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Here you’ll find a selection of books, articles, videos, and websites that encourage writing your life stories and convey the value of Guided Autobiography in that process. We’d love to hear about resources that have been meaningful to you as you explore your life story.


Writing Your Legacy: The Step-by- Step Guide to Crafting Your Life Story, Richard Campbell and Cheryl Svensson. Writer’s Digest (2015)
The authors, a long-time GAB instructor and the director of the Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies, have written an excellent introduction to writing stories from your life, based on Jim Birren’s Guided Biography model.

Where to Go from Here, by James Birren and Linda Feldman. Simon and Schuster (1997)
The pioneer of GAB, Jim Birren, speaks directly to readers, encouraging them to appreciate the full scope of their lives and go forward with a sense of adventure.

Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past, by William Zinsser. Marlowe & Company (2004)
Using the example of his own journey in autobiography, the author who taught many of us the basics of good writing helps readers write about what’s important in their lives.

Your Life as Story, by Tristine Rainer. Tarcher Putnam (1997)
Read how to shape stories about your life experiences, especially your struggles, and find their meaning in your life.


Tell the Story of Your Life,” by Maisy Fernandez, AARP Bulletin/”Your Life,” September 2017.
This overview of the many ways to preserve your life story includes an interview with the Birren Center’s Cheryl Svensson and a charming story of how a Guided Autobiography class changed a participant’s life.

“Telling Their Life Stories, Older Adults Find Peace in Looking Back,” by Susan B. Garland, The New York Times, December 9, 2016.
An in-depth look at the experience of one Guided Autobiography participant, the article features a description of the class, the value of writing with a group, and gerontological research on the benefits of “reminiscing” for older adults.


Jim Birren’s Guided Autobiography: An Introduction
Guided Autobiography’s founder talks about making sense of life’s transitions by accessing memories and writing your stories in this three-minute video.

VOICES: Reflections on the Guided Autobiography Experience
Don’t miss this inside view of what it’s like to experience a Guided Autobiography class. A diverse group of GAB participants share their expectations, experience, and rewards and take you right into the heart of a GAB group.

Everyone has more than one important story to tell
Produced before Jim Birren’s death in 2016 at the age of 97, this visual presentation gets to the emotional heart of GAB.


Visit the official website of the Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies.

Learn more about Jim Birren’s role in the field of gerontology and his recognition as “one of the reigning pioneers of gerontology” by the American Society on Aging.

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