Biography vs Autobiography: Choosing the Right Genre for Your Story

Biographies and autobiographies are the most common textual formats that tell the tale of someone’s lifetime. Both describe life events, yet they are not the same. When a person writes his or her own life story, it is referred to as autobiography; however, when someone else (the author) writes about a person’s life, it is referred to as biography. Biographies and autobiographies are both excellent resources for learning about renowned people’s lives, ups and downs, experiences, hardships, and much more.

There are numerous cases where both terms are used interchangeably, which appears confusing because both types are the life stories of great people; yet, there are some significant and minor variances between the two forms that distinguish them. This article illustrates the distinctions between biography and autobiography and includes thorough information on how these two kinds differ.

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is a biography written by an individual about their own life. The term ‘auto’ derives from the Latin word for ‘ self.’ As a result, an autobiography has all of the characteristics of a biography but is written or narrated by the author, who may create the work themselves or hire ghostwriters to do so for them.

An autobiography highlights the narrator’s personality, birth and upbringing, what they learnt outside of education, the lessons their work taught them, and other life events, issues, and triumphs. This could include firsthand memories and tales from the author’s infancy, youth, and maturity, or up to the period of writing.

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What is a Biography?

A biography, or “bio” in short, is a detailed account of a person’s life written or published by someone else. It may contain specific information about the person’s birthplace, education, employment, relationships, and death. It investigates the subject’s identity and provides intimate details about their lives, focusing on the highs and lows.

A biography is commonly written in the form of a book, but it can also take the form of a musical composition, or a literary or film adaptation. It is the recreation of a person’s life via the use of words written by others.

Why It’s Important to Understand the Difference

People commonly use the terms biography and autobiography together, although there is a significant distinction between the two. A biography is a story about someone else’s life, but an autobiography is about your own.

Why is this distinction important? Because telling another person’s story is not the same as telling your own. When writing a biography, you must be objective and provide all relevant details. However, writing an autobiography allows you to be more personal and discuss your own views and experiences. It’s critical to understand the distinction between a biography and an autobiography, whether you’re writing about yourself or others.

Key differences between an autobiography and a biography

Although the subject matter is similar, there are significant variations between autobiography and biography creation. These include the creator and other crucial variables that contribute to creating an effective story to offer to the audience.

This blog identifies and discusses the differences between autobiography and biography, so you may better understand how to distinguish the two.

Who wrote it?

A biography is a detailed description of someone else’s life, whereas an autobiography is written by the subject. This is the primary distinction between autobiography and biography, and the rest are based on it.

How are they authorised and authenticated?

Biographies can be written with the subject’s permission and labelled as authorised, or without it and labelled as unauthorised. As a result, there is the possibility of disinformation, and the content may contain factual mistakes.

Autobiographies, on the other hand, are written by the subject, do not require permission, and have no risk of errors or disinformation, which is an essential distinction in the biography vs. autobiography debate.

What are the sources of information?

Biographies incorporate material accumulated throughout time from various sources, resulting in a diverse perspective for the readers.

Because autobiographies are written by the subjects themselves, the writer delivers more accurate and real information. Their opinions are likewise written in their unique way, and the information provided is carefully managed. This produces a little limited and biased perspective for the readers to appreciate.


A biography is a third-person description of a person’s life, whereas an autobiography is written from the individual’s perspective. Biographies are frequently published about persons who are no longer living, but autobiographies are typically written by those who lived them. A biography focuses on the highlights of a person’s life, but an autobiography focuses on the details, both good and bad.

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