Biography vs Auto-Biography: Difference and Comparison

A biography is a written account of a person’s life, written by someone else, providing an external perspective on the individual’s experiences and achievements. In contrast, an autobiography is a self-written account of one’s life, offering a first-person narrative reflecting the author’s thoughts, emotions, and memories.

Key Takeaways

  1. A biography is a written account of a person’s life written by someone else.
  2. An autobiography is a written account of a person’s life written by themselves.
  3. Biographies and autobiographies can provide valuable insight into the lives and experiences of individuals.

Biography vs Auto-Biography

A person writes an autobiography about his life, whereas a biography is a book written about a person by someone else. The author of a biography researches the book’s subject and then writes the book. The book is written in third-person pronouns. However, the auto in autobiography suggests that the author is the self.

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The book is written in a first-person pronoun. While writing a biography, the person about whom the book is written could be liable to get his royalty fee. The author must also get the influencer’s permission before publishing the book.

Sometimes, the influencer even edits and proofreads the manuscript written on him before it is converted into a book. His opinion is the first and last call.


Comparison Table

AuthorSomeone other than the subjectThe subject themself
PerspectiveThird-person (he, she, they)First-person (I, me, my)
Information sourceResearch, interviews, public recordsPersonal memories, experiences, reflections
AccuracyMay be more objective, but potential for factual errors or interpretationsMay be biased or selective, but offers intimate insights
FocusSubject’s entire life and achievementsSelected events and aspects of the author’s life
PurposeInform and educate readers about the subjectShare the author’s story and perspective
ToneCan be neutral, analytical, or even criticalUsually subjective, personal, and reflective
ExamplesWalter Isaacson’s biography of Steve JobsMaya Angelou’s autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”


What is Biography?

A biography is a written account of a person’s life, highlighting key events, achievements, challenges, and experiences. It is a genre of literature that provides a comprehensive narrative, offering insight into the individual’s personality, character, and contributions to society. Biographies can cover many individuals, including historical figures, public figures, artists, scientists, political leaders, and everyday people with extraordinary stories.

Components of a Biography

  1. Early Life:
    • Biographies begin with the subject’s early life, providing details about their birth, family background, and formative years. This section explores the factors that shaped the individual’s identity and set the stage for their future endeavors.
  2. Education and Development:
    • The biography then delves into the subject’s educational background, highlighting significant milestones, influential teachers, and the development of skills and interests that would later define their career or contributions.
  3. Career and Achievements:
    • Much of the biography focuses on the subject’s career and notable achievements. This includes professional accomplishments, breakthroughs, and any significant impact they had in their field of expertise.
  4. Personal Life:
    • Biographers explore the individual’s personal life, providing insights into relationships, family dynamics, and personal challenges. This adds a human dimension to the narrative, offering readers a complete understanding of the subject.
  5. Challenges and Setbacks:
    • Biographies do not shy away from detailing the challenges and setbacks the subject faced. This may include personal struggles, professional obstacles, or adversities the individual overcame.
  6. Legacy and Impact:
    • The conclusion of a biography reflects on the subject’s lasting legacy and impact on society. This section assesses the individual’s contributions, influence, and how their life story continues to resonate.

Writing Style and Perspective

Biographies can be written in various styles, including first-person, third-person, or even a combination of perspectives. The writing style can be narrative, analytical, or a blend of both, depending on the biographer’s approach and the intended audience.

Purpose of Biographies

Biographies serve several purposes. They not only document the life of an individual but also provide historical and cultural context. Biographies can inspire, educate, and offer valuable lessons by showcasing the achievements and struggles of those who have significantly impacted the world.


What is Autobiography?

An autobiography is a written account of a person’s life, narrated by that individual. It is a literary genre that allows individuals to reflect on and recount their experiences, achievements, challenges, and significant events throughout their life journey. Autobiographies are written in the first person, offering a unique perspective into the author’s thoughts, emotions, and insights.

Structure of Autobiography:

  1. Early Life and Background (Introduction):
    • Autobiographies begin with an introduction that provides insights into the author’s early life, family background, and formative experiences. This section sets the stage for the reader to understand the context of the author’s life.
  2. Childhood and Formative Years:
    • The narrative progresses to the author’s childhood and formative years, highlighting key events, relationships, and influences that shaped their character and values. Authors may explore their education, familial relationships, and early passions.
  3. Adulthood and Career:
    • Autobiographies delve into the author’s adult life, covering their education, career pursuits, and notable achievements. This section comprehensively overviews the individual’s professional development and contributions.
  4. Personal Relationships:
    • Autobiographies include discussions of personal relationships, including family dynamics, friendships, and romantic partnerships. Authors may reflect on how these relationships influenced their personal growth and decisions.
  5. Challenges and Setbacks:
    • The narrative may touch upon the author’s challenges, setbacks, or obstacles. This section explores how the individual coped with adversity, overcame obstacles and learned valuable life lessons.
  6. Reflection and Growth:
    • Autobiographies frequently include moments of reflection where the author analyzes their life choices, values, and personal growth. These introspective passages offer insights into the author’s evolving perspective.
  7. Achievements and Milestones:
    • Autobiographies highlight significant achievements, milestones, and notable events in the author’s life. This can include professional accomplishments, awards, and recognition received.
  8. Legacy and Conclusion:
    • Autobiographies conclude with reflections on the author’s legacy, contributions, and the impact of their life on others. This section serves as a summarization of the key themes and messages conveyed throughout the narrative.

Importance of Autobiography

Autobiographies serve several purposes: giving readers a window into the author’s unique experiences, contributing to the historical record, and offering inspiration and lessons for others. They can be valuable sources for understanding different eras, cultures, and individual perspectives.

Examples of Notable Autobiographies

Numerous individuals from various walks of life have penned autobiographies, such as “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank, “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela, and “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” by Mahatma Gandhi.


Main Differences Between Biography and Auto-Biography

  1. Authorship:
    • Biography: A biography is a written account of a person’s life written by someone other than the subject of the biography. The author is an external observer who conducts research and compiles information about the individual’s life.
    • Autobiography: An autobiography is a self-written account of one’s own life. The author is also the subject of the autobiography, providing a first-person perspective.
  2. Perspective:
    • Biography: It provides an external perspective on the subject’s life. The biographer may use various sources, interviews, and research to construct a comprehensive and objective account.
    • Autobiography: It offers a subjective perspective as the author writes about their own experiences, thoughts, and emotions. The narrative is influenced by the author’s personal point of view.
  3. Objective vs. Subjective:
    • Biography: Biographies aim to present an objective and impartial view of the subject’s life. The biographer may include different viewpoints and analyze the subject’s life critically.
    • Autobiography: Autobiographies are inherently subjective, reflecting the author’s own interpretations, memories, and emotions. The narrative is shaped by the author’s personal biases and perceptions.
  4. Research and Sources:
    • Biography: Biographers rely on extensive research, interviews, and various sources to gather information about the subject’s life. The goal is to provide a well-rounded and factually accurate account.
    • Autobiography: Autobiographers draw primarily from their experiences, memories, and personal insights. While they may include external information, the focus is on the author’s perspective.
  5. Objectivity:
    • Biography: Biographies strive for objectivity and balance, presenting a comprehensive view of the subject’s life without excessive personal bias.
    • Autobiography: Autobiographies are inherently subjective, reflecting the author’s opinions and emotions. They may lack the objectivity found in biographies.
  6. Scope:
    • Biography: Biographies can cover a wide range of aspects of a person’s life, including personal, professional, and historical context.
    • Autobiography: Autobiographies focus on the author’s experiences, thoughts, and emotions. They may not cover external events or perspectives as extensively as biographies.
Difference Between Biography and Auto Biography

Last Updated : 13 February, 2024

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23 thoughts on “Biography vs Auto-Biography: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article’s in-depth analysis of biographies and autobiographies offers a rich understanding of the literary genres. It’s an intellectually stimulating read.

    1. I completely agree, the comprehensive analysis of biographies and autobiographies provides an enriching intellectual experience, delving into the nuances of both genres.

  2. The thorough examination of the components of biographies and autobiographies is commendable. It offers a profound insight into the literary works and their diverse elements.

    1. The article presents a compelling analysis of the literary genres, emphasizing the intricate details within biographies and autobiographies. It’s a captivating and thought-provoking piece.

    2. Absolutely, the in-depth exploration of the components provides a holistic view of biographies and autobiographies, fostering a deeper appreciation for both genres.

  3. The focus on the purpose of autobiographies as instruments for inspiring and educating readers is well-articulated. It enriches the understanding of the genre’s significance.

    1. Avatar of Reynolds Harrison
      Reynolds Harrison

      Absolutely, the article effectively captures the transformative power of autobiographical narratives and their capacity to resonate with readers on a personal level.

  4. Avatar of Stewart Freya
    Stewart Freya

    I appreciate the detailed breakdown of the components of a biography. It really gives a comprehensive understanding of how biographies are structured and what they encompass.

    1. Absolutely, the insights into the components of biography were very enlightening. It’s great to have a clear outline of what to expect in a biographical work.

  5. The detailed exploration of the purpose of autobiographies is thought-provoking. The article effectively highlights the role of personal narratives in inspiring and educating readers.

    1. I found the article to be quite enlightening in its depiction of the multifaceted purposes served by autobiographies. It definitely broadened my perspective on the genre.

    2. The introspective nature of autobiographies is intriguing, and the article effectively captures the essence of personal reflections and insights that drive the genre.

  6. The comparison table between biography and autobiography is very useful for understanding the key differences. Thank you for the informative article!

    1. Yes, I also found the comparison table to be quite enlightening. Great job on breaking down the distinctions between the two genres.

  7. The description of the structure of autobiographies is very well articulated. It provides a clear roadmap of how autobiographical works are organized and presented.

    1. Indeed, the breakdown of the structure within autobiographies offers valuable insights into the flow and progression of personal narratives. A commendable analysis.

  8. The structural breakdown of autobiographies is illuminating. It provides a clear understanding of the narrative flow and developmental stages within personal life stories.

    1. I concur, the structural analysis of autobiographies offers a comprehensive view of the chronological progression and thematic elements that define the genre.

  9. The comparison of biography and autobiography in the article is very insightful. It illuminates the distinctions and unique characteristics of both genres.

    1. Indeed, the comparison effectively highlights the nuances between biography and autobiography, shedding light on the diverse elements that define each genre.

  10. The article makes a compelling case for the purpose of biographies and their significance as historical and cultural documentation. I was particularly intrigued by the exploration of legacy and impact.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, the emphasis on legacy and impact adds depth to the understanding of biographies. It’s certainly an aspect that deserves more attention and analysis.

    2. The article shed light on the multifaceted approach to writing styles in biographies. The flexibility in narrative and analytical styles offers a fresh perspective.

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