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The wit & wisdom of Benjamin Franklin Hardcover – 1995
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A treasury of over 900 quotations spoken by the first "American" as well as numerous entertaining anecdotes about his adventures and misadventures, making it the fourth in the WIT & WISDOM series from RHVP. Covering everything from Sage Sayings to Franklin Fables, it even incudes a time line of Franklin's life and the world around him. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Among so many attributes Benjamin Franklin is known for his message by way of his sharp wit. This book is an easy to read group of samples of that wit. It is appropriate, and well within the grasp of readability and understanding, for those in the uppers classes of high school through those of us who are in our most senior years.
This 1995 book of 86 pages has samples from his writings. They portray a man of courage and character, a thinker well in advance of his time. Franklin was a statesman, scientist, and philosopher. He started the first American circulating library, invented the Franklin stove, established the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia (then the major city in America), discovered the first law of electricity, and helped draft the US Constitution. He had virtually no formal education but was a voracious reader. The first chapter is his “Plan of Conduct” for living like a rational creature. Next “A Letter to His Son” (which is abridged).
The chapter is “Inventor and Scientist”. “The Kite Experiment” explains that lightning has the same matter as static electricity. “An Economical Project” recommends rising at dawn to save candles and wood. “Oil and Water” notes how oil reduces waves. “Life and Death” discusses legends of that era. The “Philosopher” chapter has his views. He recommends not overpaying for objects. “The Morals of Chess” says the game can teach Foresight, Circumspection, and Caution. There are “Rules of Making Oneself a Disagreeable Companion” which are still valid today. “Old Folks and Old Trees” can die if they are moved.
The “Statesman” chapter tells “How a Nation Acquires Wealth”. Franklin is against Protective Duties on Imports because of retaliation. “The Effects of War” are higher costs for both sides. Franklin explains “How to Make a Great Empire a Small One” which uses the example of America. “On Government” says rulers should act to benefit the ruled; the reverse is tyranny. He objects to “Sending Felons to America” who continue crime and corrupt the morals of servants and poorer people. Franklin advocated the Abolition of Slavery and the relief of Free Negroes who were unlawfully kept in bondage. Slavery is an atrocious debasement of human nature. The last chapter has extracts from “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, a collection of sayings. They are still relevant and useful today.
This short book is worth reading for the wisdom it teaches. The extracts from “Poor Richard’s Almanac” should be in school courses, but you can still read them for yourself.
This book trivializes him. Franklin was a man whose genius fit the context. These quips are presented with no context. And they're not attributed. There's a Bibliography, but no citations. All kinds of stuff is attributed to Franklin (like Jefferson & Confucius) that he might not, actually, have said.