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Excerpts from Poor Richard's Almanack by Benjamin Franklin—Almanac

In the 1700s, Benjamin Franklin published a yearly book, called an almanac, containing many kinds of practical information. Franklin included in his almanacs short, catchy sayings that stated a truth. Below are some of these sayings.

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“Well done is better than well said.“

“The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.“

“If you'd have a Servant that you like, serve your self.“

“The noblest question in the world is What Good may I do in it?

“Have you somewhat to do to-morrow; do it to-day.“

“He that sows thorns, should not go barefoot.“

“He that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night.“

“By diligence and patience, the mouse bit in two the cable.“

“It is better to take many Injuries than to give one.“

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.“

“Great Modesty often hides great Merit.“

“You may delay, but Time will not.“

“Half the Truth is often a great Lie.“

Excerpted from Poor Richard's Almanack, 1735, 1737, 1742, and 1758.


Benjamin Franklin wrote many articles and letters that he published in newspapers. He signed these articles and letters with many different names. Each name had a certain personality and set of interests. The most famous pseudonym, or pen name, that Franklin used was that of Richard Saunders. It was under this name that he published Poor Richard's Almanack. An almanac is a yearly reference book that contains tables, lists, and charts of information on many topics including weather, locations of stars, and ocean tides. Franklin's almanac made fun of other almanacs, but much of the witty advice he offered was also very practical. Some of that advice is included above.

Web Resources:

Benjamin Franklin: Poor Richard's Almanack 1733—1758
You can see these and other quotations from Poor Richard's Almanack at the U.S. State Department's Web site.