Joe's Reviews > The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 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 engaged in continuous self-reflection to achieve that end. He advocates pillars of morality that should not bend and even explains his efforts to be perfect, ultimately to determine we can't be perfect, but the effort remains worthy.

Most illuminating is Franklin's attempts to become better at discussion. He studies himself as if he were his own lab rat and chronicle's his results like the scientist he was. He reminds himself to use phrases like "that is a good point, but have you considered... ?" for the purpose earning his adversaries fair consideration of a point.

Unlike many scientific-minded people, Franklin was equally brilliant in the social, political and scientific worlds. And you will see that he takes as much pleasure in the opening of the first library in Pennsylvania as any other accomplishment. It is a great slice of a unique life at a unique time in history.

And it is the best book I have ever read.
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Quotes Joe Liked

Benjamin Franklin
“My Parents had early given me religious Impressions, and brought me through my Childhood piously in the Dissenting Way. But I was scarce 15 when, after doubting by turns of several Points as I found them disputed in the different Books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some Books against Deism fell into my Hands; they were said to be the Substance of Sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that they wrought an Effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them: For the Arguments of the Deists which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much Stronger than the Refutations. In short I soon became a thorough Deist.

[Part I, p. 45 of autobiography]”
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“there was great difference between persons and, discretion did not always accompany years nor was youth always with out it”
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do”
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“nothing was useful which was not honest.”
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“He wish'd to please everybody; and, having little to give, he gave expectations.”
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
“Men should be taught as if you taught them not,           And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;”
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


Reading Progress

June 7, 2012 – Shelved
September 24, 2012 – Started Reading
September 24, 2012 –
10.0%
September 25, 2012 –
20.0%
September 28, 2012 –
35.0%
September 29, 2012 –
0.0% "55"
September 29, 2012 –
55.0%
September 30, 2012 –
90.0%
October 1, 2012 –
100.0%
August 6, 2014 – Shelved as: favorites
July 6, 2015 –
25.0%
July 6, 2015 –
25.0% "Reading it again... because it's always worth another read."
July 8, 2015 –
50.0%
July 8, 2015 –
75.0%
July 13, 2015 –
93.0%
July 13, 2015 – Finished Reading

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