I picked this one up, and several others, because it was one of the top recommend biographies! Thanks, Twitter and Instagram friends!
Why biographies? Because, you know, on social media and even in the news, I get really into following the lives of others, so I figured why not combine books with my love of learning from amazing leaders who have made a huge impact in the world? It’s a win-win! I’ve also been thinking a lot about legacy, and trying to ask myself what I’d want people to read in my own biography. Do I even have one worth writing and reading? I don’t know. Hopefully someday!
The craziest part about this book is that I was only one-fifth of the way through and already reading about Franklin at age forty. Forty! Most of the impact he made happened after the age of forty, which was super encouraging! I’m thirty-four, and I feel like I’m just getting started, which gives me time to figure out how to earn a biography worth writing and reading.
It really made me think about what was important to me. In Franklin’s early life, his influences included serving others and embracing goodness, and also a focus on education for himself and his children. That’s so important to me.
I was also surprised by how interested in American history I became while reading the book. I was never really interested in history, but because I was following the life of Franklin, it was truly compelling.
I especially liked that I could draw parallels between how Franklin behaved and the philosophies he operated under, and how successful entrepreneurs think and behave. For example, he created what he called a junto, which by definition is: a political grouping or faction, especially in seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain. It was essentially Franklin’s version of a mastermind group. He used it to bring smart people together to help the larger whole. Through the junto, he created the first fire department (Union Fire Company), police, library, and even a university in the colonies.
He also worked hard to serve others. But that didn’t mean he didn’t enjoy himself at the same time. He was a strategic genius in the later parts of his life when it came to negotiations and creating policies that appeased both extreme political sides. It was why he was good at—and loved to play—chess.
Okay, just one more thing specific to the book. Can you tell I loved it?
The most helpful part about Benjamin Franklin (Amazon link) was getting insight into Franklin’s thought process. Although he also wrote his own autobiography, which was referenced quite a bit, Isaacson does a great job of helping the reader understand the why behind a lot of Franklin’s actions. As a reader, you really get a nicely painted picture of who Benjamin Franklin was, what he stood for, and how it affected not just his success, but the success of the United States as a whole. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Sound amazing? Because it is! I recommend that people read more biographies because you get an interesting take on lessons learned from people who have lived extraordinary lives and put those lessons into action. They are definitely more memorable for me. I’ve also picked up the biographies of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, both also by Isaacson, and Walt Disney. Walt Disney’s will be especially fun to read because my family and I are such Disney nerds.Buy the Book on Amazon