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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Benjamin Franklin is one man that continues to be looked up to throughout history. Virtually self-taught, he excelled as an athlete, a man of letters, a printer, a scientist, a wit, an inventor, an editor, and a writer, and he was probably the most successful diplomat in American history. David Hume hailed him as the first great philosopher and great man of letters in the New World.

Franklin's autobiography was initially written to guide his son through the lively tales and spellbinding account of his unique and eventful life.
Stylistically his best work, it has become a classic in world literature that continues to inspire and enchant readers of all kinds.

Benjamin Franklin is a good man to begin with when discussing the origins of American history. Years before the United States existed, he started things that his countrymen continue to be proud of -- libraries, civic clubs, volunteer fire departments, effective street lighting, and efficient heating devices. Always ambitious, practical, creative and successful, he was a solid American. His Autobiography testifies that "his feet were firm on the ground, but that he did not stand still". No man of his time went so far, and few of any time have gone farther. He did not only start things, but he also let it be known that he did. He continues to be the head of any native literary procession. Franklin managed to produce his country's best masterpiece, simply talking about his life.

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Like Solomon

I thought this book was much more than a humorous or adventerous account. I am reminded of the book of Solomon and the wise adages endowed by God therein. Bejamin Franklin's memoirs cover an array of wise maxims that all men should learn. Franklin especially concentrates his philosophy in the way of frugality and financial responsibility. Too many young men waste their lives in ignorance. If more men sought out wisdom, the world would be a better place.

- quickquib

Best how-to manual to daily living

Ben Franklin is the most amazing figure of American revolution. The essence of American life, a hero, a political figure, a self-made man, a scientist, a diplomat - turns out to be just a guy next door, a neighbor.

I got this book on audio from a local library - and spent 6.5 wonderful hours listening to a friend, a teacher, a wise man. He is entertaining - but serious at the same time, he goes into great details of his dealings with people, business partners, politicians - but is never boring.

Anyone who wants to learn how to connect with people, to become a better person, to grow a business and wealth, to be a good friend - and more - should read this book.

I would recommend an audio format if you have choices - it really turns it into a conversation with Ben Franklin.

- TG "thg57"

The Hobo Philosopher

I've just finished reading the Autobiography of Ben Franklin, and I have gotten a belly laugh out of just about every chapter. The man is hilarious. I really haven't decided whether the whole book is an outright tongue-in-cheek put-on, or that old Ben is just such a practical, unemotional fellow, that his guidelines for living a virtuous life sound like a biology professor trying to explain to a slow student how to rationally distinguish his left hand from his right.
The story of his courtship with "Miss Read", his eventual wife, I'm sure, is not something that "Miss Read" cut out of her husband's book and hid away in a trunk of loving memorabilia in an upstairs attic, along with her first love poem and a piece of her wedding cake. She was "deserving ... pitiable and a good and faithful helpmate", says Ben. And, believe it or not, she nearly lost Ben's attentions by her inability to get her parents to cough up one hundred pounds as her dowry. In fact, she did loose Ben for a good period during the negotiations, and in the interim Ben being left hot to trot explains that; "In the meantime, that hard to be governed passion of youth had harried me frequently into intrigues with low woman that fell in my way." He goes on to explain his thankfulness at not catching "distemper" or something worse.

- Richard E. Noble "The Hobo Philosopher"

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