The Way to Wealth | Benjamin Franklin

Summary of: The Way to Wealth
By: Benjamin Franklin


In the book ‘The Way to Wealth’, Benjamin Franklin shares timeless wisdom through the character of Father Abraham, an old man who discusses hard work, diligence, frugality, and the importance of time management with a crowd of people awaiting an auction. Father Abraham shares his thoughts on how to gain wealth through one’s own industry and avoid unnecessary expenses that lead to poverty, as well as the consequences of indolence and extravagance. The book provides valuable insights into the secrets of living a successful life while maintaining a sense of humility, charity, and moral integrity.

Father Abraham’s Wise Words

A crowd gathers for an auction and persuades Father Abraham to share his views on life. He warns them not to squander time and reveals that citizens levy heavier taxes on themselves with their behavior than the government does through taxes. He explains that idleness, pride, and folly each tax individuals twice, three times, and four times as much as any government can, and only death can release them from their toll.

The Price of Idleness

Time is the most valuable asset, and wasting it is like squandering the limited days of our existence. The book reveals the depravities of idleness by comparing it to rust, which slowly erodes human health and reduces lifespan. The book also explains how diligence and industry are the keys to a successful life. By rising early, working hard and having a calling, we can take control of our lives and achieve what we want. The author highlights that any time wasted is irrecoverable, and in the end, it’s our industry or our idleness that determines our success in life.

Diligent Work Ethics

Don’t waste your time and procrastinate because hard work can alleviate every difficulty, whether it’s spiritual or financial. In this world, you are always your own boss; therefore, you should feel shame when you are idle, even if you work for yourself. Stick to your tasks every day, and you will see great effects. Diligence and patience are important values that should guide you. Don’t throw away an hour because you’re not sure of a minute. Use time efficiently by doing something useful to attain that kind of leisure only a diligent worker can have. There are many who would want to live by their wits only, but they break for lack of stock. So, as the old saying goes, “Plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and keep.”

Steady Attention and Careful Discernment

To prosper in life, one must work diligently with a steady, settled and careful approach while using discernment in trusting others. Running your own business is ideal as it gives you control, just like the plowman has over the mule. Neglecting your affairs can be catastrophic, as even the smallest lack of attention can lead to grave consequences. Therefore, it’s essential to supervise your workers and trust no one too much. If you want someone to be faithful, serve yourself. But, don’t forget any aspect of your work, as “for the want of a nail the shoe was lost; for the want of the shoe the horse was lost, and for want of a horse, the rider was lost.” Want of care does more damage than want of knowledge.

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