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Poor Richard's Almanack

Poor Richard's Almanack

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Poor Richard's Almanack

4.5/5 (5 Bewertungen)
105 Seiten
1 Stunde
Nov 17, 2007


Benjamin Franklin's classic book is full of timeless, thought-provoking insights that are as valuable today as they were over two centuries ago. With more than 700 pithy proverbs, Franklin lays out the rules everyone should live by and offers advice on such subjects as money, friendship, marriage, ethics, and human nature. They range from the famous "A penny saved is a penny earned" to the lesser-known but equally practical "When the wine enters, out goes the truth." Other truisms like "Fish and visitors stink after three days" combine sharp wit with wisdom. Paul Volcker's new introduction offers a fascinating perspective on Franklin's beloved work.
Nov 17, 2007

Über den Autor

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was an American writer, printer, politician, postmaster, scientist, and diplomat. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Franklin found success at a young age as editor and printer of the Pennsylvania Gazette, a prominent Philadelphia newspaper. From 1732 to 1758, Franklin published Poor Richard’s Almanack, a popular yearly pamphlet that earned Franklin much of his wealth. An influential Philadelphian, Franklin founded the Academy and College of Philadelphia, which would become the University of Pennsylvania, in 1751. In addition, Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia, as well as the city’s first fire department. As revolutionary sentiment was on the rise in the thirteen colonies, Franklin traveled to London to advocate on behalf of Americans unhappy with British rule, earning a reputation as a skilled diplomat and shrewd negotiator. During the American Revolution, his relationships with French officials would prove essential for the war effort, the success of which depended upon munitions shipments from France. Over the next few decades, he would serve as the first postmaster general of the United States and as governor of Pennsylvania while maintaining his diplomatic duties. A dedicated and innovative scientist, Franklin is credited with important discoveries regarding the nature of electricity, as well as with inventing the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove. A slaveowner for many years, Franklin eventually became an abolitionist. Although he failed to raise the issue during the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he led the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society and wrote essays on the subject of slavery, which he deemed “an atrocious debasement of human nature.”

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Poor Richard's Almanack - Benjamin Franklin


How does one write an introduction to something that has become so much a part of our common language? Early to bed, early to rise ... Don’t throw stones if you live ... God helps those ... A penny saved ... No gain without ... And on and on.

I don’t know how many of these proverbs Ben Franklin made up himself back in Philadelphia in the mid-eighteenth century. For all I know, the Greeks and the Romans, maybe even the Egyptians, had their own versions. What I do know is that all these apothegms (now there’s a fresh word for you) in Poor Richard’s Almanack are fun to browse.

Some of them are, in fact, terse and witty instructive sayings (The American Heritage Dictionary, entry on apothegms). Some are dated: After all, a penny is hardly worth saving these days, even for a miser like me. Conversely, a fair number seem particularly apropos for today’s world. For example: The magistrate should obey the laws. Sudden power is apt to be insolent, sudden liberty saucy. Pray, don’t burn my house to roast your eggs.

To be sure, some seem strained, trite, even pointless. But that’s a matter of taste. And to be expected considering there are nine hundred of them.

What I know for sure is that this book made Ben Franklin both famous and wealthy when its first edition was published more than 250 years ago. It’s fun to read in bits and pieces, just right for the bedside table or the guest room. You may even use it to introduce your kids to one of America’s founders and to remind them that there are lessons about life that never change.

And it’s just as handy and portable as the latest PlayStation!

Paul A. Volcker

January 10, 2007



In Rivers and bad Governments, the lightest things

swim at top.

Light purse, heavy heart.

Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee.

Necessity never made a good bargain.

’Tis a well spent penny that saves a goat.

Drive thy Business, or it will drive thee.

Speak little, do much.

Ask and have, is sometimes dear buying.

The master’s eye will do more work than both his


He that sows thorns, should never go barefoot.

Ill Customs & bad Advice are seldom forgotten.

He that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce

overtake his business at night.

He that speaks ill of the Mare, will buy her.

A country man between two lawyers, is like a fish

between two cats.

A large train makes a light purse.

After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser.

There are three faithful friends—an old wife, an old

dog, and ready money.

At the working man’s house hunger looks in, but

dares not enter.

A good lawyer, a bad neighbour.

He that would have a short Lent, let him borrow

money to be repaid at Easter.

If Passion drives, let Reason hold the Reins.

You will be careful, if you are wise,

How you touch men’s Religion, or Credit, or Eyes.

Money & Man a mutual Friendship show:

Man makes false Money, Money makes Man so.

Industry pays Debts, Despair encreases them.

There is much money given to be laught at, thought

the purchasers don’t know it; witness A’s fine horse,

and B’s fine house.

The poor man must walk to get meat for his stomach,

the rich man to get a stomach for his meat.

Avarice and happiness never saw each other; how

then should they become acquainted?

The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.

The use of money is all the advantage there is in having


For 6£ a year you may have use of 100£, if you are a

man of known prudence and honesty.

He that idly loses 5s. worth of time, loses 5s., and

might as prudently throw 5s. into the river. He that

loses 5s. not only loses that sum, but all the other

advantages that might be made turning it in dealing,

which, by the time a young man becomes old,

amounts to a comfortable bag of money.

A penny saved is two pence clear. A pin a-day is a

groat a-year. Save and have.

Every little makes a mickle.

If you’d be wealthy, think of saving, more than of

getting: The Indies have not made Spain rich, because

her Outgoes equal her Incomes.

He’s gone, and forgot nothing but to say farewell to

his creditors.

Who is rich? He

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  • (4/5)
    Benjamin Franklin, under the nom de plume of Richard Saunders, wrote his Poor Richard's Almanacks as a means of dispensing wisdom to readers in addition to the normal advice found in such books. This volume from the International Collectors Library, collects the almanacks from 1733 to 1758. This will appeal to those interested in colonial American history and should be read as a companion volume to Franklin's own autobiography.
  • (3/5)
    An almanac was used by farmers and usually contained a monthly calendar, heavenly body movements, and other useful information. Benjamin Franklin began writing one over a 25 year period claiming a Richard Saunders wrote the advice given. Poor Richard is how he began much of the advice, thus it's name. He speaks on taxes, finances, business enterprise, Native Americans, equal rights for women, health, sleep, laziness, and death. Interesting advice with some relevance today and some advice that is much dated due to when it was written.
  • (5/5)
    Wow! Simply wow! Where to begin? Well, to start, Poor Richard is reputedly the first hoax ever pulled over the eyes of a given public. I wonder how long it took for Mr. Saunders to be unmasked as the one and only Benjamin Franklin, the founding father who was so high and balls deep in so many prostitutes that he forgot to be president! All the material of all the Almanacs was printed over a 25-year period from 1732-1758. Probably more for lack of competition than anything else that makes these publications the most important pre-Revolutionary literature produced in the States.Again, the question comes up, where to begin? Haven't I already begun? Balls! The almanacs (or to spell them more awesomely Almanacks) all follow a basic structure, although the edition I have leaves out the non-pertinent to now information that also forgoes Franklin's classic cleverness. First off, usually, Richard Saunders addresses himself to his audience in an amusing letter which unfolds as a sort of tale and eulogy over his friend's death over the years. Then you have the months which almost always start with 6 or 8 lines of verse followed by a number of aphorisms numbering 1-4. Then, I suppose when the matter tickles his fancy, he puts perhaps a little anecdote and/or some more lines of verse perhaps elucidating further on the anecdote.He does this for all 12 months of each year without fail. Then, if he's so inclined he includes a coda featuring verse or prose on a given topic addressing problems that strike him, especially on matters regarding the courts (which sound like even then were problematic). The entirety of the book runs in this way as a sort of crash-course in wisdom the likes of which would be rarely repeated. He admits his sayings are often as much gleanings as yarns that he perhaps fashioned himself but that's no matter. The value of them is more often than not unquestionable.Truth be told I'd rather not give away any of the book as it is all the highest of wheat reaped from the fields. I will however talk a bit on the Autobiography which you will remember I didn't score as well at the time. Now that I've read this as compared with that I regret my original score of the book and will be bumping that one up at least a notch or two retrospectively. I had thought that perhaps the Autobiography had pulled too much from the almanacs. Boy was I ever wrong on that count. And now that I understand the folly of my past beliefs I now regard the autobiography as what it more should be regarded as: an unfinished masterpiece.Benjamin Franklin's prodigious talents have absolutely stood the test of time, such that his contributions stand as impressive even in this day and age, which usually is marked by insouciance about such things. No matter. I compare Franklin to Da Vinci in a way, for he was a true renaissance man well after the actual time period.