Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Free US/UK Kindle Classic
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, published after his death in 1790,  is one of the most popular and famous autobiographies. (US Edition)  (UK Edition)  Long before memoirs were fashionable, there was the autobiography – which is a more formal personal narrative.  However, I think we can find some informality in Mr. Franklin’s account:

“ . . .one day, Keimer [Franklin’s boss] and I being at work together near the window, we saw the governor and another gentleman (which proved to be Colonel French, of Newcastle), finely dress'd, come directly across the street to our house, and heard them at the door.

Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a visit to him; but the governor inquir'd for me, came up, and with a condescension of politeness I had been quite unus'd to, made me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, blam'd me kindly for not having made myself known to him when I first came to the place, and would have me away with him to the tavern, where he was going with Colonel French to taste, as he said, some excellent Madeira. I was not a little surprised,
and Keimer star'd like a pig poison'd."    
Ahh, that’s fun!  But more of the book is on Franklin’s quest for self-improvement:

"If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error." 
I could not agree more.

Per Dale Carnegie – founding father of all self-help books:  'If you want some excellent suggestions about dealing with people and managing yourself and improving your personality, read Benjamin Franklin's autobiography-one of the most fascinating life stories ever written, one of the classics of American literature.”

If that is not impressive, look to what one of the intrepid Amazon reader reviewers says:

"This is just a great book. All I knew about Ben Franklin before reading it was he flew a kite in a storm. Reading it gave me a great insight into what America and indeed what the world was like in the 18th Century."

Isn’t that why we read?

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