Book Review 1: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Melissa Chan

HIST 2313-06 Professor Frear September 11, 2012

However. wisdom.” Whenever he had time. Benjamin Franklin was named after a well-respected uncle who was pious and also political. his personality in itself was very unique. and much more. literature. His haughtiness could be supported because he was “either generally in the right. he was able to find a trade other than candle-making to his favor. and often references the Socratic Method to gain more knowledge. or else a better pleader. Although Franklin was from a typical colonist family. He was the “youngest son of the youngest son” for five generations. He was a man of science. Both are good reads and so I came to read this book as a way to give me insight to how a successful man lived his life. because judgment was generally in [his] favor. His name influenced many books that take after his personality such as “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill and “How to Win Friends and Influence” by Dale Carnegie. Since Benjamin had many siblings at different trades. influence. having many children guaranteed better living for the parents. Yet he was very arrogant and “was generally a leader among the boys” ever since childhood.Chan 1 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Most people remember Benjamin Franklin as an old politician who helped found our nation and as a person who liked making experiments. I think quite the opposite after reading other literature that quoted and respected him. He had a very curious nature. Franklin . Franklin was the fifteenth child out of seventeen children. Let us begin with Benjamin Franklin‟s family and his life around it. Unlike modern day families.

Franklin was well known to be a deist. He discovers that lightning and electricity are one and the same and his experimental papers made him an instant celebrity.” Not only was did he have haughtiness and vanity. how Franklin became a deist is another story. In all his quests for knowledge. Franklin was “a real doubter in many points of [the] religious doctrine” and kept his skepticism against religious strife. he stresses the virtues of religion because of their utilitarian benefits rather than the moral benefits. he was a man of influence. Franklin completely converted to deism after exploring his own intellect. He used the . It was such a success that it “was imitated by other Towns and in other provinces. Reading became fashionable” and people became “better acquainted with books”. he was “persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor and to others that are within his sphere of action: and therefore in many cases it would not be quite absurd if a man were to thank God for his Vanity among the other comforts in life. Since Franklin grew up with Puritan values. Benjamin Franklin grew up in a Puritan family. Benjamin found electricity through his famous kite experiment. Even when most people scorned the idea of vanity.Chan 2 would leisurely experiment to make things more practical. meaning a person who believed in God but that God only created life (like a clock) and did not interfere in its works. the Librarys were augmented by Donations. Though. it helped shape his ideas about self-improvement and a source of his satire. he established a library. After his dismay of quality bookstore in Philadelphia. Franklin was a very argumentative person and befriended John Collins who fueled each other in debates. Though.

tensions between the mother country began to “shift [from] dependence …long before any colonist… [and] envisioned establishing a new nation”. resolution. Benjamin strongly disliked working for a candle shop. Later in his life. moderation. From there. Benjamin‟s career bloomed as he went out to another city to start his own printing career. sincerity. James. justice. he became an established and wealthy printer. He was appointed as an American Ambassador to represent English colonies. Franklin tried the “project to reach moral perfection. tranquility. chastity. Later on in life. his family put him in grammar school thinking he would service the church. or pleasure” and with that. silence. Franklin had “desired a world without war and a world without racism and slavery.Chan 3 "truth. hoping that . recipes and aphorisms …provided information and entertainment. he did become happier. In his twenties. and humility. However. he imagined vast progress in the centuries ahead. a printer. Granted that Franklin was to be like his uncle (in which he was named after). we find the printer much involved in politics. As for his career. so his father set out to find him a new trade and apprenticed him under his brother. he developed a list of 13 virtues: temperance. sincerity. cleanliness. to wit. He always believed the purpose of “speech was given to us." Each week he focused on a virtue and although he never became perfect. integrity of the concept. frugality. industry. Engrossed in self-enhancement. and formed a group of called Junto to meet and discuss philosophical and ethical issues. he developed an almanac “filled with forecasts and charts. giving or receiving information.” Poor Richard’s Almanac was one pinnacle of Franklin‟s successes." and he discussed these meanings. command.

. it was a very enjoyable read and had many pearls of wisdom and humor. Given the insight of Benjamin Franklin‟s life in accomplishments. All in all. I would was an easy read because of the length. Especially those who need time to digest what eighteenth century English meant. but at the same time. Therefore this biography makes his writings valuable to all that read it and gives spectacular insight to eighteenth century America. but a historical classic because Benjamin Franklin lived through a revolutionary time. We looked into the family. praying that „Men would cease to be Wolves to one another‟”. Not only is this an epic of one‟s life. Not only that.Chan 4 „true Science‟ would ease the burdens of labor and prevent the terrors of disease. personality. it is not an easy read because of the past English language. religion. and career of this self-made man. If others asked me about this book. it is really the betterment of oneself and for others that truly made him a success. the autobiography was not a continuous piece of work but rather segments and documents put together from his life. Franklin is one of the prime examples of the fulfillment of the American Dream.

Louis P. Boston: Bedford/St. . Print.Chan 5 Works Cited Franklin. 2003. Ed. Masur. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: With Related Documents. Martin's. Benjamin.

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