The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Good morning, everyone! Today I want to talk about the book: the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. About Benjamin Franklin, I guess we all are very familiar with him, so I want to just give you a brief introduction. Born in 1706, Benjamin Franklin is not only one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He is a leading writer, publisher, inventor, diplomat, scientist, and philosopher. He is well-known for his experiments with electricity and lightning.
Next, I want to talk about his autobiography. The book starts as a letter to his son. At first, he briefly introduces his family history. Then he begins to tell his own life. He goes to school when at the age of 8, but he is taken to help his father in his business of making candles and soaps. He then becomes an apprentice in his brother’s factory. When he is only 17 years old, he leaves Boston for Philadelphia alone. He has changed several places to work, but all his work is about printing. So, in Philadelphia he masters many printing skills and more importantly, he is acquainted with many people. Afterwards he has been to London for 18 months. When he comes back to Philadelphia, he begins his own printing business, gradually, make it a great success. At the same time, he has formed most of his ingenious acquaintance into a club for mutual improvement, which is called the Junto. Based on it, he and his friends several years later build the first library in America. He not only makes his business a success, but also gains a lot of respects and reputation from the society. The government speaks highly of him and has commissioned him to deal with the conflicts with Indians and England. He makes great contributions to the American independence. From the poverty and obscurity in which he was born, and in which he passed his earliest years, Franklin has raised himself to a state of affluence and celebrity in the world. He has a voracious appetite for knowledge and pursues it all his life. So, he is proficient in French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin. No pain, no gain. His success is based on his consistent endeavor and willpower. Therefore, if we want to achieve something, we should put in a lot of hard work and be voracious and enthusiastic. From this book, I also learn the art of getting along with others, especially when we try to express a different idea. As Franklin says, he will never use the words “definitely” “absolutely” and so on, when he communicates with others. It is very useful. If we tell something in an arbitrary and absolute way, it may cause disputes, so people can not treat your opinion with justice. In addition, this way of expressing will not please the listeners, nor can persuade them to agree with us. So, when we give a different opinion, we can say “in my opinion” “if I’m not in the wrong” and so forth. Moreover, what make a deep impression on me are his 13 virtues in his autobiography. They are as follows: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. In order to attain these virtues, he makes a little book, in which he allots a page for each of the virtues. I think that there are several virtues very practical to us. First, it’s order. Everything has its order. So does our life. If we make it a mess, nothing can go on. Consequently, we should put things in order. Then it’s resolution. We all have dreams, but few have the resolution to make it come true. When we resolve to do something, just carry on and don’t give up. Thirdly, it’s industry. Einstein says that
genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. No one could succeed without hard working. Therefore, don’t waste time and work hard, we will harvest a lot. Finally, it’s sincerity. Being sincere is very important, especially to friends. The maintenance of a friendship is not only based on the mutual trust and understanding, but also based on the sincerity.
In a word, I benefit a lot from his autobiography. The words he uses are easy to understand and quite philosophical. Moreover, the way he conducts himself teaches me a lot. And more importantly, I learn that nothing in the world is impossible, if you set your mind to do it.