Ben Franklin's guide to wealth and savvy living

By Will Chen on 29 December 2006 (Updated 10 June 2007) 1 comment

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was probably America's first "self-help" author. His advice was so good that his friend James Madison claimed he "never passed half an hour in Franklin's company without hearing some observation or anecdote worth remembering."

John Wesley from Pick the Brain collected an impressive collection of some of Franklin's finest advice. Here are some of my favorites:


He that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honor.

Positive thinking

For industry pays debts, while despair encreaseth them.


Little strokes fell great oaks.


A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. Do you imagine that sloth will afford you more comfort than labor?


Learning is to the studious, and riches to the careful, as well as power to the bold, and Heaven to the virtuous.


Drive thy business, let not that drive thee.

Time management

One today is worth two tomorrows.


Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.

Self Reliance

Ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees.


He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.

Wise Bread philosophy

Disdain the chain, preserve your freedom; and maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free.

Photo by DC John under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

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Andrea Karim's picture

Is that true? Because if those are the pick-up lines of legend, then it's time we start looking at this bits of wit and wisdom in a whole new way.

In: Drive thy business, let not that drive thee.

Out: Do your jeans have mirrors on them? Because I can see myself in your pants....