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Andal Jagannathan

Edited by Om Books International
Year 2016, pp. 229, Rs.195.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

A good read that takes you through the life of Benjamin Franklin, whom today’s youngsters probably relate to only as the face on the $100 bill. The book is a definite must read that can inspire young minds to broaden their horizons and realize their full potential. While the larger achievements of Franklin are inspiring, there are several instances in the book that might strike the right chord in readers and stay with them forever. One example is a sentence that goes, ‘My mind having been more improved by reading than Keimer’s, I suppose it was for that reason my conversation seemed to be more valued.’ I, for one, have resolved to improve my mind by reading as much as I can! And then there are candid observations such as ‘that while a party is carrying on a general design, each man has his particular private interest in view.’ This is an observation that is relevant and applicable in several political situations in present times. Pondering this point of view helps you understand current situations quite well and appreciate why people behaved the way they did. On page 79, Franklin talks about a heart-warming incident where a man who had fallen on bad times goes on to make money and then goes back to pay his old debts in full. Several such inspiring and interesting anecdotes make the book a very interesting read. Benjamin Franklin’s intention of writing his autobiography was to guide his son and it is in four distinct parts. The first part, written by him when he was 65 years old in the form of letters to his son, covers his early life. You are taken through young Benjamin’s humble beginnings in colonial America as the eighth among ten children. Benjamin was quite a voracious reader, a fact that prompted his father to attempt to groom him to be a clergyman. This was however a dream that was given up soon and Benjamin was set to work in the family’s soap and candle making business. His heart was not in it though and he wanted to go off to sea, something that his father did not approve of, having lost an older son at sea. So Benjamin was made to work as an apprentice to his elder brother at his printing shop in the hope that his interest in reading would keep him happy. Benjamin ...

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