14 books directly related to Benjamin Franklin 📚

All 14 Benjamin Franklin books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Peace Pact: The Lost World of the American Founding

By David C. Hendrickson,

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

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.

Ben Franklin: America's Original Entrepreneur

By Blaine McCormick,

Book cover of Ben Franklin: America's Original Entrepreneur

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.

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

By Jill Lepore,

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

Why this book?

This book about Jane Franklin (yes, one of her brothers was Benjamin Franklin) turns our culture's obsession with the Founding Fathers on its head. What, Lepore asks, did it mean to be a woman in the Age of Revolution? To be sure, Jane was a relatively well-off, relatively well-educated white woman in a cosmopolitan town, and, as their surviving correspondence reveals, she wasn't above giving her celebrated brother a piece of her mind. But she also faced limits he didn't and developed very different priorities. Lepore is justly celebrated for her brilliant storytelling, her sharp insights, her lean, inventive prose—and her seemingly effortless ability to find just the right detail to make her point. 

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin,

Book cover of The Autobiography of 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?

Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin

By Gene Barretta,

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

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.  

The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin

By Gordon S. Wood,

Book cover of The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin

Why this book?

It may seem unfair to group Benjamin Franklin among con artists and impersonators, but he certainly had a talent for self-invention. Most biographies of Franklin take it as a given that he was the “first American,” who set the mold for what we call the American dream. In this highly readable and comparatively brief biography of the great man, Wood breaks from that tradition and tells the story of a provincial striver whose many public personas were motivated by a desire to fit in among aristocratic Europeans. If you think you know what made Franklin tick, this biography will make you think again.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

By Walter Isaacson,

Book cover of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

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 War of Independence.

Isaac’s biography constantly reveals truths behind the legend. Who knew 16-year-old Franklin became a prodigal son when he fled his brother’s Boston printshop (where he was bound as an apprentice) and ran away to Philadelphia? Who knew young Franklin was such an excellent swimmer that a swimming buddy almost convinced him to go on tour to do aquatic exhibitions and teach? Who knew that Franklin, the scientist who liked to play with lightning, discovered the Gulf Stream, Nor’easters, and as the colonies’ deputy postmaster initiated the first home delivery of mail? Franklin’s list of firsts is just one of the many threads in this beautifully woven Persian carpet of a book.

What’s most impressive is how the Ben Franklin of the 18th century Age of Enlightenment comes across as so utterly modern that if he walked out of the book into the 21st century, he would fit right in. Part of his modernity is that the life he lived created a particularly American concept: the full-on celebrity. As well as a polymath, Ben Franklin was America’s first superstar. Who knew?

American Classics: Evolutionary Perspectives

By Judith P. Saunders,

Book cover of American Classics: Evolutionary Perspectives

Why this book?

Saunders is an unusually acute and subtle literary critic. She is deeply immersed in the great works of American literature, and she brings those works vividly to life. She penetrates deep into the evolved motives that regulate even the most seemingly idiosyncratic works. She demonstrates that literature is profoundly shaped by our evolved human motives and emotions.

The Lost Concerto

By Helaine Mario,

Book cover of The Lost Concerto

Why this book?

In The Lost Concerto a woman has set aside her career as a classical pianist, for deeply personal reasons—then finds herself not only reclaiming her music, but also finding answers to a past mystery as well as new connections in the present. Both novels are about loss, love, and the power of music to lift and heal us. What makes The Lost Concerto especially appealing is its cross-genre blend of suspense, intrigue, stolen art, and the journey from vengeance to courage. You won’t be able to put it down!

Hit by a Flying Wolf: True Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation and Real Life with Dogs and Wolves

By Nicole Wilde,

Book cover of Hit by a Flying Wolf: True Tales of Rescue, Rehabilitation and Real Life with Dogs and Wolves

Why this book?

Speaking of wolves, this book describes how wolves and wolfdogs can be safely contained and cared for. Author Nicole Wilde ran Villalobos Rescue Center back when it was a wolf rescue, and is also a specialist in domestic dog behavior. In this book, she opens up about the struggles she had with some of her own dogs. It’s very reassuring to read about experts having the same problems we do. Not only does Wilde describe the animals vividly in prose, but her photographs also are stunning. It bums me out when photos in dog books are grainy and black and white, or worse, when there are no photos at all. I want to see the dogs!

Murder at Drury Lane: Further Adventures of the American Agent in London

By Robert Lee Hall,

Book cover of Murder at Drury Lane: Further Adventures of the American Agent in London

Why this book?

Historical setting is the main draw here. Benjamin Franklin is in 1750s London, and the interest comes from the history. Franklin becomes involved in the lively theater scene of the era, and we get to see the sage's particular genius at work. The great joy here comes from all the period details and the delightful descriptions of the theatre world in Georgian England.

The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck

By Matt Phelan,

Book cover of The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck

Why this book?

Now for something completely different. My own book is for middle-grade readers, so I wanted to include another younger title, and it was perfect timing that this rollicking adventure crossed my path when it did. Hilariously droll, Phelan’s illustrated fiction stars characters lauded for their pivotal role in early flight—the three barnyard aeronauts who made the very first ascent in a hot-air balloon. But their career didn’t end there: the sheep, the rooster, and the duck went on to battle injustice, defeat dastardly villains, and expose nefarious plots against society. Phelan’s extraordinary farm animals are more than fearless aeronauts: they’re covert superheroes in a world of sinister secret societies, Benjamin Franklin, and the world’s first heat-ray. High-flying fun!

Guesthouse for Ganesha

By Judith Teitelman,

Book cover of Guesthouse for Ganesha

Why this book?

It’s important to be open-minded as you’re reading this book and understand that it is reality blended with mysticism and spirituality, which means you will need to suspend disbelief. Throughout the novel I enjoyed the interweaving of Ganesha’s commentary with the main narrative, as it kept me wondering how and when he might show himself to Esther and what role he fills in the story. It lent some mystery and edginess to the plotline. Esther is unconventional, especially when it comes to her mothering, and some readers might be put off by this, but her survival instinct is admirable, in my opinion. Teitelman does a fantastic job setting up Esther’s fastidious dedication to quality and perfection, which plays into that survival instinct.

The Next World Interviewed

By S. G. Horn,

Book cover of The Next World Interviewed

Why this book?

This obscure 1896 book is a collection of interviews with dead luminaries. At least, that’s what the psychic author alleges. Inside you’ll find conversations with Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, and others. Discover their wisdom from beyond the veil, and in the case of Ben Franklin, you can enjoy a new set of his famous aphorisms, including this one: “Spiritual knowledge, like gems hidden in the bowels of the earth, is only to be reached by patient upturning of the soil.”