Celebrating the 4th of July with Ben Franklin’s Wit & Wisdom


Ben Franklin.

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Polymath. Author. Printer. Political theorist. Politician. Freemason, Postmaster. Inventor. Civic leader. Believer in education.


For all those occupations and skills, I think he might be one of my favorite characters from all of history. And he seemed to be a real character–replete with great quotes, a sense of humor, infinite wisdom, inventiveness, a literary sense, and a ton of common sense that we can all still learn from today.

Franklin was a printer, and our family can relate. My father’s father owned The Paterson Press, and printed newspapers for the town of Paterson in New Jersey. My grandfather was, therefore, a writer and a printer, and understood matters of news and storytelling, much like Franklin himself.

As we celebrate the Independence of our nation this 4th of July, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite quotes from Ben Franklin, as he is a reminder to live life to the fullest and achieve much while we are here on this planet. His list of accomplishments is surely impressive. His quotes, equally impressive.

Below are some of my favorites.

Have a great 4th of July, all!

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.

To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.

He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

If you would be loved, love, and be lovable.

The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.

Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.



I’d Like To Buy Ben Franklin A Drink

BenFranklinBook CoverWhen I was a little girl, my mother bought me a book. It had a brown cover with yellow writing, and I read it over and over again, fascinated by the life of the man on which the book was based. He had grey hair, round spectacles, and a jolly look on his face. He didn’t wear a red and white suit and bring presents to kids; instead, this man was brilliant, flew a kite with a key, helped create our democracy, was a writer and a printer, and said memorable, quotable things.

His name was Ben Franklin, and he’s one of my favorite historical figures.

Several years ago, my husband bought me another book. This one is small, with a sketch of Ben Franklin on the cover wearing more rectangular spectacles, but still looking rather jolly. Knowing my love for quotes, my husband’s gift was a thoughtful one. The book is filled with Franklin’s quotes—so many of them, you’ll have a tough time keeping up.Ben Franklin Wit&Wisdom

How can one man have so much talent in his bones? A thinker, philosopher, dreamer, inventor, printer, innovator, statesman, newspaper man, and writer. He paved the way for the first subscription library. He made sure streets were lighted and clean.

I have nothing but respect for this gentleman. You know when you play the game with your friends—the one where you ask the following: “If you could spend the day with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?” My historical figure would be Ben. I’d like to buy him a drink. You see, he would be very happy if I bought him a beer (see below).

BenFranklinBeer quote

At this point in the blog post, I need not go on any longer about my affinity for the genius of this man. Instead, I’d like to just post a sampling of my favorite quotes that Ben Franklin said so you can see for yourself just how witty and wise he actually was, and how his thoughts and ideals still hold true today.

* * *

In marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend.

Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices.

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.

When you speak to a man, look on his eyes; when he speaks to thee, look on his mouth.

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.

Fish and visitors stink after three days.Ben Franklin pay. jpg

Well done is better than well said.

No better relations than a prudent and faithful friend.

Silence is not always a sign of wisdom, but babbling is ever a folly.

Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain — and most fools do.

The wise and brave dares own that he was wrong.

Trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.