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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by…

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (original 1791; edition 2003)

by Benjamin Franklin

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4,181591,196 (3.78)74
Title:The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Authors:Benjamin Franklin
Info:Touchstone (2003), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:nonfiction, american history, memoir

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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (1791)


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English (57)  German (1)  All languages (58)
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
I don't know why this is rated so highly.

This book is supposed to be a collection of letters that he sends his son in the hopes of teaching him about the world. But I didn't feel anywhere that he's teaching him anything about life. Throughout the letters he's talking about what things he's doing. It feels more like he's just mentioning his achievements and what all problems he sorted out rather than explaining how he solved the problems, what he felt when he faced them, how he went about understanding his issues. If I merely tell you "I built that building, and then one guy was constantly harassing me so I put him in his place, and then I made friends with some political parties, and then I asked them to deal with that guy" then I doubt it'll help anyone who's reading it (besides the entertainment for which I think there are much better books out there anyway).

I read a few chapters and found the writing style to be primitive and full of unnecessary details. This amount of detail merely serves as a distraction (at least to me). I lost interest in reading this book quite early on. Then I started skimming through the chapters and found it doesn't hold my interest at all. So I searched online for a summary and found a guidebook somewhere which explained the entire content of the chapters. On reading it I felt glad that I hadn't spent time going through this actual book. Because the whole writing feels like a self-obsessed rant.

He talks about the hardships he faced and the strengths he had. It felt like there was very little that he had to struggle himself. His uncle took him to some person so he could learn a trade when he was a kid. Someone doing so much for a kid without him having to struggle? That too an uncle? My ass! Then later on his teacher helps him out. No one ever did that for me. My dad hardly gave us money for surviving. I saw my mother break down at times and yet she kept on trying to earn money for us. I was sexually abused by another guy (gay?) when I was a kid in my school. Grew up in a horrible school where we were beaten and belted. I wanted to run away but in my country I wouldn't have a future if I ran away. I'm 30 now and struggling with a couple of skeletons that my childhood handed me. I don't care a rat's ass about this loser politician who hardly struggled. Things just kept going right for him and he kept eating the cake he was served everywhere. His struggles are nothing compared to the average youth of today.

This book is outdated for our times IMHO. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
"Started From The Bottom" in book form, basically. Franklin's own 4-page outline of his life is amazing. ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Rated: B- ( )
  jmcdbooks | May 9, 2015 |
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 | Apr 14, 2015 |
Fascinating and inspiring in places, dreary and overly detailed in others. But Franklin is one of my favorite historical figures and I really enjoyed these insights into his thoughts and reflections, especially the self-reflections.

As a warning to other readers, it does end rather abruptly, a good deal short of the Revolutionary War, etc.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (85 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Benjamin Franklinprimary 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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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
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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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Book description
Famous as a scientists, statesman, philosopher, businessman, and civic leader, Benjamin Franklin was also one of the most powerful and controversial American writers of his time, and has been a subject of intense debate ever since: to Matthew Arnold, he exemplified "Victorious good sense"; to D.H. Lawrence, he was "the first dummy American." Franklin's classic Autobiography is his last word on his greatest literary creation - his own invented persona, the original incarnation of the American success story.

For the first time, the authoritative editions of works by major American novelists, poets, scholars, and essayists collected in the hardcover volumes of The Library of America are being published singly in a series of handsome and durable paperback books. A distinguished author has contributed an introduction for each volume, which also includes a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice of the text, and notes.
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 8 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

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16 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

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Library of America Paperback Classics

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

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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.

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