Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Differences Between a Biography and an Autobiography

Sometimes, you see covers of a real life story that HAS already happened, and the letters say The Biography of ___________ or some other title. Except one time, you see an autobiography. For example, the title of the book is ________: A Life, and at the bottom it says My Autobiography. Now I am going to explain the differences:

Let's break down the word biography.

bio means life
graphy is Greek for writing  

So, biography mean the writing about someone's life.

auto means self

So, autobiography means the story of someone's life written by the person who lived it. 

An autobiography is a book that explains the life of a person, AND the story of the book is the author of the book. For instances, if a book about Steve Jobs was an autobiography, Steve Jobs actually wrote it. A biography is similar to an autobiography, but someone else wrote the book. When someone wrote about Steve Jobs that wasn't Steve Jobs, you would call that a biography. 

This is an example picture of an autobiography and a biography (click to enlarge):



If you clicked on the book about George Washington, you would have seen that it was written by Roberta Edwards. It is a biography.

The one about Lemony Snicket (my favorite author) is pretty obvious because in the title it reveals that it is an autobiography. Mr. Snicket wrote his life story.

Do you like autobiographies better or do you like biographies better?

Please share a fact about a famous person you read about. Was it a biography or autobiography? 


  1. Dear Heather,

    What a wonderful post!

    I never knew what biography really meant, life writing. I also never knew that autobiography meant self-life writing.

    I like biographies and autobiographies equally. One biography I read was in second grade. The whole class was studying a famous person that was known for a famous thing. For example, I studied Susan B. Anthony. She was known for making women's rights equal to men's rights. I also know that you studied Steve Jobs. Can you tell me some facts about Steve Jobs?


    1. @ Keira,

      Yes, I do have some facts about Steve Jobs because he was my biography interview last year too:

      1. Steve Jobs' favorite fruit were apples, so he named his company the Apple.
      2. He ate so much fruit that he thought he didn't need to take baths.
      3. Birth date: February 24, 1955 - Death date: October 5, 2011
      4. Died because of pancreatic cancer
      5. Once got kicked out of the company
      6. After getting kicked out, worked a little time in the Pixar Studio Animations
      7. Full name: Steven Paul Jobs
      8. Got interested in mechanics when he was very little - watched dad
      9. Parents name: Mom: Clara Jobs - Dad: Paul Jobs
      10. First computers by him VAST - cost lots of money too

      That is all of the facts I have for now. Do you have any facts for Susan B. Anthony?

      Your friend,

    2. @ Heather,

      Thank you for the reply!

      Yes, I do have some facts about Susan B. Anthony:

      1. Full name: Susan Brownell Anthony
      2. Birth Date: February 15, 1820 - Death date: March 13, 1906
      3. Created a newspaper called "The Revolution"
      4. Raised in West Grove, Adams, Massachusetts
      5. Had seven siblings
      6. Was a Quaker who believed in hard work and simple life
      7. Was once a teacher
      8. Died because of heart failure and pneumonia
      9. Parents names: Mom: Lucy Read - Dad: Daniel Anthony
      10. Susan B. Anthony dollar coin - minted from 1979 to 1981, and again in 1999
      11. Women's right to vote affirmed on August 26,1920, by passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      That is all the facts I have for now. Do you have any more facts for Steve Jobs?

      Your buddy,

  2. Dear Heather,

    Another great post! I enjoy reading both biographies and autobiographies. I think we can learn a lot valuable lessons by reading about the lives of people who have accomplished important things. I recently finished an autobiography written by Sheryl Sandberg who is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. She is one of the few women who holds a very important position in a large company. I found her story to be very inspirational because she was able to overcome many obstacles in order to succeed.

    What is your favorite biography/autobiography?

    I look forward to reading your next post,