Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

In addition to his myriad other accomplishments, Benjamin Franklin wrote one of the first great autobiographies. He did not complete it or publish any part of it in his lifetime, and it unfortunately does not include the topic of the American Revolution. The autobiography, which he conceived as a memoir, is initially addressed to his son William, but this pretense later seems forgotten or abandoned. He wrote for posterity, for us, and he always was eager to instruct. For example, he goes into great detail about his personal plan for self-improvement.

Franklin's style is informal, even chatty. He seldom misses an opportunity to tell us his views on thrift and industry. He believed very much that his accomplishments should serve the public good. He points out that he refused to take out a patent on his famous stove.

Franklin had distinguished careers as a printer, author, postmaster, assemblyman, scientist, inventor, and statesman. He was evidently very charming, outgoing, and personable. Even among America's accomplished founding fathers, he was truly exceptional.



  1. Thanks for linking in to Your Favourite Biographies - I see you have a Benjamin Franklin thing going on! Cheers