a third-person portrayal in a biography, influencing the reader’s connection and understanding of the subject’s life. 

In an autobiography, the author’s voice and perspective are paramount. It’s a direct channel for the author to share their innermost thoughts, emotions, and personal experiences.

Readers get to see the world through the author’s eyes, feeling the author’s joys, sorrows, triumphs, and tribulations. Autobiographies offer an intimate connection as if the author is sharing their life story with the reader over a cup of coffee.
Biographies, on the other hand, maintain a more distant and objective perspective. They aim to provide a comprehensive view of the subject’s life, free from the biases and emotions that might accompany a personal account.

The voice of a biography is that of the biographer, who interprets the subject’s life based on their research and the gathered information. Readers get an outsider’s perspective, often backed by extensive documentation and historical context.

Top 5 Examples of Famous Autobiographies and Biographies

Gandhi’s autobiography explores his personal and spiritual journey, highlighting his principles of non-violence and civil disobedience. Walter Isaacson’s Biography of Steve Jobs delves into the life of the co-founder of Apple Inc., providing a comprehensive view of his career, innovation, and influence on technology.
Maya Angelou’s autobiography is a poignant account of her early life and her voyage from an unsettled childhood to becoming a renowned writer and poet. This Biography explores the lives and political careers of Abraham Lincoln and his closest advisors during the Civil War, shedding light on their influence on American history.
Walls’ autobiography portrays her tumultuous upbringing in a dysfunctional family and her eventual escape from poverty and adversity. Robert Massie’s Biography offers an engaging account of the life of Catherine the Great, a powerful empress of Russia, highlighting her political acumen and cultural contributions.
Prior to becoming the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama penned this autobiographical work, exploring his multicultural heritage and political awakening. McCullough’s Biography delves into the lives of Wilbur and Orville Wright, providing an in-depth look at their pioneering achievements in aviation.
This autobiography offers an in-depth look at Bill Clinton’s life, from his early years to his presidency and beyond, providing insights into his political career and personal struggles. Walter Isaacson’s Biography offers a compelling portrait of Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant and influential scientists in history.

Autobiography vs. Biography – Finishing the Debate

The debate of autobiography vs. Biography may continue, but the appreciation for each genre should be a shared sentiment. Autobiographies serve as a testament to the uniqueness of human experience and the power of self-expression, while biographies offer us a glimpse into the complex tapestry of history and the lives that have shaped it. Whether it’s the personal journey of an autobiography or the crafted narrative of a biography, both genres enrich our understanding of the world, the people who inhabit it, and the stories that define them. The debate may linger, but ultimately, both autobiography and Biography serve as valuable vessels for the transmission of human experiences, inspirations, and legacies. 

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Biography & Autobiography: What’s The Difference?

Someone sitting and reading a book.

Since the beginning of time, people have loved telling stories. Most favourably? Stories about themselves. You may well remember learning about genre and book type in your English lessons at school, but, for many of us, this knowledge fades out with algebra and times tables as we grow older.

Despite differences between types and genres being one of the first things we are taught about books, many readers still get confused between categories like fiction and non-fiction — and, especially, biography and autobiography.

If you’re still stumped by the subtle variations between these two classification types, we’ve got you covered. Read on for a comprehensive guide to biography, autobiography, and the differences between them.

What is biography?

If you’ve ever used social media, you’ll likely have had to set up a profile at some point. Many platforms prompt their users to fill out a “bio” when setting up an account, giving core information about themselves, their core interests, or personal lives. This is usually short but can include quotes, dates, relationship statuses, and even important achievements. If you haven’t guessed yet, “bio” is short for “biography”. Applying this to a literary context, then, a biography is a non-ficton (factual) piece of writing about a person. Like when setting up a social media account, a biography can contain everything from accounts of childhood, to birthplace, education, and work. However, unlike an Instagram or Twitter ‘bio’, a biography about someone doesn’t have to be written by the person it’s about. Unlike autobiography, in a biography the author is not the subject of the work. A biography is a work of literature written by someone about someone else — famous or family, living or someone who lived years ago.

A dictionary entry for the word 'biography'

Key features of biographies

Since biographies are written by an author about someone else, they are usually highly factual, using sources and information from any one of the following:

  • Family or friend testimonials 
  • Photographs 
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Documentaries
  • Interviews (if the person is living).

Biographies also usually follow a chronological order, taking readers on a journey from the start of the subject’s life until either the end or the point at which the biography is being written. As such, it is common for the chapters in biography books to relate to two time periods.

Biographies you may know

A few famous examples of biographies you may well have encountered:

  • Alan Turing: The Enigma, Andrew Hodges (1983)
  • Churchill: A Life , Martin Gilbert (1991)
  • E=mc²: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation , David Bodanis (2000)
  • Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson (2011)
  • Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow (2004)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks , Rebecca Skloot (2010)
  • Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted ,  Andrew Wilson (2013)

To learn more about biography as a genre, explore the different subgenres of biography, and read our reviews for this genre, head over to our main Biography page .

What is an autobiography?

Different to biography – but only in authorship, really – autobiography refers to the genre in which individuals chronicle their own lives. 

Unique in its first-person narrative perspective, rare in non-fiction aside from essays, autobiography is a great opportunity for individuals to offer wider insight into their personal lives, achievements, and thoughts. While anyone can write an autobiography, mostly they are written by celebrities or individuals who are well-renowned in a certain area to inform and entertain others.

When it comes to the amplification of marginalised voices, autobiography has been an influential genre, allowing individuals who otherwise may not have had the space to do so to write about their experiences at length. As a form of literature, the term ‘autobiography’ was first used in 1797 by William Taylor. If we break down the term, using latin derivatives, we can gain an even clearer understanding:

Auto (self) bio (life) graph (writing)

Core features of autobiographies

Aside from the chronological approach also seen in biography, due to the self-authored nature of autobiographies, the most common literary feature in them is the use of the first-person singular, “I”. Readers of autobiography will also encounter a lot of “me” and “my” too.

Another common feature is the use of time connectives such as “while”, “when”, “whilst”, “before”, “after”, and “during”. These are used to place readers at specific moments in the subject’s life.

You can expect to come across a great deal of sentimentality in autobiographical works, often with a nostalgic or melancholic tone — especially when discussing childhood. Why? Because, although the reading of an autobiography is a journey for the reader, it is also an exercise in self-reflection for the writer too, and this can be quite heavy.

Lastly, autobiographies – if not published posthumously (that is, after an individual has died) – often end with a look towards the future as the author anticipates where they will go next.

The word 'autobiography' typed on a typewriter.

Autobiographies you may know

Some of the most famous autobiographies you may have come across – old and new – are as follows: 

  • Spare , Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (2023)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X , Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965)
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban , Malala Yousafzai (2013)
  • The Diary of a Young Girl , Anne Frank (1947)
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin , Benjamin Franklin, (1791)
  • I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jenette McCurdy (2022)
  • The Illustrated Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela (1994)
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , an American Slave , Frederick Douglass (1845)

The differences between biography & autobiography

Simply put, then, while biography is a factual account of someone’s life written by a separate author, autobiography is a telling of someone’s own life in their own words. Got that?

If you’re keen to keep learning about all things books, stay up to date with the Victoria Freudenheim blog and never miss a literary trick again. And, if you’re looking for your next read, check out our latest reviews page to get inspired.

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Biography vs Autobiography: Differences and Features

Biography vs Autobiography

When reading about someone’s life, you probably wonder if it is a biography or an autobiography. In this blog, we will compare biography vs autobiography. Also, we will explain the difference between autobiography and biography.

If we tell you in simple words, a biography is the life story of a person written by someone else. On the other hand, an autobiography is the life story of a person written by themselves.

Autobiographies have a more personal nature as they are based on the writers’ own thoughts and memories. On the other hand, biographies are more objective, as they are written with the help of others’ opinions and perspectives.

What is a Biography?

A biography, or you can call it a bio, is a written piece of someone’s life. It does not just contain basic info about the subject, but the experiences of them throughout their lives. It sheds light on various aspects of the subject’s life. For example:

  • Personal details
  • Family background
  • Life events
  • Achievements
  • Triumphs in their field and their impact on the world

Biography Examples

Let’s have a look at some examples of famous biographies:

1- Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is an authorized biography. The subject of the book Steve Jobs himself requested the author Walter Isaacson to write the story about him. Walter is also famous for biographical works like Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.

2- Into the Wild

It is a nonfiction book based on the life of a young man who abandoned his life and disappeared into the wild. The author of this biographical story is Jon Krakauer.

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography, informally called an autobio, is a biography of one’s own written by themselves. It is based on the memory of the writer. It generally enlightens the below aspects of the subject:

  • Life description
  • Meaning of life
  • Significant experiences
  • Personal failure
  • Plans for future

Autobiography Examples

Let’s have a look at some of the autobiographical works:

1- I am Malala

The autobiography “I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education was Shot by the Taliban” is the story of Malala. It was co-written by Christina Lamb.

2- Long Walk to Freedom

It is a biography of Nelson Mandela, ghostwritten by Richard Stengel. The book portrays his story from his early life to his years in prison.

Biography vs Autobiography: The Key Differences

While biographies and autobiographies are somehow similar, there are several contrasts between them. Let’s take a look at how they are different from each other.

You can find the difference between a biography and an autobiography by recognizing who writes it. A biography is always written by someone else other than the subject. Whereas in an autobiography, the subject of the story writes it themselves.

2- Point of View

A biography follows the third-person point of view. It uses “He, Him, His, She, Her, Hers.” In contrast, an autobiography follows the first-person point of view. It utilizes “I, Me, My” as the pronouns.

3- Authorized vs Unauthorized

If a story is written with the permission of the person, it will be an authorized work. Otherwise, it will be unauthorized because it is written without the consent of the person.

4- Authencity

An autobiography will be more authentic than a biography. An autobiography writer usually recalls his events and narrates his own experiences. On the other hand, biography writers gather info through different sources and by talking and interviewing various people. As a result, the input can differentiate from the reality.

5- Neutrality

Autobiographies can be more biased than biographies. The neutrality of the biographies can depend on the intent. Some writers can show themselves as more genuine than they are in reality in their autobiographies. However, when it comes to biographies, they can either go mild or extreme in talking about the subject.

Biography vs Autobiography: Similar Features

Autobiographies are basically a type of biographies. Therefore, they share some common elements. Let’s take a look.

Biographies, whether of someone else or of the writer, have the same purpose of telling people the story of their lives.

The genre of biographies is always nonfiction. A biography can not be a piece of fiction. If it is, it will fall under the category of a biographical novel.

The subject of biographies will always be famous people. The people who have achieved something in their life. For example, historical figures, celebs, political leaders, athletes, etc.

How to Write a Biography?

To write a biography , you can follow the below steps:

1- Get Permission

The first step to take in biography writing is to get the permission of the subject. In some conditions, it is not necessary. For example, if the subject is not alive anymore. However, if you have their consent, it will be helpful in your research, and the writing process will be easier. Also, the subject will give you some details by themselves that you may not have acquired without their permission.

2- Do Research

Research is necessary for biography writing. If you don’t have a sufficient amount of info about the subject, you can not compile a book about them. Therefore, you have to collect data and interview people as much as possible.

3- Write the Biography

The next step is to convert your research into words. Suppose you don’t have time or the ability to write. In that case, you can acquire ghostwriting services . It can help you create content for your book.

4- Format the Book

When you are done completing your written work, it’s time for book formatting . Most of the time, biographies follow chronological order. However, you can also follow a non-chronological order based on your preference.

5- Promote your Work

Your work will not find the right audience if you don’t advertise it well. Therefore, you should promote your biographical work effectively. For this, you can also benefit from book marketing services .

To learn more about what is a biography ? And how can you write one? You can read our blog.

How to Write an Autobiography?

Let’s have a look at tips on writing an autobiography:

1- Brainstorm Ideas

Begin with revisiting all the memories and events that happened in your life. Look for ideas you can talk about in your book. Also, consider both the positives and negatives so you can create unique content that attracts readers.

2- Create an Outline

Outlining helps you organize your content. Therefore, start your work by creating an outline. It will help the flow of the story; as a result, the reader will quickly understand the story.

3- Write the Autobiography

Autobiography books usually are written in the own voice of the subject. So, use first-person voice as you are speaking directly to the readers. Also, start with a solid intro, use anecdotes, and provide vivid details.

If you are also going for a digital version of your biographical book, you can have ebook writing services at your disposal. They can be handy in writing and also editing, and polishing your work.

4- Publishing the Book

The most challenging task to do after you have your story written is to publish it. High are the chances that you will need help regarding the publishing process, whether you are going for traditional publishing or you want to publish it yourself. It is where you can get in touch with a self-publishing company . The rest of the tasks to complete are on them.

You should also advertise your work so as many people as possible read your story. You can publish and market your work on various platforms. However, the best way to promote your story is through your author’s website. If you don’t have your own website, you can obtain author website design services and have your website showcasing your literary works.

Want to learn more? Read our detailed blog about what is an autobiography . Here you will get to know the “Autobiography Definition, Examples, & Writing Guide for 2024.”

Memoir vs Autobiography

After you know what’s the contrast and similarity between biography vs autobiography. Let’s look at the differences and similarities between a memoir vs an autobiography.

1- Memoir vs Autobiography: The Similarity

If we talk about memoir vs autobiography , they both are accounts of the writer’s life. Also, writers use the first-person point of view in both.

2- Memoir vs Autobiography: The Difference

In an autobiography, the writer talks about his whole life. Whereas, in a memoir, writers cover a small part of their life or tell an interesting or particular memory of their life.

Want to know more? Read our blog: What is a memoir?

What are the Two Types of Biography?

There are three types of biography, not two. They are:

  • Autobiography

Why are Biographies Better than Autobiography?

Biographies are more neutralistic than autobiographies. Also, they tend to be less biased than autobiographies.

Is Autobiography Written in First?

Yes, autobiographies are written in the first-person point of view since they are written by the subject themselves.

Why is an Autobiography Called an Autobiography?

The words Auto, Bios, and Graphein came from Ancient Greek. Their meaning is “Self,” “Life,” and “To Write,” respectively.

After reading this blog, you will have a grasp of the difference between biography vs autobiography. Also, you will know what they are composed of. Learning this will help you when you write your biographical books. In addition, if you still need assistance in writing, you can ask Authors Breeze for their services.

difference of autobiography and biography

Caroline Chartrand

As a writing expert, Caroline R Chartrand has written numerous books across various genres, from memoirs to self-help guides. With a passion for history and literature, she has delved into the lives of some of the fascinating figures in history, uncovering hidden stories and surprising facts.

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difference of autobiography and biography

Difference between Biography and Autobiography

When you read a biography or an autobiography, you read about a person’s life, right? So what is the difference between them and which type of writing should you choose when you feel up for such reading? If you are still a bit confused about the difference between biography and autobiography, read this article.

Summary Table

An account of a person’s lifeAn account of one’s own life
Written in third personWritten in first person
Is objectiveIs subjective
Presents information collected from the subject, his/her acquaintances, or from other sourcesPresents facts as they were experienced
Has the purpose of informing and presents the contextHas the purpose of informing and of explaining the motivation and thoughts behind some actions
Has restricted access to the subject’s thoughts and feelingsOffers access to these thoughts and feelings

Descriptions

Biography vs autobiography.

So what is the difference between biography and autobiography?

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Access to certain information may be limited to an author who is an outsider, while the author who doubles as the subject can tell you exactly what he/she felt or thought in key moments. Therefore, a biography helps to provide you with clear context, as this information is easier to access. An autobiography, on the other hand, can provide you with clear motive and situation assessments.

difference of autobiography and biography

Difference Between | Descriptive Analysis and Comparisons

Search form, difference between autobiography and biography.

Key difference: A biography is a detailed non-fictional account of someone's life. It is an overview of the person’s life, including the basic facts such as education, work, relationships, and death and the person’s experiences of these events. An autobiography is a biography that is written by the subject himself.

difference of autobiography and biography

A biography is written by another person; the writer depicts the events in the subject’s life. An autobiography is a biography that is written by the subject himself. It is just like a biography and incorporates all the elements of a biography. The only way it differs from a biography is that instead of being written by a third person author, it is written by the subject themselves. The ‘auto’ in autobiography means ‘self’. Hence, an autobiography is a self-biography. The subject may or may not have used the help of a ghost writer to write the autobiography. A ghost writer helps a person write a work but is often unaccredited for it.

Biographies and autobiographies focus on all the important information in the subject’s life, including birth, youth, adulthood, education, career and death. However, if the work focuses on just one aspect of the life, or on one particular event, as opposed to encompassing the entire life of the subject, it is termed as a memoir. Biographies and autobiographies are meant to give a panoramic view of an entire life. A memoir can also be biographical or autobiographical.

difference of autobiography and biography

A biography can be authorized or unauthorized. An authorized biography is written with the permission and input of its subject. An unauthorized biography is written without the permission or input of its subject. Hence, an unauthorized biography may be prone to contain errors as the information may not be correct and the subject need not give the correct information. However, an autobiography need not be authorized or unauthorized, as the subject is writing about his own life, he does not require permission.

There are various advantages for writing a biography over an autobiography and vice versa. Having a biographer write you story is preferable as the author is a professional writer and his writing will be more dignified than an amateur’s. Also, biographies tend to maintain a more objective tone than autobiographies, so the reader is more likely to get a story from several angles, rather than be just directed by the subject’s view. Furthermore, biographers often spend years studying their subjects. This allows them to provide insights into the subject’s motivations and contexts as well as the events.

However, an advantage to writing an autobiography is that the subject will have more insight in to the story and events than a biographer, as the subject has lived through it. After all, who know more the subject and the subject’s life events than the subject themselves? An autobiography can be a much more intimate and revealing than a biography due to the subject’s own insight.

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    Learn the key differences between biography and autobiography, two forms of literature that describe the life of a person. Find out how they differ in author, perspective, purpose, style, and more with a comparison chart and examples.

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  6. Autobiography vs Biography: Must-Read Key Differences

    2- Authorship: Another key difference between an autobiography and a biography is the authorship of these life stories. Autobiographies are a bit like a personal diary; the author is the person the book is about. They take up the pen, crafting their narrative in their unique voice. In biographies, someone else steps into the role of the author.

  7. Biography vs. autobiography: what's the difference?

    Learn the key differences between biographies and autobiographies, two types of non-fiction books that tell stories of people's lives. Find out the types, examples, and benefits of each genre, and how to write and organize your own book with Microsoft 365 tools.

  8. Biographies and autobiographies

    In this English article, learn about the difference between a biography and an autobiography, and have a go at autobiographical writing yourself.

  9. Difference Between Biography and Autobiography (With Table)

    Learn the key differences between biography and autobiography, two literary genres that revolve around the life stories of individuals. Find out how they differ in terms of authorship, perspective, purpose, and format, with a table and examples.

  10. 5 Key Differences between Autobiography and Biography ...

    The distinction between an autobiography and a biography is who writes the book. The person the book is about always writes their autobiography. Other than the book's subject is almost always the author of a biography. For instance, famous people who have already lived a long life span can write life stories that are sometimes known as ...

  11. Difference Between Biography and Autobiography

    Conclusion. In conclusion, the difference between biography and autobiography lies in the perspective, authorship, and focus of the narrative. Biographies are written by others, providing an objective account of a person's life, while autobiographies are authored by the subject, offering a subjective and personal viewpoint.

  12. Difference between Biography and Autobiography

    Learn the key differences and similarities between biography and autobiography, two ways to explain a person's life story. Find out the types, examples, and how to write each genre.

  13. Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir

    A biography, also called a bio, is a non-fiction piece of work giving an objective account of a person's life. The main difference between a biography vs. an autobiography is that the author of a biography is not the subject. A biography could be someone still living today, or it could be the subject of a person who lived years ago.

  14. Autobiography vs. Biography

    Autobiography and biography are both forms of non-fiction writing that focus on the life of an individual. However, there is a key distinction between the two. Autobiography is a self-written account of one's own life, where the author narrates their personal experiences, thoughts, and emotions.

  15. Biography vs Autobiography: Differences & Examples

    Learn the key features and differences between biography and autobiography, two types of nonfiction writing that portray a person's life. See examples of biography and autobiography books and how to write them.

  16. Autobiography vs. Biography

    Autobiography vs. Biography - a captivating exploration into the intriguing world of real-life stories and the perspectives that shape them. Autobiography vs. Biography - What's the Actual Difference . Since this is an Autobiography vs. Biography, this blog will emphasize their definitions, key characteristics, voice, ...

  17. Biography & Autobiography: What's The Difference?

    Unlike autobiography, in a biography the author is not the subject of the work. A biography is a work of literature written by someone about someone else — famous or family, living or someone who lived years ago. ... The differences between biography & autobiography. Simply put, then, while biography is a factual account of someone's life ...

  18. Biography vs Autobiography: Differences and Features

    Learn the key differences between biography and autobiography, such as author, point of view, authenticity, and neutrality. Also, find out how to write and promote your own biographical or autobiographical work.

  19. Biography Versus Autobiography: 5 Useful Life Story Lessons

    Think of your autobiography as a written documentary on your life. Documentaries are told in a linear fashion. They start at a single point in time and work their way to the end of a time period or to the present day. Autobiographies are the same. The purpose of an autobiography is to communicate your life story. 4.

  20. Difference between Biography and Autobiography

    A biography is written by another person, while the autobiography is written by the subject of the book. This results in a series of small differences that can help you decide which type of account to choose. To write a biography, the writer will have to collect facts, usually from other people or from other written texts.

  21. Research Guides: Biographies and Autobiographies: Home

    A biography is an account of a person's life, written by someone else. An autobiography is an account of a person's life, written by that person. A memoir is a special type of autobiography in which the person writes about a specific part of their life. This guide was designed to help you find both biographical and autobiographical information ...

  22. Difference between Autobiography and Biography

    A biography is written by another person; the writer depicts the events in the subject's life. An autobiography is a biography that is written by the subject himself. It is just like a biography and incorporates all the elements of a biography. The only way it differs from a biography is that instead of being written by a third person author ...

  23. Autobiography And Biography: Differences And Similarities

    An autobiography is a biography written by a person about his or her own life. The term 'auto' comes from the Latin word for 'self.' As a result, an autobiography comprises all of the features of a biography but is written or narrated by the author, who may pen the manuscript alone or engage ghostwriters to do it for them.. An autobiography describes the narrator's character, their ...

  24. Biography vs. Autobiography

    Learn the difference between a biography and an autobiography. Explore the process of biographical analysis and discover how to write a biography book. Updated: 11/21/2023