Book Review: The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

BenjaminFranklinAutoBiography

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 14, 2017

Having John Taylor Gatto recommend this book in one of his interviews, it felt natural to want to avail myself of this historical information and its insights.

The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin is an overarching glance  at the inner ruminations and significant instances of Franklin’s life, but not all.

Although smaller in size than most hardcover books, the book still feels like a high quality book to boot.

Offering a map to most of the intriguing areas of Franklin’s life, though not all, this autobiography  offers anecdotes of all types within his life.  In one of these instances Franklin mentions how his father used to have guests over for dinner and conversation, and how that offered immense value to him.  As the following passage alludes:

“At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve the minds of his children.  By this means he turned our attention to what was good and just, and prudent in conduct of life…”[1]

Not only did Franklin learn in such a manner, but he also learned from watching others partake in their craft quite often.  Beyond that, Franklin also sought many a book to sharpen his mental faculties.

Fortuitously, during a discussion about writing with his father, Franklin was told by him that although Franklin was quite proficient in spelling and such, he still fell quite short in “elegance of expression”.  Realizing this to be true, the help his father gave allowed Franklin to become more attentive and polished in writing.

Soon thereafter, Franklin found a volume of Spectator which provided the impetus for Franklin to employ self-learning at a scale he had not undertaken before.  This in effect lead to Franklin creating a system of deliberate practice that allowed him to become proficient in writing.

To observe how precisely Franklin accomplish this, please note what Geoff Golvin stated in Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else:

“Significantly, he [Franklin] did not try to become a better essay writer by sitting down and writing essays.  Instead, like a top-ranked athlete or musician, he worked over and over on those specific aspects that needed improvement.  First came sentence structure which he attacked precisely in accord with deliberate practice principles.  His method of summarizing and reformulating Spectator sentences y one by one was designed ingeniously for that purpose.  He repeated that routine at high volume…and he got immediate feedback by comparing his sentences to the original.  When he decided to work on another element of performance, vocabulary, he again designed a brilliant practice structure, versification, with high volume and immediate feedback. “[2]

Following that, knowing that he lacked a wide-ranging vocabulary, Franklin showed his intellectual versatility  when he chose to employ poetry to increase his writing repertoire.

The fact that Franklin used self-teaching to achieve unparalleled self-sufficiency in this regard shouldn’t be glossed over because there’s much to glean from it !!!!! considering that that is a keen quality to have but which public schools and even Universities fail to teach.

Another intricate aspect of Franklin’s life was how he employed  persuasion.  In respect to this, Franklin delves into his insights in persuasion and argumentation, which  allowed him to speak to others in various disputes and conversations in a way that helped him foster sound judgment and more profitable interactions with other individuals.

Besides his youth, Franklin also covers his desire to master virtues of self-mastery  in order to increase his quality of consciousness, and even designed a small system of implementation for himself in order to bring it about.  And although Franklin continued growing as an individual, he still was savvy enough to realize he was still quite proud, and even then sought to attain more humility, even though it at times seemed paradoxical.

For instance:

“In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride.  Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”[3]

Such a passage will go show that although Franklin had much pride, he still sought to attain humility as much as possible, even if he might never quite attain it.

Even though Franklin covers some successes in life such as business, some of his philosophy, and even idea of individuals attaining freedom through the employment of handwork and wisdom, the book doesn’t extend into his life during the Revolution.  That was quite unfortunate for his ruminations on that would have been valuable.

Another point not covered by Franklin is his membership to the Freemasons.  This would have also been significant, but it’s also not surprising that he did not cover it.  That said, the book to a large extent covers what Franklin saw as valuable at the time at key junctures of his life.  Franklin’s insights into virtues and dealings with other individuals and his creation of a system of deliberate practice shows this best.  To some extent, the book almost reads like a self-help book, but not quite so.

Irrespective of all that, the book does have some bite to it, but it’s not the end-all be-all of Benjamin Franklin’s life.  As an introductory volume in understanding the man in his own words, it’s quite invaluable, if garrulous at times.

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Sources:

[1] Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin, p. 9.
[2] Geoff Golvin, in Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, p. 107.
[3] Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin, p. 99.
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

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