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Benjamin Franklin and Business Ethics

An excerpt from The True Benjamin Franklin

Author: Sydney George Fisher

Franklin was by nature a public man; but the beginning of his life as an office-holder may be said to have dated from his appointment as clerk of the Assembly. This took place in 1736, when he had been in business for himself for some years, and his newspaper and “Poor Richard” were well under way. It was a tiresome task to sit for hours listening to buncombe speeches, and drawing magic squares and circles to while away the time. But he valued the appointment because it gave him influence with the members and a hold on the public printing.

The second year his election to the office was opposed; an influential member wanted the place for a friend, and Franklin had a chance to show a philosopher’s skill in practical politics.

“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met, in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.’” (Bigelow’s Franklin from his own Writings, vol. i. p. 260.)

Some people have professed to be very much shocked at this disingenuous trick, as they call it, although perhaps capable of far more discreditable ones themselves. It would be well if no worse could be said of modern practical politics.

Benjamin Franklin and Business Ethics

I confess to have done similar things myself having been a student of Franklin since I was in high school. (It took me an age to figure out what venery was!) 

There was a mail service in the building where I worked. The mail often contained items of some confidentiality so I asked the our version of a postman to give the letters only to me. Well, a few days passed and the office gossip brought in the letters after having gone through them. I was enraged and decided to go out and tell off the guy. Fortunately this thought passed away instantly as I realized that the busybody would have the letters from then on.

So, the next day I went over and told him how much I appreciated his giving the mail to me only, how it helped me with my work and how few people who did his work would have realized its importance and helped me in the matter. The office busybody never got the mail again. (And the postman and I were buddies from then on.)

Needless to say, I don’t consider Franklin’s action a mean trick. I think it is just a good way to get to know someone.

James Pilant

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Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics and Bearing Grudges

Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics and Bearing Grudges

An excerpt from Benjamin Franklin by John Torrey Morse, Jr.

In Philadelphia Franklin soon found opportunity to earn a living at his trade. There were then only two printers in that town, ignorant men both, with scant capacity in the technique of their calling. His greater acquirements and ability, and superior knowledge of the craft, soon attracted attention. One day Sir William Keith, governor of the province, appeared at the printing-office, inquired for Franklin, and carried him off “to taste some excellent Madeira” with himself and Colonel French, while employer Keimer, bewildered at the compliment to his journeyman, “star’d like a pig poison’d.” Over the genial glasses the governor proposed that Franklin should set up for himself, and promised his own influence to secure for him the public printing. Later he=7= wrote a letter, intended to induce Franklin’s father to advance the necessary funds. Equipped with this document, Franklin set out, in April, 1724, to seek his father’s coöperation, and surprised his family by appearing unannounced among them, not at all in the classic garb of the prodigal son, but “having a genteel new suit from head to foot, a watch, and my pockets lin’d with near five pounds sterling in silver.” But neither his prosperous appearance nor the flattering epistle of the great man could induce his hard-headed parent to favor a scheme “of setting a boy up in business, who wanted yet three years of being at man’s estate.” The independent old tallow-chandler only concluded that the distinguished baronet “must be of small discretion.” So Franklin returned with “some small gifts as tokens” of parental love, much good advice as to “steady industry and prudent parsimony,” but no cash in hand. The gallant governor, however, said: “Since he will not set you up, I will do it myself,” and a plan was soon concocted whereby Franklin was to go to England and purchase a press and types with funds to be advanced by Sir William. Everything was arranged, only from day to day there was delay in the actual delivery to Franklin of the letters of introduction and credit. The governor was a very busy man. The day of sailing came, but the documents had not come, only a message from the governor that Franklin might feel easy at embarking, for that the papers should be sent=8= on board at Newcastle, down the stream. Accordingly, at the last moment, a messenger came hurriedly on board and put the packet into the captain’s hands. Afterward, when during the leisure hours of the voyage the letters were sorted, none was found for Franklin. His patron had simply broken an inconvenient promise. It was indeed a “pitiful trick” to “impose so grossly on a poor innocent boy.” Yet Franklin, in his broad tolerance of all that is bad as well as good in human nature, spoke with good-tempered indifference, and with more of charity than of justice, concerning the deceiver. “It was a habit he had acquired. He wish’d to please everybody; and, having little to give, he gave expectations. He was otherwise an ingenious, sensible man, a pretty good writer, and a good governor for the people…. Several of our best laws were of his planning, and passed during his administration.”

Governor Keith lied repeatedly to Franklin, mislead him into the dangerous and unnecessary journey to England, and decieved a great many others as well. Yet, Franklin’s account of him is kind, balanced, and gives the man full credit for the good things he did. Would any of us have been so kind?

But don’t take this as a compliment on Franklin’s generous personality. It is far more serious matter.

Franklin can take a step back from a situation and view it unemotionally. For an ethical man, this is critical. There is a tendency to assign all evil to an opponent, to never think of him positively, to never consider the situation from that person’s point of view. That tendency throws off judgment and turns the mind away from justice and morality.

A generous view of humanity is often the more accurate one. Viewing one’s enemies as devoid of value puts one surely in the wrong. Viewing with accuracy and balance ennobles the mind and gives substance to decision making.

James Pilant

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Is Stepping on Teachers Becoming a National Pastime?

Is Stepping on Teachers Becoming a National Pastime?

Arizona Bill Would Restrict Teachers’ Speech – Proposed legislation would punish those who violate FCC standards

Arizona doesn’t want its teachers cussing in class—and new proposed legislation would actually make it illegal to do so. GOP state lawmakers are behind Senate Bill 1467, which would require public school teachers to adhere to the FCC’s TV and radio standards. That means certain limits on obscene, indecent, or profane language, the Arizona Republic reports. One teacher notes that the bill applies to teachers’ language not just in the classroom, but even if they are with a colleague.

Arizona Bill Would Restrict Teachers’ Speech – Proposed legislation would punish those who violate FCC standards

About one hundred years ago there were three groups of professionals, the opinion makers, in small towns all over the United States. They were  lawyers, doctors and teachers. Doctors and lawyers have retained their status. Teachers are barely one step above a sixteen year old with a MacJob. How did this come about?

There are a lot of reasons. I suspect the increasing demonization of teachers as the destroyers of educational excellence is a key factor. The strange idea that motivated teachers can overcome massive income inequality to produce high test scores in all populations. The teachers’ inability to produce this utopia of educational success results in constant attacks and ridicule. It takes its toll after a while. Further, teachers are divided in their political loyalties making their backing in a political campaign of questionable value. I estimate teachers’ union endorsement to be worth no more than sixty percent of their votes. Teacher fragmentation has been devastating to their political influence for decades. I remember listening in class to my teachers attacking unions and evolution. I grew up in Oklahoma. Defying teacher unions and refusing to even ask for an endorsement became standard politics long ago.

I don’t get it. Teachers by education and position ought to be opinion leaders but have apparently given up the job to do some version of independent politics on an every man for himself basis. Benjamin Franklin once told his fellow revolutionaries, “We must all hang together or else we shall hang separately.” The teacher unions are dying fragmented and ineffective.

Unless this fragmentation ends, there is only one end to the story, the minimum wage.

James Pilant

 

The Writings and Speeches of the Founding Fathers are FREE!

Benjamin Franklin

I was on the web looking at one of my sites and ran into a thing called the Founding Fathers Collection. For the sale price of $300, you can the works of the great men of the colonial period.

Don’t pay any money. Those writings are all public domain. I can’t imagine anything they’ve written isn’t available on the Internet.

Let’s just take Benjamin Franklin as an example.

You can go to the Franklin Papers at Yale University and read all of his works.

How about the Federalist Papers?

Here they are at Project Gutenberg.

If you want to hear them spoken, go here.

You don’t have to just settle for their writings. At Project Gutenberg, there are usually biographies of the founding fathers. Here is a link to a biography of each of these founding fathers –

George Washington

Benjamin Franklin

Alexander Hamilton

Thomas Jefferson

John Adams

Samuel Adams

John Hancock

Thomas Paine

Build your own library of the great works of American History. If the writing is before 1900, it’s all public domain, so freely available. I recommend you start with Project Gutenberg and then begin examining college and university collections.

If you load these in a popular word processing format, you can annotate them with your own thoughts, mark key pages and publish your favorite selections to the Internet.

English: I took photo with Canon camera of Ben...

Image via Wikipedia

American history, its stories, the speeches, the papers, – they are our common heritage and we should cherish them.

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, The Founder’s Blog.

http://williamdbailey.wordpress.com/category/founding-fathers/

The Battle of Fort Necessity, or the Battle of the Great Meadows
took place on July 3, 1754 in what is now the mountaintop hamlet of
Farmington in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The engagement was one of
the first battles of the French and Indian War and George Washington’s
only military surrender. The battle, along with the May 28 Battle of
Jumonville Glen, contributed to a series of military escalations that
resulted in the global Seven Years’ War.

From the web site, Friends of the American Revolution.

http://21stcenturycicero.wordpress.com/tyrrany/the-founding-fathers-the-classics/

All our Founding Fathers believed that history was a precursor of the future. In the annals of history — particularly that of the Greek and Roman republics of antiquity — they believed they could find the key to inoculating America against the diseases that infected and destroyed past societies. Indeed, it has been said that the Founders were coroners examining the lifeless bodies of the republics and democracies of the past, in order to avoid succumbing to the maladies that shortened their lives.

 The Founders learned very early in life to venerate the illuminating stories of ancient Greece and Rome. They learned these stories, not from secondary sources, but from the classics themselves. And from these stories they drew knowledge and inspiration that helped them found a republic far greater than anything created in antiquity.

From the web site, Rape Victims of the Catholic Church.

http://rapevictimsofthecatholicchurch.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/tired-of-the-christians-lying-about-the-founding-fathers/

I hear this so many times from christians in their lies about the founding fathers. I mean have they actually ever read the words of the “Founding Fathers” on the subject of christianity and religion? I would guess most of these christian leaders who lie about the words of the Founding Fathers just never made it past second grade. Or they absolutely do not know how to read.

Yet for their clarification I have gathered many words of the “Founding Fathers” on the subject and I am now going to post them here.

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Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics and Bearing Grudges

An excerpt from Benjamin Franklin by John Torrey Morse, Jr.

In Philadelphia Franklin soon found opportunity to earn a living at his trade. There were then only two printers in that town, ignorant men both, with scant capacity in the technique of their calling. His greater acquirements and ability, and superior knowledge of the craft, soon attracted attention. One day Sir William Keith, governor of the province, appeared at the printing-office, inquired for Franklin, and carried him off “to taste some excellent Madeira” with himself and Colonel French, while employer Keimer, bewildered at the compliment to his journeyman, “star’d like a pig poison’d.” Over the genial glasses the governor proposed that Franklin should set up for himself, and promised his own influence to secure for him the public printing. Later he=7= wrote a letter, intended to induce Franklin’s father to advance the necessary funds. Equipped with this document, Franklin set out, in April, 1724, to seek his father’s coöperation, and surprised his family by appearing unannounced among them, not at all in the classic garb of the prodigal son, but “having a genteel new suit from head to foot, a watch, and my pockets lin’d with near five pounds sterling in silver.” But neither his prosperous appearance nor the flattering epistle of the great man could induce his hard-headed parent to favor a scheme “of setting a boy up in business, who wanted yet three years of being at man’s estate.” The independent old tallow-chandler only concluded that the distinguished baronet “must be of small discretion.” So Franklin returned with “some small gifts as tokens” of parental love, much good advice as to “steady industry and prudent parsimony,” but no cash in hand. The gallant governor, however, said: “Since he will not set you up, I will do it myself,” and a plan was soon concocted whereby Franklin was to go to England and purchase a press and types with funds to be advanced by Sir William. Everything was arranged, only from day to day there was delay in the actual delivery to Franklin of the letters of introduction and credit. The governor was a very busy man. The day of sailing came, but the documents had not come, only a message from the governor that Franklin might feel easy at embarking, for that the papers should be sent=8= on board at Newcastle, down the stream. Accordingly, at the last moment, a messenger came hurriedly on board and put the packet into the captain’s hands. Afterward, when during the leisure hours of the voyage the letters were sorted, none was found for Franklin. His patron had simply broken an inconvenient promise. It was indeed a “pitiful trick” to “impose so grossly on a poor innocent boy.” Yet Franklin, in his broad tolerance of all that is bad as well as good in human nature, spoke with good-tempered indifference, and with more of charity than of justice, concerning the deceiver. “It was a habit he had acquired. He wish’d to please everybody; and, having little to give, he gave expectations. He was otherwise an ingenious, sensible man, a pretty good writer, and a good governor for the people…. Several of our best laws were of his planning, and passed during his administration.”

Governor Keith lied repeatedly to Franklin, mislead him into the dangerous and unnecessary journey to England, and decieved a great many others as well. Yet, Franklin’s account of him is kind, balanced, and gives the man full credit for the good things he did. Would any of us have been so kind?

But don’t take this as a compliment on Franklin’s generous personality. It is far more serious matter.

Franklin can take a step back from a situation and view it unemotionally. For an ethical man, this is critical. There is a tendency to assign all evil to an opponent, to never think of him positively, to never consider the situation from that person’s point of view. That tendency throws off judgment and turns the mind away from justice and morality.

A generous view of humanity is often the more accurate one. Viewing one’s enemies as devoid of value puts one surely in the wrong. Viewing with accuracy and balance ennobles the mind and gives substance to decision making.

James Pilant

Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics And How To Approach An Opponent!

An excerpt from The True Benjamin Franklin

Author: Sydney George Fisher

Franklin was by nature a public man; but the beginning of his life as an office-holder may be said to have dated from his appointment as clerk of the Assembly. This took place in 1736, when he had been in business for himself for some years, and his newspaper and “Poor Richard” were well under way. It was a tiresome task to sit for hours listening to buncombe speeches, and drawing magic squares and circles to while away the time. But he valued the appointment because it gave him influence with the members and a hold on the public printing.

The second year his election to the office was opposed; an influential member wanted the place for a friend, and Franklin had a chance to show a philosopher’s skill in practical politics.

“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met, in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.’” (Bigelow’s Franklin from his own Writings, vol. i. p. 260.)

Some people have professed to be very much shocked at this disingenuous trick, as they call it, although perhaps capable of far more discreditable ones themselves. It would be well if no worse could be said of modern practical politics.

I confess to have done similar things myself having been a student of Franklin since I was in high school. (It took me an age to figure out what venery was!) 

There was a mail service in the building where I worked. The mail often contained items of some confidentiality so I asked the our version of a postman to give the letters only to me. Well, a few days passed and the office gossip brought in the letters after having gone through them. I was enraged and decided to go out and tell off the guy. Fortunately this thought passed away instantly as I realized that the busybody would have the letters from then on.

So, the next day I went over and told him how much I appreciated his giving the mail to me only, how it helped me with my work and how few people who did his work would have realized its importance and helped me in the matter. The office busybody never got the mail again. (And the postman and I were buddies from then on.)

Needless to say, I don’t consider Franklin’s action a mean trick. I think it is just a good way to get to know someone.

James Pilant

Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics, And How To Present An Idea

From the Benjamin Franklin biography by John Torrey Morse, Jr., page 39.

In another enterprise Franklin shrewdly enlisted the boon-companion element on his side, with the result of immediate and brilliant success. He began as usual by reading a paper before the Junto, and through this intervention set the people thinking concerning the utter lack of any organization for extinguishing fires in the town. In consequence the Union Fire Company was soon established, the first thing of the kind in the city. Franklin continued a member of it for half a century. It was thoroughly equipped and efficiently conducted. An item in the terms of association was that the members should spend a social evening together once a month. The example was followed; other companies were formed, and fifty years later Franklin boasted that since that time the city had never “lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time; and the flames have often been extinguished before the house in which they began has been half consumed.”

Franklin does not go out with an idea convinced in advance of its success. He carefully tests his ideas with a chosen audience. The Junto was an association he created of other capable young men. They came together to discuss ideas, exchange information, and to lobby for their interests. The idea for an organization to fight fires made abundant sense but he tested it in front of this chosen audience to gauge its reception.

The Junto gave him a testing ground for his ideas. He could get feedback in a safe environment. If his idea was not well thought out, it will not be reported. If successful, he can then take an idea which has passed muster in an intelligent practical organization and test it out in the community.

One of the things that gets us in trouble is pride. Franklin in his autobiography admits that vanity (pride) was key to much of his success. That he is able to recognize that and give it due credit is amazing. Most of us spend our lives lying about ourselves to everybody including and particularly ourselves. Pride has it proper place as Franklin realizes. But when you have to much you tend to over reach.

The idea for a fire company is so obviously good, it would have been easy to bypass the testing steps. It would have been easy just to expect the idea to sell itself. After all, isn’t everyone afraid of fire and hadn’t the city almost burned down twice within memory? But he still kept to the process of testing and development building a successful execution from the ground up.

Watch how Franklin takes even the best of his ideas and carefully works them into reality. How many of us once convinced of an idea can proceed intelligently and cautiously to build consensus for it? No, generally we tell everyone how great it is and reflect astonishment when disagreed with. We can learn from Franklin’s example.

There is certainly an ethical element in the level of respect he is demonstrating in this process for other opinions, the thoughts and ideas of the other members. He is recognizing the importance of these other individuals in the community. He is celebrating their importance, communicating clearly the importance of their thoughts and their support.

He doesn’t just sell an idea. He build allies, develops friendship and allows others to mature and develop by being his friends and associates.

Can you do that?

James Pilant

Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics, Newspapers And Teaching

Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics, Newspapers And Teaching

From the John Torrey Morse, Jr. biography of Benjamin Franklin (pages 23-24)

But the famous almanac was not the only pulpit whence Franklin preached to the people. He had an excellent ideal of a newspaper. He got news into it, which was seldom done in those days, and which made it attractive; he got advertisements into it, which made it pay, and which also was a novel feature; indeed, Mr. Parton says that he “originated the modern system of business advertising;” he also discussed matters of public interest. Thus he anticipated the modern newspaper, but in some respects improved in advance upon that which he anticipated. He made his “Gazette” a vehicle for disseminating information and morality, and he carefully excluded from it “all libeling and personal abuse.” The sheet in its every issue was doing the same sort of work as “Poor Richard.” In a word, Franklin was a born teacher of men, and what he did in this way in these his earlier days gives him rank among the most distinguished moralists who have ever lived.

I, myself, am a teacher and a good one. Franklin is very good. He is fond of facts, fascinated with reason and inclined toward discussion, both intelligent and moderate.

But do not think for a moment that Franklin was not willing to be angry or unwilling to use strong language. He knew that civility is not a one way street. He was a leader in revolution, at times, a soldier and a master of spies.

We need Franklin’s example now, more than ever. Franklin believed in virtue, virtue ethics like those practiced by the Greeks. That system says that we do the right thing because it is a better way to live, that it has benefits and we profit by them.

Those benefits are generally internal, how we feel about ourselves, others, this life or the next one. But Franklin takes it to a place where we can see that you can be virtuous and effective, honest and successful, hard-working and prosperous. He takes virtue ethics and shows how when applied with diligence and intelligence, a balanced life is possible.

The Greeks of the Classical Age believed in the moderation in all things. I do not. Neither did Franklin.

However, we can certainly say that Franklin believed in moderation in most things and recommended such to others.

Let that be our lesson today.

James Pilant

Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics, And A Whistle

Paul Elmer More’s biography of Franklin is one of those books designed to draw moral lessons at every possible point. Nevertheless, on occasion he does well in his almost manic pursuit of moral virtue.

Franklin had a rule – “Don’t give too much for the whistle.” This is why.

When ten years old the lad was taken from school and set to work under his father. But his education was by no means ended. There is a temptation to dwell on these early formative years because he himself was so fond of deducing lessons from the little occurrences of his boyhood; nor do I know any life that shows a more consistent development from beginning to end. There is, too, a peculiar charm in hearing the world-famous philosopher discourse on these petty happenings of childhood and draw from them his wise experience of life. So, for instance, at sixty-six years of age he writes to a friend in Paris the story of “The Whistle.” One day when he was seven years old his pocket was filled with coppers, and he immediately started for the shop to buy toys. On the way he met a boy with a whistle, and was so charmed with the sound of it that he gave all his money for one. Of course his kind brothers and sisters laughed at him for his extravagant bargain, and his chagrin was so great that he adopted as one of his maxims of life, “Don’t give too much for the whistle.” As he grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, he thought he met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle,—men sacrificing time and liberty and virtue for court favor; misers, giving up comfort and esteem and the joy of doing good for wealth; others sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind and fortune and health to mere corporal sensations, and all the other follies of exorbitant desire.

I think the author is a little over enthusiastic in his assessment of the effect of overpriced whistles, but the sentiment is accurate. We often give too much for the wrong things.

James Pilant

The Business Ethics of Benjamin Franklin – Truth, Sincerity, And Integrity

From the Project Gutenberg free book, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin –

Before I enter upon my public appearance in business, it may be well to let you know the then state of my mind with regard to my principles and morals, that you may see how far those influenc’d the future events of my life. My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously in the Dissenting way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others, particularly Collins and Ralph; but, each of them having afterwards wrong’d me greatly without the least compunction, and recollecting Keith’s conduct towards me (who was another free-thinker), and my own towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me great trouble, I began to suspect that this doctrine, tho’ it might be true, was not very useful. My London pamphlet, which had for its motto these lines of Dryden:

“Whatever is, is right. Though purblind man
Sees but a part o’ the chain, the nearest link:
His eyes not carrying to the equal beam,
That poises all above;”

and from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness and power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the world, and that vice and virtue were empty distinctions, no such things existing, appear’d now not so clever a performance as I once thought it; and I doubted whether some error had not insinuated itself unperceiv’d into my argument, so as to infect all that follow’d, as is common in metaphysical reasonings.

I grew convinc’d that truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life; and I form’d written resolutions, which still remain in my journal book, to practice them ever while I lived. Revelation had indeed no weight with me, as such; but I entertain’d an opinion that, though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably these actions might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, in their own natures, all the circumstances of things considered. And this persuasion, with the kind hand of Providence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favourable circumstances and situations, or all together, preserved me, thro’ this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I was sometimes in among strangers, remote from the eye and advice of my father, without any willful gross immorality or injustice, that might have been expected from my want of religion. I say willful, because the instances I have mentioned had something of necessity in them, from my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others. I had therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with; I valued it properly, and determin’d to preserve it.

I find it difficult to understand why more people particularly in the world of business don’t read Franklin’s Autobiography. It’s a relatively brief book. I can read it easily in a couple of day in my spare time. It’s an easy read. It’s very straightforward writing, a writing style in which you are approached as if you were an old friend.

It is a multitude of good books all in itself. It’s an English book for in it he explains how to develop a writing style and improve it. It’s a book of business advice, explaining how to make a good start, how to maintain a business and how to retire from it. It’s a self help book, laying out a plan of perfections set up daily for the course of a year. It’s a book of politics, where one can learn how to move with assurance through the hallways of power. It’s a community development manual in which the first civic booster in the United States explains how it’s done. It’s a book of science, explaining how to think and how to get results. And it’s possible to keep on going explaining over and over again how it applies to different areas of learning.

In the book we see the beginnings of those attitudes, those thought processes, now considered to be quintessentially American.

It’s worthy of any person’s time.

James Pilant

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