Thoughts on: ”The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”

Benjamin Franklin was probably the most prominent character of the American Enlightenment. A scientist, politician, inventor, postmaster, civic activist, and one of the founding fathers of the United States of American.


The reason I like Franklin so much is his sense of wonder and curiosity about life and learning. This in combination with being a great observer of the world around him helped him come up with crazy inventions and experiments in all aspects of life and work.


I suggest you read W. Isaacsons biography “Benjamin Franklin: An American life” if you are totally new to the subject, to get a full picture of the man. But there is definitely something cool about getting the information straight from the pen of Franklin. It’s a very honest and readable account of his life and I really like how he shares the processes that lead to his discoveries.


In addition to inventing the lighting rod, the Franklin stove and the water harmonica, he did a lot of experiments in self improvement which I found fascinating .


In an bold attempt to achieve moral perfection, he developed a creed of “13 virtues”. After noticing it was too tough to eliminate all his vices at ones, he decided to focus on one virtue each week. In case he failed to live up to the “virtue of the week”, he put a dot for that day in a special notebook. The aim to go a full 13 weeks without placing a single dot on the paper. (Google Franklins 13 virtues and check it out).


My main takeaways:

I’m impressed with his industry, especially his balanced combination of input and output. It’s easy to indulge in information all day and think you’re doing great, but you need to get out there and create things too. Don’t be a passive consumer. And do more experiments in life 😀👍🏻


Good stuff! Now I need recommendations for biographies about women. It’s been a sausage party here lately. 😀


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