Benjamin Franklin – Poor Richard’s Almanac

The prefaces, proverbs, and poems of Benjamin Franklin, originally printed in editions of Poor Richard’s Almanac for 1733 to 1758.

As Benjamin Franklin himself put it: “Courteous Listener: Besides the astronomical Calculations, and other Things usually containd in Almanacks, which have their daily Use indeed while the Year continues, but then become of no Value, I have constantly interspers’d moral Sentences, prudent Maxims, and wise Sayings, many of them containing much good Sense in very few Words, and therefore apt to leave strong and lasting Impressions on the Memory of young Persons, whereby they may receive Benefit as long as they live, when both Almanack and Almanac-maker have been long thrown by and forgotten. If I now and then insert a Joke or two, that seem to have little in them, my Apology is, that such may have their Use, since perhaps for their Sake light airy Minds peruse the rest, and so are struck by somewhat of more Weight and Moment. The Verses on the Heads of the Months are also design’d to have the same Tendency. I need not tell thee that many of them are of my own Making. If thou hast any Judgment in Poetry, thou wilt easily discern the Workman from the Bungler. I know as well as thee, that I am no Poet born, and it is a Trade I never learnt, nor indeed could learn. If I make Verses ‘t is in SpightOf Nature and my Stars, I write. Why then should I give my Readers bad Lines of my own, when good Ones of other Peoples are so plenty? ‘T is methinks a poor Excuse for the bad Entertainment of Guests that the Food we set before them, tho’ coarse and ordinary, is of one’s own raising, off ones own Plantation, [etc.] when there is Plenty of what is ten times better, to be had in the Market. On the contrary, I assure ye, my Friends, that I have procur’d the best I could for ye, and much good may it do ye. I am thy poor Friend, to serve thee, Richard Saunders.”

Since Ben Franklin would have been amazed at audiobooks, let these few details be added: unlike most editions of Poor Richard, this one includes essentially all of the text, not just the aphorisms and sayings. This gives you, Courteous Listener, a much better appreciation of how Franklin wrote and thought. In particular, you will find that the full body of the Poor Richard almanacs contains a great deal of religious and spiritual thought in which Franklin laid out and propounded his understanding of Christianity as it stood in his day. Last but not least, since a long parade of sayings, poems, etc., would be dull all strung together, this edition includes snippets of music between them, drawn from about four dozen Colonial-era tunes and imitating the sound of Colonial instruments such as flute, fife, lute, English guitar, music box, and harpsichord. May you enjoy it and draw benefit from it, as Ben himself would have wished!

Author: Benjamin Franklin
Narrator: Robert Bethune
Duration: 9 hours 39 minutes
Released: 11 Oct 2010
Publisher: Freshwater Seas
Language: English

User Review:

transplant unwritten

There were a couple times where the audio work omitted some potions of the book. One instance claimed it was because a table is boring to hear in audio form – I grant that may be true, but I’ve listened to it in other books and got through it.
A second instance was a reading of another authors work, I wished that hadn’t been omitted. 1) The book had already read other authors accounts (Bitter Cold of Hudson Bay) and late in the book, Poor Richard admits that only 1/10 of the book was his own work, the rest being compiles from the wisdom of the ages.

There were a couple times when my iphone app hung up on a portion/section of the work. I’m not what caused it, but it was repeatable. I had to skip around to get it to work… frustrating… not sure if this is a problem with the file or the app or the phone.

There were times when the quotes repeated in different years – I’m not sure if this is bad editing on the Audio book, or the original book. There are quotes that repeat, with a twist from prior years, but specifically there are quotes interspersed that are identical.

Lastly, chapter 37 seems to be a copy from a section in the middle of the book… It wasn’t introduces as a new year, it just jumped into a complete repeat of an almanac year.

I did like the Actor’s voice and accent, I could imagine I was really listening to Ben Franklin. Also, the music in between the quotes and passages was a good addition… The book would have been too hard to digest as audio without them.