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Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

Ben Franklin for Beginners (For Beginners), by Tim E. Ogline

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Benjamin Franklin was among the most interesting of America’s founders, yet aside from a few homey maxims (“A penny saved…”), his portrait on the $100 bill and the shocking story of his “discovery” of electricity while flying a kite in a storm, most of us know little of this enigmatic sage. Tim Ogline aims to broaden our appreciation of Franklin’s scope in this illustrated primer. The Founding Father who sat naked in front of open windows in winter (convinced that circulation of fresh air was essential to good health), negotiated treaties, conversed with Europe’s great philosophers, ran a print shop, edited a newspaper and invented bifocals, America’s first satirist drew no distinction between the practical and the theoretical. As for his ideas on good health, well, he died in possession of his faculties at age 84 in an age when many never reached 50.