A Book Review
5 March 2010
"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." - Benjamin Franklin Written over a period of nearly 30 years and covering his life only until 1759 (he died in 1790), “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” is actually tells approximately half of his life story as everyone knows of this great man. The dominant idea of the American character found its apotheosis in the person of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin can be considered as the typical American whose philosophies, beliefs, and principles are exemplified in one’s attitudes towards life, wealth, and happiness. The evidence of all these and more can be read in the “Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. What he calls as “rambling digressions,” Franklin uses a very unpretentious writing style, almost like a conversation, with anecdotes interspersed in the pages. America will never forget Benjamin Franklin because he was able to accomplish both feats that he mentioned in this famous saying. He was able to live the words of wisdom that he has proliferated by writing lots of sensible and usable things, and more. Everyone in this country knows Benjamin Franklin as a scientist (predicting weather conditions and studied the use of hot air balloons, an inventor (bifocals, flexible urinary catheter, watertight compartments in ships, lightning rods, iron furnace stove, odometer, and many more), statesman (the only person who signed all four documents that became the basis for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, he set up the Postal system and the first fire insurance system in America, helped create a militia in Philadelphia to protect its residents, and proposed the Daylight Saving Time). He was also printer (he was an apprentice in his brother’s printing shop at 12, at 17 he was a fully skilled printer, at 22 he opened his own printing shop, and printed the popular newspaper the Philadelphia Gazette as well his 3
annual Poor Richards Almanac). Among his works as a printer included making cartoons, illustrated news stories, and letters to the editor. For those books to read even though they might not have been able to afford to buy books to read. Again, Ben wanted to use his printing press to help people understand the world around them. As a philosopher, Benjamin Franklin never wasted his time, so surely he must have loved life. He is remembered as one of America's great thinkers. His ideas and visions helped to lay the foundation for the United States of America as we know it today. He had a clear vision of the way America should be and he spent his time helping to make sure that it would be. Less people knew of Benjamin Franklin as a musician. Ben Franklin found simple beauty in simple tunes. He played several musical instruments, including the violin, harp, and guitar. His great interest in music leads him to build his own glass harmonica. This simple musical instrument was played by touching the edge of the spinning glass with dampened fingers. The harmonica's beautiful tones appealed to many composers, including Mozart and Beethoven. As an economist, his personal ideas about economy helped to shape our country's economy. We are lucky that they did because Franklin believed that the only true way to wealth was through hard work. This noble idea became the soul of the "American Dream," the idea that all people are created equal and each person has the same opportunity to achieve success. Ben used his printing skills to print paper money, helping to establish the paper currency system in America. Today, we honor Ben's contribution to the economy every time we use a hundred dollar bill. Ben's face appears on it (Morgan, 2002). Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706 in Massachusetts. When he was 12 years old he became apprentice...