Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1: Franklin's Advice for the New Year (Vol. 1, pp. 79-85)

This selection, from "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," is a fitting piece for the start of a year.

He sets down a code of moral virtues one should follow. Temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility are the virtues he believes are paramount -- so much so that he made a schedule to track whether he followed them all.

"Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve," wrote Franklin. It's hard to argue with his value system, although it does seem extreme to keep a log book as he did. I suppose it explains why Franklin lived such a long, vigorous and productive life.

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