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25 Benjamin Franklin Maxims

June 9, 2016

Benjamin Franklin is the only person that appears on two circulating U.S. currencies. His portrait is on the front of the $100.00 bill and he appears in a painting depicting the Signing of the Declaration of Independence that is on the back of the $2.00 bill.

Many aspects of his life are still being written about in specialized biographies. One such new book is Benjamin Franklin in London by George Goodwin that I just finished reading which is an interesting and somewhat detailed account of the 18 years he lived in London through three voyages. Rather than review his life there I would like to repeat some of his numerous adages, many of which appeared in his Poor Richard’s Almanac over a 25 year period. Note that his advice was practical and profitable as he earned his living as a self-employed businessman and was able to retire at the age of 42. He spent the next 42 years of his life in non-business pursuits such as giving us the theory of electricity, helping to create the United States of America and inventing bifocals among many other activities.

  • DILIGENCE IS THE MOTHER OF GOOD-LUCK.
  • DO NOT DO THAT WHICH YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN.
  • HE THAT CAN HAVE PATIENCE CAN HAVE WHAT HE WILL.
  • THE ROTTEN APPLE SPOILS HIS COMPANION.
  • DON’T THROW STONES AT YOUR NEIGHBORS, IF YOUR OWN WINDOWS ARE GLASS.
  • HE THAT SPEAKS MUCH IS MUCH MISTAKEN.
  • CREDITORS HAVE BETTER MEMORIES THAN DEBTORS.
  • HE THAT WOULD LIVE IN PEACE & AT EASE, MUST NOT SPEAK ALL HE KNOWS, NOR JUDGE ALL HE SEES.
  • REMEMBER THAT TIME IS MONEY.
  • HE THAT RISETH LATE, MUST TROT ALL DAY TO CATCH UP.
  • LOST TIME IS NEVER FOUND AGAIN.
  • YOU MAY DELAY, BUT TIME WILL NOT.
  • LET THY DISCONTENTS BE SECRETS.
  • THREE MAY KEEP A SECRET, IF TWO OF THEM ARE DEAD.
  • LITTLE STROKES FELL GREAT OAKS.
  • THE EYE OF A MASTER WILL DO MORE WORK THAN BOTH HIS HANDS.
  • NOT TO OVERSEE WORKMEN, IS TO LEAVE THEM YOUR PURSE OPEN.
  • WANT OF CARE DOES US MORE DAMAGE THAN WANT OF KNOWLEDGE.
  • BEWARE OF LITTLE EXPENSES; A SMALL LEAK WILL SINK A GREAT SHIP.
  • WHAT MAINTAINS ONE VICE WOULD BRING UP TWO CHILDREN.
  • IF YOU WOULD KNOW THE VALUE OF MONEY, GO AND TRY TO BORROW SOME.
  • FOR 6£ A YEAR, YOU MAY HAVE USE OF 100£ IF YOU ARE A MAN OF KNOWN PRUDENCE AND HONESTY.
  • WOMEN AND WINE, GAME AND DECEIT, MAKE THE WEALTH SMALL, AND THE WANTS GREAT.
  • CREDITORS ARE A SUPERSTITIOUS SECT; GREAT OBSERVERS OF SET DAYS AND TIMES.
  • A LITTLE NEGLECT MAY BREED GREAT MISCHIEF; FOR WANT OF A NAIL THE SHOE WAS LOST; FOR WANT OF A SHOE THE HORSE WAS LOST; AND FOR WANT OF A HORSE THE RIDER WAS LOST, BEING OVERTAKEN AND SLAIN BY THE ENEMY, ALL FOR WANT OF CARE ABOUT A HORSE-SHOE NAIL.

Enjoy! And try to heed some of this pithy advice.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Oberg permalink
    June 9, 2016 6:15 pm

    I am currently Franklin’s biography by Walter Isaacson. What an interesting man!

  2. Ed Mendlowitz permalink
    June 9, 2016 7:17 pm

    Steve, Isaacson’s book is great. Enjoy!
    P.S. Get the Hawaii Society to have me give a speech there.

  3. 6hawthorne permalink
    June 14, 2016 1:31 pm

    Hi Ed Good List good to have bob

  4. 6hawthorne permalink
    June 14, 2016 1:31 pm

    Hi Ed great list good to have bob

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