A biography is a detailed account of a person’s life, documenting their experiences, achievements, and impact on the world. It explores the subject’s personal and professional journeys, offering insights into their character and legacy.

What is Biography?

A biography is a written account of another person’s life, detailing their experiences, accomplishments, and the impact they’ve made on the world. It provides an in-depth look at the subject’s life from birth to death, highlighting significant events, personal milestones, challenges they faced, and their contributions to society. Biographies are often based on extensive research and include interviews, historical documents, and other sources to paint a comprehensive picture of the individual’s life. They serve to inform, inspire, and sometimes educate readers about notable figures, offering insights into their personalities, motivations, and the context in which they lived and worked.

Types of Biography

Biographies come in various forms, each offering a unique perspective on an individual’s life. Understanding the types of biographies can help readers choose the one that best suits their interest or research needs. Here are the main types:

1. Autobiography

2. Memoir

3. Biography

4. Authorized Biography

**5. Unauthorized Biography

6. Academic Biography

7. Collective Biography

8. Fictional Biography

Format of Biography

A well-structured biography format ensures that the narrative is both engaging and informative, offering readers a comprehensive view of the subject’s life. Here is a structured format that can be adapted to suit different types of biographies:

Title Page

  • Title: Should capture the essence of the subject’s life.
  • Subtitle: Optional, providing additional context or focus.
  • Author’s Name: The name of the biographer.

Table of Contents

  • Lists chapters or sections with page numbers for easy navigation.


  • Introduces the subject of the biography, including their significance and the scope of the biography.
  • Provides a thesis statement or the main theme of the biography.

Early Life

  • Birth and Family Background: Details about the subject’s birth, parents, siblings, and early family life.
  • Education: Information on the subject’s education, including significant schools attended, degrees earned, and influential teachers or mentors.
  • Formative Experiences: Early experiences that shaped the subject’s character, interests, and future path.


  • Early Career: Overview of the subject’s initial jobs or roles and early career milestones.
  • Major Contributions and Achievements: Detailed account of the subject’s key contributions, achievements, and career highlights.
  • Challenges and Setbacks: Challenges faced in their career and how they were overcome.

Personal Life

  • Relationships and Family: Information on the subject’s personal relationships, marriage(s), children, and close friendships.
  • Interests and Hobbies: The subject’s personal interests, hobbies, and extracurricular activities.

Philanthropy and Activism

  • If applicable, details on the subject’s involvement in philanthropy, social causes, activism, or community service.

Legacy and Impact

  • Analysis of the subject’s legacy and impact on their field, community, or the world.
  • Includes public and professional recognition, awards, and honors.

Later Life and Death

  • Details about the subject’s later years, retirement, and circumstances of their death (if applicable).
  • Reflections on their life and contributions.


  • Summarizes the key points of the biography, reinforcing the subject’s impact and legacy.
  • Reflects on the broader implications of the subject’s life and work.

Appendices (If Applicable)

  • Includes additional information, such as letters, documents, or photographs.


  • Lists sources, interviews, and materials used in researching the biography.


  • An alphabetical listing of names, places, and subjects mentioned in the biography, with page numbers.


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Different Aspects of Biography

Biographies encompass several dimensions that contribute to their depth and appeal. Understanding these aspects can enhance both the reading and writing of biographies, offering a more comprehensive view of the subject’s life.

Historical Context

This aspect involves placing the subject’s life within the broader historical period in which they lived. It includes the examination of social, political, and cultural events that influenced or were influenced by the subject.

Personal Background

This covers the subject’s family origins, upbringing, education, and early life experiences. It helps to understand the foundation upon which they built their achievements and character.

Career and Achievements

A critical focus is often on the subject’s professional life, including their career path, significant achievements, contributions to their field, and any obstacles they overcame along the way.

Psychological Dimension

Exploring the subject’s personality, motivations, values, and internal struggles offers insights into their actions and decisions. This aspect adds depth, showing the human behind the accomplishments.

Personal Relationships

The examination of key relationships in the subject’s life, including family, friends, mentors, and rivals, reveals how these interactions influenced their journey and development.

Impact and Legacy

Assessing the subject’s long-term impact on their field, community, or the world highlights their lasting legacy. This includes their influence on future generations, societal changes, or advancements in their area of expertise.

Controversies and Challenges

Addressing any controversies, criticisms, or significant challenges faced by the subject provides a balanced view of their life, showcasing resilience, perseverance, or, in some cases, their vulnerabilities.

Cultural and Social Contributions

This aspect looks at the subject’s contributions beyond their professional achievements, including their role in societal movements, cultural shifts, philanthropy, and public service.

How to Write a Biography

A well-written biography allows readers to have insight into the person’s life. Examples of well-written biographies include Steve Jobs a biography written by Walter Isaacson and Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore. If you are still confused about biographies and are still unsure about the whole writing process you may look at the biography examples, samples, and PDFs on the list above.

1.Obtain Permission from the Individual

Begin by obtaining permission from the individual you are writing about. Biographies can be made without the permission of the chosen individual, but having the permission of the individual will help provide more substantial information and gives you access to the thoughts of the chosen individual. Not only that, but their approval will also increase the chances of you being able to interview your chosen individual.

2.Research the Individual

Regardless if you have obtained the permission of the chosen individual, you will need to research the life of your subject. This means you must read articles, reports, and various articles all about the life of your subject. Not only must you read, but you must also interview people associated with and related to your subject’s life. Because of the factual nature of a biography, you must ensure that the data and information you are providing are factual, accurate, and credible.

3.Create a Timeline of Events

After you have completed your research, you will need to create a timeline of the events the subject has lived through. This will help create an outline and a reference that you can in your writing. Not only that but it will also help root out any inconsistencies in the information you have gathered or researched.

4.Write the Biography

Using the timeline, write down the biographical information of the person. Note that this step will be the longest and may take months or even years to accomplish.

5.Write Down Your Thoughts and Opinions.

After you have finished the biography properly, you can write down your thoughts and feelings about the biography to give it a bit of a personal flair and touch. This will help connect you to your target audience. When you have finished with everything, be sure to edit and revise the contents of the biography as you see fit.


What’s the Difference Between Biography and Autobiography?

A biography is a detailed account of a person’s life written by someone else, focusing on their achievements and impact. An autobiography is written by the subject themselves, offering a personal insight into their life experiences and perspectives.

What is the Meaning of the Term Biography?

Biography refers to a written account of another person’s life, detailing their experiences, accomplishments, and contributions to society. It aims to provide a comprehensive and insightful look into the subject’s life journey.

What is the Short Meaning of Biography?

A biography is a detailed written account of someone’s life, including their personal history, achievements, and impact on society, authored by another person.

Is a Biography a Life Story?

Yes, a biography is a life story, chronicling the significant events, achievements, and personal aspects of an individual’s life, written by someone other than the subject.

Is a Biography Written in First Person?

No, a biography is typically written in the third person, as it is authored by someone other than the subject, offering an external perspective on the individual’s life and achievements.

Biographies offer invaluable insights into individuals’ lives, showcasing their achievements, challenges, and legacies. They inspire, educate, and connect us to the broader tapestry of human experience and history.

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