The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
"The first book to belong permanently to literature. It created a man."
-- From the Introduction
Few men could compare to Benjamin Franklin. 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...more
Dr. Franklin resol...more
There are very amusing parts of this – particula...more
Franklin first of all affirms that he would live his life over again unchanged, were he given the opportunity. Compare this with Nietzsche’s assertion that such would be repugnant to most men. Thus one can see that Franklin was essentially a content and optimistic man. This book is a candid and non-flor...more
He was a statesman, an author, an inventor, a scientist, a printer, and the list goes on and on when describing Benjamin Franklin. As an autobiographer he also demonstrated his geni...more
I liked his observation that youngsters who are taught the art of debate grow to be "disputing, contradicting, and confuting people [who] are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory sometimes, but they never get goodwill, which would be of more use to them."
I was interested to learn that John Bunyan, in The Pilgrim's Progress, "was the first tha...more
Reading this book was a joy. It's cool too to note the differences in writing style and spelling he used. Just two examples..."musik"...more
He had a very down-to-earth writing style. I know that some of the words would have been modernised a little at some point in the publication history but you still get a very 18th century style without it bogging down with a lot of needless filler.
My problem with this book though is that there was quite a lot not included. He writes...more
I really enjoyed the old fashioned language after getting used to it. Normally, I resist using puffed-up language and always try to find mundane equivalents for words I might naturally use or words that might be slightly more precise. So I thought it wd annoy me that Franklin’s language was unnecessarily elevated and abstract. But it didn't mess with me, I really enjoyed the diction and syntax, reminded me of reading _Cloud Atlas_, where a fict...more
I'll admit it: the old-fashioned language of the original is daunting and...more
If you're a fan of Ben, definitely read it. I loved the first half. The second half, for me, became too bogged down in military discussions (and he died prior to covering the Revolutionary War), w...more
There is no better life book, and it is so effective because it does not seek to be a self-help book. This autobiography is really just a look into the life of a person who sought only improvement in his own person and enga...more
1) Readability - Compared to other texts written in the 18th century, Franklin's mode of conveyance is almos...more
He is all over the place, with some really interesting ponderings and meditations on a variety of subjects. Very smooth reading as well and, yeah, I have to say it, he makes me proud to be an American... and that is not always a sentiment to which I would ascribe... and even this feeling is complicated, because I have some issues with some of his actions, some of the events we see in this book, and some of his attitudes.
There are some problematic things that you could almos...more
From Franklin's "introduction" to his son:
And, lastly (I may as well confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity. Indeed, I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory words, "Without vanity I may say," &c., but some vain thing immediately followed. Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themsel...more
The quirky historical context offered by a first-hand account of early America in the beginning and middle of the 1700s - before it was America - is reason enough to pick this up. The way buildings come to be constructed by matter-of-factly petitioning like-minded people for money, the way Quakers are prominent in politics, the apprenticeships, the lists of what you have to go to England to get, goods-wise, and all kinds of unexpecte...more
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[Part I, p. 45 of autobiography]”