Difference Between Autobiography and Biography

Autobiography vs Biography

Autobiography and Biography are two words that are often confused due to the similarity in their meanings when strictly speaking there is a difference between them. In other words, both the words are different from each other in terms of their meanings and connotations. The key to understanding the difference between autobiography and biography is getting to know the terms independently. However, before doing that, we should remember that both autobiography and biography refer to life stories of people. So, they are real stories of real living people. So, they are not fiction as they are not stories imagined by authors. However, when authors include imaginative facts to these stories, they become fiction.

What is a Biography?

Biography is written by a person on another person that is considered a celebrity by the world at large. Biography explains the various events connected with the childhood, youth and adulthood of the celebrity in the words of the author.

The writer of a biography is called a biographer. He should have studied the life of the celebrity or the important person about whom he writes the book carefully indeed so that he gives a lively account of the various events connected with his life. Moreover, biography is complete in nature. It often ends with the complete life of the celebrity or the important person about whom the work is written. In the case of the living personalities, the biographies end with the most recent events connected with the life of the celebrities.


Since a biography is written by another person the account can be impartial. However, if the biographer has some kind of a personal vendetta against the celebrity the biography can end up being a book of insults.

What is an Autobiography?

Autobiography is a book written by a person that gives an account of his own life in the book. The autobiographer explains the various events connected with his childhood, youth and adulthood in the book.

An autobiography, however, is not complete in nature in the sense that it does not contain the complete life of the person who writes the book. It may contain the important period of that person. However, other than that important period or periods of a person there are other periods of life that the people want to know. These will not be included in an autobiography.

Difference Between Autobiography and Biography

Also, since an autobiography is written by the same person, he or she can be partial to the story and not include all necessary details or the truth.

What is the difference between Autobiography and Biography?

• An autobiography is the life story of a person written by that person. On the other hand, a biography is the life story of a person written by another person. This is the major difference between autobiography and biography.

• An autobiography, since it is written by that same person, may not be complete. It can contain only the event the person considers important to him. A biography, on the other hand, is complete as it is another person who writes the story. Usually, they write the story of the person until death. In case of living persons, until the most recent event the story is written. This is also an important difference between autobiography and biography.

• Both biographies and autobiographies are considered non-fiction works, but they can sometimes be considered fiction too. That is dependent on the writing and the facts included.

• Both the biography and the autobiography have the possibility of being partial and impartial accounts depending on the writer.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Biography by Marion Doss (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  2. Autobiography via Wikicommons (Public Domain)