The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

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Written initially to guide his son, Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is a lively, spellbinding account of his unique and eventful life, now a classic of world literature that is sure to inspire and delight readers everywhere.

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 the first great philosopher and great man of letters in the New World.

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an interesting and commendable life story! I’d recommend it to anyone, especially around grade 8 when children start writing book reports as there are many topics to choose from during Benjamin Franklin’s life from 1706-1790, and especially if you follow along with Townsends Autobiography of Benjamin Book Club YouTube Video Playlist. It was fun and helped to clarify the reading, from vernacular to what was fitting for the time period, and the way people lived, as well as the perspective that Benjamin Franklin had at the time.

I read this edition along for the Townsends Book Club.

The book we read through can be found on Townsends.

The Story
To realize that he’d rather give up food, than give up books says a lot.

He really wrote to furthering future generations which I think is really even a unique concept of today, apart from self-help books that don’t really encompass many of the concepts and reasonings he portrays in this book. He wore so many hats. Starting from rather humble beginning, a lot of teaching of self, curiosity, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Misfortunes taken with such stride that lead him to grow as a person and with such great stories to tell. And a great sense of humor.

I feel like I got to know him as a person, instead of historical figure of just what he did, but his perspective, personality, and contribution to society in a more distinctive, lively, and intimate way.

Personal life, from childhood to upbringing, his first job, cuisine, political section, and scientific life.

Highlights:
-From candle making to printing, to postmaster
-Aquila Rose
-The thought reasoning into and out of vegetarianism
-The dedicated segment just to review George Whitfield (appreciated the Townsends Book Club YouTube Episode 12 segment on this)
-Community watch firefighting group
-His marketing strategies and determination
-The virtues
-The New England and Puritan culture, Quakers in Pennsylvania, the dynamics between different people groups including the French and Indian War, previous wars and after-effects as well
-Specifics of building a fort
-Sailing techniques, navigation, and trimming of the ship
-The purchasing corn, wheat, or “other grains”
-The grog and prayer service

I enjoyed his reflection on previous writings when it came to “enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality.”

The Writing
Articulate, thoughtful, orderly, insightful writing style. His description in the stories to come, giving perspective and reflective points, bringing it back into his experience, and imparting this wisdom to future generations as he wrote them so clearly was eye-opening, rich, and easy to follow his thoughts (with the assistance of Townsends for time period, vernacular, as well as relevance and circumstantial clarity) of course.

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These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

  1. Temperance
    Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence
    Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order
    Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution
    Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality
    Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry
    Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity
    Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice
    Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation
    Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness
    Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity
    Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity
    Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility
    Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

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