What’s Difference Between Biographies and Autobiographies

In this article, we will discuss the Difference Between Biographies and Autobiographies With their definitions, examples, And comparison charts.

Autobiographies and biographies may sound similar but they are very different. Here is a look at the difference between the two and which one you may need. Blog content based on research and understanding of the autobio.

The two traditional forms of literature that describe the character outline and course of a person’s life are biography and autobiography. Biography is an individual’s life story, written by someone else, while an autobiography is an expression of a person’s life, written by himself.

Both present the vision of what happened in the past in which the author lived. These are non-fiction books, written in chronological order, tell a story about the person who made a significant contribution to a specific field.

Many think that the two ways of writing are one and the same, but there are notable differences between the two, which are presented in the given article.

Comparison chart

Basis for ComparisonBiographyAutobiography
MeaningBiography refers to an account that tells the life story of another person.Autobiography means an account that tells your life story.
AuthorizationIt can be written, with or without the subject’s permission.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 to as a ‘bio’ is a detailed account of a person’s life written or produced by someone else. It gives elaborate information about the place of birth, educational background, work, relationships, and death of the person in question. It presents the subject’s intimate details about life, focusing on the ups and downs and analyzing his entire personality.

Biography is usually in written form, but it can also be done in other forms of musical composition or literature for film interpretation.

It is the recreation of an individual’s life made up of words by someone else. The author collects all the details on the subject and presents those facts in the biography, which are relevant and interesting, to absorb the readers of the story.

Definition of Autobiography

An autobiography is an outline of a person’s life written by that person in person. The word auto means “I”. Therefore, the autobiography contains all the elements of biography but is composed or narrated by the author himself. He/she can write on their own or they can hire ghostwriters to write for them.

An autobiography presents the narrator’s character outline, the place where he was born and raised, his education, work, life experiences, challenges, and achievements. This can include events and stories from your childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Main differences between biography and autobiography

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

  1. A biography is a detailed description of a person’s life written by someone else, while an autobiography is written by the subject himself.
  2. The biography can be written with (authorized) or without (unauthorized) permission of the person/heir in question. Therefore, there are chances of factual errors in the information. On the other hand, autobiographies are self-written and therefore do not require authorization.
  3. Biographies contain information that is collected over a period of time from different sources and therefore projects a different perspective to readers. On the other hand, autobiographies are written by the subject himself, so the writer presents the facts and his thinking in his own way, providing a narrow and biased general perspective to the readers.
  4. In an autobiography, the author uses the first narrative as me, I, we, he, she, etc. This, in turn, makes an intimate connection between the author and the reader, as the reader experiences various aspects as if he/she were in that period of time. In contrast, a biography is a third-person opinion and is much less intimate.
  5. The purpose of writing a biography is to introduce and inform readers about the person and their life, while an autobiography is written to express the narrator’s life experiences and accomplishments.


There are several autobiographies worth mentioning such as “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller, “An Autobiography” by Jawaharlal Nehru, and “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank, “Memories of the Second World War” by Winston. Churchill, APJ Abdul Kalam’s ‘Wings of Fire, and 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 of Ronald William Clark, Walt Disney Biography: The Inspiring Life of Walt Disney – The Man Behind “Disneyland”, by Steve Walters, Princess Diana – A Biography of the Princess of Wales, by Drew L. Crichton.

Reference: Wikipedia

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