The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Maybe it's just us, but we don't like to put off our dreams. After all, who knows? Tomorrow night, we might not want to have hands that are giant meatballs.
|Author||Franklin - Benjamin Franklin|
Literature and Writing
Memory and the Past
Visions of America
Self-help books are tomes of infinite wisdom and great perception…
…containing advice and prescriptions for achieving perfection in certain areas...
...like how to be a better pope...
...or how to get rich by printing counterfeit money.
Of course, for some people, a self-help book dug out of the bargain bin at Walmart won't
Benjamin Franklin, for example, was so awesome that he had to write his own self-help book…
…aptly titled The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin dabbled in just about everything
He served as the first American ambassador to France...
...he suggested that the turkey be the national bird of the United States...
...he invented bifocals… and fathered an illegitimate son.
Truly, Franklin was a Renaissance man. Yet even he sometimes thought he could use
Maybe it was because he wasn't as good at the glass harmonica as George Washington was.
So, Franklin sought perfection by listing thirteen moral virtues in a small notebook.
Then he kept track of how often he screwed up.
Today's self-help books are very different from the scheme Franklin used.
While Franklin wanted to improve his character – because no one needs two children born
out of wedlock...
...the modern self-help industry caters to those who want to correct superficial flaws.
Also, Franklin understood that there was only one way he was going to become a better person…
…by working hard and exerting self-control.
Because so many of the flaws we see in ourselves today are physical…
…hard work and self-control can't always take us as close to the perfection we desire…
…as money and a good plastic surgeon. The belief that we can achieve whatever we
want, that we can be perfect, is as American as the bald eagle...
Yet our perception of what it means to be a better person has morphed over time.
Perhaps we should all take a page from Franklin's book...
...so that, when we seek to improve ourselves, we do so not just for our own benefit, but
for the benefit of others.
We thought you might gobble that up.