Biography vs Autobiography: Similarities and Differences
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
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).
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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One Page Pitch
Top 10 Biography Templates with Examples and Samples
People want to know that you inspire them as an entrepreneur, an author, a sportsperson or even as a regular hustler. Readers are interested in your journey through the ordeals onto the making of a successful person that you are today. And what better way to narrate your milestones other than with our content-ready autobiography and biography templates ?
Autobiography and biography sound relatable, and to spot their difference t wo renowned British politicians have offered their explanation:
Arthur Balfour stated, “ Biography should be written by an acute enemy, ” while another statesman, Herbert Sameul quoted, “ An autobiography is the story of how a man thinks he lived. ”
Clearly, an autobiography is a recount of your life’s achievements done by yourself, while a biography is how others perceive your achievements and pen it down. In this blog we have covered both types of PowerPoint Templates to offer you a ready-made framework in presenting the facets of your personal and professional life. These autobiography and biography templates can also act in place of resumes and cover letters when pitching employers or clients.
Moreover, the 100% customizable nature of the templates provides you with the desired flexibility to edit your presentations. The content-ready slides give you the much-needed structure. Let's check them out!
Our Autobiography and Biography Templates
Template 1: one-page biography for entrepreneur presentation report.
Do you specialize in creating cover letters and biographies for professionals? Here is a one-page biography template to compose relevant aspects of an entrepreneur. Concisely, as shown, summarize the professional highlights, hobbies, personal info, quick facts, etc. of your client with this ready-made framework. All you have to do is plug in the relevant information as this PPT Design is completely editable! Grab now!
Download this template
Template 2: One Page Biography for Author Presentation Report
An author client approaches you with their request to summarize their academic and professional life, and here is a PowerPoint Layout to comply with their wishes. Use this one-page author biography template to enlist aspects worth mentioning of their career. It includes academics, personal information, publications, awards, etc. that will get their prospective publisher or client interested. Grab this 100% customizable design that is assured to win your clients their next gig. Download now!
Template 3: One-Page Biography for Sportsperson Presentation Report
If athletes approach you with their requirement of having biographies compiled, here’s a one-page template that fits the requirement. Even if it is for the PR purposes or to maintain your own record of sportspersons, download this biography template to assemble sections like early life, major accomplishments, significance, important quotes, etc. Don’t wait, grab this 100% customizable PPT Design now!
Template 4: One-Page Biography Fact Sheet Presentation Report
Here is a content-ready biography cover letter template to introduce the personality of importance. Cite key details of the famous person including what drives their fame. Mention the date of publishing of this biography report including the number of pages it encompasses. This editable one-page opening template is a wonderful way to introduce the biography. Download it now!
Template 5: Key Senior Executives Biography PPT Template
Are you tasked with creating concise biographies of your employees?Here is a senior executive biography template to summarize the top management. Add respective photos to identify executives along with their description as shown. Add any special skills they bring to the table and with this PPT Layout you can showcase four different members simultaneously. Grab it now!
Template 6: Short Autobiography Template Report Presentation Report
Want to summarize your career and interests yourself? Use this autobiography template to share a snapshot of your all-abouts including your outlook on the future. Share your introspective in a concise manner under a content-ready framework as provided in this template. Download now!
Template 7: About Me Autobiography Template Report
Here is another neat and impressive autobiography template to pitch your candidature to your clients. Mention the feats of your career including the top clientele you have catered to along with additional milestones achieved so far. Grab this design to impress your readers now!
Template 8: One-Page Autobiography Template Report
Looking for a teacher’s autobiography template? Here it is. This detailed one-page autobiography template will allow you to demonstrate your expertise and experience in fields you excel at. Share your academic record, along with contact information for relevant professionals to reach you at. Impress your readers with the multitudinous skills that you bring to the table. Download now.
Template 9: Personal Autobiography Template Outline Report
Here is another creative PPT Layout to represent yourself. Introduce yourself with your personal details, your interests, family background, and aspirations. This PPT Template is great at conducting engagement sessions in your community or office spaces to get to know each other. So without ado, grab this editable PPT Slide now!
Template 10: One-Page for Cereal Box Student Autobiography Report
Here is a cereal box design template to give an engaging look to your autobiography report. Again, another creative design to use in office or community activities, let introduction sessions become more exciting with the use of this content-ready and easy-to-customize PPT Design. Download now.
Fill these editable autobiography and biography templates with cross-checked information to help readers and evaluators trace the journey of subjects.
PS: Knowing your expectations and evaluating progress is important in reporting how far you have come in life. Check out this wheel of life blog featuring content-ready designs to help you address aspirations and balance in life.
FAQs On Biography
What is a biography.
A biography is a written account of a person's life that tells the story of their experiences, accomplishments, and significant events. It typically begins with the individual's birth and follows them throughout their life, highlighting important milestones and achievements, as well as their personal relationships, challenges, and struggles.
Biographies can be written in a variety of formats, including books, articles, and online profiles, and can be about anyone, from historical figures to contemporary celebrities to everyday people who have accomplished something notable or inspiring. The purpose of a biography is to provide readers with an in-depth understanding of a person's life, character, and impact on the world.
How do you write a biography for a job?
If you are writing a biography for a job, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Keep it professional: Your biography should be written in a professional tone and focus on your qualifications and work experience relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Highlight your accomplishments: Include information about any achievements or accomplishments that are relevant to the position you are applying for. This can include awards, recognition, or notable projects you have worked on in the past.
- Focus on your skills: Describe your skills and experience in a way that shows how they would be beneficial to the employer. Use specific examples to illustrate your abilities.
- Keep it concise: Your biography should be brief and to the point. A few paragraphs that cover your key qualifications and experience should be sufficient.
- Edit and proofread: Make sure to carefully proofread and edit your biography for errors and typos before submitting it with your job application.
What is the job profile description?
A job profile description, also known as a job description or job posting, is a document that outlines the duties, responsibilities, and requirements of a particular job position. It provides potential candidates with a detailed understanding of the job and what is expected of them if they are hired.
A typical job profile description will include the following information:
- Job title: The title of the position, which should be clear and accurately reflect the responsibilities of the role.
- Job summary: A brief overview of the job and its purpose, including the primary duties and responsibilities.
- Job duties and responsibilities: A detailed list of the specific tasks and responsibilities associated with the job, including any supervisory or managerial responsibilities.
- Required qualifications: The education, experience, and skills required to perform the job, including any certifications or licenses required.
- Working conditions: Information about the physical environment, work schedule, and any other factors that may affect the job.
- Salary and benefits: Information about the compensation and benefits package offered for the job.
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- Key Differences
Know the Differences & Comparisons
Difference between Biography and 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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October 18, 2019 at 5:51 pm
Amazing! Very helpful and useful. Thank you!
May 7, 2023 at 6:47 am
your article is very well explained
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Great explanation by Surbhi S, it clears confusion between biographies and autobiographies.
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Biography, Autobiography & Memoir
Jul 17, 2014
150 likes | 574 Views
Biography, Autobiography & Memoir. In the Middle Ages , biographies were either about saints or the glorified accounts of royalty.
- substantial span
- past indiscretion
- modern memoir
Biography, Autobiography & Memoir
In the Middle Ages, biographies were either about saints or the glorified accounts of royalty. In Renaissance times, emphasis was on the individual. Writing the history of a particular life was a way of appreciating and keeping record of that individuality. In the Twentieth-century biography, authors have applied psychoanalytical insights in attempting to understand the subject. Biographies through time
Autobiographical may take many forms: • Memoirs • Diaries • Letters • The form proper usually involves the interaction of character and external events over a substantial span of a person's life. Autobiographies
Memoir is a form of autobiography that reduces the author's personal life to the public events in which he or she has participated. • In 371 AD, St. Augustine set the standard in memoir writing by recounting his own personal invisible and internal journey towards salvation…going from sinner to saint. • That changed with Rousseau’s “Confessions” in 1782 where he wrote about a past indiscretion as a way to ease his guilt…a public confession. • Modern memoir-writing is often seen as a kind of therapeutic purge in which the author recounts personal experiences as a form of group therapy. Memoirs
Recently, several books originally published as memoirs were later discovered to be works of fiction. • One author said, “The story in the book is mine. It is not the actual reality—it was my reality, my way of surviving.” • A reader said, “Whether her book is true or not, I don’t care.” Memoirs—Is truth important?
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My Creative Autobiography
My creative autobiography presentation, free google slides theme and powerpoint template.
You don't need to be an adult to have your own autobiography. Children have lived lots of interesting experiences, too! This template has the following proposal: exercises so that your students can talk about the most interesting moments of their life. We've created these slides so that everyone can have fun while talking about their life. The template also contains many cool stickers!
Features of this template
- 100% editable and easy to modify
- 35 different slides to impress your audience
- Contains easy-to-edit graphics such as graphs, maps, tables, timelines and mockups
- Includes 500+ icons and Flaticon’s extension for customizing your slides
- Designed to be used in Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint
- 16:9 widescreen format suitable for all types of screens
- Includes information about fonts, colors, and credits of the free resources used
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