Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Autobiography of Ben Franklin” as Want to Read:
The Autobiography of Ben Franklin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Autobiography of Ben Franklin

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  52,108 Ratings  ·  2,425 Reviews
Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography is one of the most famous works in American literature. He started it as a private collection of anecdotes for his son, but soon it was transformed into a work of history. This is a charming, self-portrait of one of America's greatest forefathers.
Paperback
Published November 10th 2006 by NuVision Publications (first published 1791)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Denise Kawaii There is a free edition in the Kindle store.
http://amzn.com/B0083Z40N2

I only knew because I'm reading it now and I know I didn't pay for it when I…more
There is a free edition in the Kindle store.
http://amzn.com/B0083Z40N2

I only knew because I'm reading it now and I know I didn't pay for it when I downloaded it.(less)
DeadWeight I don't know about that. Remember that right before that he says this about said outlook: "this doctrine, tho' it might be true, was not very useful".…moreI don't know about that. Remember that right before that he says this about said outlook: "this doctrine, tho' it might be true, was not very useful".

It seems more the case the Franklin is arguing that everything which is is "good", perhaps in some divine-metaphysical sense, but not necessarily "good" in a practical or pragmatic sense, and so whether or not it's true doesn't have a lot of bearing on our own reality because we don't have access to the same perceptions and intentions that "God" does.

i.e., any murder which occurs is right to have occurred (or perhaps even the concept of murder itself) within the eyes of God (though that doesn't necessarily mean it is itself not a sin), as an act of Providence. That being said, it isn't practical as human beings who wouldn't understand the divine necessity for this murder to not, say, throw the murderer in prison and condemn the action. In the perspective of our mortal lives, it is right for us to condemn and punish/reform murderers because it makes practical sense for us to do so.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Darwin8u
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“...there will be sleeping enough in the grave....”
- Benjamin Franklin

description

Even in death, I can't imagine Franklin resting. There is always just too much to do, too many questions to ask, too many books to read, too much to explore.

My brother recommended this book to me about 30 years ago. I'm not sure why I never read it until now. Part of it must be the feeling that Benjamin Franklin would always just be there. He wasn't going anywhere. He seems to permeate so much of what it means to be an Ameri
...more
Trevor
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
This is a curious little book. As an autobiography it suffers from the fact that it leaves out nearly all of the most interesting parts of Franklin’s life. This is a bit like reading an autobiography of John Lennon that ends a few years before he meets Paul McCartney. I’m not saying there is no interest in what is here, but any sort of version of such a man’s life that ends well short of the American Revolution is more than a little heart breaking.

There are very amusing parts of this – particula
...more
Isis
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of early-mid 18th century
The charm and pleasure of this book, for me, is that it is not about the famous Benjamin Franklin, the inventor and one of the fathers of the American Revolution, but that it is about the young Franklin; about his education and apprenticeship as a printer to his brother, about his love of books and his determination to improve his writing skills, about how he uprooted himself from his birthplace and family and moved to Philadelphia, and began a business there. He meets rogues and swindlers, has ...more
Shannon
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man oh man, that dude had some mad skills. This book is written somewhat sloppily - changing narrative styles throughout, carrying on from time to time, and not even finishing it - but the content is truly amazing. Why didn't I learn in school about how awesome Ben Franklin was? In addition to his kite flying escapade, he invented a better type of wood burning furnace, and a better street lamp. He created the first public university in America (U. Penn), helped create one of the first public hos ...more
Ilyn Ross
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Dr. Benjamin Franklin is the embodiment of Thomas Edison’s “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” He came from a poor family. His sensible father was of good character. Dr. Franklin was a deist. What God has given man, he purposefully, methodically, and continually used to improve himself. A self-driven independent thinker, he endeavored to improve, not only mentally and financially, but morally. He did it for his own sake, and the fruits became the glory of mankind.

Dr. Franklin resol
...more
Jason Koivu
Ben Franklin did it all. He was an incredible self-made human. Why wouldn't someone want to read more about him?

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is fairly short and to the point. It took a while to come to grips with Franklin's olde timey speech, but once I got up to speed (or slowed down?) with it, I really started to enjoy his walk down memory lane. He was a natural storyteller. Seriously, was there anything this dude couldn't do?

Not only was he industrious, but he made an admirable mora
...more
Holly
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully inspiring Read. It's a small book packed with great insights into virtuous living. His curiosity and observation of the world around him lead him to live an amazingly full life in which he accomplished much for the good of mankind. All this combined with his wit and writing style make it enjoyable to read and truly encourages the reader towards self improvement. I'm actually reading it again right now. It's great for new year's resolutions.
James
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the summer of 1771, while he was living in a country home in England, Benjamin Franklin began an autobiography that he was destined to never finish. He prepared an outline of a final section that he did not complete, but the four parts that he did finish represent one of the seminal documents of the enlightenment.
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
Bruce
Aug 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a teenager and was so captivated that I tried Franklin’s scheme of cultivating the virtues, probably with only marginal success. It was fun to reacquaint myself with the work.

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
Jan Rice
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was exciting, once I found out it really was his autobiography! I couldn't believe it at 1st. Turned out to be divided roughly into two parts, the 1st starting with his family history and younger years, and the second coming later after a break. He was in his 80s, and his public had encouraged him to continue. The 2nd part is a little slower but still informative. The book is not very long, not a huge tome. It stops all of a sudden, before the revolutionary years. Maybe he just couldn't fin ...more
TarasProkopyuk
Повторно решил прочесть данную книгу, которая два года назад мне открыла Бенджамина Франклина как слишком великую личность для осознания его огромного вклада не только в историю США на ее заре, а и по всему миру как пример для подражания его достижений для людей всех народов, стран и наций на целые века...

Мне сложно будет это объяснить, но я приравниваю вклад Франклина в развитие истории человечества сравни Леонардо да Винчи. Нет, я ни в коем случае не хочу сказать, что ценность и роль изобретен
...more
Henry Avila
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Franklin's autobiography is perfect except for one thing, its only half finished!Franklin was prevented from completing it, by becoming involved in the American Revolution.Later going as a diplomat to Paris, to get French help.Born in Boston in 1706, to Josiah Franklin and his wife Abiah. A good student in his youth but the family lacked the money to send him to college. His father was a candle maker and Benjamin after many false starts became an apprentice to his brother James in the p ...more
Joe
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have always been very skeptical of self-help books. I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey on the recommendation of a friend. Covey openly admitted that Benjamin Franklin's autobiography guided his ideas. So, I decided to go right to the source.

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
Jessica
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Franklin invented the American Fire Department, wood stoves, and the American system of government. You would think, then, that he'd invent some way of writing an autobiography that wasn't boring as hell. But no. Franklin loves his books, and he also loves self-improvement (the best parts of this are his bizarre charts where he rates himself on a 13-point scale of morality). But despite all of his attention to rhetoric this book does not, in my opinion, rise to the occasion of chronicli ...more
Niesha
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Niesha by: Heidi Shetka
There is so much to learn from Benjamin Franklin and his autobiography and other writings. Please read it yourself. It is well worth your time. I was inspired by his genius, curiosity in all subjects and in people.
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
This book was a referral from a friend who became the CFO of his company through hard work and sacrifice. He credits this book, above any other he read while pursuing his MBA, for his success. Franklin has a 'favorite uncle' way of giving you advice that will set you on the path to success.
Kim
I really enjoyed this book far more than I anticipated. I've read a lot about Benjamin Franklin but to read his story in his own words makes it really come to life.

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
Arun  Mahalingam
After i read an article that Narendra modi got inspired of Benjamin Franklin,i started this book. It is indeed a book worth reading. Especially, Benjamin's way of life and his 13 moral point is good for everyone to follow .
Ilchi Lee
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Franklin's lifetime commitment to personal development really inspired me. I developed great respect and admiration for this prominent American historical figure.
Kressel Housman
Because of the movie "American Treasure" and the plot sequence involving Benjamin Franklin's Silence Dogood letters (a series of letters he published under a pseudonym at age 16), my youngest son became interested in him and picked out a biography for me to read aloud at night. That biography, written for kids, cites its main source as Ben Franklin's autobiography, so I figured it was high time I read that American classic.

I'll admit it: the old-fashioned language of the original is daunting and
...more
Jeremy
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Franklin's life was completely nuts. And while his image has become little more than a goofy caricature in our age, the times that he lived and worked in were fraught with bizarre religious strife, nascent colonial revolutionary sentiment, doomed military expeditions, and kooky scientific/technological explorations.

America is first and foremost, a WEIRD place. Always has been. Always will be. And Ben Franklin, more than any other founding figure, apothasizes and simultaneously transcends that we
...more
Jimmy
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished a biography and decided to reread his Autobiography, which I read in high school. I loved it then. What kind of boy did that make me? A nerd? A dork? I prefer to say "budding intellectual." I remember myself thinking then about how I could be a better person. Nothing wrong with a book that does that.
Maq Khan
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appreciate the hard working of Benjamin Franklin.today who works hard like him or who is honest?.
Shekhar Ruparelia
A polyglot, an inventor, a founder of public institutions such as a library and a university, a diplomat, and more! Even more astoundingly, as the youngest son of 17 children, Benjamin Franklin's father could not give him a proper formal education. And so, the young boy taught himself all that he wanted to learn.

A fascinating, if somewhat flawed, look at one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

A slightly more detailed review is up on my blog: https://adventuresofatraveller.wo
...more
Nishit Jain
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has served as the inspiration for one of my mentors, so I downloaded it onto my Kindle a few weeks back. Finding myself on a long train journey a few days ago, I decided to give it a shot. It was an engaging read, which moves along fairly swiftly and took me around four days to complete.

Knowing very little about both Benjamin Franklin or New England in the 1700s, I learnt about both. The author rises from humble origins to become a distinguished polymath, successful in private busines
...more
Lauren
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Benjamin Franklin as a person was a scientist, diplomat, legislator, inventor, and a proficient statesman. In his eighty-two years, he lived a very full life and accomplished many great achievements, probably his greatest triumph being that of discovering the phenomenon of electricity and how to control it. Franklin was also a skilled politician and pretty much gained accomplishments in whatever he strove to do. In The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin has a very pompous attitude towa ...more
Michael
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
People do not fall into the category of 'great' by chance or triviality. Ben Franklin worked to improve himself, his community, and the lives of those with whom he shared his existence. He set an example of honesty, hard work, sobriety, fair dealing, and generosity that has been a light on the path of millions. His example seems to me exactly what is needed today.

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
Samantha
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, audiobook
This was a very interesting and informative book made up of letters from Benjamin Franklin to his son over the course of several decades. I listened to it on audiobook which was neat because I sometimes felt like Franklin was sitting right next to me sharing stories of his life. Given the personal letter style, I felt like he became a friend rather than just someone I was reading about. Franklin shares what he learned from his long and active life not hesitating to admit where he made mistakes t ...more
Tony Gu
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a short piece from Benjamin Franklin.
all the virtues are pretty inspiring.
Dave Harbert
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful read! This man was truly remarkable not only in what he accomplished in life but the wisdom he learned and employed. His writing style is very readable compared to other books I've read from that era. That helped it become a quick read for me because it was not laborious.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why
  • La educación de Henry Adams
  • The Life of Abraham Lincoln
  • Strenuous Life
  • The Young Man's Guide
  • The Frontier in American History
  • The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America's Philosopher of Freedom
  • American Boys Handy Book
  • Seek: Reports from the Edges of America and Beyond
  • Samuel Adams: A Life
  • The Crisis
  • The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
  • Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson
  • The Federalist Papers
  • Boy Scouts of America : The Official Handbook for Boys (Reprint of Original 1911 Edition)
  • The Autobiography of Mark Twain
  • Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
868 followers
Benjamin Franklin was a writer, a philosopher, a scientist, a politician, a patriot, a Founding Father, an inventor, and publisher. He helped with the founding of the United States of America and changed the world with his discoveries about electricity. His writings such as Poor Richards' Almanac have provided wisdom for 17 years to the colonies.
More about Benjamin Franklin

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Van Gogh
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Woman's Worth
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives
    $18.99 $1.99
  • The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Wright Brothers
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact
    $14.99 $3.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Last Black Unicorn
    $12.99 $4.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • The Affluent Society
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • A. Lincoln
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 3085 likes
“Never confuse Motion with Action.” 277 likes
More quotes…