Benjamin Franklin's Greatest Quotes and Life Lessons

Benjamin Gruber


Benjamin Franklin writing his book Wealth and Wisdom.
Benjamin Franklin writing his book Wealth and Wisdom.

Explore the enduring wisdom and timeless quotes of Benjamin Franklin, a founding father whose insights on frugality, wealth, and virtue remain as relevant today as they were in the 18th century. The book Wealth and Wisdom is full of inspiring quotes that will enhance your personal growth.

The Way to Wealth

In the mid-18th century, Benjamin Franklin, under the guise of Richard Saunders, brought to life "Poor Richard's Almanac." This publication, spanning a remarkable twenty-five years, became more than just a collection of dates and events; it evolved into a treasury of wisdom, advocating industry and frugality as means to attain wealth and uphold virtue. Franklin found a unique joy in his works being quoted by others, seeing it as a testament to the practical wisdom he shared, deeply rooted in the fabric of daily life.

At the heart of "The Way to Wealth" is the character of Father Abraham, a voice echoing the burdens of taxation, not just those levied by governments but also by personal vices like idleness, pride, and folly. Through Father Abraham, Franklin weaves a narrative that underscores the folly of idleness, the invaluable nature of time, and the critical role of diligence in achieving success. He advocates for a personal responsibility in business, urging a careful eye and a cautious trust in others. His words are a beacon against the perils of lavish spending and the allure of luxuries, warning of the slippery slope to debt and moral decay.

Franklin's Journey: Blending Fiscal Wisdom with Life's Virtues

As the narrative unfolds, Franklin's voice calls for prudence and saving, underscoring the unpredictable nature of financial gains against the certainty of expenses. His story is not just one of fiscal wisdom but also of humility and charity, acknowledging the indispensable role of divine blessing in human endeavors.

Parallel to this narrative runs the story of Franklin's life, chronicled in "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." Here, we journey through his early days in Boston, his foray into the world of printing, and his ascent to establishing his own printing business. The autobiography doesn't just capture his business acumen but also his deep involvement in public affairs, scientific explorations, and political activities. Notable among these were his instrumental efforts in postal reform and his pivotal role in the American Revolution.

Through these narratives, Franklin not only shares his journey but also imparts lessons that transcend time, echoing the virtues of diligence, frugality, and wisdom in the pursuit of wealth and moral integrity.

Benjamin Franklin's Greatest Quotes

  1. "It is hard for an empty sack to stand upright." - On the difficulty of maintaining honesty in poverty​​.

  2. "God helps them that help themselves." - Advocating for self-reliance​​.

  3. "Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears." - On the destructive nature of idleness​​.

  4. "Lost time is never found again." - Valuing time as a precious resource​​.

  5. "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." - Promoting discipline and a structured lifestyle​​.

  6. "Diligence is the mother of good luck." - Linking hard work to success​​.

  7. "Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee." - Emphasizing attention to one's business​​.

  8. "For want of a nail the shoe was lost." - The importance of small details in preventing larger problems​​.

  9. "Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship." - Warning against minor but cumulative costs​​.

  10. "Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them." - On the prudence of frugality over extravagance​​.

  11. "Tis easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it." - On controlling desires and wants​​.

  12. "Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt." - The detrimental effects of vanity and pride​​.

  13. "Running in debt is the first vice, lying rides upon debt’s back." - Linking financial irresponsibility to moral decline​​.

  14. "No morning sun lasts a whole day." - On the impermanence of fortune and the need for caution​​.

  15. "They that won’t be counseled can’t be helped." - On the importance of being open to advice​​.

  16. "Necessity never made a good bargain." - Highlighting the lack of advantage in desperate situations​​.

  17. "Poverty wants some things, luxury many things, avarice all things." - Differentiating between needs, desires, and greed​​.

  18. "A lie stands on one leg, truth on two." - Emphasizing the stability and strength of truth over falsehood​​.

  19. "Well done is better than well said." - Prioritizing actions over words​​.

  20. "Buy what thou hast no need of and e’er long thou shalt sell thy necessaries." - Warning against imprudent spending​​.

  21. "Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices." - Advising self-reflection and appreciation of others' strengths​​.

  22. "Great beauty, great strength, and great riches are really and truly of no great use; a right heart exceeds all." - Valuing moral character over physical and material attributes​​.

  23. "Work as if you were to live 100 years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow." - Balancing diligence in worldly affairs with spiritual mindfulness​​.

  24. "When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water." - Recognizing the value of resources only after they are depleted​​.

  25. "Genius without education is like silver in the mine." - Highlighting the importance of cultivating inherent talents​​.

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