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Autobiography vs Biography: Must-Read Key Differences

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  • November 17, 2023
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  • 7 min read

Autobiography Biography

Have you ever wondered what sets an autobiography apart from a biography? Both genres delve into the lives of real people, but they come with distinctive characteristics that make them unique. 

What is the difference between autobiography and 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.

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. 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.

4- Level of Subjective Information: 

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.

5- Personal Emotions and Reflections:

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.

6- Control Over the Narrative: 

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.

7- Personal Insights: 

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.

8- Reliability and Objectivity: 

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.

9- Writing Style: 

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. 

10- Memories vs. Research

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. 

FAQs: Autobiography vs Biography

What is an autobiography?

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

What is a biography?

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

What is a major difference between autobiographies and biographies?

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.

Are there notable examples of autobiographies and biographies in literature?

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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