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

by Benjamin Franklin

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4,495681,083 (3.77)84
Member:meldridge
Title:The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Dover Thrift Editions)
Authors:Benjamin Franklin
Info:Dover Publications (1996), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:2012

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (1791)

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Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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 |
Once I got used to the old English that Benjamin Franklin used to write this book, I really grew to appreciate this work, and mostly, came to appreciate how God was instrumental in preparing Benjamin Franklin to be the calm moderator that was necessary to bring to pass the Constitution of the United States of America.
As his story unfolds, I can see the hand of God in helping Benjamin shape his character. That character resulted in so much good for our country. In brief, because of Benjamin's character and love for others, we understand what electricity is, we have fire departments, we have national defense, we have libraries, we have universities, but most of all, we have a country based upon freedom as granted by the Constitution. (I will write more later.)
  wadehuntpc | May 20, 2016 |
Although I frequently read non-fiction books, this would not be normally be one in which I was interested, but as a book club choice, I gave it a try. The writing is clear and, even with the 18th century spelling and sentence construction, easy to read. Ben Franklin clearly intended to write a full autobiography, since he gives a great deal of detail to his early life including his thoughts on character, religion, and economy. Though he was not schooled for more than 2 years, he read widely, taught himself 4 other languages, began a very successful printing business, began a newspaper, wrote frequently on issues he thought needed to be discussed, served many years in the General Assembly for Pennsylvania, organized and helped fund a local militia, began the first lending library in the United States, began a debate society that lasted his lifetime, served as the Postmaster General of the colonies, helped fund and build three forts for defense of the local populace from the Native Americans, discovered electricity, served as envoy to England for the General Assembly, and many, many other things. The real problem with this autobiography is that it ends far too soon, in 1759, before the Revolutionary War, his service in the Second Continental Congress, his service as Ambassador to France, and service as President of Pennsylvania. This was a man who could fairly state that he lived a full and valuable life. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Feb 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (86 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Benjamin Franklinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
My writing.
Dear Son, --I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes of my ancestors.
Quotations
A stitch in time saves nine
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(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.
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Haiku summary
A penny saved is
A penny earned, sayeth Poor
Richard. No stamp tax!
(bertilak)

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

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

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Yale University Press

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

Editions: 0300098588, 0300001479

Penguin Australia

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2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400101689, 1400108985

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