Ben Franklin: The Validity of Poor Richard’s Advice

Ben Franklin

When examples of integrity and positive messages, capable of explaining that more spending does not mean happiness and frugality can represent greater well-being, falter, various publications dust off autobiographies, philosophy books and advice from decades ago, centuries or millennia.

The messages are valid and seem written for the current situation, as Benjamin Franklin’s work.

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The Characters that Led the Way

Thanks to the confluence of various events and improvements in the new urban and middle classes’ daily life, the Enlightenment generated a vast generation of scientists, philosophers, writers, painters, politicians, or personalities who had a little of each of them. These profiles.

Many of them were more Renaissance than the Renaissance themselves. They wrote the books and standards that we have (and that need to be updated, preserving the essence). They created inventions that accelerated the Industrial Revolution and served as human archetypes for generations to come.

The “Americans” Who rivalled Adam Smith and David Hume

In the subsequent half of the 18th century, the present United States was limited to the East Coast of North America and formed part of the English Empire. Under the Thirteen Colonies’names, several of its citizens, educated far from the metropolis, rivalled the men Old World enlightenments. The batch of excellence radiated from Scotland to the philosophers, politicians, and writers who prepared France for its next Revolution.

A humble man, an “American” (as British citizens born in the Thirteen Colonies were known), met all the privileged minds of this crucial moment in history when the newly educated classes inspired the Constitution of the United States, the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, interrelated events.

The Unprivileged Childhood of an Influential Character

He was the fifteenth of a family with 17 children, 13 of whom were brothers with a father and mother and four stepbrothers. He was the last son of a humble family on Milk Street, Boston. The deficiencies of childhood caused him chronic pneumonia that would accompany him throughout his life. Due to family difficulties, he left school at the end of primary education at 10.

The boy then went through the sailor’s trades, carpenter, bricklayer, and turner until he arrived at the age of 12 at the printing house of one of his older brothers, James, where the British’s first independent newspaper colonies, the New England Courant, was published.

Despite the lack of financial support or high-profile mentors, he seized the opportunities and, a few years late—the influential Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Still young, he would end up becoming a political emissary in Europe, inventor, successful businessman, politician, journalist and writer, as well as scientist and philosopher, at a time when science and philosophy still went hand in hand, as had happened in Antiquity.

He would be respected by his peers and decisively influence the United States Constitution, the most influential legal text, cited and imitated since then.

Poor Richard’s Almanac

Besides, the boy, the fifteenth son of a humble family, wrote in 1758 a libretto that compiled his fellow citizens that appeared in the 25 years of publication of Poor Richard’s Almanac. Titled Father Abraham’s Sermon or The Way to Wealth became the most popular book in colonial America.

His autobiography, which he began to write in 1771, at the age of 65, remained praised as a result of contemporaries such as Voltaire or the Marquis de Lafayette.

We Still Repeat Franklin’s Catchphrases

The character in question died in 1790, at the age of 84. He repeatedly declared a detestation of procrastination. Much of the practical advice collected in his articles in Poor Richard’s Almanac, The Way to Wealth, and entrepreneurs, political and business advisers have since echoed his autobiography.

Although his influence on the elites of the United States. France and the rest of the world since his contemporary time, Benjamin Franklin declared. That he always felt like the fifteenth son of a Puritan family on Boston’s Milk Street, perhaps one of the reasons why the Proverb and American English phrases continue to remained monopolized by what he wrote.

Virtues that Cost Work

In his autobiography, Franklin revealed the advice that, according to him, had helped him achieve the goals he had set. He summarized them in “13 virtues”, most of which are still valid and have been recovered as examples of simple life, frugality and minimalism:


don’t eat your fill, never drink your heart out.


Speak what can benefit others or yourself. Avoid insignificant conversations.


That all your things have their place, that all your affairs have their moment.


Resolve to do what you should do, do without fail what you decided.


Only spend on what brings a good for others or for you (do not waste anything).


Do not waste time, always occupy yourself with something useful, cut out all unnecessary actions.


Do not use deception that can hurt. Think innocently and somewhat, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.


Do not hurt anyone with insults or omitting to deliver the benefits that are your duty.


Avoid extremes; Refrain from insults out of resentment as much as you think they deserve.


Do not tolerate the lack of cleanliness in the body, clothing or room.

Peace of mind:

Don’t bothered by trifles or common or unavoidable accidents.


Rarely attend sexual pleasure, only do it for health or offspring, never out of boredom, weakness, or to injure the peace or reputation of yourself or another person.

The echo of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and the other great Stoics is present in Franklin’s autobiography and the almanack councils.

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