The Greatest Ben Franklin Quotes of All Time

Benjamin Franklin portrait cutting from one hundred dollars bill. Business and finance concept.

The Greatest Ben Franklin Quotes of All Time

Few of the founding fathers had a way with words like Benjamin Franklin. While he never served as president, he was an important diplomatic figure in the early days of the United States. Today’s list takes a closer look at the wisdom and wit of the often sardonic Mr. Franklin.


Franklin often acted as a voice of reason in the Second Continental Congress.
©"Ben Franklin" by Michael H Parker is licensed under BY-SA 2.0. - Original / License

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Ben Franklin was a lifelong student and understood the need to involve yourself in a process to bind it to memory.


Beyond politics, Franklin was a man of several pursuits.
©"'Benjamin Franklin'." by Biblioteca Rector Machado y Nuñez is licensed under PDM 1.0. - Original / License

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

This is a beautiful quote that succinctly demonstrates the need to improve and make yourself prosper.


Franklin is fondly remembered for Poor Richard’s Almanac.
©"<div class='fn'> <div style='font-weight:bold;display:inline-block;'>Portrait of Benjamin Franklin</div></div>" by Rosalie Filleul is licensed under BY-SA 4.0. - Original / License

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

Franklin’s pithy quip about life seems at odds with his stature and gravitas as a statesman.


Ben Franklin served as the first ambassador to France from the United States.
©"Benjamin Franklin Portrait" by Steven Green Photography is licensed under PDM 1.0. - Original / License

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.

This one speaks for itself. Nothing you do born of anger is going to bring any happiness.


The founding father was never one to shy away from a good meal.
©"Benjamin Franklin, Born in...Boston!" by Tony Fischer Photography is licensed under BY 2.0. - Original / License

“In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery eats twice as much as nature requires.”

You can only imagine how much Ben Franklin would have enjoyed modern food.


Despite his claims, the man’s writings oozed wisdom and wit.
©"<div class='fn'> Plaque Portrait of Benjamin Franklin</div>" by Giovanni Battista Nini is licensed under CC0 1.0. - Original / License

Necessity never made a good bargain.

This is arguably the truest quote uttered by anyone, let alone Ben Franklin.


Ben Franklin is revered in the same manner as George Washington despite never being president.
©"1¢ Benjamin Franklin" by Samcam61 is licensed under BY-SA 3.0. - Original / License

Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.

The clear distinction is a wise man is willing to listen to advice.


Ben Franklin has remained in the public zeitgeist thanks to films like 1776.
©"File:Marble bust of Benjamin Franklin by Hiram Powers, Cincinnati Art Museum.jpg" by Wmpearl is licensed under CC0 1.0. - Original / License

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

I should listen to this one, but that’s for another day.


Ben Franklin remains a revered figure of the Revolution for good reason.
©"Bust of Benjamin Franklin" by Jim, the Photographer is licensed under BY 2.0. - Original / License

There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.

Being able to recognize yourself, fully and truly, is almost impossible. You never know how you’ll respond to a situation until it arises, after all.

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