Title and Author: The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin
Synopsis of Content:
This is a compilation of various writings by America’s grandfather of success, Benjamin Franklin. It begins with the introduction he wrote to his autobiography. It is then divided into three sections:
The Way to Wealth
In this section Franklin discusses the importance of Industry (what we would today call hard work); Self-Reliance; Frugality; Charity; Experience; and all peppered with pithy axioms and Yankee sayings. Little has changed since Franklin wrote these words. He did not invent these ideas. They represented the native Yankee work ethic and the Judeo-Christian ethic.
Advice to a Young Worker
In this short article Franklin remembers the disciplines and methods that served him so well in his youth in the working world. It is a short review of those “virtues” as he calls them, of hard work, persistence, frugality, etc. He frames these ideas for the young man or women seeking to do well.
The Path to Virtue
As a young man Franklin began a self-improvement project, concentrating on one virtue every week until he felt he had incorporated them into his life. He discusses the value of Temperance (avoiding over indulgence), Silence (avoiding trifling conversation), Resolution (resolving to follow through), Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility.
As was customary in the 18th century Franklin did not divorce personal integrity and virtue from personal success. The improvement of the person was required to attain success on both a personal and business level. He understood, as did Jim Rohn two centuries later, that you cannot be less a person and a success at the same time.
While some of Franklin’s moral teachings may seem naïve and preachy today one has to wonder if the world would not be a much better place if more people heeded this advice. Today’s headlines all too often describe the deceit, cheating, and lack of integrity among our leaders and business leaders. Franklin understood that one must constantly work to improve themselves to be successful. One must be a good person to be a successful person.
Anyone serious about genuine self-improvement and development of the whole self in order to be successful will benefit from this timeless work. In it you will find the fundamental principles that nearly every success author since has espoused.
Franklin wrote remarkably clearly for an 18th century author. He wrote for the common man, not for the intellectual. While the organization and style of that period is a little difficult for modern readers his work was much more readable than most of his contemporaries.
Notes on Author:
Benjamin Franklin was an eminently successful American from the 18th century. He succeed in the printing and publishing business so well that he was able to retire from active business by his early 40s. He spent the rest of his life as a statesman, diplomat and inventor. He was instrumental in many public improvement projects founding the first public library, insurance company and fire department in the United States. He became one of the sages and principle architects of our nation and helped write the US Constitution. He was one of the most important founding fathers.
Three Great Ideas You Can Use:
- When someone complained about paying taxes Franklin responded, “We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly. It is only by mastering one’s own self that one can truly attain success in life.
- Franklin appreciated the value of time, our most precious asset. He wrote, “If dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
- In one proverb Franklin incorporates both the need for hard work and the balance equally important to a successful life: “Drive thy business, let not that drive thee; and early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise, Poor Richard says”.
The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin
Published by Best Success Books (Kindle). This material is in the public domain.
This was the Books2Wealth Book of the Month Review for March 2013.
Wishing you well,
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.