Tuesday, January 17, 2023

5 Books to Read for Benjamin Franklin Day

Benjamin Franklin Day is celebrated annually on January 17th, Franklin's birthday. Franklin was undoubtedly a man of many talents and interests--ranging from politician and musician to scientist, author, and inventor. There are tons of books for kids to learn about the man--but, today, I wanted to share five grown-up books that will help adults learn a little about this man beyond the biographies you may have read in elementary school.

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Benjamin Franklin:  An American Life

 by Walter Isaacson


In this biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.

Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.


The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: 

The Original 1793 Edition


The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is the traditional name for the unfinished record of his own life written by Benjamin Franklin from 1771 to 1790; however, Franklin himself appears to have called the work his Memoirs. Although it had a tortuous publication history after Franklin's death, this work has become one of the most famous and influential examples of an autobiography ever written. 


Franklin's account of his life is divided into four parts, reflecting the different periods at which he wrote them. There are actual breaks in the narrative between the first three parts, but Part Three's narrative continues into Part Four without an authorial break. In the "Introduction" of the 1916 publication of the Autobiography, editor F. W. Pine wrote that Franklin's biography provided the "most remarkable of all the remarkable histories of our self-made men" with Franklin as the greatest exemplar.


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 Benjamin Franklin's Book of Virtues by Benjamin Franklin


Published in 1791 after his death, this smaller pull-out of Franklin's autobiography, shares Franklin's 13 virtues that he sought to work on in himself in efforts of self improvement. Reading Franklin's discussions of these virtues and their roles in "perfection" allows readers insights into Franklin's views, efforts, successes and motivations toward life success. 


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Poor Richard's Almanack by Benjamin Franklin


This reprinted version of Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack captures the book as it was in the late 1700's--filled with wit, wisdom, proverbs, jokes and hoaxes along with some annual calendars, weather and more typical almanac materials. Published originally under the pseudonym Richard Saunders, from 1732 to 1758, the original prints ran over 10,000 copies per year. This reprinted version compiles hundreds of pieces from many issues of the original publications. 


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The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin


The first American book on personal finance, "The Way to Wealth" by Benjamin Franklin is still the best and wisest money book ever written. Originally published in 1758 as the preface to "Poor Richard's Almanack," this little gem has been through innumerable printings and sold millions of copies to those in search of smart but entertaining advice about hard work, earning and saving money and debt.

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