Benjamin Franklin Quotes: The Best Fifty

Benjamin Franklin’s classic “The Way to Wealth” and “Poor Richard’s Almanack” contain many fantastic quotes, and I have put together a list of the best fifty from both:

Benjamin Franklin’s quotations have survived for centuries, most likely due to the Founding Father’s ability to convey truths about human nature in short, pithy sayings.
  1. A man without ceremony has need of great merit in its place.
  2. Ambition often spends foolishly what avarice had wickedly collected.
  3. An ill wound, but not an ill name, may be healed.
  4. An old man in a house is a good sign.
  5. An old young man will be a young old man.
  6. As pride increases, fortune declines.
  7. As we must account for every idle word, so we must for every idle silence.
  8. Bargaining has neither friends nor relations.
  9. Be always ashamed to catch thyself idle.
  10. Beware, beware! He’ll cheat without scruple, who can without fear.
  11. Buy what thou hast no need of; and e’er long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
  12. Courage would fight, but discretion won’t let him.
  13. Creditors have better memories than debtors.
  14. Different religious sects like different clocks, may be all near the matter, though they don’t quite agree.
  15. Diligence overcomes difficulties, sloth makes them.
  16. Distrust and caution are the parents of security.
  17. Don’t go to the doctor with every distemper.
  18. Don’t judge of men’s wealth or piety, by their Sunday appearances.
  19. Do not squander time; for that is what life is made of.
  20. Eat few suppers, and you’ll need few medicines.
  21. Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
  22. Glass and reputation are easily crack’d, and never well-mended.
  23. God, parents, and instructors, can never be requited.
  24. Have you somewhat to do tomorrow; do it today.
  25. He is a governor that governs his passions, a servant that serves them.
  26. He makes a foe, who makes a jest.
  27. He that best understands the world, least likes it.
  28. He that falls in love with himself, will have no rivals.
  29. He that goes far to marry, will either deceive or be deceived.
  30. He that hath a trade, hath an estate.
  31. He that rises late, must trot all day, and will not overtake others by night.
  32. He that sows thorns, should never go barefoot.
  33. He that would have a short Lent, let him borrow money to be repaid at Easter.
  34. Idleness is the Dead Sea, that swallows all virtues.
  35. If thou injurest conscience, it will have its revenge on thee.
  36. If you would be loved, love and be lovable.
  37. It is better to take many injuries, than to give one.
  38. It’s common for men to give pretend reasons instead of a real one.
  39. Keep thou from the opportunity, and God will keep thee from the sin.
  40. Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.
  41. Lend money to an enemy, and you’ll gain him, to a friend and you’ll lose him.
  42. Let thy discontents be thy secrets; if the world knows them it will despise thee and increase them.
  43. Let thy vices die before thee.
  44. Little strokes fell great oaks.
  45. Love, cough, and a smoke, can’t well be hid.
  46. Many complain of their memory, few of their judgment.
  47. Marry above thy match, and thou’lt get a master.
  48. Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
  49. Sloth (like rust) consumes faster than labor wears. The used key is bright.
  50. Sudden power is apt to be insolent; that behaves best which has grown gradually.
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