Benjamin Franklin: An American Life Paperback – June 1, 2004

Last Updated On Thursday April 16th, 2020
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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life Paperback – June 1, 2004

Product Details

  • Sold on
  • 074325807X Amazon ASIN
  • Categories

    Books, Biographies & Memoirs, Leaders & Notable People

Reddit Reviews and Recommendations

  • 10 Reviews
  • Dec. 8, 2017 Last Review Date
  • July 5, 2013 First Seen Review Date
  • 9 Reviewed on Subreddits

    financialindependence (2)
    AskAnAmerican (1)
    LifeImprovement (1)
    bookshelf (1)
    mildlyinteresting (1)
    pics (1)
    spacex (1)
    suggestmeabook (1)
    todayilearned (1)

Discussion and Reviews on Reddit

This antique American Pledge of Allegiance does not reference God [R]

2 years, 4 months agoworkroom posted submission on mildlyinteresting.
Dec. 8, 2017
2 years, 4 months agoworkroom posted comment on mildlyinteresting.
Dec. 8, 2017

Yeah but If you read Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson you'll learn he was also one of the first to use his power of his own printing press to create "fake news" about his opponents among other dark traits... but, yes, he was also a great inventor and teller of everyone to mellow out and not be dicks to each other.

Ben Franklin [R]

2 years, 4 months agoBreezeways posted submission on financialindependence.
Nov. 25, 2017

I've been reading the biography of Ben Franklin by Walter Isaacson and it's terrific. There is a tremendous amount of material about the values of industry and frugality, and a lot of really interesting facts. For example, Ben Franklin did not own his own home until in his fifties despite being wealthy and retired since his forties, although he owned rental property. He owned one wooden bowl that he used for breakfast because he didn't want to spend the money being extravagant despite already being wealthy. And he talks consistently to his children about working for someone else means your always going to be compromised and encouraged them to open there own business. He's basically the original FIRE symbol.

2 years, 4 months agoBreezeways posted comment on financialindependence.
Nov. 25, 2017

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

TIL when Benjamin Franklin died he left the city of Boston $4000 in a trust to earn interest for 200 years. By 1990 the trust was worth over $5 million and was used to help establish a trade school that became the Franklin Institute of Boston. [R]

3 years, 7 months agochancegold posted submission on todayilearned.
Aug. 28, 2016
3 years, 7 months agochancegold posted on todayilearned.
Aug. 28, 2016

A clarification I made the last time this was posted:

>The money was in trusts that were to lend money to budding tradesmen to help them set up their shops in early life. Upon the first 100 year anniversary, a certain percentage was to be released to the city for (IIRC) setting up trade schools. Upon the 200 year anniversary, the remaining funds were to be released in whole to the city treasuries. Franklin set up detailed instructions as to how the loans and releases were to work, and calculated estimated values. Both trusts ended up coming up shorter than Franklin had estimated (usually attributed to less than expected repay percentages on the loans), but still managed to do world's of good to a lot of budding tradesmen. For those of you stating how those are pretty terrible returns on a 200 year trust- that is why. The title is not completely accurate.

This was discussed in more detail in Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson.

3 years, 9 months agoGwobbo posted submission on AskAnAmerican.
July 4, 2016

As a European I mostly learned the history of Europe. I know a few things about American history, but not enough in my opinion. What are good books you would recommend to read to get to know the USA history better? Can be both non-fiction and fiction (but based on the history or with the plot based on historical events).

3 years, 9 months agoGwobbo posted on AskAnAmerican.
July 5, 2016

Benjamin Franklin: An American life. Elon Musk recommended it actually, and I really liked it. He was really a brilliant man probably one of my favorite people of all time. It's quite a popular book, with a 4 and a half star rating with 600 reviews on Amazon.

Ben Franklin was FI/RE waaay before it was cool [R]

4 years, 7 months agofiliwickers posted submission on financialindependence.
Sept. 4, 2015
4 years, 7 months agofiliwickers posted on financialindependence.
Sept. 4, 2015

I'd start with his autobiography (which is short and cheap).

But if you want a true bio read the biography by Walter Isaacson (his autobiography wasn't intended to be a full biography and was stopped early in his life).

Really, everyone should read all of Isaacson's biographies. =)

Ever wonder what books Elon read prior to founding SpaceX? I asked myself that question a week ago and since built a platform to share my insights! [R]

5 years, 1 month agongonzales80 posted submission on spacex.
March 16, 2015

Hi /r/spacex!

I am a big space and SpaceX enthusiast. A week ago exactly, I wanted to learn more about what Elon Musk read prior to founding SpaceX and I was not able to find one source that had what I was looking for.

The only logical conclusion, of course, was for me to spend 14 hours per day for a week building a solution. I have built a simple website that allows anyone to build reading lists on topics that interest them.

So, here's some of the books Elon famously read prior to founding SpaceX and if you're interested, here's some more generally awesome books about space.

If you have a minute, I'd love some feedback on the site!

5 years, 1 month agongonzales80 posted on spacex.
March 16, 2015

He also mentioned during his interview with Kevin Rose that he highly recommend Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson.

What life improvement books are you reading/have you read? [R]

5 years, 1 month agohaloshade posted submission on LifeImprovement.
Feb. 28, 2015

Please use this thread to share what life improvement books you are reading


The Slight Edge - Jeff Olsen

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

Easy Way To Stop Smoking - Allen Carr

The Psychology of Achievement - Brian Tracy

Created at midnight, UTC.

5 years, 1 month agohaloshade posted on LifeImprovement.
March 5, 2015

I love reading biographies, I find them more inspiring and enjoyable to read than self-help books. Currently I'm reading Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. I highly recommend this book to anyone, prior to this book I only knew what they taught us in History class, this explores so many more aspect of his life, some of which we can all relate to (like his constant drive to improve himself).

[Meditations by Marcus Aurelius] ( is another great book I just finished. Written by a former Roman emperor who ruled during the time of frequent war, disease, and natural disasters, it's about how he dealt with it all as a leader by following the stoic philosophy. Amazing book and helped changed my outlook on the world.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This is one of those books that isn't geared to self-improvement, but to updating your view of the world. In it Taleb talks about how highly improbably events happen all the time, but we only see them as probable in hindsight. I think it's a great read since we tend to think in cause-and-effect ways, when in fact the world works more in a probabilistic way.

What are some interesting biographies/autobiographies of historical figures? [R]

5 years, 3 months agoDec. 18, 2014


5 years, 3 months agomckeej posted on suggestmeabook.
Dec. 18, 2014

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Isaacson was a great read. Franklin is such an entertaining historical figure in so many ways.

Could only fit one bookshelf in my new apartment, think I fit as many books as I could on there. [R]

6 years, 7 months agostudio9books posted submission on bookshelf.
Sept. 10, 2013
6 years, 7 months agostudio9books posted on bookshelf.
Sept. 10, 2013

I think it's Walter Isaacson. I've not read it, but it get's a 4.4/5 on amazon.

One of the best pictures I will ever take... [R]

6 years, 9 months agoirredeemablegrace posted submission on pics.
July 5, 2013
6 years, 9 months agoirredeemablegrace posted on pics.
July 5, 2013

That's the opposite of what I just read in a biography. The controversy is about when he performed the test, not necessarily of whether he did or not. This information I'm pulling from Walter Isaacson's biography, pages 140-141.