Ben Franklin’s best book: The Way to Wealth

March 18, 2015 · 1 comment


Most of us are Ben Franklin fans and admire him for his many contributions to the printing industry. In fact, many of us consider him the father of the American printing industry.

I enjoy reading, and during my lifetime, I estimate I’ve read over 800 business books. Out of those 800+ books, I’ve set aside a small collection of the best of the best that I call my “Management Library.” It consists of a small collection of 26 books that I have found to be head and shoulders above all the others. These 26 books have inspired, motivated, and taught me how to overcome mediocrity and beat average. I’m a rather average guy who learned early in life that the best path was to follow the advice of those much wiser and more creative than I am. As a result, I have attained a small degree of success, but I cannot claim to have done it on my own. Much of my success has been built on the shoulders of those authors who provided the knowledge I discovered in my Management Library.

One of my favorites is The Way to Wealth, a book written by Ben Franklin in 1758. The Way to Wealth was a preface to Poor Richard’s Almanac. In this preface, Franklin summed up all of his previously published thoughts about how to achieve success in business. For this purpose, Franklin created Father Abraham, who liberally quotes from Poor Richard to a crowd waiting for an auction to begin. The essay has become one of the most important and enduring business books ever published. Although it has been printed and reprinted hundreds of times, it’s difficult to find unless you search online. I was lucky enough to stumble on my copy many years ago in the historic Old Fort Mackinac gift shop on Michigan’s upper peninsula. Ironically, the fort was built by the British during the Revolutionary War.

Here are a few quotes from the book…

We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly.

God helps those who help themselves.

There are no gains without pains.

He who rises late must trot all day.

Beware of little expenses. A little leak will sink a great ship.

It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.

Those thoughts are just the beginning of the seemingly endless wisdom found in this entertaining little book. I have read The Way to Wealth many times over, and each time it feels completely fresh and new. I love this little book, and I know you will, too. It’s a wonderful gift to give and will leave a lasting impression on the recipients. Might I suggest you purchase a few extras?

My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.

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MI4P May 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm

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