Difference between Biography and Autobiography

Difference between Biography and Autobiography

Biography and autobiography and are two ways to explain a person’s life story. These two have some key differences and similarities. This article will discuss biography and autobiography in detail. Moreover, we will find some best autobiographies and biographies as well.


What exactly is a biography?

A biography, often known as a bio, is a detailed description of a person’s life. It shows a person’s experience of life events such as school, jobs, relationships, and death, rather than merely the basic facts. A biography book can represent the whole life events of an individual.

Unlike a resume or profile best biography explains the events in a person’s life in detail. We can write about essential aspects of their life and do a personality analysis in a biography book.


What exactly is an autobiography? 

The author writes an autobiography to represent their life experiences and success. That is why writers mostly write autobiographies at the end of their lives. It uses a first-person point of view because the main character writes it.

It is usually written by any famous personality who people want to know more about. It is not a rule that only well-known people can write their autobiographies. Anyone can write the story of their life.



Differences between biography and autobiography


Main differences between biography and autobiography are:


Anyone can write a biography of someone.

A biography book is often considered less accurate because someone else writes about another person.

Permissions are necessary to write a biography about someone. It can cause issues if the person is not comfortable to be written about.

A person who writes a biography book usually collects data through newspapers or journals. They can also interview the main character.

Some biography examples: are Steve Jobs, Leonardo the Vinci, Alexander Hamilton


Any person can write an autobiography about themselves based on their perspectives.

An autobiography book is more accurate because the narrator has faced the events themselves.

There is no need of taking anyone’s permission to write an autobiography

Some autobiography examples are: The Diary of a Young Girl, Dreams from My Father, and Born a Crime. 

Memories and occasions of one’s life are the basis of an autobiography book.


Similarities between biography and autobiography


There are differences as well as some similar things between these two writing styles. These are:

Biographies and autobiographies are both nonfiction texts. They are based on reality.

Both types of writing are typically written in sequence. This indicates that they write events from birth to death, or from the present to the future.

We write biographies and autobiographies for the same objective. These narratives are intended to educate the reader about facts, events, and experiences from someone’s life.

Focus/subject: The subject of both are famous personalities. Many celebrities, scientists, politicians, and historical personalities have biographies and autobiographies.



Types of biographies

Biographies have four categories: historical fiction, academic, fictional academic, and prophetic biography.


Historical Fiction Biography

In this type, the author writes about the persons who are still alive. They can be celebrities, politicians, or any other famous personality. Their true stories inspire people and motivate them.
Historical fiction biography book often becomes a movie with additional fiction added. It provides both entertainment and information. Facts related to the person are sometimes not accurate in this kind. Historical fiction does not need to be perfectly precise in information.

Academic Biography

An academic biography is based on documented facts and figures. This type requires accuracy and no fiction at all. A person’s life events and success are described with fact-checked data. 
Academic biographies are not so simple to read. They provide many references related to the work. It is all history so people do not prefer to read something so dry. These biographies have a small readership and are rarely used outside of the classroom.

“John Wyclif: Myth and reality” is one of the academic biography examples.


Academic Fictional Biography

This type combines history and fiction. The combination is great because people get information in a fun way. The outcome is a balanced portrayal of how someone may have lived. It is done by mixing the author’s unique insights into life with the facts and teachings of the personality.

East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart is one of the academic fictional biography examples.

Prophetic Biography

A prophetic biography varies from fictional biography. It tries to inspire the reader through the written personality. This type of biography creates a purpose along with entertainment. The goal is to give life lessons for the betterment of the readers.
A fan of a prophetic biography will return to it again and again throughout their life for comfort, meaning, and guidance.
“Free Eric. Bonhoeffer” and “Muhammad (PBUH) Islam and The First Arab Empire” are prophetic biography examples.

Types of Autobiography

An autobiography can be classified into four basic categories: thematic, religious, philosophical, and fictionalized.


Thematic Autobiography

Thematic autobiographies are typically more than just life stories. They express an underlying purpose within the narration. In this type, the author write autobiography to convey specific thoughts or ideals. The ideals can be any message that the author believes should be conveyed to the audience through this story.

Religious Autobiography
In this type, author write autobiography that covers the journey towards religious enlightenment. People can take guidance from these autobiographies to follow the religious path.
Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Storey Mountain” and “My Spiritual Journey” by the Dalai Lama are religious autobiography examples.


Scientific Autobiography

Scientific autobiography is about telling people about your journey. It tells important events that brought you to where you are now. You consider what has shaped your ideas and share it with the reader. Someone who reads this is curious about what has shaped you into who you are.



Fictional autobiography reflects the true experiences of the author. Some parts are dramatized to hide the identity of many people.
Fiction is added to increase the artistic quantity of autobiography.


After reading all these types, you must be curious about how to write a biography or an autobiography. In this part we will teach you main points to write them.

How to Write a Biography

Following are the main points to write a Biography

Choose a subject

Take permissions

Research the subject

Form thesis

Outline the story

Include your thoughts


Choose a subject: The first step to write a biography is deciding on a subject. The method will be largely the same either way. You should look at important life events, relationships, and the person’s impact on society. Read more biography examples to get a better idea of writing it.


Take permissions: Once you’ve decided on a biography subject, get permission to write about their lives. If the person accepts, they will be able to provide accurate facts about their life.


Research the subject: To get the facts correct, research is essential. There are two types of research: primary and secondary. Primary sources are initial information about your subject’s life and are generally the most trustworthy sources. You can also use secondary information from magazines or documentaries if they are from valid sources.


Form Thesis: The first paragraph of your biography should tell the reader what they will learn about this individual from it.  It should be interesting to grab the reader’s attention.


Outline the Story: Determine the major argument, or thesis, and then outline how each section will tell a different element to support that thesis. Determine whether you want to write about the subject’s entire life or simply a portion of it.


Include your thoughts: The author might add their ideas in the biography. This will assist you in explaining to the audience why a particular personality influences you. will show the purpose of why you wrote about this person. It will keep the audience reading from the first to the last sentence.



How to Write an Autobiography

Writing about your life can be intimidating but it can become easy by following some rules.  Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to write an autobiography book:

Generate ideas

Create outline

Do research

Begin writing



Generate ideas: Make sure to cover all events of your life as you go through your memories. Begin with your youth, then move on to high school. Make sure to write about the event that made you famous.

Create Outline: Begin organizing a story based on the most interesting moments from your imagination. Then write every point that you will include in your autobiography book.

Research: You can interview your family and friends to remind you of details about different events.  Examine your journals or old diaries, if you have any.

Begin writing: For the first time, you will be unable to write well. Write down all of the information you remember. Then, sort them out and write again.

Proofread: You should identify weak points in the story and make positive changes. Consider what you’d seek in a biography of another individual and apply it to your autobiography.


List of some most famous biographies and autobiographies are given below:


Examples of Biography


Churchill: A life by martin gilbert

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

A beautiful mind by Sylvia Nasar

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

Shelley: The Pursuit by Richard Holmes

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson


Examples of Autobiography


Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Open by Andre Agassi

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Autobiography of Mark Twain

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama




There are many differences as well as similarities between biography and autobiography. You can write a biography of any famous personality by following the tips given above. The main tip to write a biography or autobiography is to read most of them first. Reading these is best for people who are interested in exploring non-fiction materials and history.