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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (14,728 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benjamin Franklin Narrator: Walter Costello Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2008 ISBN: 9781400178988
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Blessed with enormous talents and the energy and ambition to go with them, Franklin was a statesman, author, inventor, printer, and scientist. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and later was involved in negotiating the peace treaty with Britain that ended the Revolutionary War. He also invented bifocals, a stove that is still manufactured, a water-harmonica, and the lightning rod.

Franklin’s extraordinary range of interests and accomplishments are brilliantly recorded in his autobiography, considered one of the classics of the genre. Covering his life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania assembly, this charming self-portrait recalls Franklin’s boyhood, his determination to achieve high moral standards, his work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, experiences during the French and Indian War, and more. Related in an honest, open, unaffected style, this highly readable account offers a wonderfully intimate glimpse of the Founding Father sometimes called “the wisest American.”

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sergey Pustylnikov | 2/19/2014

    " An excellent mind and strong will. In most aspects he was a man I like to be like. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim Eiler | 2/18/2014

    " I read this between the time I graduated from college (1990) as an undergraduate and when I started grad school in 1991. I think my views on life might have changed some since then, but I am betting this would still be a good read. What an amazing man - even if you factor out the autobiographical embellishments! Remember that Franklin's autobiography was likely written to his young son, in the hopes that his son would emulate the father's path toward personal growth and ambition and you'll find this a compelling, interesting, amusing read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 2/11/2014

    " all thinking people are vegetarians "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 2/11/2014

    " I loved this book. I was immediately impressed at how a man from the 1700's was such a good writer! He was funny, witty, and intelligent, and I loved reading about him. I would've given this 5 stars, but I felt in the last 20 percent of the book when he talks about Braddock's army, some of his writing is to intricate and some parts maybe a little confusing. However, I highly recommend this to all my friends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick | 2/9/2014

    " This is a really amazing book, which should come as no surprise, I guess, given the author. Franklin moves from city to city, job to job, project to project, with such energy that it makes the reader feel like every moment not spent writing columns, conducting experiments, or fomenting rebellion is a moment wasted. He makes it all seem so easy--all one needs to do is wake up early and try absolutely everything. This is the kind of book that should be required reading in high school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tony | 2/8/2014

    " Holy Cow, this guy was amazing. His autobiography focused more on the more mundane but equally important parts of his life, such as starting his printing business, traveling to London as a young man, the people he met throughout his life. So many interesting tidbits that you don't consider when thinking about the time period like his doubts about organized religion, his stint of vegetarianism, fooling around with women of ill repute. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amanda Sachs | 2/7/2014

    " Just not a topic I am interested in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 GenieD | 2/7/2014

    " I love Ben Franklin. This is his autobiography. It was a free book. A very interesting story of his life ion his own words. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hayley | 2/5/2014

    " What can I say? As far as autobiographies go, it was an interesting read. A bit onesided, slightly egotistical and at the same time quite humble, it's Ben's words for how he plowed the field of pre-revolutionary America. I think I would like to follow this up with a biography of Franklin, but then again, those can be just as slanted. Worth the read. I gave me a greater appreciation of someone who had life-long curiosity and the need to continually seek out his own "truth". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 2/5/2014

    " I have been reading the Isaacson's biography of Benjamin Franklin and got a bit bogged down. So I ordered and read Benjamin's autobiography and was surprised and delighted! I thought it would be a dull read. On the contrary, it is a delightful read. The voice is entertaining and interesting. I learned so much about his personal thinking and perspective. It only covers about the first half of his life, but it really gives insight into him as a person. Now I am eager to finish reading the biography with new perspective, myself. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Wil | 2/2/2014

    " What a bore. I read it for an English class. We even talked about it. What a boring waste of time. bw "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emil | 2/1/2014

    " It was a little hard to begin, but I really enjoyed his autobiography. His description of life back in the day were great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthony Schmiedeler | 1/31/2014

    " Best autobiography i've ever read. Really mad me admire people with virtue and the value of hard work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charles | 1/27/2014

    " fun to see someone invent themselves through writing, but not a really fulfilling read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephannestacey Stacey | 1/23/2014

    " Read this years ago, but I still recommend it. Well at least the first half. That's not to say the second half isn't worth reading, but you can tell that Benjamin changed in that break and his youthful optimism seems to have lost some of it's luster. It's a book meant for thought and bettering oneself. A fast read and worth it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jancodamas | 1/22/2014

    " good fatherly advice if u ever want to hear someone outstanding speak modestly "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb | 1/19/2014

    " I selected this book because it was a free kindle download however, it was a good read "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristen | 1/19/2014

    " I only enjoyed part 2. Franklin was an amazing man, but I did not like the disorganization of this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben | 1/16/2014

    " it took a while to get into but was fun once i did "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Troy Johnson | 1/15/2014

    " Benjamin Franklin has always been one of my heroes. His autobiography focuses much on his earlier life, his hopes and dreams and how he tackled life and how he faced challenges. His views on how he recorded data about himself for improvement is fascinating. Many a self help / success model has been built on this idea. Recording and reporting produces accountability which increases productivity. Genius. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sally Schroeder | 1/10/2014

    " Provided good discussion for book club. Definitely a worthy read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anita Williamson | 1/9/2014

    " This covered at least the first part of his very long life. The most interesting part was not in the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hal Farrington | 1/8/2014

    " Good read an insight into a brilliant mind "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patra | 1/5/2014

    " A definite worth-while read if you are a fan of history. It's a classic for sure. I really enjoyed Franklin's comments on religion and on improving a person's character. His desire and eagerness to learn about everything is admirable and something I would like to emulate. It's a quick read - he never finished writing it. It does not cover the Revolutionary war years or the years he spent helping to build the United States government, which was disappointing, but his autobiography helped me to better understand Benjamin Franklin and what motivated him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynda | 12/26/2013

    " Fascinating bio of the early life of this ingenious man. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maim | 12/16/2013

    " It's the reader's choice to let the sapience and nobility of BFrank to change one's life for the sake of becoming the best person they can. It's not an explicit guide to being a polymath, but it might be an essential place to start. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abriana | 12/13/2013

    " I read this about once every year or two. It's not very long so if you have a lazy day it's easy to read in one sitting. Benjamin Franklin was a true scholar, and having his life story from Franklin's point of view is really interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Libromaniac | 12/12/2013

    " Never give too much for the whistle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 11/27/2013

    " Benjamin Franklin wrote this to his son, so it has some great insight into his life. The things I really wanted to know (like his lesser known inventions) were barely mentioned. A good read, but now I need to read another biography of Benjamin Franklin to learn what I originally wanted to know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Selin Kahraman | 11/24/2013

    " Poet like story telling, perfect literature "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Brewer | 11/14/2013

    " Great book written by one of the greatest of our founding fathers! This man was the Steve Jobs of his era. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 11/2/2013

    " Finally finished. It's only 103 pages but it took me a long time to read... He is brilliant and oh so funny. At least the parts I could understand, I'm sure there were things that went over me head. :) So glad that I read it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Javier | 10/19/2013

    " This is a book that everyone ought to read even though the reading is kind of boring. My favorite lessons from Benjamin Franklin are about goal setting, industry, and frugality "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 10/13/2013

    " it's ben franklin. he's amazing...and funny too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tihomir | 9/27/2013

    " It was very inspiring book. Great first book for the 2012. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher | 9/1/2013

    " Insightful and relevant - a great 'self-help' section on how to live a good life. Worth your time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thayer Smock | 9/1/2013

    " Super interesting life. I listened to this in the car and in the house, it was too boring for the little kids but Gabe found it interesting though some of the language was hard to follow. Who knew Benjamin Franklin contributed to so many, non-Independence features of America! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Faith Bradham | 8/23/2013

    " Oh Ben. The first part of the autobiography is quite interesting, and I love the passage in the 2nd part where he talks about how he's trying to become perfect, but I have to say that the 2nd and 3rd parts as a whole are terribly boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mmoore | 7/18/2013

    " This was a book club pick. It's a slow read because of the 1700s language used, but I am getting some firsthand insights into American history from it and enjoying it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Lewis | 7/5/2013

    " Was good. It's very interesting to see how far the English language has come - as in the words "intimate" and "gay" no longer have the same meanings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Thorpe | 6/23/2013

    " What an interesting life. If you can look past some of his more interesting choices we could use more statesmen like old Ben. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin Watson | 5/20/2013

    " The only reason I finished reading this book is because I just kept thinking "this has to get better any minute now"... unfortunately it never did. Boring! I wish Franklin would've wrote more about his inventions and less about how much he liked to read. Boring!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie | 4/13/2013

    " Really interesting but a little hard to get through. What a fascinating man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 2/28/2013

    " A great view into the life and mind of one of our major visionaries. Without his skills, the United States would have failed miserably and fallen into the hands of the British, French, or Spanish. This is a book everyone should read, and more than just as excerpts, like I did in high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kary Buchanan | 2/25/2013

    " What an amazing man. I love that he lived a courageous and moral life and tried to hold fast to the thirteen virtues. He was not afraid to live life to the fullest and knew he had a duty to fulfill. He was not content to just be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J. D. | 1/30/2013

    " This is a book I should have gotten around to reading years ago. Franklin was arguably the most charismatic and intelligent polymath ever to have lived. An amazing and admirable individual. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shelby | 11/14/2012

    " There are some very interesting bits in here, but its basically two fragments of an autobiography, and it gets bogged down in his personal philosophy for long stretches. The first fragment especially provides a good illustration of American life in the first half of the 1700s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cameron | 9/30/2012

    " What can you say about this guy? Ben Franklin was an exceptional human being. A short, enjoyable read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amanda Sachs | 7/29/2012

    " Just not a topic I am interested in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben Watson | 7/21/2012

    " Very good and a worthwhile read, but it does cut off much sooner than you think it will. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jordan Magnuson | 6/23/2012

    " An interesting and eclectic autobiography... and eclectic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 4/19/2012

    " Long-winded and sometimes boring but he can be witty. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynda Brown | 4/9/2012

    " This book was on a banned book list,I don't know why. This man was amazing. He did so much for his country. The book did end too abruptly,and didn't finish out his whole life. I learned a lot about one of the great men in American history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 2/27/2012

    " A book to shatter all your ideas about Franklin, and by the man himself in his own words. I'm somewhat shocked. A GREAT read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sannie Hald | 2/23/2012

    " This bored the heck out of me. If it wasn't for university I would burn it. Or at least get rid of it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 2/13/2012

    " Clearly reveals the character Ben was and how he influenced the character of America through today. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lily | 2/8/2012

    " For school. This was a snoozer.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zach Weiner | 2/5/2012

    " First 3/5s = inspirational. Last 2/5ths = Franklin mucking about in France. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy Budetti | 1/15/2012

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It slows down towards the last fourth, but it is great to read Franklin's account of his own life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isaac | 1/4/2012

    " Benjamin Franklin's charm and understanding shine, it's a little brief and includes only a fraction of what I wanted to find out about this man but it amazing to hear his voice, laugh at his humor, exam his insights. I plan further research of Benjamin Franklin. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 J Preece | 1/3/2012

    " liar, liar, pants on fire. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Acupxtherapy | 12/16/2011

    " Just didn't care for it at all! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hal Farrington | 12/13/2011

    " Good read an insight into a brilliant mind "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Greg Diehl | 9/28/2011

    " Good book - doesn't cover some of the key events in his life but does provide an interesting window into his earlier years and how he got started in Philly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenna | 9/5/2011

    " A very interesting figure. He was self-educated, but the mind was amazingly clever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 6/25/2011

    " Written in first-person, reading this book felt like I was sitting in the same room with Benjamin Franklin just listening to him tell the stories of his incredible life. Free on my kindle. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marina | 6/12/2011

    " Quite possibly one of the most boring books I have ever read in my life. Benjamin Franklin's efforts to immortalize his heroism on paper are conceited, contradictory, and totally uninspiring at best. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sergey | 6/9/2011

    " An excellent mind and strong will. In most aspects he was a man I like to be like. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laura | 6/7/2011

    " Though perhaps one of the most interesting people of all time, Ben Franklin's autobiography is one of the most boring books of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane | 6/5/2011

    " An interesting account of his life in his own words. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 5/30/2011

    " Everyone should read this!

    Did you know that besides discovering electricity he also founded the first library, U of Penn, the fire station and various benevolent societies? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danjewygros | 5/28/2011

    " It's written in the old english so it's a bit of a pain to read. I found it a bit boring, which is a shame given how amazing this homie was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nickie | 5/22/2011

    " This is most interesting. A small glimpse into his ancestry. I'm not far into the reading but there is a way that Benjamin gets your attention and wants you to learn more about him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 5/19/2011

    " Good read, but me and Ben, we wouldn't have been friends in his day! "

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About the Author
Author Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He is one of the most celebrated figures in American history.

About the Narrator

Walter Costellois an actor, known for Cops and Robin.