Friday, November 02, 2012

Review of Benjamin Franklin AutoBiography

First, some idiots tore out the pages of Benjamin Franklin famous 13habits self change pages - the pages that I went for in the first place for self improvement

Overall, it was a damn boring read as the English is colonial english and it was a little tough to be reading that.  However, one can still pick up nuggets of advice from Benjamin Franklin who was a businessman, scientist, phihlanthropist and politician all rolled into one. Not to mention he had many women in his life. :)

Benjamin described how he developed his style of argumentation style in imitation of Socrates - drop my abrupt contradiction, and positive argumentation, and put on the humble enquirer and doubter.

In practice :

From Xenophon's memorable things of socrates, Benjamin Franklin was inspired and became a real doubter. From then on, he practiced it continuously and drew people even of superior knowledge into concessions the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of which they are not able to extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that himself nor his cause may have deserved.

Benjamin gave up words like " certainly, undoubtedly" and rather said "I perceive , it appears to be to be so for so and so reasons, it is so if I am not mistaken"

As he says, " I wish well meaning sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive assuming manner that seldom fail to disgust, tends to create opposition, ....."

As Benjamin wrote, "When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering  began by observing that in certain circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case, there appear to me some difference."  

Basically, Benjamin Franklin admits at he may not be really humble but appear to be so.  As such," the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my changes, procured a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less modifications when I was found to be in the wrong; and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join me when I am proven in the right."

Most importantly, Benjamin Franklin admits that after his character of integrity, is habit of humility give him the greatest mileage.

He also describe how he befriend a prominent Philadelphian who had formerly opposed his election as a clerk of Pennsylvania Assembly by asking to borrow a rare book and thanking the man for the loan.

Truth of an old maxim: He that has done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself has obliged.

This is the case if the principle of consistency being demonstrated.

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