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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

by Benjamin Franklin

The memoirs of a brilliant and beloved Founding Father

Printer, author, scientist, inventor, statesman, revolutionary—arguably no American life has been more remarkable than Benjamin Franklin’s.

Penned between 1771 and 1790 and published after his death, the unfinished Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is one of the most acclaimed and widely read personal histories ever written. From his youth as a printer’s assistant working for his brother’s Boston newspaper through his own publishing, writing, and military careers, his scientific experiments and worldwide travels, his grand triumphs and heartbreaking tragedies, Franklin tells his story with aplomb, bringing to life the flesh-and-blood man behind the American icon.

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Recommendations: 2

Categories: Biographies & Memoirs

Reading time: 56 hours


Walter Isaacson
Author and Journalist

I also think the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is cool. Because like I said with Leonardo and Ben Franklin, they’re putting things on paper and that autobiography is cast as a letter to his son. It’s not some deep ruminations and things. It’s about how you make your way through this world.

Vince Vaughn
Actor, Producer and Screenwriter

Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is I think the most compelling of books. He writes I think originally to his son. It’s not his biography; it’s his telling of it and he was such a prolific person. I think what’s interesting in similar ways that I enjoy you and what you do, he talks about his process. He invented the pros and cons list, the public library, the fire department, and was very prolific in science, obviously; electricity, the catheter, bifocals, flippers. But then musically and in languages, he spoke many languages.