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Difference between Biography and Autobiography

biography vs autobiography

Both of these two presents the view of, what happened in the past where the author lived. These are non-fiction books, written in chronological order, tells a story about the person who made a significant contribution in a specific field. Many think that the two writing forms are one and the same thing, but there are noticeable difference between the two, that are presented in the given article.

Content: Biography Vs Autobiography

Comparison chart, definition of biography.

A biography also referred as ‘bio’ is a detailed account of a person’s life written or produced by another person. It gives an elaborate information regarding the birthplace, educational background, work, relationships and demise of the person concerned. It presents the subject’s intimate details about life, focusing on the highs and lows and analysing their whole personality.

A biography is usually in the written form but can also be made in other forms of a music composition or literature to film interpretation.

It is the recreation of the life of an individual composed of words by another person. The author collects every single detail about the subject and presents those facts in the biography, which are relevant and interesting, to engross the readers in the story.

Definition of Autobiography

An autobiography is the life sketch of a person written by that person himself or herself. The word auto means ‘self.’ Therefore, autobiography contains all the elements of a biography but composed or narrated by the author himself. He/She may write on their own or may hire ghostwriters to write for them.

An autobiography presents the narrator’s character sketch, the place where he is born and brought up, his education, work, life experiences, challenges, and achievements. This may include events and stories of his childhood, teenage, and adulthood.

Key Differences Between Biography and Autobiography

The difference between biography and autobiography are discussed in detail in the following points:

  • Biography is a detailed account of a person’s life written by someone else, while an autobiography is written by the subject themselves.
  • Biography can be written with (authorised) or without permission (unauthorised) from the person/heir’s concerned. Therefore, there are chances of factual mistakes in the information. On the other hand, autobiographies are self-written and therefore doesn’t require any authorization.
  • Biographies contain information that is collected over a period of time from different sources and thus, it projects a different outlook to the readers. On the other hand, autobiographies are written by the subject themselves, therefore, the writer presents the facts and his thinking in his own way, thus providing an overall narrow and biased perspective to the readers.
  • In an Autobiography, the author uses the first narrative like I, me, we, he, she, etc. This, in turn, makes an intimate connection between the author and the reader since the reader experience various aspects as if he/she is in that time period. As opposed a biography is from a third person’s view and is much less intimate.
  • The purpose of writing a biography is to introduce and inform the readers about the person and his life whereas an autobiography is written in order to express, the life experiences and achievements of the narrator.

Video: Biography Vs Autobiography

There are several autobiographies which are worth mentioning like ‘The Story of My Life’ by Helen Keller, ‘An Autobiography’ by Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank, ‘Memoirs of the Second World War’ by Winston Churchill, ‘Wings of Fire’ by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and much more.

Examples of some famous biographies are- Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett, His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis, Einstein: The Life and Times by Ronald William Clark, Biography of Walt Disney: The Inspirational Life Story of Walt Disney – The Man Behind “Disneyland” by Steve Walters, Princess Diana- A Biography Of The Princess Of Wales by Drew L. Crichton.

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autoiography vs memoir

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May 7, 2023 at 6:47 am

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Biography vs Autobiography: Similarities and Differences

biography vs autobiography, explained below

A biography is an account of someone’s life story that is written by an author who is not the subject of the nook. An autobiography, on the other hand, involves an individual narrating their own life experiences.

The differences between biographies and autobiographies relate most prominently to the authorhship:

  • Autobiography: When you read an autobiography, you’re getting the author’s own interpretation of their life.
  • Biography: When you read a biography, you experience the subject’s life through someone else’s lens (Schiffrin & Brockmeier, 2012).

Biography vs Autobiography

1. biography.

A biography is a detailed account of a person’s life, scripted by an author who is not the person who is featured in the text itself.

This type of life story focuses both on factual events in the person’s life, such as birth, education, work, and death, but often also delves into personal aspects like experiences, relationships, and significant achievements.

It may also weave-in cultural and contextual factors that help illuminate the person’s motivations and core values .

Origins of Biographies

The concept of biography as a literary genre dates back to antiquity. Such works were primarily used to capture the lives of dignified individuals, mainly rulers and war heroes.

Suetonius’s Lives of the Caesars and Plutarch’s Parallel Lives are landmark examples from this ancient period (Sweet, 2010).

The popularity of biographical works only grew in the ensuing centuries, and they became a prominent part of many cultures’ literary traditions. 

Into the 18th century and during the Enlightenment, biographies began to present a more balanced portrayal of the subject. They would present both their strengths and flaws, providing a holistic perspective on the subject.

Dr. Samuel Johnson’s compilation of English poets biographies, Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1779-1781) ushered in a new era of biography writing by focusing on examining human nature (Ditchfield, 2018).

In the modern era, the genre has evolved and broadened, encompassing a diverse range of figures from all walks of life – there’s a biography in every niche imaginable, with each offering readers an in-depth exploration of their lives, their struggles, and their triumphs.

This demonstrates the enduring appeal of biographies and their value in providing snapshots of history through individual lenses.

Key Characteristics of Biographies

Examples of biographies.

Title: The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets Author: Dr. Samuel Johnson   Description: Dr. Johnson’s work profiles the lives of 52 poets from the 17th and 18th centuries, including John Milton and Alexander Pope. He critiques not just the works, but also explores their personal lives and the sociopolitical contexts of their times (Johnson, 1781). Johnson’s study is invaluable for its integrated historic and biographic approach.

Title: The Life of Samuel Johnson Author: James Boswell   Description: This work by Boswell explores, in great depth, the life of his friend and mentor, Dr. Samuel Johnson. The biography offers a compelling portrayal of Dr. Johnson’s life, character, eccentricities, and intellectual prowess (Boswell, 1791). Boswell’s vivid account creates a near-physical presence of Johnson to the readers, making it one of the greatest biographies in English literature.

Title: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt Author: Edmund Morris   Description: In this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Morris chronicles the early life of Theodore Roosevelt until his ascension to the U.S presidency. The work brilliantly captures Roosevelt’s extraordinary career and his transformation from a frail asthmatic boy into a robust and vigorous leader (Morris, 1979). Morris accurately represents Roosevelt’s indomitable spirit, making it an engaging and educational read.

Title: Steve Jobs Author: Walter Isaacson Description: This comprehensive biography provides a deep-dive into the life and career of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. Isaacson had unparalleled access to Jobs and those closest to him, thus presenting an intimate and detailed account. He explores Jobs’ professional endeavors as well as his personal life, revealing his ambition, intensity, and visionary mind that revolutionized several high-tech industries (Isaacson, 2011).

Title: Alexander Hamilton Author: Ron Chernow Description: Ron Chernow provides a sweeping narrative of one of America’s most compelling founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Chernow combines extensive research with a flair for storytelling, charting Hamilton’s evolution from an orphan into a political genius. The book sheds light on Hamilton’s crucial role in the formation of the United States’ financial system and his political ideologies (Chernow, 2004).

2. Autobiography

An autobiography is a self-written record of someone’s own life. It is a personal narrative in which the author writes about their life from their own perspective.

Autobiographies are usually centered around the author’s personal experiences, including key milestones, challenges, and achievements (Eakin, 2015).

They’re also often a defense of the person’s perspective (especially in political autobiographies) or insight into their thought processes, which can make them very intimate.

Origins of Autobiographies

The term ‘autobiography’ was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid but condemned it as ‘pedantic’.

Pioneering examples of the genre form include Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) and the memoirs by veterans of the Napoleonic Wars (Lejeune, 2016).

However, apart from these early instances, autobiographies have been composed by a wide array of individuals from history. 

In the early 20th century, the genre witnessed major transformations, and autobiographies started to cover a broader spectrum of experiences, including trauma, struggles, and successes.

‘Black Boy’ by Richard Wright, for instance, shares the author’s experiences with racism and his journey towards developing a literary career (Wright, 1945).

This was followed by a host of autobiographies by public figures sharing their diverse stories, such as Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’, depicting his days as a struggling young writer in Paris (Hemingway, 1964). 

Autobiography as a genre has continued to evolve over the years, and a variety of forms have emerged to communicate individual experiences globally.

As history has progressed, we see more and more people with diverse perspectives sharing their stories, broadening our understanding of the human experience (Smith & Watson, 2010).

Key Characteristics of Autobiographies 

Examples of autobiographies.

Title: Long Walk to Freedom Author: Nelson Mandela   Description: “Long Walk to Freedom” provides an in-depth exploration of ex-President Nelson Mandela, his political journey, and his stand against apartheid in South Africa. The biography offers a unique perspective into Mandela’s noble character, his indomitable spirit, and his commitment to justice when faced with grave adversities (Mandela, 1995). Mandela serves as one of our times’ great moral and political leaders through this biography.

Title: The Diary of a Young Girl Author: Anne Frank  Description: This biography provides a startling firsthand account of a young Jewish girl named Anne Frank, who with her family, hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. Her diary entries offer profound insights into the fear, hope, and resilience she demonstrated during her two years in hiding (Frank, 1947). Frank’s posthumous biographical record serves as a reminder of the injustices of the past and as a symbol of endurance in the face of oppression.

Title: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Author: Maya Angelou  Description: This moving autobiography charts Maya Angelou’s early life, from experiencing racial discrimination in the South to becoming the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. Angelou portrays her journey of self-discovery and overcoming traumatic experiences, including racial prejudice and personal trauma, with remarkable strength and grace. Her story is one of resilience, and it speaks powerfully about finding one’s voice (Angelou, 1969). 

Title: Night Author: Elie Wiesel  Description: “Night” is Wiesel’s personal account of his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II with his father. This heartbreaking narrative describes not only physical hardship and cruel atrocities but also examines the loss of innocence and the struggle to maintain faith in humanity. It stands as a testament to human resilience in the face of unimaginable horror (Wiesel, 1960).

Title: Dreams from My Father Author: Barack Obama Description: In this engaging memoir, the 44th President of the United States narrates the story of his diverse background and early life. The narrative extends from his birth in Hawaii to his first visit to Kenya, from dealing with racial identity to self-discovery. “Dreams from My Father” not only provides personal insights about Obama’s life and values but also discusses issues of race, identity, and purpose (Obama, 1995).

Similarities and Differences Between Biographies and Autobiographies

While both biographies and autobiographies are excellent sources of information and entertainment about significant figures in history (or the present!), they serve different purposes. By knowing the different purposes of each, we can develop stronger media literacy , understanding what the intention of the author is, and how we should approach the text.

Angelou, M. (1969). I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings . Random House.

Baker, J., Davis, E., & Thompson, K. (2013). Reflection and Emotions in Autobiography . Chicago University Press.

Boswell, J. (1791). The Life of Samuel Johnson . J.R. Taylor.

Brown, J., & Brown, S. (2018). Thematic Focus in Autobiography Writing . Princeton University Press.

Chernow, R. (2004). Alexander Hamilton . Penguin Books.

Ditchfield, S. (2018). Extracting the Domestic from the Didactic: Transmission and Translation of the Sacred in The Lives of the Ancient Fathers (1672–1675). Church History and Religious Culture, 98 (1), 28-50.

Eakin, P. J. (2015). How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves . Cornell University Press.

Frank, A. (1947). The Diary of a Young Girl . Contact Publishing.

Hemingway, E. (1964). A Moveable Feast . Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs . Simon & Schuster.

Johnson, M., & Johnson, S. (2017). A Comprehensive Guide to Biography Writing . New York: Penguin.

Johnson, S. (1781). The Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets . Printed by C. Bathurst, J. Buckland [and 28 others in London].

Jones, B. (2015). The Art of Writing Biographies: An Objective Approach . Oxford University Press.

Lejeune, P. (2016). On Autobiography . University of Minnesota Press.

Mandela, N. (1995). Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela . Macdonald Purnell.

Miller, R. (2014). The Self as the Subject: Autobiography Writing . Stanford University Press.

Morris, E. (1979). The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt . Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

Obama, B. (1995). Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance . Crown Publishing Group.

Schiffrin D., & Brockmeier J. (2012). Narrative Identity and Autobiographical Recall. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 70 , 113-144.

Smith, J., Davis, M., & Thompson, S. (2012). Third Party Narratives: An Exploration of Biography Writing . Cambridge University Press.

Smith, S., & Watson, J. (2010). Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives . University of Minnesota Press.

Sweet, R. (2010). Biographical Dictionaries and Historiography. Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, 72 (2), 355–368.

Wiesel, E. (1960). Night . Hill & Wang.

Williams, T. (2019). The Importance of Facts in Biographies . HarperCollins.

Wright, R. (1945). Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth . Harper & Brothers.

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Autobiography vs Biography: Differences and Similarities

POSTED ON Oct 7, 2023

Nicole Ahlering

Written by Nicole Ahlering

So you want to learn more about your favorite influential figure. Should you read an autobiography or a biography about them? 

It depends on what you’re looking for! 

Need A Nonfiction Book Outline?

In this guide, we’ll explain autobiography vs biography and help you choose which one you want to read. We’ll also touch on where memoirs fit in with these genres. Let’s dive in! 

This autobiography vs biography comparison includes:

The similarities between biographies and autobiographies.

Both biographies and autobiographies are written accounts of a person’s life. They typically recount the person’s life experiences, challenges, and accomplishments. 

Usually, each of these genres is written in a narrative style. In other words, it uses storytelling techniques to convey information about its subject. 

Autobiographies and biographies both feature context about the subject’s life by discussing the time in which the subject lived (or is living), the culture and location in which they live(d), and more. 

Like any good story, the best biographies and autobiographies often feature narratives about trials that are overcome and lessons that are learned. They may also focus on the influence and impact of the book’s subject. 

Difference between biography and autobiography

The biggest difference between an autobiography and a biography is that an autobiography is written by the subject of the book about their own life, while a biography is written by another person. 

For example, actress Lucille Ball wrote an autobiography about her life called Love, Lucy . Meanwhile, an author named Kathleen Brady wrote a biography about Lucille Ball called Lucy: The Life of Lucille Ball .

YouTube video

Here are a few other key differences between the two genres: 

1. Different perspectives

Naturally, an autobiography is written from the first-person perspective, which means the author is providing a personalized point of view on their own life. 

Meanwhile, a biography is written from a third-person perspective, meaning the author is writing from an external point of view, with limited insight into the subject’s personal thoughts or feelings. 

2. Control of the narrative

When someone writes their autobiography , they control which parts of their life story they include and which they omit. They can choose which perspective they share and which parts of themselves they want to spotlight. 

Meanwhile, a biography relies on research, interviews and sources to construct a complete picture of a subject’s life. A biographer is likely to be more objective in their presentation of a person—perhaps even including unsavory details about their subject that the subject themselves wouldn’t include. 

3. Levels of objectivity

Even the best autobiography will be subjective because it’s based on the author’s personal memories and feelings. 

On the other hand, many biographers strive to be more objective in their writing. They tend to consult multiple sources, conduct a variety of interviews, and more to make sure they’re writing an accurate portrayal of their subject. 

4. Sources used

Because an autobiographer is writing a story about their own life, their sources will primarily be self-generated. Though they may rely on those close to them, like family members, to verify or recount certain memories they hold. 

That said, many autobiographers still need to do research to add context and depth to their life stories, whether that’s learning about the town they grew up in, their family history, or something else. 

Meanwhile, biographers rely on archival materials, research, interviews, historical documents, and more to help them write the story about their subject. 

5. Writing style

Because autobiographies are more personal, they often reflect the author’s unique writing style and personality. 

On the other hand, biographies generally strive to be more objective, with a focus on a cohesive, well-researched narrative. (But to be clear: they can still be very engaging!)

Where do memoirs fit in? 

We’ve learned about the differences and similarities between autobiographies and biographies, so where do memoirs fit into the puzzle? 

Like an autobiography, a memoir is written by the subject of the book. Both genres tend to focus on the author’s personal life, are written in the first person, and can be highly subjective. 

However, where autobiography vs memoir differs is partially in the scope of the book. An autobiography often encompasses most of the author’s life, while a memoir is likely to focus on one specific event, theme, or period in the author’s life. 

Memoirs also adhere less to chronological storytelling than autobiographies do. They can jump around in time and tend to be centered more on themes, reflection, or specific, impactful moments in the author’s life. 

In summary, you can think of memoirs as even more personal than autobiographies, focusing on a selected part of the writer’s life. They’re also more likely than autobiographies to be written by folks who aren’t famous. 

Final thoughts

While biographies, autobiographies and memoirs all tell a subject’s life story, they do it in different ways. The type of genre you’d like to read (or write) will be contingent on what you’d like to learn about your chosen subject. 

If you’re interested in writing your own memoir, autobiography or memoir, we can help you do it. Simply schedule a book consultation to get started. 

the difference between biography or autobiography

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What Is The Difference Between An Autobiography And A Biography?

What are the differences between autobiographies and biographies? 

The two words are not interchangeable .

And neither is a subset of the other.

Once you get a handle on what sets them apart, you’ll never get them confused again. 

You’ll be able to explain the difference between autobiography and biography as proficiently as any publisher or semantics expert .

And you’ll know just how to market your book to get your ideal reader’s attention . 

Let’s get started. 

1. Autobiographies are written by (or with) the subject. 

2. autobiographies are in the first person; biographies are (typically) in the third person. , 3. biographies don’t require the permission of the subject. , 4. autobiographies can include the subject’s thoughts and feelings. , 5. autobiographies are more subjective; biographies are meant to be more objective. , 6. autobiographies generally cover the entire life from childhood to the present. , 7. autobiographies inform the reader about the subject’s motives. , the difference between autobiography and biography: 7 distinctions you should know .

You’re here for one reason: to finally settle the autobiography vs. biography question. Maybe someone asked you, and you weren’t sure of your answer. Or perhaps you’ve confused autobiography and biography one too many times. 

You’re not alone. And you’re about to learn the critical differences and what these two have in common. 

If you’re writing a book about your own life, you’re writing either an autobiography or a memoir . 

Even if you’re paying a ghostwriter to write most or all of it for you, based on conversations with them, you’re still considered the author, and it’s still an autobiography (or memoir ). 

Every autobiography results from the subject’s own writing or a collaboration between the subject and their ghostwriter. 

With an autobiography, you address the reader using the first-person point of view . You’re telling them a story about your life. 

Since someone other than the subject (or their ghostwriter) writes the biography, it’s written about the subject — not from their point of view. The author of a biography typically refers to the subject using the third person. 

Using the third person creates distance between the narrator and the subject. 

Before writing the book, the author of a biography may or may not reach out to the (living) subject. They may want the subject’s permission and input. 

On the other hand, they may choose to write an “unauthorized biography” with shock value, in which case permission from the subject is more an obstacle than an advantage.

the difference between autobiography and biography

Much depends on whether the biographer has any real interest in understanding the subject and their motives. 

Unlike biographies, where the author typically doesn’t have access to the subject’s thoughts and feelings, the author of an autobiography does. 

Because the author is the subject, they know and can share their deepest motives behind the actions they’ve taken. They remember thoughts that came right before they did something they regret (or not). 

They remember how they felt during the most significant moments of their lives. 

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Biographies are supposed to be objective retellings of the subject’s life or the most noteworthy parts of it. 

Autobiographies, by contrast, are more subjective since the one writing them is the subject . 

When you write your autobiography, you give the world your unique take on your life, what happened to you, and what you did with it.

Your autobiography is not meant to be objective; it’s meant to be personal. 

Autobiographies generally cover the entirety of the subject’s (i.e., author’s) life up to that point. Memoirs typically focus on a particular part of the subject’s life. 

Biographies, too, focus on certain parts or aspects of the subject’s life, whether it’s a scandal, a collection of little-known fact-based anecdotes, or the secret to the subject’s success (or downfall). 

the difference between autobiography and biography

The point of a biography is to satisfy the ideal reader’s curiosity about the subject. 

Autobiographies focus less on facts than on the motives behind them — specifically the subject’s motives since those are the only ones the author knows. 

The author-subject writing their autobiography is in a unique position to understand the true motives of their book’s main character. 

And readers who genuinely care about that are more likely to take the subject-author’s word than that of an unauthorized biographer speculating as to the subject’s motives.. 

Now that you know the facts behind the biography vs. autobiography question, we hope you find it easier to explain the differences to anyone who asks. 

Whatever type of life story you’re writing, may you have all the information, insight, and resources you need to make it unputdownable — and a credit to your name. 

Happy writing! 

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the difference between biography or autobiography

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > What’s the difference between a biography and an autobiography?

What’s the difference between a biography and an autobiography?

If you’ve ever set foot in a bookstore, you’ve likely come across both autobiographies and biographies that tell about the lives of notable individuals. Let’s take a look at the most important differences between these non-fiction books.

A picture of Steve Jobs and his autobiography

What is a biography?

Typically written in the third person, a biography is a detailed story about a living or deceased person’s life. A third party writes this non-fiction account of someone’s life. Let’s say Person A is a famous singer who recently passed away. Person B researches and writes a fact-based story on the famous singer’s life from start to finish. Person B’s factual story of Person A’s life is a biography.

Types of biographies

Biographies don’t always take the same approach or follow the same structure. Some are more official, while others get more creative. Writers can choose from a few common biography types, including:

  • Authorized biographies, which received the subject’s input and/or permission.
  • Unauthorized biographies, which were written without the subject’s approval or input.
  • Biographical novels, which were inspired by a real person’s life, but feature embellishments that may make the story more interesting.
  • Group biographies, which focus on groups of people rather than a single person.

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Examples of biographies

Each biography is a window into someone’s life, offering unique insights and perspectives. From the struggles of historical figures to the triumphs of artistic icons, biographies are not just informative but can also be deeply inspiring. Here are a few examples:

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a biography that describes the life of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cells were extremely important for medical research.
  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie is a biography that describes Catherine the Great’s origins and rise to power as a Russian empress.
  • Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera details the painter’s life and famous works.

What is an autobiography?

Usually written in the first person, an autobiography is when the author writes about their own life. This subjective account is unique because it allows the author to share details of their life that another writer might not have been able to uncover.

Types of autobiographies

There are two main types of autobiographies: complete autobiographies and memoirs. In a complete autobiography, the author begins their story with their roots or birth and ends the autobiography at their current age. In a memoir, the author writes about a specific period of their life. For example, a famous actor may begin a memoir by sharing their first role in a movie, rather than sharing details about the beginning of their life or their childhood.

Examples of autobiographies

Autobiographies offer a unique lens into the lives of their authors, providing firsthand accounts of their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Here are a few examples of notable autobiographies:

  • In Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, Yogananda provides a first-hand account of his life and spiritual growth.
  • In The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, Keller shares her life from birth until she was 22. She shares how she learned to communicate despite being blind and deaf.
  • In The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X, he shares his life from childhood through adulthood and how he impacted the civil rights movement.

In summary, a biography is a story of someone’s life, written by a different person, versus an autobiography where an author writes about their own life.

Why should you read biographies (or autobiographies)?

Biographies and autobiographies are a great way to get an in-depth look at the lives of politicians, musicians, historical figures, innovators, and more. If there’s a famous person that you admire, there’s likely a biography written about them or an autobiography that they wrote themselves that can teach you more about their accomplishments.

If you’re interested in writing a biography or autobiography, see how you can write, research, and organize a book using OneNote . Whether you’re just putting together your first draft or you’re still outlining your story , you can elevate your writing in real time with Microsoft Editor .

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Autobiography vs Biography: Must-Read Key Differences

  • November 17, 2023

Table of Contents:

What is the difference between autobiography and biography.

  • 1- Author's Perspective: 

2- Authorship: 

  • 3- First-Person vs. Third-Person: "I" or "They"?

4- Level of Subjective Information: 

5- personal emotions and reflections:, 6- control over the narrative: , 7- personal insights: , 8- reliability and objectivity: , 9- writing style: , 10- memories vs. research, faqs: autobiography vs biography, what is an autobiography, what is a biography, what is a major difference between autobiographies and biographies, are there notable examples of autobiographies and biographies in literature, conclusion:, autobiography 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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

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

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.

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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Difference Between Biography and Autobiography (With Table)

Photo of Basir Saboor

Biography and autobiography are two literary genres that revolve around the life stories of individuals. Despite sharing a common subject matter, there are distinct differences between these two forms of literature. While both biography and autobiography aim to tell the life story of an individual, they differ in terms of authorship and perspective. In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between biography and autobiography with the help of a table and other key differences.

Table of Contents

Biography Vs Autobiography (Chart)

  • Difference Between Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Difference Between Race and Ethnicity
  • Difference Between Technical and Creative Writing

What is Biography?

A biography is a written account of a person’s life story, written by another person. It is an objective account of the life of an individual, including significant events, accomplishments, and notable contributions. A biographer conducts extensive research to gather information about the individual, including interviews with family members, friends, and colleagues. Biographers often use primary sources such as diaries, letters, and other personal documents to gain a deeper understanding of the subject’s life.

A biography can be written in various formats, including a chronological account of the subject’s life, a thematic approach that focuses on specific aspects of the individual’s life, or a combination of both. Biographies can be written for a wide audience or targeted to a specific demographic. Biographies can also be written in different styles, such as academic or popular, depending on the intended readership.

What is Autobiography?

An autobiography is a written account of a person’s life story, written by the individual themselves. It is a first-person account of one’s life experiences, providing insights into the author’s thoughts, feelings, and personal perspectives. Autobiographies often provide a deeper understanding of the subject’s life, as they offer unique insights into the individual’s thought processes and motivations.

Autobiographies can also be written in various formats, including a chronological account of the author’s life, a thematic approach that focuses on specific events or experiences, or a combination of both. Like biographies, autobiographies can be written for a wide audience or targeted to a specific demographic.

Key Differences Between Biography and Autobiography

While comparing biography and autobiography, here we have included some of the key differences between them. They are as follows.

  • Authorship: The most significant difference between biography and autobiography is authorship. A biography is written by another person, while an autobiography is written by the individual themselves. Biographies are therefore objective accounts of the subject’s life, while autobiographies are subjective accounts of the author’s experiences.
  • Perspective: Biographies offer an outsider’s perspective on the subject’s life, while autobiographies offer a first-person perspective. Autobiographies provide unique insights into the author’s thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences. On the other hand, biographies rely on interviews and primary sources to gain a deeper understanding of the subject’s life.
  • Purpose: Biographies are often written to provide an objective account of an individual’s life. On the other hand, autobiographies are often written to offer a personal perspective on the author’s life experiences. Biographies can also be written to provide insights into historical events or cultural movements. In contrast, autobiographies are often written for therapeutic or personal reasons.

The following comparison table also shows the difference between biography and autobiography in a brief manner.

comparison table for difference between biography and autobiography

3 Similarities between Biography and Autobiography

  • Both genres aim to tell the life story of an individual. Whether written by an author or the individual themselves, both biographies and autobiographies aim to provide a comprehensive account of the subject’s life experiences.
  • Both genres rely on extensive research to gather information about the subject’s life. Biographers conduct interviews and use primary sources to gain a deeper understanding of the individual’s life, while autobiographers draw on their personal experiences and memories to create a first-person account.
  • And finally, both genres can be written in various formats, including a chronological account of the subject’s life or a thematic approach that focuses on specific events or experiences.

In conclusion, biography and autobiography are two distinct genres that share a common subject matter. whether you prefer reading about the lives of others or writing about your own experiences, both biography, and autobiography offer rich and engaging narratives that can inspire, educate, and entertain readers for generations to come.

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Basir Saboor

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the difference between biography or autobiography

Difference between Biography and Autobiography

When you read a biography or an autobiography, you read about a person’s life, right? So what is the difference between them and which type of writing should you choose when you feel up for such reading? If you are still a bit confused about the difference between biography and autobiography, read this article.

  • 1 Summary Table
  • 2 Descriptions
  • 3 Biography vs Autobiography

Summary Table

Descriptions.

biography of Anne Frank

A biography is an account of a person’s life. It is non-fictional and an objective rendering of information about everything that has shaped the individual and has made him/her famous. Biographies are usually written about famous people like writers, artists, movie stars, or people who stood up against an oppressive system. This piece of writing tries to explain the context of their lives and actions – what made them who they are and caused them to write, to act, or to take a stand. This is why the person writing a biography must be very knowledgeable and well-informed. Years of study are required.

A biography normally requires consent from the person it is about or from his/her living relatives. It is written in the third person and the information must be true and checked by the author. The account is objective and it has the purpose of informing the readers.

Diary of a Young Girl

An autobiography is an account of one’s own life. The subject and the author are one and the same person. This type of writing is usually more subjective and is filled with emotions and personal accounts, impressions, and resolutions which have led to that person’s great achievements. It must not be fictional, but it still is just one person’s opinion on a series of events which may include other people as well. It is written in first person and it is meant to inform and to present a personal point of view.

Biography vs Autobiography

So what is the difference between biography and autobiography?

The main difference between a biography and an autobiography is the author. A biography is written by another person, while the autobiography is written by the subject of the book. This results in a series of small differences that can help you decide which type of account to choose.

To write a biography, the writer will have to collect facts, usually from other people or from other written texts. The author of an autobiography, however, will tell things as he/she experienced them. The biography author is compelled to be objective, while the author writing his own account can present personal opinions.

Access to certain information may be limited to an author who is an outsider, while the author who doubles as the subject can tell you exactly what he/she felt or thought in key moments. Therefore, a biography helps to provide you with clear context, as this information is easier to access. An autobiography, on the other hand, can provide you with clear motive and situation assessments.

The biography author will write in third person, while the autobiography author will write in first person, making the account more personal.

the difference between biography or autobiography

How To Write An Autobiography

Autobiography Vs Biography

Last updated on: Apr 26, 2024

Autobiography vs. Biography - What are the Differences?

By: Cordon J.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Mar 22, 2023

Autobiography vs Biography

Have you ever wondered about the differences between an autobiography and a biography?

You may have heard of these two terms before, but do you know how they are different from each other? Unfortunately, many people think that both could be used interchangeably, and that both are the same.

Well, you're in luck, because in this blog, we'll explore autobiographies and biographies and their unique perspectives on people's lives. This blog will go over the key differences between biographies and autobiographies so you can make a decision easily.

So without further delay let’s get started!

Autobiography vs Biography

On this Page

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is a book written by someone about their life. Autobiographies are written in the first person throughout because the writer is the protagonist and the main character of the story.

The purpose of writing an autobiography is to provide a detailed account of the narrator's accomplishments and life events.

The autobiography style generally begins with early childhood and proceeds chronologically, listing all of a person's experiences throughout their life.

Autobiographies include information about where someone grew up, their career, life choices, accomplishments, and challenges they overcame.

Related Blog: Click here to discover the various types of autobiography .

Elements of an Autobiography

Let's explore these key components of an autobiography:

  • First-person narrative: An autobiography is written in the first person, which means that the author tells their story using the pronoun "I."
  • Personal tone: As the author is writing about their own experiences and insights, autobiographies often have a more personal and introspective tone.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Autobiographies aim to cover the entire life story of the author, from their childhood to the present. This can include pivotal events such as the author's birth, family life, education, relationships, etc.
  • Life experiences and motivations: Autobiography informs the audience about the author's life experiences, motivations, and perspectives. This can include the author's beliefs, values, and goals. 
  • ‘The Story of My Life’ by Helen Keller
  • ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank

Here's a short sample autobiography:

Follow the link to uncover the secrets to writing an astonishing autobiography, with this “ how to write an autobiography ” guide.

What is a Biography?

A biography is a history of a person's life written by someone else. Biographies are often written about famous individuals and personalities like sportsmen, motivational speakers, inspirational figures, etc.

Biographies also cover the subject's entire life. Therefore, it is crucial to include important information about the person's place of birth, education, childhood experiences, partnerships, and so on.

Elements of a Biography

Here are some key components of biography:

  • Third-person perspective: Biographies are written in the third-person perspective. That means that the author tells the subject's story using pronouns such as "he," "she," or "they." 
  • Chronological order: Biographies are typically organized in chronological order. It means that biographies are structured according to the timeline of the subject's life. 
  • Formal and impersonal tone: Biographies are often more formal and impersonal in tone than autobiographies. The author may use a more scholarly writing style and avoid revealing personal thoughts and feelings. 
  • Comprehensive coverage: Biographies are meant to provide a comprehensive account of the subject's life. It covers all of the important events and milestones in their life, from their childhood to their achievements, and legacy. 
  • Accuracy: Biographies are often used as historical or educational resources. Therefore, it is important that the information presented is accurate and well-researched. 
  • ‘His Excellency: George Washington’ by Joseph J. Ellis
  • ‘Einstein: The Life and Times’ by Ronald William Clark

Here is a short biography sample:

Looking for an exceptional biography to read? Click on the link to read one for inspiration!

Autobiography vs. Biography - Key Differences

There are a few significant distinctions between biographies and autobiographies, despite the fact that they may appear to be similar.

Let’s take a look at some significant and key differences between the two.

Watch the video below to gain a more profound comprehension of autobiography vs biography.

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Similarities between an Autobiography and a Biography

Although they are distinct genres, biographies and autobiographies do have some things in common.

  • Primary and Main Goal - The main goal of both types of books is to tell the story and life events of a person's life.
  • Non-fiction Works - Autobiographies and biographies are nonfiction works that document significant events in a person's life. You can safely say that that is a kind of nonfiction novel that presents the facts.
  • Prominent Figures as Subjects - Biography or autobiography is typically used to tell the stories of well-known people who have made remarkable achievements. Based on these similarities, many people wrongly think that they are the same.

Based on these similarities, many people wrongly think that they are the same.

Get a closer look at this autobiography vs biography worksheet we've designed for you!

Autobiography vs Biography Worksheet

Are Autobiography and Memoir the Same?

A biography includes the life of an individual, whereas a memoir is not necessarily an autobiography.

An autobiography, as the name implies, is a book that includes details like the person’s life story in chronological order. A formal, non-fiction style is employed.

A memoir focuses on a specific incident or component of someone's life rather than the complete narrative. Writing a memoir is more casual and emotional in nature.

Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir

Here is a complete comparison chart that displays the key differences between all three kinds of works.

Curious to learn the differences between autobiographies and memoirs in detail? If so, click on this link to get your questions answered!

In an autobiography, the subject is telling a story about their own life. In a biography, someone else tells the story of someone's life. Both are important and interesting, but they both have different perspectives to offer. 

With so many options out there, we hope this blog helps narrow your search for one that best suits your interests!

Still, feeling unsure about how to start your autobiography or biography? MyPerfectPaper.net can help! 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is better: biography or autobiography.

Both of these works are different from each other so no one could say for sure which one is better. Both are written for the same purpose and, therefore, besides the usual differences, both of them serve an important purpose.

What are the 4 types of biography?

Here are the 4 types of biography;

  • Historical fiction
  • Academic biography
  • Fictional academic
  • Prophetic biography

All 4 are different from each other and have different purposes also.

What is the difference between an autobiography and an autobiographical narrative?

An autobiography is a complete account of a person’s life, written and told in the person’s own words. However, when only a few events are narrated, it becomes an autobiographical narrative.

Is autobiography a narrative?

An autobiography is a nonfiction narrative. It means that though the stories and events are true it is told in a storytelling format.

How long is an autobiography?

Usually, an autobiography is between 200 to 400 pages long.

Can a book be both biography and autobiography?

No, a book cannot be both biography and an autobiography at the same time. A biography is a written account of someone's life as written by someone else. In contrast, an autobiography is a written account of someone's life written by the person themselves.

Cordon J.

Law, Education

Cordon. is a published author and writing specialist. He has worked in the publishing industry for many years, providing writing services and digital content. His own writing career began with a focus on literature and linguistics, which he continues to pursue. Cordon is an engaging and professional individual, always looking to help others achieve their goals.

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Home » Writing » Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir

the difference between biography or autobiography

What is a Biography?

A biography, also called a bio, is a non-fiction piece of work giving an objective account of a person’s life. The main difference between a biography vs. an autobiography is that the author of a biography is not the subject. A biography could be someone still living today, or it could be the subject of a person who lived years ago.

Biographies include details of key events that shaped the subject’s life, and information about their birthplace, education, work, and relationships. Biographers use a number of research sources, including interviews, letters, diaries, photographs, essays, reference books, and newspapers. While a biography is usually in the written form, it can be produced in other formats such as music composition or film.

If the target person of the biography is not alive, then the storytelling requires an immense amount of research. Interviews might be required to collect information from historical experts, people who knew the person (e.g., friends and family), or reading other older accounts from other people who wrote about the person in previous years. In biographies where the person is still alive, the writer can conduct several interviews with the target person to gain insight on their life.

The goal of a biography is to take the reader through the life story of the person, including their childhood into adolescence and teenage years, and then their early adult life into the rest of their years. The biography tells a story of how the person learned life’s lessons and the ways the person navigated the world. It should give the reader a clear picture of the person’s personality, traits, and their interaction in the world.

Biographies can also be focused on groups of people and not just one person. For example, a biography can be a historical account of a group of people from hundreds of years ago. This group could have the main person who was a part of the group, and the author writes about the group to tell a story of how they shaped the world.

Fictional biographies mix some true historical accounts with events to help improve the story. Think of fictional biographies as movies that display a warning that the story is made of real characters, but some events are fictional to add to the storyline and entertainment value. A lot of research still goes into a fictional biography, but the author has more room to create a storyline instead of sticking to factual events.

Examples of famous biographies include:

  • His Excellency: George Washington  by Joseph J. Ellis
  • Einstein: The Life and Times  by Ronald William Clark
  • Princess Diana – A Biography of The Princess of Wales  by Drew L. Crichton

Include photos in your autobiography

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is the story of a person’s life written by that person. Because the author is also the main character of the story, autobiographies are written in the first person. Usually, an autobiography is written by the person who is the subject of the book, but sometimes the autobiography is written by another person. Because an autobiography is usually a life story for the author, the theme can be anything from religious to a personal account to pass on to children.

The purpose of an autobiography is to portray the life experiences and achievements of the author. Therefore, most autobiographies are typically written later in the subject’s life. It’s written from the point of view of the author, so it typically uses first person accounts to describe the story.

An autobiography often begins during early childhood and chronologically details key events throughout the author’s life. Autobiographies usually include information about where a person was born and brought up, their education, career, life experiences, the challenges they faced, and their key achievements.

On rare occasions, an autobiography is created from a person’s diary or memoirs. When diaries are used, the author must organize them to create a chronological and cohesive story. The story might have flashbacks or flashforwards to describe a specific event, but the main storyline should follow chronological order from the author’s early life to their current events.

One of the main differences between an autobiography vs. a biography is that autobiographies tend to be more subjective. That’s because they are written by the subject, and present the facts based on their own memories of a specific situation, which can be biased. The story covers the author’s opinions on specific subjects and provides an account of their feelings as they navigate certain situations. These stories are also very personal because it’s a personal account of the author’s life rather than a biography where a third party writes about a specific person.

Examples of famous autobiographies include:

  • The Story of My Life  by Helen Keller
  • The Diary of a Young Girl  by Anne Frank
  • Losing My Virginity  by Richard Branson

A collection of letters and postcards

What is a Memoir?

Memoir comes from the French word  mémoire , meaning memory or reminiscence. Similar to an autobiography, a memoir is the story of a person’s life written by that person. These life stories are often from diary entries either from a first-person account or from a close family member or friend with access to personal diaries.

The difference between a memoir vs. an autobiography is that a memoir focuses on reflection and establishing an emotional connection, rather than simply presenting the facts about their life. The author uses their personal knowledge to tell an intimate and emotional story about the private or public happenings in their life. The author could be the person in the story, or it can be written by a close family member or friend who knew the subject person intimately. The topic is intentionally focused and does not include biographical or chronological aspects of the author’s life unless they are meaningful and relevant to the story.

Memoirs come in several types, all of which are written as an emotional account of the target person. They usually tell a story of a person who went through great struggles or faced challenges in a unique way. They can also cover confessionals where the memoir tells the story of the author’s account that contradicts another’s account.

This genre of writing is often stories covering famous people’s lives, such as celebrities. In many memoir projects, the celebrity or person of interest needs help with organization, writing the story, and fleshing out ideas from the person’s diaries. It might take several interviews before the story can be fully outlined and written, so it’s not uncommon for a memoir project to last several months.

Memoirs do not usually require as much research as biographies and autobiographies, because you have the personal accounts in diary entries and documents with the person’s thoughts. It might require several interviews, however, before the diary entries can be organized to give an accurate account on the person’s thoughts and emotions. The story does not necessarily need to be in chronological order compared to an autobiography, but it might be to tell a better story.

Examples of famous memoirs include:

  • Angela’s Ashes  by Frank McCourt
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings  by Maya Angelou
  • Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S.  Grant by Ulysses S. Grant

Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir Comparison Chart

Check out some of our blogs to learn more about memoirs:

  • What is a memoir?
  • 5 tips for writing a memoir
  • Your memoir is your legacy

Ready to get started on your own memoir, autobiography, or biography? Download our free desktop book-making software, BookWright .

Autobiographies , Biographies , memoirs

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Difference Between Biography and Autobiography

Raees Ahmad

The written accounts of people’s lives have always been a source of inspiration, knowledge, and understanding of history and human experiences. Two common forms of such literary works are biography and autobiography. While they both delve into the lives of individuals, there are significant differences between the two genres. In this article, we will explore the dissimilarities between biography and autobiography, understanding their definitions, characteristics, and significance as unique forms of storytelling.

Table of Contents

The main difference between Biography and Autobiography is that a biography is a written account of a person’s life written by someone else, while an autobiography is a written account of a person’s life written by the individual themselves.

Below is a table highlighting the possible differences between a Biography and an Autobiography:

What is a Biography?

A biography is a written account of a person’s life, typically written by someone else. It is an objective narrative that delves into the person’s background, experiences, achievements, challenges, and impact on society. Biographies often aim to provide a comprehensive and unbiased view of the subject’s life, capturing the essence of their character and accomplishments.

Characteristics of Biographies

  • Third-Person Perspective: Biographies are usually written in the third person, maintaining a degree of detachment between the author and the subject.
  • Research and Fact-Based: Biographers extensively research and verify the information presented, ensuring accuracy and authenticity.
  • External Insight: Biographers analyze the subject’s life from an outsider’s perspective, often incorporating historical and cultural context.

Importance of Biographies

Biographies hold significant value in various ways:

  • Preserving History: Biographies document the lives of notable individuals, preserving their legacy for future generations.
  • Inspiration: Reading about the lives of accomplished individuals can inspire and motivate readers to overcome challenges and achieve greatness.
  • Understanding Human Nature: Biographies provide insights into human emotions, behaviors, and decision-making processes.

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography, on the other hand, is a self-written account of a person’s life. It offers a first-hand perspective as the author narrates their own experiences, memories, and reflections. Autobiographies are deeply personal and provide an intimate understanding of the author’s thoughts and emotions.

Characteristics of Autobiographies

  • First-Person Perspective: Autobiographies are written in the first person, offering a direct connection between the author and the reader.
  • Subjective Narration: Authors infuse their personal feelings, perspectives, and interpretations into the narrative.
  • Reflection and Introspection: Autobiographies often include self-reflection and introspection, allowing readers to understand the author’s growth and development.

Importance of Autobiographies

Autobiographies hold significance for various reasons:

  • Personal Connection: Readers can emotionally connect with the author’s experiences and empathize with their journey.
  • Insight into Personal Development: Autobiographies provide insights into how life experiences shape an individual’s character and choices.
  • Authenticity: Being a firsthand account, autobiographies are considered highly authentic and genuine.

Key Biography vs. Autobiography Differences

Perspective.

The primary difference between biography and autobiography lies in the perspective of the narrative. Biographies are written by someone else, providing an external view of the subject’s life, while autobiographies are self-written, offering a subjective and personal viewpoint.

In biographies, the author is an outsider who researches and writes about the subject’s life. In contrast, autobiographies are authored by the individual whose life is being depicted.

Reliability

Biographies are often regarded as more reliable since they are based on extensive research and multiple sources. Autobiographies, while authentic, may carry some degree of bias and subjectivity.

Biographies typically cover the entire life of the subject, including early life, achievements, and later years. Autobiographies, on the other hand, may focus on specific life events or periods.

Biographies target a broader audience, offering an impartial account of the subject’s life. Autobiographies may attract readers who seek a personal connection with the author’s experiences.

Writing Styles of Biography and Autobiography

Narrative approach.

Biographies often use a chronological approach, presenting events in the order they occurred. Autobiographies may use a more fluid and reflective approach, emphasizing personal experiences and emotions.

Third-Person vs. First-Person

Biographies adopt the third-person perspective, providing objectivity. Autobiographies, as a first-person account, offer a sense of intimacy and direct involvement.

Impact and Significance of Biography and Autobiography

Both biography and autobiography play crucial roles in literature and history:

  • Impact: Biographies provide insights into the lives of historical figures, leaders, and influential individuals, offering valuable lessons and inspiration for readers.
  • Significance: They contribute to preserving and understanding the past, shaping collective memory, and promoting empathy and understanding of diverse experiences.

Autobiography:

  • Impact: Autobiographies offer a direct and personal perspective, enabling readers to connect intimately with the author’s life journey, struggles, and achievements.
  • Significance: Autobiographies empower individuals to share their unique stories, inspiring others, fostering self-reflection, and promoting the importance of personal narratives in human history.

Examples of Famous Biographies and Autobiographies

Famous biographies.

  • Nelson Mandela: “Long Walk to Freedom”
  • Steve Jobs: “Steve Jobs”
  • Albert Einstein: “Einstein: His Life and Universe”

Famous Autobiographies

  • Maya Angelou: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
  • Benjamin Franklin: “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”
  • Malala Yousafzai: “I Am Malala”

In conclusion, the difference between biography and autobiography lies in the perspective, authorship, and focus of the narrative. Biographies are written by others, providing an objective account of a person’s life, while autobiographies are authored by the subject, offering a subjective and personal viewpoint. Both genres contribute significantly to literature and history, presenting diverse perspectives on the lives of remarkable individuals and providing readers with valuable insights into the human experience. Whether it is the impartiality of biographies or the intimate self-reflection of autobiographies, these literary forms enrich our understanding of the world and the people who shape it.

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Meet Raees Ahmad, the founder and CEO of KnowDifferences.com. He's like a superhero with different skills. One part of him manages content, another part is an expert at organizing and planning writing tasks, and two parts of him lead a team of talented content creators. By working together, they make amazing content for everyone to enjoy.

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Q. What's the difference between an autobiography, biography or a memoir?

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Answered By: Jeffrey Orrico Last Updated: Jul 18, 2023     Views: 46180

While each of these forms of writing illuminates the life, work, and worldview of an individual, they are differentiated by the degree of objectivity and factual content, as well stylistic approaches and perspectives.

Note: The below definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary [electronic resource.] 

Autobiography, n. – 

Typically in book form, an autobiography is an account of a person’s life told by the himself or herself. An autobiography tends to be a more general history, while a memoir focuses on a specific piece of the author's life.    

Biography, n. –

A biography is a written account (although it may come in other forms such as recorded or visual media) of events and circumstances of another person’s life. Most commonly written about a historical or public figure, it profiles a person’s life or life’s work.

Diary, n. – 

A daily record of personal matters, transactions or events affecting the writer personally or the result of the author’s observations. 

Journal, adj. AND  n. – 

Often referring to a more detailed account than that of a diary, a journal contains events or matters of personal interest, kept for one’s own use. Either in the form of daily accounts or entries for when events occur. 

Memoir, n. – 

A record of events or history from the personal knowledge, experience, perspective or special source information of the author. Frequently include autobiographic reminiscences. Memoirs tend to cover in detail a specific aspect of an author's life, while an autobiography is a more general history. 

Narrative, n. – 

When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways. 

  Purdue Online Writing Lab

Expository, n. –

The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.

Purdue Online Writing Lab

Oral history, n. – 

A story or collection of stories or past events that have been passed down by word of mouth. Sometimes including record oral histories, this form of history relies on compiling recollections from people who were told these histories or whom lived these stories.  

Conducting Oral Histories with Veterans

In recent years, publishers have avoided classifying life stories as “autobiographies”, with the attendant expectation of editorial fact-checking.  By using  a classification such as  “memoir” or “personal essay” or “narrative”, a number of works later determined to be mostly or entirely fictional have been initially presented as nonfiction (e.g.  A Thousand Little Pieces by James Frey).  As when evaluating other research materials, it is important to consider whether the author is objective and complete in his or her writing.

In addition, only a biographer writing after the subject’s death is able to relate the events surrounding the death and the post-death consensus as to the individual’s significance.

Nonetheless, the personal narrative, even if subjective or incomplete, may add to one’s understanding of the individual’s values and viewpoint.

For briefer articles on individuals, try the biographies contained in print and online reference works, including:

  • Gale In Context: Biography
  • American National Biography
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Below are some library resources on interpreting the various forms of life writing.

  • Wolfreys , Julian.  Critical keywords in literary and cultural theory.  New York :  Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. [ PN44.5.W64 2004 ]
  • Cuddon , J.A.  ; Preston, C.E..  (rev.)   A dictionary of literary terms and literary theory . Malden, Mass. : Blackwell, 1998. [ REF  PN41 .C83 1998 ]
  • Turco , Lewis.  The book of literary terms : the genres of fiction, drama, nonfiction, literary criticism, and scholarship.  Hanover, NH : University Press of New England,  c1999. [ PN44.5.T87 1999 ]
  • Spengemann , William C.  The forms of autobiography : episodes in the history of a literary genre.  New Haven : Yale University Press, 1980. [ CT25.S63 1980 ]
  • Memories are made of this - and that
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Biography Vs Autobiography: Best Similarities and Differences 2024

Biography Vs Autobiography: Best Comparison

  • MatthewDusQues

The three primary formats used to tell the life story include autobiography, biography and memoir. Many think that the two writing forms are one and the same thing, but there are noticeable differences between the two.

The article is about the key difference between a biography and an autobiography. It discusses two significant differences: how much control the author has in deciding what to include and whether it’s written by someone who knows they will die soon.

For anyone who has ever wondered what the difference is between a biography and an autobiography, Penn Book will provide readers with a detailed explanation of the different types of Biography Vs Autobiography that exist along with their benefits/drawbacks to ensure you’re writing within the correct scope.

What is Autobiography?

What is a autobiography

Autobiographies are authored by the author. Because the author is the main character, autobiographies are first-person.

An autobiography recounts the writer’s life. An autobiography is a life tale, hence it’s usually written later in life.

These autobiographies start in childhood and cover their entire life. The author’s birth, upbringing, education, work history, life experiences, and achievements are frequently included in an autobiography.

An autobiography is more subjective than a biography. Autobiographies are based on the subject’s memories of the event. It’s also biased. Your autobiography reveals your thoughts and feelings.

Here are some examples of autobiographies that are well-known:

  • The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

The following are the key trails of an autobiography.

  • Written in the first person POV of the author’s life. Sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator
  • Formal and objectively more formal than memoirs but subjectively more than biographies
  • Wide in scope and timeline, often covering the author’s entire lifetime up to the present
  • More on facts than emotions
  • This requires more research and fact-checking than memoirs, but less so than biographies.

What is Biography?

What is a biography?

Biographies are life stories, like autobiographies. Biographies (bios) are non-fiction accounts of a person’s life written by someone else. Biographies are not autobiographies. Historical figures are usually biographied. You can write them without author permission.

Biographies cover the subject’s education, profession, and connections. Biographers use letters, diaries, photographs, interviews, newspapers, and reference books. Biographies are written. Music and film can also produce it.

Authors sequence events. The book’s fundamental premise determines whether they categorise by themes, achievements, or topics.

Here are some examples of famous biographies:

  • His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
  • Einstein: The Life and Times by Ronald William Clark
  • Princess Diana – A Biography of The Princess of Wales by Drew L. Crichton
  • Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert: Through years of in-depth research, Gilbert offers a detailed and honest look into the man’s life who led Britain to victory in the Second World War.

The following are the key trails of a biography.

  • A story about another person’s life, usually a celebrity or public figure, is told from the third person point of view.
  • Formal and more objective than autobiographies and memoirs
  • Wide in scope and timeline, often covering all aspects of the subject’s life until the present
  • Only the facts are important
  • To ensure accuracy, it is necessary to do thorough research and fact checking.

What Is The Difference Between Biography And Autobiography?

Key Different Between Biography vs Autobiography

There are many similarities between autobiographies and biographies. However, there are also some notable differences between biography and autobiography although both describe the person’s character sketch and their life story.

Autobiographies resemble biographies. Biography and autobiography both depict a person’s character and life, but there are important variances.

Autobiography vs. biography : Authorship. The author autobiographs the book. Biographies are written by others.

Since autobiographies are about the author’s life , they’re written from his perspective (my, my). Biographies are written in the third person (she/her, his, etc.) to share someone else’s experience.

Authorized vs. Unauthorized : Unauthorized biographies exist. Autobiographies are permissible.

Biographies are more objective than autobiographies. Biographers use journalistic research. Interviews and historical research are included. Autobiographies are based on the author’s memories, not others’.

Autobiographies and biographical essays tell the author’s story , whereas biographies inform.

Autobiographies use first-person storytelling , such as “I, me,” to connect with readers. Biographies, on the other hand, are third-person and less personal.

Similar Elements in Autobiography vs Biography

Similar Elements in Autobiography vs Biography

Autobiographies and biographies share elements.

Both books tell a life story.

Nonfiction: Biographies and autobiographies depict life experiences.

Notable subjects: Biographies and autobiographies often feature famous athletes, politicians, business leaders, and others.

Children’s Biographies And Autobiographies

Children's Biographies And Autobiographies

Florence Nightingale : Y2 Information Texts: Sample biography.

This Snow White biography from our Y3 Information Texts will transport you: Snow White’s biography is here.

Mary Mackillop Our Mary MacKillop Biography Factual Recount Writing Sample can teach you about biography features before August 8th.

Autobiography:

Our The Diary of Anne Frank Autobiography Reading Comprehension can help your students understand autobiographical writing by focusing on a famous example.

You: Autobiographical writing is best taught by doing it. Help your pupils write memoirs using this brief template.

Is a Memoir the Same as an Autobiography?

Is a Memoir the Same as an Autobiography

Memoirs are not autobiographies, yet the author writes them.

Autobiographies recount the author’s life from childhood till publication. Formal, fact-based writing.

Memoirs are shorter than autobiographies and focus on one event or aspect of the author’s life. Memoirs are more romantic and casual.

Example of a Memoir: Born a Crime

Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime shows readers another side of his life. This book covers Noah’s childhood as a biracial child of a black mother and a white father in apartheid South Africa.

Noah was unlawful since his country forbade interracial marriages. The author’s difficult childhood is revealed in this book. It’s emotional and humorous.

Unique Insights Into Life Stories

Nonfiction books on intriguing people can be informative. These pieces can be sad, inspiring, or funny. They always teach. To extend your perspectives, read biographies, motivational autobiographies, and moving memoirs.

FAQs about Autobiography vs Biography

FAQs

What are the 4 types of biography?

A biography is a specialized form of life history. A biography is a narrative of events that is based on the life of one person. There are four types of biography: academic, fictional, historical, and prophetic.

How long is an autobiography?

Although there are no set length guidelines for autobiographies, a good guideline is 200-400 pages. This will ensure that your book is in line with readers’ expectations and help you get your book published traditionally or market your self-published work.

Does an autobiography have chapters?

A biography’s contents page will provide a good indication of the structure used by the author. Biographies usually have approximately 68,000 words long chapters, but there aren’t any hard and fast rules. A few chapters can add variety to the book’s pace.

How long is a short autobiography?

Nonfiction books usually have between 5 to 20 chapters. If you have less than five chapters, your book may run out of space or contain too many ideas.

How do facts in a memoir differ?

In a memoir, the facts are equivalent to the views. Compared to other forms of nonfiction, facts in memoirs are substantially lengthier. A list of facts is presented in a memoir’s conclusion. In a memoir, the author’s perspective shapes the facts.

How to identify an autobiography?

To identify an autobiography, look for a first-person account of someone’s life written by the subject themselves. Pay attention to clues in the text that suggest the author is writing about their own experiences, such as using the pronoun “I” or referring to events in the past tense. You can also look for information about the author on the book’s cover or in the introduction.

Why is autobiography more authentic?

An autobiography is a person’s story of their own life, written by them. It is more authentic than other types of biography because it comes directly from the person’s experiences and memories.

Biographies are usually more objective and unbiased than autobiographies because they rely on outside sources to inform their writing. Autobiography can be rawer as it relies solely on the author for information about themselves.

Both types have their advantages and disadvantages in their own way depending on what you’re researching or interested in reading about, so we hope this article has been helpful!

Read more: Memoir Vs Autobiography 2024: Which is better?

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Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir: Understanding the Differences

Autobiography, biography, and memoir are three genres of literature that share similarities but are also distinct from one another. While they tell stories about people’s lives, they differ in scope, perspective, and purpose. Understanding the differences between these genres is vital for readers, writers, and researchers alike.

So, what exactly makes them different from each other?

In this article, we’ll compare autobiography vs. biography vs. memoir, discover the definitions of each, and see the best examples of each genre.

But before we dive deep into the topic and learn about these three book genres, let’s see a quick overview of what an autobiography, a biography, and a memoir are for those in a hurry!

An autobiography is a book written by the person whose life is being described. It is a first-person narrative that covers the author’s entire life, from birth to the present day. On the other hand, a biography is a book written about a person’s life by someone else. It is a third-person narrative that covers the subject’s life in a factual and objective manner.

Meanwhile, a memoir is similar to an autobiography, but instead of describing the person’s entire life, it focuses on a particular event or a specific period and delves deeper into the author’s state of mind at the time.

Now that you have a rough idea of what an autobiography, a biography, and a memoir mean, let’s move ahead and explore all these book genres in much more detail.

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is a book written by an individual about their own life. It covers the author’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings throughout their life.

Autobiographies are typically written in the first person and are subjective in nature. They can cover many topics, including personal experiences, family history, career achievements, and more.

An autobiography aims to provide readers with an in-depth look into the author’s life. It can be a way for the author to share their story, inspire others, or leave a legacy. Autobiographies can also be used as a form of therapy, allowing the author to reflect on their life experiences and gain a deeper understanding of themselves.

what is an autobiography

Autobiographies can be both subjective and objective. While they are written from the author’s point of view, they can still provide an accurate account of events. However, it is essential to note that autobiographies are not always completely accurate, as memories can be flawed and biased.

Autobiographies can cover a wide range of events and information. Some may focus on a specific period or event in the author’s life, while others may cover their entire life from birth to the present day.

Autobiographies are often written by famous people, such as politicians, athletes, and celebrities, who want to tell their life stories in their own words. They can be insightful and revealing, but they can also be self-serving and biased.

Here are a few famous autobiographies:

  • “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
  • “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
  • “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
  • “An Autobiography” by Agatha Christie
  • “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Malcolm X
  • “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

What is a Biography?

A biography is a non-fictional account of someone’s life written by another person. It provides an objective understanding of the person’s life, covering various aspects such as their upbringing, education, career, achievements, and personal life.

The author of a biography is not the subject, and their interpretation of the subject’s life is not expected to be included in the text.

what is a biography

Biographies can be written about anyone, from historical figures to ordinary people who have made a significant impact on society. They are often researched and written by scholars, journalists, and other experts who want to provide a comprehensive and accurate account of a person’s life. And so, they are generally considered to be objective, as the author is expected to present a factual account of the subject’s life without any personal bias.

Biographies cover various events and information about the subject’s life. They may include details about the subject’s childhood, education, family life, career, and personal relationships. Biographies may also provide insights into the subject’s personality, beliefs, and values.

Here are some popular biographies and their authors:

  • “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
  • “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar
  • “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
  • “Mao: The Unknown Story” by Jung Chang
  • “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
  • “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson

What is a Memoir?

A memoir is a form of autobiographical writing that focuses on a specific period, theme, or series of events in the author’s life. It is much similar to an autobiography; the only difference is that an autobiography covers the author’s entire life while the memoir is focused on a particular period or event.

what is a memoir

Memoirs are personal narratives that typically include the author’s reflections, emotions, and thoughts about their experiences. They are often considered to be subjective, as they are based on the author’s memories and perceptions of events, rather than objective facts.

To be considered a memoir, a book must be a factual account of the author’s life, but it does not have to be a comprehensive chronicle of their entire life. Instead, it should provide insight into a particular aspect of their life, such as their childhood, career, or personal relationships.

Here are some popular memoirs that have resonated with readers:

  • “Educated” by Tara Westover
  • “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls
  • “Heavy: An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon
  • “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed
  • “Running with Scissors” by Augusten Burroughs
  • “Night” by Elie Wiesel

These memoirs are just a few examples of the wide range of experiences and themes that can be explored through this genre of writing.

Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir – Key Differences:

When it comes to writing about someone’s life, there are three main options: autobiography, biography, and memoir. While they all share similarities, there are some key differences between them.

Autobiography

An autobiography is a factual and historical account of one’s entire life written by the person themselves. It is usually written in the first person and covers the author’s life from beginning to end. Although autobiographies are often written by famous people, they can be written by anyone.

A biography is the story of someone’s life written by someone else. It is usually written in the third person and covers the subject’s life from birth to death.

A memoir is a nonfiction narrative in which the author shares their memories from a specific time period or reflects upon a string of themed occurrences throughout their life. Memoirs tend to focus on a particular aspect of the author’s life rather than their entire life story.

Comparison Chart

Here is a comparison chart highlighting the key differences between autobiography, biography, and memoir:

After examining the similarities and differences between autobiography, biography, and memoir, it is clear that each genre has its unique characteristics. While all three genres involve storytelling, they differ in their scope, focus, and style.

One notable difference between these genres is the level of objectivity. Biographies are often the most objective, as they are written by a third-party author who is not emotionally invested in the subject. In contrast, memoirs and autobiographies can be highly subjective, as they are written from the author’s perspective and often include their emotions and opinions.

Another difference is the audience. Autobiographies and biographies are usually intended for a broader audience, while memoirs are often more personal and may only appeal to a specific group of readers.

Overall, each genre has its strengths and weaknesses. It is up to the reader to decide which genre best suits their interests and preferences.

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Difference Between Autobiography and Biography

• Categorized under Language , Miscellaneous | Difference Between Autobiography and Biography

An autobiography is technically a work that describes a life that is created by that individual. In general this refers to a book that is written by the individual about their life. Autobiographies can vary in their artistic and reporting approach. Some may be intentionally entertaining and other intentionally informative. Typically they are intended to be fairly accurate regarding hard facts. Something that is common among some autobiographies is the work of a ghost-writer. A ghost writer may have a varying role in different projects. For example in one work they may simply create an outline or edit a work. In others,  they may actually help in the writing of the text. Usually if a ghost-writer writes the entire book you would expect the work to be labeled a biography.

A biography is also a work that describes a life. These works however are created by an individual other than the individual that the work is about. Biographies are typically considered to be accurate in regard to hard facts also. These works however are instances where differences even in the reporting of hard facts become evident. Some biographies, especially when written about living individuals can be the cause of controversy and the terming ‘unauthorized biography’ has become rather common. These distinctions and the greater possibility of revealing unwanted information attract a number of individuals to biographies for reading. Biographies can be written by anyone and about anyone. As a result it is less common that ghost-writers work on biographies, but it isn’t unheard of.

Autobiographies and biographies can provide information that is collected through time consuming research. It can inform an audience and bring them closer to the people they want to know. Many however, shouldn’t be considered the same types of reference works as encyclopedias and dictionaries.

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Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir: What’s the Difference?

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Autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs. These are the three main formats that tell a real person’s life story.

But unless you’re in the know, it can be a little confusing to tell the difference between each one. While they all serve a similar purpose, they each have distinctions that set them apart from one another.

In this post, I’ll explain the differences between autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs. And to clear up any confusion, I’ll provide some famous examples of each one.

Table of Contents

Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir

Autobiographies.

An autobiography is an account of a person’s life, written by that person. The word originates from the Greek’ auto’, ‘bios’ and ‘graphein’, meaning ‘self,’ ‘life,’ and ‘to write.’

Since the narrator is also the subject of the story, autobiographies tend to be written in the first person.

The majority of autobiographies begin by documenting childhood experiences, working their way chronologically upwards through the decades. The author will include major and minor events that have shaped their lives and stood out to them on their journey.

A detailed autobiography will cover things like a person’s earliest memories, early family life, and upbringing. They might share stories from their education, their careers, and their relationships, as well as triumphs and challenges they’ve faced along the way.

Since an autobiography is a life story, most people wait until their later years before they pen their own, but this isn’t always true. There are plenty of autobiographies written by younger people too. Anyone that has led an interesting life can write an autobiography.  

Here’s a few examples of autobiographies written by famous people:

  • Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin wrote his autobiography from 1771 to 1790. It tells the fascinating tale of his rise to power, from a boy born into a lower-middle-class family in Boston, Massachusetts, to becoming one of America’s founding fathers.

  • Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf, meaning ‘my struggle,’ gives us a raw and eye-opening look into the unseen life of this mass-murdering dictator. It’s not an easy or lighthearted read by any means. Still, it gives the reader a fascinating insight into his early life, his rise to power, and his own justifications behind his monstrous genocidal policies.

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This is a more unusual example of an autobiography, but it’s an autobiography non the less. Ann Frank’s real-life diary documents her experience as a Jewish teenager who was  forced into hiding  during World War II.

Biographies

Just like an autobiography, a  biography  tells a person’s life story. But in this case, it is written by another author, rather than the person themselves.

Biographies are most often written about famous, notable people who have led interesting lives. They usually include factual details, such as their birthplace, their education, their partners and relationships, and facts about their career.

But a good biography will also cover how key events have shaped a person’s life. Biography authors will compile information from a wide range of sources, including interviews with the person in question or their friends, colleagues, and family members. They may also source information from letters, diaries, past interviews, and periodicals.

Here are a few examples of famous biographies:

  • Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert

Many authors over the year have written biographies about his iconic British prime minister. Still, it’s Martin Gilbert’s work which has been by far the most successful and celebrated. 

Through years of in-depth research, Gilbert gives readers a comprehensive and honest insight into the life of the man who led Britain through the Second World War.

  • Frida: Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera

Hayden Herrera wrote this eye-opening biography of celebrated painter Frida Kahlo back in 1983, and it has since become the most authoritative account of her life in print.

The book documents Kahlo’s struggles and pain, but it also tells of her artistic prowess and her determination to leave a positive influence on the world.  

  • Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson 

Rather than focusing on Sylvia Plath’s painful struggles with mental health and her turbulent marriage to English poet Ted Hughs, this biography tells of Plath’s earlier life, before the pair ever met. Taking information directly from her detailed diary entries, Wilson has complied an insightful picture of the American writer’s early experiences before she found fame.

Taken from the French word for ‘memory,’ a  memoir  is a non-fiction, self-written account of a person’s life. But unlike an autobiography, a memoir focuses much more on the emotional journey rather than chronologically recounting facts and events.

Memoirs are essentially a collection of memories that are important to the author, and they paint an intimate portrait of what it was like to be in their shoes.

Due to the similar nature of memoirs and autobiographies, it’s sometimes hard to denote the difference between the two, especially in the modern era when genres are often blended, and new ways of writing become commonplace.

One key thing to remember is that a memoir is usually less of a timeline of events and more an informal, emotional picture of a person’s life. Memoirs will often focus on things like past regrets and life lessons learned along the way, whereas autobiographies concentrate on facts and things that happened.

Here are a few examples of famous memoirs:

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The American writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou wrote a total of seven autobiographies and memoirs during her lifetime, but this is the most notable one of them all.

This famous memoir documents the first seventeen years of her life as a young African American woman, and all of the struggles and turmoils she faced and overcame during that time.

  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This travel memoir written by the New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert was subsequently turned into a blockbuster movie starring Julia Roberts.

It documents Gilbert’s personal journey of rebirth following a painful divorce and invites the reader to share the valuable and life changing lessons she learns along the way.

  • Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt’s moving memoir takes us on an in-depth journey through his childhood years when he lived a profoundly impoverished life in Ireland during the midst of the Great Depression.

It won a 1997 Pulitzer Prize and has also been adapted to the silver screen.

Autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs all do one job: they tell a person’s non-fictional life story. But as you can see, each one is unique in its own way.

Do you have a favorite autobiography, biography, or memoir?

Let us know in the comments below.

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How To Write An Autobiography

Autobiography Vs Biography

Barbara P

Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoirs: The Differences & Similarities

Autobiography vs Biography

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Autobiography vs. Memoir - Differences & Similarities

How to Write a Memoir: Everything You Need to Know

Autobiographies, biographies, and memoirs are familiar ways to tell someone's story. But they aren't quite the same. Knowing the difference between them is crucial to getting your story right.

This blog is your guide to understanding the contrast between an autobiography, biography, and a memoir. We'll explain what sets them apart and what they have in common.

We will also include some examples to help you understand how to write these types of books. By uncovering these differences and similarities, we'll make it easier for both writers and readers to capture life stories. 

So, let’s dive right in!

Arrow Down

  • 1. Understanding Autobiography
  • 2. Understanding Biography
  • 3. Key Difference Between Autobiography and Biography - H2
  • 4. How are they Different from a Memoir?
  • 5. Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir: Comparison Chart

Understanding Autobiography

Writing an autobiography is different from a biography, although both describe the character of the story of one's life. 

An autobiography is a description of a person’s life written by that person. As the book is written by the author, they are the main characters. 

The aim of writing an autobiography is to describe the achievements and life experiences of the narrator. The autobiography format typically starts with early childhood and chronologically lists down life experiences. 

These include information about a person’s childhood, career, life choices, achievements, and the difficulties they face. 

Key Traits of an Autobiography

  • Written in the first person 
  • More subjective than biographies
  • Broad in scope often covers the writer’s entire life up to the present
  • Inform and explain the motive behind the subject’s actions

The “ Story of My Life” by Helen Keller is a famous example of an autobiography. 

Here is another example of an autobiography for you to understand the key traits:

Journey Through My Lens, A Life Unveiled - Autobiography Example

You can also refer to some more autobiography examples online to get inspiration and write about your life.

Understanding Biography

A biography is the story of a person’s life written by someone else. Usually, people write biographies about famous personalities. 

Since the writer is telling the story of someone, that’s why biographies include a third-person perspective. 

Like an autobiography, biographies also cover the entire subject’s life. So, it is important to include details about birthplace, education, childhood, relationships, etc. 

Key Traits of a Biography

  • Written in the third person point of view
  • Follows chronological order
  • More formal than autobiographies
  • Cover the subject’s entire life
  • Requires more research and fact-checking to ensure all the details are correct

“His Excellency: George Washington” by Joseph J. Ellis and “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson are some of the key examples of a biography. 

Look at an example to help you understand:

The Life of Marie Curie - Biography Example

Key Difference Between Autobiography and Biography - H2

Look at the key differences between autobiography and biography in the following table:

Autobiography vs. Biography Examples 

Here are some examples below to get a better understanding of the concepts:

Autobiography Example

Biography Example

How are they Different from a Memoir?

A memoir is similar to an autobiography as it is also the story of a person’s life written by that person.

The main difference between autobiography vs. memoir is that a memoir focuses on reflecting and establishing an emotional connection.

Writing a memoir not only presents the facts but also provides a personal and intimate story about the major happenings in their life.

Whereas a biography provides full contextual information that reads like a novel but is non-fiction in nature.

“The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank is a famous example of a historic memoir. 

Autobiography vs. Biography vs. Memoir: Comparison Chart

Want to know more about autobiography vs. biography vs. memoir meaning and the key differences and similarities?

Here is a comparison chart for your help:

Hopefully, the above guide helps you understand the difference between an autobiography, a biography, and a memoir.

For a successful autobiography, you need to tell your story in a way to make your readers feel in your place.

Writing a captivating autobiography is not an easy task. You need to plan your time, read books for inspiration, and search for information about various writing styles and formats.

If this seems like an overwhelming task to you, then get help from our essay writer service .

Simply contact us and share your initial requirements, and we will get back to you in no time.

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Barbara P

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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How to Write an Autobiography

Memoir vs Autobiography: Understanding the Key Differences

By: Author Valerie Forgeard

Posted on May 10, 2024

Categories Reading , Storytelling , Writing

A memoir and an autobiography are both forms of personal narrative that delve into an individual’s life experiences, but they serve distinct purposes and adhere to different structures.

An autobiography is a comprehensive narration that covers an author’s entire life from birth to the present, offering a detailed chronology of events and facts. It is expected to be factually accurate and exhaustive, encapsulating a wide spectrum of life’s milestones.

A Stack Of Memoirs And Autobiographies Sit Side By Side On A Bookshelf, Their Covers Displaying Various Images And Titles

In contrast, a memoir tends to be more selective and subjective. It may focus on a particular theme or a significant segment of the author’s life, emphasizing emotional truth and personal reflection. Memoir writers often aim to establish a deep connection with the reader, employing a storytelling approach that prioritizes emotional resonance over chronological exactitude.

The distinction between the two can be seen in how they approach their narratives: a memoir is akin to a snapshot of a pivotal moment or series of moments, imparting personal insights and truths, while an autobiography resembles a full-length documentary, capturing a life’s story with precision and breadth.

Defining Memoir and Autobiography

In the realm of nonfiction, memoirs and autobiographies allow authors to present their life stories, but they adhere to different conventions and serve distinct literary functions.

Core Characteristics

Memoir is a term that specifies a narrative focused on specific memories or pivotal moments from the author’s life, often presented with reflective and emotional overtones. Memoirs tend to zoom in on a particular period or theme, offering deep insights into personal experiences and their broader impacts. They are less about the comprehensive chronology and more about the subjective journey and emotional truths.

Contrast, an autobiography might be seen as the exhaustive mapping of an individual’s life. It is a chronological account, commencing with birth and following through to the present or the end of their life. Autobiographies are structured around the factual and often strive for a complete historical portrayal of one’s life, including significant milestones and achievements.

Historical Evolution

The memoir as a literary genre has evolved significantly over time, with early iterations akin to autobiographies but without their sweeping scope. Modern memoirs, however, have become more selective, seeking to engage readers through shared human conditions and powerful storytelling.

The concept of an autobiography has remained relatively stable, rooted in the comprehensive recording of a person’s life. This form has long been associated with influential figures and serves as a method for public personas to share their life stories with a degree of formal structure and attention to factual detail.

Both genres reflect an author’s perspective and presence, thus contributing valuable insights into the human condition as documented through the lenses of personal history within nonfiction writing .

Structural Differences

In examining the structural variations between memoirs and autobiographies, one will find distinct differences in the approaches to chronology and the extent of the life story they cover.

Chronology in Narrative

Memoirs often adopt a non-traditional approach to chronology , focusing on thematic connections rather than strict chronological order . The structure can be flexible, weaving in and out of different time periods as they relate to the overall theme or message the author is conveying. This may involve flashbacks or reflective passages that link past events to current reflections.

Scope and Focus

Conversely, autobiographies usually maintain a broader scope , presenting the narrative of one’s whole life from birth to the present day in a linear fashion. The structure here is more traditionally chronological, cataloging events as they occurred through time.

An autobiography aims to provide a comprehensive history rather than emphasizing a specific period or theme. It seeks to document the full spectrum of experiences and achievements of an individual’s life.

Emotional and Thematic Content

A Solitary Journal Sits On A Weathered Desk, Surrounded By Scattered Memories And Mementos. The Pages Are Worn, Hinting At The Passage Of Time And The Weight Of Personal History

Choosing between a memoir and an autobiography often hinges on how the writer wishes to engage with the audience through emotional depth and central themes . This section will explore how each format addresses personal experiences and emotions , and how themes and messages are developed to establish a connection with the reader.

Personal Experiences and Emotion

In memoirs, authors have the latitude to deeply explore their personal experiences with a focus on emotional truth . They offer a profound emotional connection by reflecting on the feelings and insights that these experiences elicited. For instance, writing a memoir allows an author to share not just the events of their life but also the emotional journey that accompanied those events, providing a more intimate reading experience.

Themes and Messages

Contrasting with autobiographies, memoirs are often designed around a central theme or message , rather than a comprehensive life story. This focused approach allows the writer to illuminate lessons learned or insights gained, making it a powerful tool for delivering a resonating message .

The thematic bones of a memoir can vary widely, from overcoming adversity to the joy of discovery, each underscored by the emotional resonance that binds the narrative together.

The Role of the Author

A Pen Hovers Over A Blank Page, Poised To Capture The Essence Of The Author's Experiences. A Stack Of Books In The Background Represents The Body Of Work That Has Shaped Their Writing Journey

In both memoirs and autobiographies, the author undeniably plays a central role not only as the narrator but also as the subject. The nuances in their storytelling and purpose set apart the impact and structure of each genre.

First-Person Perspective

Memoirs and autobiographies are crafted from a first-person perspective , giving the reader an intimate lens through which to view the author’s experiences. The writer’s perspective is the core of both narratives, revealing personal essays that frame their experiences with immediacy and presence. A memoir often hinges on this perspective to draw the reader into specific personal stories.

Author’s Intention and Reflection

The intentions and reflections present in the author’s writing can vary significantly between a memoir and an autobiography. In autobiographies, the intention often circles around documenting the historical account of their life, elucidating a factual chronology from birth to the present.

Whereas in memoirs, the writer’s reflection is more pronounced, they emphasize particular life events to share a thematic or emotional journey rather than a comprehensive life story. The personal essay format of a memoir relies heavily on an author’s reflection to convey deeper truths about human experience .

Influence and Impact on the Reader

The measure of a book’s success often lies in its capacity to influence and impact its readers on an emotional and educational level. Memoirs and autobiographies, while similar, achieve this in distinct ways.

Creating Connection

Memoirs tap into the profound depths of the writers’ experiences to forge a strong emotional connection with their readers. This genre is not just about the events themselves but also about the emotions and reflections that accompany them. Readers often find memoirs relatable because they focus on specific themes , allowing individuals to see aspects of their own lives mirrored in the narrative. For instance, a memoir can make a reader feel as if they are walking alongside the author through their most transformative life events .

Educational Value

Autobiographies, however, often contain a comprehensive account of the author’s life, which can be educational in scope. Readers gain insights into not only the personal journeys but also historical and cultural contexts that shaped the author’s experiences.

An autobiography can serve as a de facto masterclass on an individual’s entire life, offering readers a chronological understanding of the subject’s history and development within their professional field or influence on society.

Examining Notable Works

In examining the impact and contribution to literature , it’s important to look at specific examples of autobiographies and memoirs that have left an indelible mark on readers and the literary world.

Famous Autobiographies

Autobiographies provide an encompassing look into an individual’s life, often presenting a chronological journey from birth to the present. Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom” is a profound testament to his resilience and leadership in the face of apartheid in South Africa. Benjamin Franklin is another distinguished figure whose autobiography has inspired countless individuals with its portrayal of American Enlightenment ideas.

The narratives of Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X are pivotal, highlighting racial injustice in America and the power of transformation ; the former through “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” and the latter via “ The Autobiography of Malcolm X ,” as told to Alex Haley. Helen Keller’s “The Story of My Life” also serves as a beacon of courage, detailing her journey as an author and activist who overcame the challenges of being deaf and blind.

Memorable Memoirs

A memoir often focuses on specific themes or periods from the author’s life, reflecting on the emotional and personal growth of the individual. Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” shines a light on identity and racism through the lens of her early experiences. Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes” provides a haunting yet humorous account of his impoverished childhood in Ireland.

Joan Didion crafted a powerful narrative on grief in “The Year of Magical Thinking,” reflecting on the year following the death of her husband. Elie Wiesel’s memoir “Night” confronts the horrors he survived during the Holocaust, embodying a chilling testament of history. Meanwhile, David Sedaris uses wit and observation in “Me Talk Pretty One Day” to explore the idiosyncrasies of his life. The personal struggles and triumphs of Malala Yousafzai are poignantly narrated in “I Am Malala,” inspiring readers worldwide.

Ernest Hemingway and Elizabeth Gilbert utilized the memoir format to recount significant personal journeys. Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” delves into his years in 1920s Paris, while Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” recounts a year of exploration and self-discovery.

Andre Agassi and Roxane Gay wrote memoirs offering raw insights into their lives. Agassi’s “Open” reveals the complexities behind his illustrious tennis career, while Gay’s “Hunger” is a brave exposition of her relationship with her body and self-image.

The transformative experiences of Piper Kerman in “Orange Is the New Black” and Malala Yousafzai ‘s activism in “I Am Malala” have struck chords with readers, highlighting the potential for personal memoirs to effect change and resonate on a global scale.

Understanding these notable works enriches our appreciation for the unique lenses through which autobiographies and memoirs are written, offering a profound glimpse into the human experience.

Writing Your Own

When one sets out to pen a personal narrative , they grapple with the choice of a memoir or autobiography, each offering a unique avenue for sharing life stories. The decision shapes not only the content but also the connection with readers.

Choosing Between Memoir and Autobiography

A memoir typically zooms in on specific themes or periods in a person’s life, conveying more emotional depth and personal insights. It’s a slice of life that resonates with overarching themes common to human experiences. For example, one might focus a memoir on the trials and triumphs of their artistic career, highlighting critical moments that define their personal growth and development.

An autobiography , on the other hand, presents a more comprehensive chronology of the author’s life. It’s often factual and holistic, starting from early life and progressing through major milestones and achievements. When an author wishes to document their entire life’s journey as a historical record, an autobiography is the suitable format. This approach requires meticulous attention to detail and often involves a chronological recount of the author’s life experiences.

Tips for Aspiring Authors

Begin with a plan : Establish whether the aim is to explore a particular aspect of life (memoir) or to narrate life from start to present (autobiography). Consult credible resources like Masterclass for insights into the distinctions.

Be reflective : Regardless of the chosen format, reflection is key. Tap into personal feelings, lessons learned, and experiences that shaped who you are. This introspective approach is paramount for both memoirs and autobiographies.

Develop your voice : A unique narrative voice is crucial. Whether it’s the conversational tone of a memoir or the authoritative recount of an autobiography, the voice should be compelling and authentic.

Focus on storytelling : Narrate your experiences in a way that engages readers. Grammarly suggests that good storytelling transcends mere facts, weaving experiences into a narrative that captivates readers.

Edit meticulously : A successful personal account demands rigorous editing. A story is only as compelling as it is clear and well-written.

In distinguishing between memoirs and autobiographies , it is essential for one to recognize the scope and detail each literary form entails. An autobiography offers a comprehensive recollection of an individual’s entire life story , chronicling their birth, upbringing, achievements , and struggles . It often follows a chronological structure and demands extensive reflection and thorough documentation of events.

Memoirs, on the other hand, present a more concentrated exploration, focusing on pivotal events or periods within a person’s life. These works are typically less comprehensive but rich in emotional and introspective detail. The lens through which a memoir is written is aimed at bringing forth the writer’s personal reflection on significant experiences, revealing insights into their choices and the lessons learned.

  • Autobiography : Chronicles the entirety of one’s life.
  • Memoir : Highlights specific chapters of personal significance.

Writers choose between these forms based on their intent to either recount their life’s full tapestry or illuminate select threads that hold unique personal meaning. Each format serves its purpose, allowing readers to delve into the narrative – be it the detailed map of a full life’s journey or the magnified examination of its critical junctures.

Turns Out Martin Luther King Jr. Didn’t Really Criticize Malcolm X

Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Eig sets the record straight about Martin Luther King Jr.’s oft-referenced criticism about fellow civil rights icon Malcolm X.

malcolm x and martin luther king jr

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King: A Life by Jonathan Eig

King: A Life by Jonathan Eig

But it turns out King never said it. Jonathan Eig, the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography King: A Life , discovered in his research that Alex Haley , the Roots author who conducted that famous Playboy interview, had misquoted King. In fact, King said while he disagreed with some of Malcolm’s methods, he was open-minded about the differences in their views.

King: A Life , the first major biography of the civil rights activist in 40 years, is based on hundreds of interviews and thousands of newly-discovered documents. Released in May 2023, it is the latest biography by Jonathan Eig , the author of New York Times bestsellers Ali: A Life , Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season , and Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig .

In a 2023 interview with Biography.com, Eig shared how he discovered this misquotation, the historic reverberations it had, and how this new information should change our views of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What was Martin Luther King Jr. widely believed to have said about Malcolm X before your recent discovery?

jonathan eig wearing a navy suit jacket and purple shirt, wearing glasses, smiling at the camera

In a Playboy magazine interview, which was the longest interview Dr. King ever conducted, he was asked what he thought about Malcolm X, and the reply as printed in Playboy was “In his litany of articulating the despair of the Negro without offering any positive, creative alternative, I feel that Malcolm has done himself and our people a great disservice. Fiery, demagogic oratory in the black ghettos, urging Negroes to arm themselves and prepare to engage in violence, as he has done, can reap nothing but grief.” That was the quote as published and said to be spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. about Malcolm X, but that is not actually what Dr. King said.

So according to your research, what did King actually say about Malcolm X?

He was asked what he thought about the Nation of Islam, and in that question, he said he thought the fiery demagogic oratory in the black ghettos was doing harm, but he didn’t say that about Malcolm. When asked about Malcolm, he said he disagreed with many of his views, particularly in the use of violence, but he said ‘I don’t want to make it sound like my way is the only way.’ That’s a big, big difference.

I discovered this going through the original transcript for Alex Haley’s interview. I found it in his papers at Duke University in the Rubenstein Library, where many of Haley’s papers are kept. When I read the original transcript of what Dr. King said in the actual interview, I was shocked at how different it was from when it was actually published.

What are the historic reverberations of this misquotation, which has been repeated so widely and so often over the decades?

It’s been repeated, it’s been taught in classrooms, it’s in textbooks, and it suggests King and Malcolm X were adversaries and that King viewed Malcolm X skeptically, when really King was advocating open-mindedness. I think it’s important because much of the journalism world and others at the time were trying to create friction between Black leaders, and history has reinforced that in some way, because they have been portrayed as polar opposites when, in fact, they have had much more common ground than the media suggested.

What would be a more accurate way to describe King’s opinion of Malcolm X?

I think it’s safe to say that Martin Luther King Jr. deplored all violence and did not approve of Malcolm X’s threats of violence in accomplishing his goals, but at the same time, they shared a great interest in black dignity, black equality, in forcing white America to give up some of the power that it was hoarding. So those are the things they shared. And the most important part of this revelation, this new information, may be the fact that Dr. King was humble when asked about Malcolm X and said I don’t think I have all the answers, as if to say he felt that he could learn from Malcolm X.

For people who have heard that famous misquote over the years, how should this new revelation revise our view of both King and Malcolm X?

For those of us who are still thinking of Malcolm and King as rivals, as opposites, we need to rethink that. And plenty of scholars have explored this in recent years, most recently Peniel E. Joseph in his book The Sword and the Shield , but plenty of people even before that. James Baldwin wrote that before his death, King and Malcolm had more in common than they did apart. And I think that that’s what we need to be focused upon, looking at the history and that two of our greatest activists were fighting the same battle, not fighting each other.

Alex Haley is widely renowned for his works like Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X , but he has been accused of plagiarism, copyright infringement, and historical inaccuracies in the past. Does this misquote change your view of his legacy or how you feel others should view his work?

I’m not really concerned with Haley’s legacy, but I am concerned with his work and whether we can trust it. As someone who is writing history and relying on primary source material, you’d like to think a published interview is primary source material, but you have to question everything, and when it comes to Alex Haley you have to question everything with heightened scrutiny. I think the next step for scholars is to look at The Autobiography of Malcolm X [for which Haley collaborated with Malcolm], which there has already been some indication it is flawed, but I think it requires further scrutiny.

To me, the moral of the story is when you found a good interview that somebody did, it’s worth going back and checking the notes and the tapes. It’s something I’ve learned to do as a biographer in recent years. Any time someone gives a really good interview, I want to see what they left out and, in this case, what they changed.

What were some of the other biggest surprises about King that you discovered while working on this book?

There were a lot of surprises. I discovered that his plagiarism began in high school, for one thing: He entered and came in third place in a public speaking contest with a plagiarized speech. I was able to get ahold of recordings Coretta made just after her husband’s assassination, and they talked about their early years dating right up to the assassination. There were some really good details there, and just hearing her voice describe these things was very powerful. I discovered an unpublished biography of Martin Luther King Sr. There has been lots of archival material that was just recently discovered, not to mention FBI documents.

Headshot of Colin McEvoy

Colin McEvoy joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had spent 16 years as a journalist, writer, and communications professional. He is the author of two true crime books: Love Me or Else and Fatal Jealousy . He is also an avid film buff, reader, and lover of great stories.

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IMAGES

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    Analyze the differences: biography vs autobiography. Includes descriptions & examples of each. We've even highlighted key differences for easy reference. Dictionary ... Authorship: Who writes the book is the primary difference between an autobiography and a biography. An autobiography is always written by the person the book is about.

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    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.

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    A biography is an account of a person's life, written by someone else. An autobiography is an account of a person's life, written by that person. A memoir is a special type of autobiography in which the person writes about a specific part of their life. This guide was designed to help you find both biographical and autobiographical information ...

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    Conclusion. In conclusion, the difference between biography and autobiography lies in the perspective, authorship, and focus of the narrative. Biographies are written by others, providing an objective account of a person's life, while autobiographies are authored by the subject, offering a subjective and personal viewpoint.

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    Typically in book form, an autobiography is an account of a person's life told by the himself or herself. An autobiography tends to be a more general history, while a memoir focuses on a specific piece of the author's life. Title. Autobiography : I wonder as I wander / edited with an introduction by Joseph McLaren.

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    An autobiography is an account of a person's life, written by that person. The word originates from the Greek' auto', 'bios' and 'graphein', meaning 'self,' 'life,' and 'to write.'. Since the narrator is also the subject of the story, autobiographies tend to be written in the first person. The majority of ...

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  23. MLK Biographer: King Never Said Quote Criticizing Malcolm X

    Martin Luther King Jr.'s oft-referenced criticism of Malcolm X in a 1965 "Playboy" interview was based on a misquotation, per the new biography "King: A Life." Search Women's History