5 Key Differences between Autobiography and Biography [with Examples]

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


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

Anne Frank

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

Steve Jobs

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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