Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin…

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Dover Thrift Editions) (original 1791; edition 1996)

by Benjamin Franklin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,564701,051 (3.78)89
Title:The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Dover Thrift Editions)
Authors:Benjamin Franklin
Info:Dover Publications (1996), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (1791)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 89 mentions

English (68)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All (70)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
I'm not a big fan of biographies, but I feel like the useful advice offered within Franklin's life-story is deserving of some serious bonus points. So much of what he said was so motivating and makes me feel like I can achieve some previously unforeseen potential. ( )
  benuathanasia | Oct 27, 2016 |
Honestly, I was not reading this exact version of the Franklin's autobiography. In fact I was not reading at all. I was listening to the audio book. Which is generously provided by librovox. But, I downloaded it through archive.org. I find audio books very convenient when you are not learning something for the sake of understanding, but rather for the sake of familiarity with the subject. Although I can't say I completely missed the book. Quite the opposite I think. I woke up today at 2 p.m. fresh as never before, packed up some food and drinks in my back pack, uploaded the book to my MP3 and was ready to go. I had such a great time listening to this inspiring work of art while walking in the parks of my city for 7 and a half hours.
I liked this book a lot. This book is a succinct instruction to better way of living your life. Benjamin Franklin touches upon topic of his attempts to stick to vegetarianism which resonated with me a lot. Since many people before that, have been mentioning their improvement in health while switching to more moderate diet. I have never believed that before I tried myself. Now, I can assure that moderation in drinking and eating not only improves your health, but also leads to better cognitive abilities. While not getting to extreme, I mean I still eat meat and fish, controlling your diet leads to better life.
I draw many valuable lessons from the account of Franklin's life while at the same time I was greatly entertained by his narrative. I've learnt about his friends in early adolescence, who spent all money that he benevolently lent them on alcohol and never returned them back. Which Benjamin himself admits as "errata of my life". I've learnt that Benjamin had 12 siblings, immediate relatives, sons and daughters of his mother and seven more from the first wife of his father.
The fact that BF was studying constantly by reading inspires me a lot. Since I am a strong believer in education and true knowledge. Having no formal education myself his autobiography gives me motivation to keep up with my learning. As BF himself says in his book: "having no formal education myself I received honors from Yale and Oxford for my studies on the nature of electricity". Sounds just like Steve Jobs' story.
At last the part that touched bases with me most is when he describes how he started business with his subscription library. Where people could read the books while lending them for a small fee. How important that was for the literacy of the folks in town, which in its own place was greatly advantageous for the economy of the states. This small story describes how seemingly small and charitable projects can give a huge return on investment and could potentially be very profitable.
The whole book is sprinkled with dicta just like any story related to BF. Like, small things agglomerate to huge. (The story of nail, horse shoe and the lost battle). Like, early to bed early to rise. Like today is worth twice as much tomorrow. And the like.
Just as I said, greatly enjoyed today's walk in the park with a great book. ( )
  Anatoly1988 | Aug 19, 2016 |
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin was written in two sections, the first in 1771 and the second in 1778. The autobiography ends in 1757 and so never arrives at the American Revolution, but it still captures Franklin's wit and personality. Though he claims to write for his son's benefit, his adage on page 157 better sums up his goal: "That, as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously." Much like the advice doled out in Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanacks, the Autobiography serves as an example to his readers on how to live their lives. For those reading with an interest in history, Franklin's writing helps to capture the character of the time in which he lived, but is likely colored by nostalgia and memory. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jul 3, 2016 |
The first half is better than the second, but we all like our origin stories. ( )
  Peter_Scissors | Jun 21, 2016 |
Pretty interesting. Not what I expected. Ends in 1757. Could be called 'Lessons from my Life: every young man should follow my example.'

I liked his observation that youngsters who are taught the art of debate grow to be disputing, contradicting, and confuting people [who] are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory sometimes, but they never get goodwill, which would be of more use to them."

I was interested to learn that [a:John Bunyan|16244|John Bunyan|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1201095460p2/16244.jpg], in [b:The Pilgrim's Progress|29797|The Pilgrim's Progress|John Bunyan|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1328865403s/29797.jpg|1960084], "was the first that I know of who mixed narrative and dialogue: a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting parts finds himself, as it were, admitted into the company and present at the conversation."

I like that he tried to attend the services of different Christian sects, tried to abide by different preachers' lessons, but finally drew up his own list of virtues and program of incorporating the habit of adhering to them in his life. To be specific & clear, he used "rather more names, with fewer ideas annexed to each, than a few names with more ideas...." He lists 13, from the foundation of Temperances, to Silence, through Sincerity & Tranquillity [sic] etc., to Humility. He admits the last was added upon the advice of a Quaker friend.

He was a masterful strategist and diplomat. He knew he could never really conquer pride - even as he taught himself more humility, he recognized that he became proud of being humble. But he knew that to get support for his schemes he had to use psychology. So he pretended humility. He contrived to let others think the ideas were their own, or at least not his own. He put to good use the maxim that "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged."

Too much for me to type out here - but read if you can his praise of the sect of the Dunkers and the basis for that praise. Basically, he admires that they consider themselves fallible and that they welcome further enlightenment, whereas "every other sect suppos[es] itself in possession of all truth, and that those who differ are so far in the wrong...."

Recommended." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (86 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Benjamin Franklinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Franklin, Benjaminmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Appelbaum, StanleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bennett, James O'Donnellsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colby, Homer W.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dole, Nathan H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Labaree, Leonard W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leary, LewisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lemisch, L. JesseEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pine, Frank WoodworthEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sharp, WilliamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thurber, SamuelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Doren, CarlIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wayne, FreddNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wecter, DixonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ziff, LarzerEditor.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
My writing.
Dear Son, --I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes of my ancestors.
A stitch in time saves nine
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin", by Benjamin Franklin. Please do not combine with the Franklin/Woolman/Penn volume from The Harvard Classics.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary
A penny saved is
A penny earned, sayeth Poor
Richard. No stamp tax!

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486290735, Paperback)

One of the most popular works of American literature, this charming self-portrait has been translated into nearly every language. It covers Franklin's life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, including his boyhood years, work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, much more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:51 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

One of the most popular works of American literature, this charming self-portrait has been translated into nearly every language. It covers Franklin's life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, including his boyhood years, work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, much more.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 17 descriptions

Legacy Library: Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Benjamin Franklin's legacy profile.

See Benjamin Franklin's author page.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.78)
1 11
1.5 3
2 38
2.5 10
3 154
3.5 35
4 231
4.5 27
5 146


21 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300098588, 0300001479

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Library of America Paperback Classics

An edition of this book was published by Library of America Paperback Classics.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400101689, 1400108985

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 111,769,388 books! | Top bar: Always visible