The best Benjamin Franklin books 📚

Browse the best books on Benjamin Franklin as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Ben Franklin: America's Original Entrepreneur

Ben Franklin: America's Original Entrepreneur

By Blaine McCormick

Why this book?

This book is an absolute blueprint from one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. I could share hundreds of examples you could use daily, but one of my favorites is his creation of personal virtues that he practiced and tracked over and over until perfection. Success leaves clues, and Franklin gives a road map to how he went from printing assistant to founding father, inventor, businessman, and visionary.

From the list:

The best books on efficiency, mental strength, and business growth

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Book cover of Peace Pact: The Lost World of the American Founding

Peace Pact: The Lost World of the American Founding

By David C. Hendrickson

Why this book?

David Hendrickson recovers the paradoxical origins of our nation in the contentious diversity of citizens who identified with their state rather than as Americans, and who dreaded those of other states as potential enemies. To avoid the bloodbaths of European-style wars in America, the founders framed a union of states meant to provide a framework for mutual peace. But they also generated a recurrent political struggle between those who feared the Union as too strong, as potential tyrannical, and those who wished to perfect that Union as a true nation.

From the list:

The best books on the early United States

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Book cover of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Why this book?

When I think of Benjamin Franklin, I picture the chubby founding father pictured on a hundred-dollar bill or the crazy kite-flyer amid a thunderstorm. Yet this polymath’s witty and engaging memoir surprised me with the breadth of his science, including basic insights into electricity, heat, ocean currents, and molecules. How can you not like this curious and industrious innovator who also protected us from lightning and cold?
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The best books on inventors

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Book cover of Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

By Jill Lepore

Why this book?

Book of Ages brings to life a woman I didn’t know existed. It excavates the story of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister, using her letters and the “Book of Ages” she kept, along with research into child-bearing, marriage, and education for women in the 1700s. Jane Franklin’s life was hard, and her writing was halting, unlike her brother’s polished prose. But still, her sentences are full of personality.

She wrote about kissing her children’s injuries because “The Litle Rogues all want to be Pityed by them that Loves them” and scolded Benjamin for his infrequent letters: “I See you do not…

From the list:

The best books about women you’ve never heard of

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Book cover of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

By Gene Barretta

Why this book?

I am a big Franklin fan, as anyone knows who has read my own book about him. This is my favorite book about Franklin as an inventor. I love Gene Barretta’s bright, cartoony illustrations and cleverly written text, which juxtaposes familiar modern-day scenes with Franklin’s astonishing array of innovations (he even invented the odometer??) in a rollicking salute to a Founding Father far ahead of his time.  

From the list:

The best picture books for kids who love to tinker

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Book cover of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

By Walter Isaacson

Why this book?

The Benjamin Franklin most of us know—from the bullet points of our schooling to the placid face on the one-hundred-dollar bill—is a stick figure compared to the flesh-and-blood Ben Franklin who leaps from the pages of this book like a Tasmania devil. Yes, Franklin is one of the more famous of our founding fathers, but he’s lesser known for being the father of a bastard, William Franklin, who fathered his own bastard, William Temple Franklin, who went on to become his grandfather’s secretary in the decades Ben Franklin spent in England and France as America’s diplomat before and during the…

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The best history books to evoke “who knew?”

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