My Book Notes – The True Benjamin Franklin

This book by Sydney Fisher is a detailed insight into the fascinating life of Benjamin Franklin. To steal from Wikipedia:

 Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705][1] – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in theAmerican Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.[2] He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia’s fire department and a university.[3]

Benjamin Franklin had a major role in the world we live in today. If you haven’t read about him, or would just like to know more about his amazing man. Check out this fantastic book. Even if you do not read all of it, you can skim-read or skip to parts that interest you. What follows is the notes I personally took from the book that i think briefly capture the essence, the knowledge and the character of Mr Franklin…

True Benjamin Franklin

He was a man of extreme importance.
A man who was into everything. Politics, business, science, nature, economy, comedy, writing, war, philosophy, psychology, art, music, language, books, travelling, food, experimentation….
His beautiful writing style set him apart from so many others. He had wit, fantastic lingual skills and always spoke with a softness and understanding. He very rarely, if ever, was offensive or hard-in-nature to anybody, even those he secretly deposed. He has no interest in being abusive, for any reason.
His writing was smart, readable and very thought-provoking. But it was always written with a repeats for the reader, and for the topic in which the writing was about.
He had an indolence about him, not in his character, but in his manner. He was never in a hurry, considered himself lazy and always had time on his hands. This is gold, because it exactly this attitude, that allowed him to delve into so many matters of life, and appear like he mastered them. He let his interests carry him far and wide.
He lived within his means. He got by on little, plain food. Saw that fancy tastes, were a disease of the mind. In this, i feel almost the same, but my love for food usually wins the day. It is not doubt that food takes up a lot of time, to cook, purchase and to eat. It takes mental energy to choose, and physical energy to digest. These are all precious hours that can be spent doing other things like reading, conversing and experimenting.
He was an advocate of fresh air amongst may other things. TO liven the minds, to cure illness, to strengthen the body.
Above all things, it can be said that he was a public servant. He shared all his learnings, not through books, but through letters and ACTUAL results.
Information is not education. Education is purpose driven. Self learning. Experimentation, Reading. Practical application. Information is just the start, but it is just as important for it ignites interest, increases the education rate and allows the sharing of knowledge to commence.
He recognised what he was good, and not good at. He devoted many hours to the enlargement of his mind, to the expanding of knowledge and to the interests that grabbed his attention.
Pleasure and pain are of equal measure. Pain gives pleasure opportunity to rise.
Is self-interest the rudder that drives mankind?
“1. TEMPERANCE.—Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
“2. SILENCE.—Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
“3. ORDER.—Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
“4. RESOLUTION.—Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
“5. FRUGALITY.—Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i. e. waste nothing.
“6. INDUSTRY.—Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
“7. SINCERITY.—Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly.
“8. JUSTICE.—Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
“9. MODERATION.—Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
“10. CLEANLINESS.—Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
“11. TRANQUILLITY.—Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
“12. CHASTITY.—Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
“13. HUMILITY.—Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

He practiced these one by one, until they were his nature.

He was a man of truth and realness.
Those for which mastery is easier, do first, for they will make mastering the more difficult easier.
Learn in order – the semantic tree.
If you do not make good use of your books, then what use are you? Of what use are they?
He was at work before there, and left after others. He worked harder than any other folks. Input – Output
His interest in Science came very late. For he was never interested in it as a child/teen/young man. Once it cam though, it consumed many of his hours, against all other things. It also signalled the start of his interest in nature, rivers and the sea.
He even dabbled in medicine and done foundational work with hospitals which included setting them up, funding and being a helping figure in the daily running.
He did most of his greatest work in his last 8-9 years. Upton the age of 84, he was still heavily involved in public affairs, experimentation and the writing of essay’s and letters. again, all in the service of the public.
Some people can appear to be sad, complain about life and generally just look unhappy, but they are indeed the opposite, and inside they have a state of happiness that you cannot see form the outside. The same case works in the opposite direction.
If you were left to your own devices, lots of time and ample resources, what would you do??
The sun is rising, not setting.

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