Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are my heroes. While Warren Buffett’s hero is his mentor Ben Graham, the person Charlie Munger admires the most is Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin’s life is truly inspiring. His curiosity and his willingness to learn new things allowed him to have a wide range of experiences in life. In this week’s blog post, I will talk about 5 key takeaways from The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin.
- Benjamin Franklin recommends to always be a humble doubter. He advises to refrain from using positive words such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc, but rather say “I conceive”, or “I apprehend a thing to be so and so”, or “it appears to me”, or “I should think it is so and so”, or “If I am not mistaken”.
- “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than whom you yourself have obliged” is an old maxim that Franklin learned. It shows how much more profitable it is prudently to remove than to resent, return and continue inimical proceedings.
- One should have virtues in life, and strive to achieve them. Benjamin Franklin had 13 virtues in life, which he kept track of everyday. These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:
- Temperance – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Silence – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Order – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i. e., waste nothing.
- Industry – Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice – Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation – Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
- Tranquility – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Humility – Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
- Every part of Franklin’s routine had its allocated time. He allocated every hour of the 24 hour day for different purposes. In the morning, he would address the question, “What good shall I do this day?”, and in the evening, he would examine his day and ask himself, “What good have I done to-day?”. Franklin also created a prayer, which he would say daily in the morning: “O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me.” Needless to say that Franklin was very efficient with his time.
- Benjamin Franklin explains the difference between leisure and laziness using his pen name, Poor Richard. “Must a Man afford himself no Leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, Employ thy Time well, if thou meanest to gain Leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a Minute, throw not away an Hour. Leisure, is Time for doing something useful; this Leisure the diligent Man will obtain, but the lazy Man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, A Life of Leisure and a Life of Laziness are two things.” Said differently, your time is precious, and you should utilize it doing something fun, yet useful, for leisure.
One can learn so much from Franklin’s experiences and life lessons. The 17 year old Franklin, who went to New York by himself, with little money in his pocket always had a positive outlook in life. His experiences ranged from operating the printing business, to politics, to scientific experiments, to being the postmaster general, to his interests in public services and public affairs, to being the founding father of the United States, to being a writer and philosopher. It is amazing how much he was able to learn and experience in his lifetime. No wonder why billionaire investor, Charlie Munger admires Benjamin Franklin so much. After reading his autobiography, I am convinced that Franklin deserves to be on the $100 bill.
Hope you learned a little and found this blog post helpful. We talked about the 5 key takeaways from The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin. As always, you can sign up for our free mailing list here. You can sign up for our paid subscription services here. Like us on our Facebook page here. Thank you!
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