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The Way to Wealth

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The Way to Wealth

Applewood Books,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Benjamin Franklin tells you how to keep the money you worked so hard to get.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Born in 1706, Benjamin Franklin could do almost anything, and did. When he wasn’t helping to lead the American Revolution, co-writing the United States’ Declaration of Independence, inventing bifocals, or serving as his nation’s ambassador to France, Franklin grew rich writing and publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack, for which The Way To Wealth served as a preface. This short essay, first published in 1758, has been translated into many languages and reprinted frequently. Franklin’s bottomless capacity for witty, pithy, useful aphorisms keeps his words in the minds and mouths of readers worldwide 250 years after he first printed his book. Franklin wrote Poor Richard’s under the pen name Richard Saunders but, despite his everlasting denials, everyone in the American colonies knew that Franklin was the author. He sold 10,000 copies annually by subscription, which, given America’s colonial population, is equivalent to selling three million copies today. Franklin’s advice on daily life, worthy effort, human nature, fiscal habits, clothing, vanity and prudence remains hilarious, true and, for most, almost impossible to follow. getAbstract recommends Franklin’s classic counsel and overview of life to anyone with a sense of humor, an appreciation for spare, direct, elegant prose, and a desire to understand – and perhaps change – every bad habit that makes people human.


About Taxes

A crowd gathers, awaiting the opening of the doors to an auction. An older man strolls by, and the crowd prevails upon him to share his views of the world. The old man is Father Abraham, and he has no shortage of opinions. He agrees to talk, but only briefly, since “a word to the wise is enough.”

Members of the crowd express their worries over the current state of taxes. Father Abraham tells them that the government’s taxes are indeed heavy, but nothing compared to the taxes that citizens levy upon themselves with their behavior.

Idleness taxes each “twice as much,” pride “three times” and folly “four times” as much as any government. No state can lessen or abate those taxes; only the citizen’s death provides freedom from their toll.

About “Industry”

A truly onerous government might demand one-tenth of every citizen’s time as a tax payment. But idleness takes much more time than that. Indolence reduces your life span by making you susceptible to illness. Lethargy functions like rust and eats away at human health. Activity keeps you well, in that “the used key is always bright.”

Time is your most precious asset. Frittering away ...

About the Author

A Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, born in 1706, was a statesman, revolutionary, author, inventor, scientist, firefighter and chess master. He performed breakthrough experiments on electricity, proved that lightning was an electrical phenomenon and invented the lightning rod. He also devised the Franklin Stove, a simple, effective device that captures the heat of a fireplace and reflects it back into a room; an odometer for horse-drawn carriages; and bifocal glasses. Franklin researched and named the Gulf Stream ocean current. A masterful chess player, he wrote the second known essay on chess published in the United States. He co-founded one of the earliest volunteer firefighting companies in America and served as governor of the state of Pennsylvania. Franklin became a fervent abolitionist, freeing his slaves and opposing slavery in the United States and elsewhere. A tireless public servant, Franklin risked his fortune and his life opposing England’s rule over the American colonies. He was a leader of the American Revolution and contributed to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. He was the first Postmaster General of the United States and helped establish its postal service. During the Revolutionary War, Franklin lived in Paris as the American ambassador to France. After the war, he attended the Philadelphia Convention, which produced America’s Constitution. Franklin is a signatory of the US Constitution as well as of the Declaration of Independence.

Comment on this summary

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    A. Y. 4 years ago
    Lucky to have listened to such a nice summary.
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    D. J. 6 years ago
    What an interesting man he was, so intelligent, and so wise
  • Avatar
    C. N. 8 years ago
    The act of living below one`s means depends on discipline.

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