The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

I love audiobooks. I am a bit of an auditory learner. I find if I combined audio and visual elements I recall details better and faster. For example when I read Tocqueville or Plato I like to have the book in front of me and listen to the audio…ok, I tend to speed-read legal and political text, at least the first time through, but that is a technique I learned in my prelaw club and it requires immense focus. Right now I am writing in my spare time, so I download and listen to audiobooks when I commute, cook, and clean.

Benjamin Franklin’s Way to Wealth is the perfect short ‘read’. I finished this book in one short jot downtown (approximately a thirty minute cab ride).

Franklin’s work here is a pamphlet. It reprises his Poor Richards’ Almanacs sense of humor and characters to disseminate knowledge on earning wealth through hard work and frugality.

I’m also sure you will enjoy the tone of hypocrisy here. Franklin was not known to be very frugal. He enjoyed a hearty meal. He was often recorded to lazy about. And of course there were the mistresses and multiple families that were kept secret from each other. He might have been a brilliant mind, who invented many things, and was a US Founding Father, but his advice needs to be taken lightly.

Published in 1758, The Way to Wealth is a culmination of sorts of his Almanac series’s advice or words of wisdom. It is told as a speech by ‘Father Abraham’ to the men of the community.

The famous advice are these oft quoted words that include but are not limited to:

  • “There are no gains, without pains”
  • “One today is worth two tomorrows”
  • “A fat kitchen, a lean will.”
  • “A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things”
  • “Get what you can, and what you get hold”
  • “Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright”
  • “It would be thought a hard Government that should tax its People one-tenth Part of their Time, to be employed in its Service.”
  • “Have you somewhat to do tomorrow, do it today”
  • “The eye of a master will do more work than both his hands”
  • “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”

I know these quotes sound super strange out of context, but give it a listen and soon you’ll laugh and enjoy this pamphlet as much as I do!

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