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Biography vs. Autobiography: (Comparison and Examples)

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Have you ever wondered why two people can tell the same story, yet it sounds completely different? It all comes down to perspective. Whether we are reading a biography or an autobiography, understanding the power of perspective is essential.

A biography is a written account of someone’s life written by another person, while an autobiography is a written account of one’s own life.

Biography vs. Autobiography

Biographies are written by someone other than the subject, often a historian or a journalist.Autobiographies are written by the subject themselves, providing a first-hand account of their life.
They are written from a third-person point of view, which may create distance between the reader and the subject.They are written from a first-person point of view, providing a more personal and intimate perspective.
Biographies may be influenced by the author’s bias or interpretation of the subject’s life.Autobiographies may be influenced by the author’s own biases or selective memories.
They may involve research into the subject’s life, including interviews with family members, friends, and colleagues.They rely on the author’s personal recollections and memories, which may be incomplete or biased.
The purpose of a biography is to inform readers about the subject’s life, achievements, and impact on history.The purpose of an autobiography is to share the author’s own life story, including personal struggles, triumphs, and lessons learned.
They may be written in a more objective and detached style, focusing on the facts and events of the subject’s life.They may be written in a more subjective and emotional style, including the author’s thoughts and feelings about their experiences.
Biographies may cover the subject’s entire life or a specific period, depending on the focus of the book.Autobiographies usually cover the author’s entire life, providing a comprehensive account of their experiences from childhood to the present.

Introduction to biography and autobiography

A biography is written about someone else’s life, from an outsider’s perspective. This means that the author will do extensive research on their subject, and will often interview people who knew them well. The aim of a biography is to give an accurate and objective account of their life.

An autobiography is written by the person themselves, so it gives a first-hand account of their life. Because it is written from personal experience, it can be biased and may not always be accurate. It’s important to take this into account when reading an autobiography, as it can give you a more intimate look at the person’s life but may not always be completely reliable.

Similarities between biography and autobiography

  1. Focus on a person’s life: Both biography and autobiography are focused on telling the life story of a person.
  2. Use of personal details: Both genres rely on personal details such as the subject’s name, birthplace, family background, and life events to construct a narrative.
  3. Contribute to historical understanding: Both biography and autobiography can contribute to our understanding of history by providing insight into the lives of individuals who have made a significant impact on society.

Examples of famous autobiographies

  • “The Diary of Anne Frank” – This is one of the most famous examples of an autobiography, as it chronicles the life of Anne Frank during her time in hiding during the Holocaust.
  • “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” – Another very famous autobiography, this book details Benjamin Franklin’s life and his many accomplishments.
  • “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller – This autobiography tells the story of Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind, and how she overcame these obstacles to lead a successful life.

Benefits of reading biographies and autobiographies

Most obvious benefit is that they can provide readers with a new perspective on life. By reading about someone else’s life, we can learn about their experiences, their thoughts and feelings, and how they coped with different challenges.

Moreover, biographies and autobiographies can be inspiring. Reading about someone who has overcome adversity or achieved something great can give us the motivation to pursue our own goals.

Biographies and autobiographies can simply be enjoyable to read. They can be fascinating stories about interesting people, and they can provide us with vicarious experiences that we might not otherwise have had.

Tips for writing a good biography or autobiography

When writing a biography, it is important to do your research. This means interviews, reading other biographies and autobiographies, and looking at primary sources whenever possible.

You want to get as close to the source material as you can. It is also important to be objective in your telling of the story. This means not inserting your own opinion or bias into the account.

An autobiography is different in that it is your own story. This means that you can be more subjective in your telling of events. You can include your own thoughts and feelings about what happened, as well as how it has affected you in your life.

However, it is still important to be honest in your portrayal of events. Exaggeration or omission will only serve to discredit your story.

Key differences between biography and autobiography

  1. Authorship: The primary difference between biography and autobiography is the authorship. Biography is written by someone other than the subject, while autobiography is written by the subject themselves.
  2. Point of view: Biographies are written in the third-person point of view, while autobiographies are written in the first-person point of view.
  3. Purpose: Biographies are typically written to inform readers about the life of the subject, while autobiographies are written to share the author’s own life story and experiences.
differences between biography and autobiography


Both biography and autobiography serve as powerful tools for documenting and sharing the lives of individuals. Biographies allow readers to gain insight into the lives of notable individuals, while autobiographies offer a unique and personal perspective into the author’s life experiences. Whether you prefer to read about the lives of others or share your own story, both genres provide a valuable means of preserving and sharing important personal histories.

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