The Way to Wealth Summary: Benjamin Franklin

The Way to Wealth Summary

The Way to Wealth Summary provides a free book summary, key takeaways, review, quotes and author biography of Benjamin Franklin’s book regarding wealth. Benjamin Franklin advises you how to keep your money.

Franklin was born in 1706. He could do nearly anything, and he did. Franklin helped lead the American revolution. He co-wrote the American Declaration of Independence. Besides, he invented bifocals. Also, he served as the USA’s ambassador to France. Franklin became rich after writing Poor Richard’s Almanack. And for this, The Way to Wealth was the preface. This brief essay was first published in 1758. Since then it has been published in many languages. Franklin is skilled at using witty, sharp and useful clichés. This keeps his words in readers’ minds and mouths even after 250 years. He wrote Poor Richard’s under the name Richard Saunders. He kept on denying that he wrote this masterpiece. But, despite his refusals, everyone in the USA knew it was Franklin.

Franklin sold 10,000 copies yearly through subscription. This is equal to selling 3mn copies today. His advice on human nature, daily life, vanity, etc. are funny and true. We recommend his ageless advice to everyone who has a sense of humor. It will also interest people wanting to change bad habits which make people human.

“But dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of.”

This Summary Will Help You Learn

  • Why you should work hard and be wise,
  • How to keep your hard-earned money, and
  • Ways to stop your vanity from throwing you into debt.


  • In 1758, Benjamin Franklin wrote The Way To Wealth. It was a preface to Poor Richard’s Almanack, an advice book.
  • This short essay offers Franklin’s sharp ideas. These are:
  • “Poverty will catch the lazy.”
  • Don’t buy things you don’t need. Because you’ll soon have to sell what you need.
  • For learning the real worth of money, try borrowing. Know that going into debt will allow your lenders to rule your life.
  • Debt takes away a person’s energy and honor.
  • Your creditors can sue you if you’re unable to pay on time.
  • Financial gains are only temporary. In contrast, significant expenses continue for life and rarely decrease.
  • You can’t change people’s behavior by telling them how to behave.
  • Experience is the best teacher for fools as they only learn through that.

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The Way to Wealth Summary

About Taxes

A crowd awaits the doors of an auction to open. An older man walks by. The crowd surrounds him to share his world views. This man is Father Abraham. And he has plenty of opinions. He agrees to speak. But, only for a short time. Because he says as even a word to the sensor is enough.

Some people in the crowd share their worries about the state of taxes. Father tells them that the taxes are heavy. But, this is still less. Especially compared to the tax burden people charge themselves through their actions.

Laziness taxes people twice as much. Pride taxes thrice as much. And, foolishness taxes four times as any government tax. No government can remove or decrease these taxes. Only when a person dies does he get free from the toll.

About “Industry”

A burdened government may demand 1/10th of its people’s time as a tax. But, laziness eats up much more time. Idleness saps years from your life by making you prone to illness. It acts like rust and eats up your health. In contrast, the activity keeps you healthy. As they say, a used key always shines.

Time is the most valuable asset. Hence, wasting time means wasting the limited days of your life. You can never get back lost time. Whatever time is allotted to you in your life can never be enough. So, use it wisely.

Not wasting time means working hard. So, work hard each day to get what you desire. Remember, “early to bed, early to will make you rich, healthy and wise.” For the lazy, all tasks are challenging. Don’t sleep late. Or you’ll rush through the day to do your tasks before it’s bedtime again. If you’re lazy, even poverty will catch you.

Take charge of your business, or it’ll control you. Don’t build castles in the air. This way you’ll lose everything you have. “A person living on hope will die to fast.” So, bind the power of your dreams into “Industry”. And then you’ll never need to dream again. Getting anywhere meaningful needs hard work. But, if you have a “trade,” you hold an “estate.”

“He who rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night.”

About Procrastination

Focus on immediate essential tasks now. Because you never know what hurdles the future may bring. Remember, “one today is equal to two tomorrows.” Don’t sit and worry about your issues. This will only give them a chance to increase. Hard-work can decrease any difficulty. Be it financial or spiritual. But, paying attention to work means doing things at the right time. Hence, avoid delaying. As the saying goes, “never put off until tomorrow, what can be done today.” It would be embarrassing if your boss found you doing nothing. Regardless of how small or significant a task is, you’re your boss. Always. So, you must also feel the same shame when you’re idle. More so, if you’re working for yourself.

The job may look tough to do and never-ending. But, stick to it each day. And then, you’ll start seeing the effects. The more you delay, the more work you’ll have to do when you finally start. So, make patience and hard-work your mantra. Small strokes fell big oaks. But, when all these small strokes stare at you, you may think of getting a break. You can’t take a break. Because you don’t know what will happen in the next minute. Let alone for an hour. Leisure is a gift. It only comes to those who use their time wisely. Just a hard-worker can get that type of leisure. In contrast, a lazy person will always crave for it.

About Trust

People who spin their cloth without stopping can wear anything they wish. Being hard-working means paying careful attention to your life and work. And, using discretion when trusting others. The ideal case is to be the owner of your own business. In your daily tasks, you can opt to be the mule or the plow-man. If you’re a mule, you’ll always be under someone else’s control. But, if you choose to be the plow-man, then plow every day.

Keep a mindful watch on your workers. Don’t allow them to work as they please. This means keeping your wallet open so people may take whatever they want. Never trust others too much. Because it’s a sure way of failing. Instead, take control of your matters. This way you’ve someone you can trust. But, if you’re controlling everything, ensure not to neglect anything. What may look like a small moment of neglect can have deep consequences.

About “Frugality”

You may be working hard and watching your affairs mindfully. But, it’ll all be a waste if you aren’t frugal. Spending your money on temporary pleasures is straightforward. But, if you want to build a fortune, save your money. Saving is even more stringent than earning money. You must give up costly pleasures. Because small expenses add up. Small indulgences will only drain your pockets.

At the auction place, Father Abrahams tells everyone that they’ll buy useless things. You name them goods, but if fail to take care, they’ll turn evil. Stop buying unnecessary things, or you’ll soon be selling what you need. Vanity is a big reason for foolish spending. Many people like to look fashionable and wealthy. But, their stomachs are crying for food. Beautiful clothes and expensive jewelry are not essential things. They’re not conveniences also. These indulgences will force you into debt. If you’re frugal and hard-working, then you’ll never have to borrow.

About Pride and Debt

Want to learn the real value of money? Then, borrow some. A person who tries finding a loan will face torture. Pride could push you through any practical sense of expenditure. If you buy one great product, you’ll crave for ten more. So, suck up the first urge to purchase. It’s simpler than meeting all the urges which your first buy will trigger. Know what you can afford. If you dress above your status, your peers may envy you. But, your betters will find you a fool. There’s no good in taking pride in fancy clothes. Mainly when they cause pain to your family.

Becoming indebted means giving up your power, freedom, and dignity. You may enjoy the thought of buying now and paying later. But, during this time, your lender controls your life. If you’re unable to pay on time, you’ll be making excuses. This will damage your honor. In contrast, if you’re debt-free, you won’t fear a chance encounter with anyone. But, being indebted robs you of your self-respect and character.

Let’s suppose the government passed a law against fancy dressing. Or say eating at fine dining. You’d argue hard to be able to wear or eat as you please. When you borrow money, you open yourself to the same oppression. All power over your life goes to your lender. He can sue you or even sell you to get back his money.

Debtor’s Contract Is a Trap

Some may feel that they have a bargain after signing the debtor’s contract. Plus, with so much time the contract terms offer, you can easily repay. But, when you owe someone, time moves quicker than usual. And, money increases more slowly. Remember, “lenders’ memories are better than that of debtors.” Creditors oversee the dates. You can only dream that your lenders will forget the due date. Because this is never going to happen. And, the time of your contract will prove to be much shorter.

Making money will always be tough. But, expenses will be continual. This is the only certainty you can have besides death. It’s better to go to bed hungry than to ever owe anything.

“Industry pays debts, while despair increases them.”

About Knowledge and Good Advice

Your rules should have “wisdom and reason” as their basis. Even if you try to be wise and practical, you still need God’s blessings. Ask for such blessing with all humbleness. Plus, never avoid those who don’t have this blessing. Act with humility. And hence, help the less privileged.

Experience is a strict school. But fools can learn from none other. You can give advice, but who can’t be counseled, can’t be helped. If someone hears what you say, doesn’t mean he/she will change. Father Abraham stops talking at this point. And, he continues walking down his way. The crowd heard him with great focus and agreed with what he said.

But, it was only minutes after Father Abraham left their company. And, everyone did the exact opposite of what he had just said. As soon as the doors to auction opened, people rushed in. They start bidding and spending. Some spent what they had. But, many spent the money which was borrowed.

Richard Saunders thinks of buying material for a new coat. But, after some thought, he decides to continue wearing the old one. He leaves the auction place.

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The Way to Wealth Review

The article summary is written about the book of Benjamin Franklin in a very comprehensive way that covers all most concepts and ideas of Benjamin Franklin presented in his book. Benjamin Franklin emphasizes hard working and is wise in life. He wrote about the taxes, industry, procrastination, knowledge and sound advice, trust, pride and debt, and frugality. By the views of Benjamin Franklin taxes that people usually charge to themselves are more than the taxes by the government in a financial manner. When people work with laziness and foolishness, they increase the cost of the operations that also works as taxes on the profit. Therefore he said that foolishness taxes are about four times more than the taxes set by the government on their operations and income.

In the views of Benjamin, Franklin people cannot prevent and avoid taxes by the government. Increase or decreases in the amount of taxes set by the government are un-controllable factors for the people. However, people can control the taxes they incurred by themselves through pride and foolishness by making positive changes in their behavior. The article covers the concept of hard working also. According to Benjamin, Hardworking means no wastage of time. The article also provides information about procrastination that is important and can be supportive of the people to be successful in their life. Crying over the worries and problems cannot solve the problems. Hard-working is the only key to success. People should not put off something on tomorrow that they can complete today. Benjamin claims that when people use their time efficiently, they enjoy leisure as a gift or a reward for their hard-working. We support the views of Benjamin that the saving of money is essential if we want to build up our fortune.

The Way to Wealth Quotes

“But dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of.”

“He who rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night.”

“Industry pays debts, while despair increases them.”

“Since thou are not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.”

“Keep thy shop and thy shop will keep thee.”

“Want of care does more damage than want of knowledge.”

“Always taking out of the meal tub and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom.”

“When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.”

“Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.”

“A small leak will sink a great ship.”

“For age and want save while you may, No morning sun lasts a whole day.”

“In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by faith, but by their want of it.”

“If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.”

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About the Author

Benjamin Franklin is one of the Founding Fathers of the US. He was born in 1706. Franklin was many things. From being a revolutionary and statesman to an author, scientist, and inventor. He did great experiments on electricity. It was he who invented the lightning rod, proving that it’s an electrical occurrence. He also created the Franklin Stove. It was a simple yet effective device. This stove captured heat from a fireplace. Then it reflected it back into the room. Franklin also invented the bifocal glasses. A skilled chess-player, Franklin wrote the second known preface on chess published in the US.

Besides, he co-founded a volunteer firefighting firm in the US. Franklin was also the governor of Pennsylvania. He freed his slaves and opposed slavery in the US and the world. Franklin was a tireless servant of the public. He risked his life and money fighting British rule over American colonies. He led the American Revolution and co-wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Franklin was also the first Postmaster General of the US. Hence, he also helped set-up its postal services. During the War, he lived in Paris serving as America’s ambassador to France. When the war ended, he participated in the Philadelphia Meet. This meeting produced the American Constitution. Franklin is a co-signor of the American Constitution.


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