A notable statesman and reportedly an early riser. Benjamin Franklin was born on January 6, 1705, in Boston, Massachusetts. He escaped to Philadelphia where he rose from a guy who could afford only 3 pennies worth of bread a day to someone wealthy enough that his heirs and the government fought over his will. Along the way, he used his great wisdom to squeeze money and arms from the French, probably the key ingredient to the success of the American Revolution. He passed away on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Please welcome the true Renaissance man – Benjamin Franklin.
Haste makes waste. Let’s do it. (Poor Richard’s Almanack – which is shorthand for All Man’s Knack)
You were a great statesman. We’d appreciate your political thoughts. Let’s start with Two-Term Presidents?
To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish. (Poor Richard’s Almanack; 1733-1758)
Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so." (Poor Richard's Almanack)
In other words?
Never confuse motion with action. (Unsourced)
Vice Presidential picks?
Necessity never made a good bargain. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Advice for our any President?
Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Any other thoughts for our President?
Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.
Sudden power is apt to be insolent, Sudden Liberty saucy; that behaves best which has grown gradually. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
And war in general?
There never was a good war or a bad peace. (Letter to Josiah Quincy 1730-1811.)
What is your opinion of the Senate?
Of learned Fools, I have seen ten times ten. Of unlearned wise men I have seen 100. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
And the House of Representatives?
To serve the Public Faithfully, and at the same time please it entirely, is impractical. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
How to cope with the financial crisis?
Human felicity is produc'd not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day. (Autobiography; Published 1817 – worked on 1771-1789)
Regulating Wall Street?
They that won't be counseled, can't be helped. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Any other thoughts about Wall Street?
He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
Wedlock, as old men note, hath likened been, Unto a public crowd or common rout;
Where those that are without would fain get in, And those that are within, would fain get out.
Grief often treads upon the heels of pleasure, Marry'd in haste, we oft repent at leisure;
Some by experience find these words missplaced, Marry'd at leisure, they repent in haste.
(Poor Richard’s Almanack. Wedlock)
Let’s try a few character traits. How would you define a person’s character?
Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the other comforts of life. (Franklin’s Autobiography)
What about manners?
To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness? (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Eat not to dullness. Drink not to temptation. (Franklin’s 13 Virtues from his Autobiography)
The latest I-phone?
Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it. (Unsourced)
We couldn’t leave with asking a few questions about your specialty - communications? Would you care to comment on the accessibility of anything and everything on the Internet?
He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows nor judge all he sees. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
What about talk radio?
He that speaks much is much mistaken. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
The demise of the newspaper?
The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still ‘tis nonsense. (The Toastmaster’s Treasure Chest)
Historians relate, not so much what is done, as what they would have believed. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Reading makes a man full, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
And the key to a good publication?
Content is the Philosopher's Stone that turns all it touches into Gold. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
Do you have any advice for us mortals?
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten Either write things worth Reading or do things worth writing about. (Poor Richard’s Almanack)
And your view of the Interview with the Famously Departed Series?
THE Body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer - Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out And stript of its lettering and gilding - Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost. For it will (as he believed) appear once more In a new and more elegant edition Revised and corrected by The Author. (Poor Richard’s Almanack – Epitaph in Bookish Style)
Well thanks for speaking to us. Maybe next time we can ask you about Mark Twain! Reportedly, he was a very late riser.