Most Successful Man In History?
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I'm reading H.W. Brands's biography of Benjamin Franklin, The First American. Franklin's life has a comic aspect (in both the Shakespearean sense of turning out happily and in the absurdist sense of the improbability of it all) in that he's successful at practically all the multitudinous projects he turns his hand to. Franklin figured out as an adolescent that he was superior to practically everybody he met, so he'd better be as funny, modest, and nice to people as possible or they'd get mad at him for being better than them.

I'm up to age 75 in the book, and Franklin still has yet to negotiate the treaty that ends the War of Independence on very good terms for the new United States, invent bifocals, and sponsor the key compromise that made the Constitution politically possible.

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