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Benjamin Franklin – on individual achievement and helping create a better world
I recently finished reading Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. It’s well written. The author includes a fair amount about Franklin’s imperfections, and also shows there’s much to admire.
Franklin proved that one individual can help change the world with hard work and an open mind. Franklin’s ideas and inventions continue to benefit us today.
He was influenced by the colonial Puritan’s work ethic, but he pioneered separating its other-worldliness from the value of work. He practiced this is in his own life, and communicated it eloquently in his writings.
He preferred working hard to benefit others in this world, considering that the best way we can serve God. Franklin’s practical work ethic had great influence on the self-help movement. His preference for creating our own destiny over inherited wealth and power helped form the best of America’s character and culture.
He made valuable advances in electricity, pioneered more efficient heating, invented bifocals and more.
He played a crucial role in four key challenges his country faced: the Declaration of Independence, forging an alliance with France that helped us to win the Revolutionary War, negotiating peace with England, and in advocating the compromises that enabled our Constitution to bring a lasting democracy.
Here are some Franklin quotes that I particularly like:
An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Well done is better than well said.
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
Words may show a man’s wit, but actions his meaning.
Speak ill of no man, but speak all the good you know of everybody
If you would be loved, love, and be lovable.
Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.
To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.
The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.
He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness.
You have to catch it yourself. Energy and persistence conquer all things.
Lost time is never found again.
If you have something to do tomorrow, do it today.
Would you persuade, speak of interest, not of reason.
If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.
The use of money is all the advantage there is in having it.
Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.
Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
To follow by faith alone is to follow blindly.
Serving God is doing good to man, but praying is thought an easier service and therefore more generally chosen.
Many have quarreled about religion that never practiced it.
How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them
Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one
The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise
I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong
An autobiography usually reveals nothing bad about its writer except his memory.
Here’s More Franklin Quotes. And our own website has many Inspiring Quotes and Ideas from many wise sources.
We all have power to make big changes in our lives and world. Here’s one way you can help make a very big difference: