The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Read by Gary Gilberd

(4.2 stars; 556 reviews)

Franklin wrote his autobiography in the form of an extended letter to his son. While recording the events of his life, he adds instructions for good living which makes this work America’s first “How to Succeed” book. Edited by Frank Woodworth Pine (1869-1919). (Summary by Gary)

(7 hr 30 min)


Introduction 19:16 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 1 Ancestry and Early Youth in Boston 25:49 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 2 Beginning Life as a Printer 24:04 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 3 Arrival in Philadelphia 16:47 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 4 First Visit to Boston 18:00 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 5 Early Friends in Philadelphia 10:07 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 6 First Visit to London 29:46 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 7 Beginning Business in Philadelphia 34:20 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 8 Business Success and First Public Service 27:50 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 9 Plan for Attaining Moral Perfection 31:41 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 10 Poor Richard's Almanac and Other Activities 21:33 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 11 Interest in Public Affairs 17:27 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 12 Defense of the Province 21:28 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 13 Public Services and Duties 32:29 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 14 Albany Plan of Union 5:23 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 15 Quarrels with the Proprietary Governors 7:53 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 16 Braddock's Expedition 26:41 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 17 Franklin's Defense of the Frontier 19:05 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 18 Scientific Experiments 9:26 Read by Gary Gilberd
Chapter 19 Agent of Pennsylvania in London 35:20 Read by Gary Gilberd
Appendix 16:14 Read by Gary Gilberd


(5 stars)

This is one of the great classics of American history, but it's almost ruined by the reader. He sounds like a 3rd grader reading aloud to the class for the first time, halting between words and pausing in the wrong places. He mispronounces words frequently, even 3 on 1 page. I know LibriVox depends on volunteers, but there should be some minimal standards.

Can't stand this recording

(1 stars)

It's so interesting listening to this recording! The reader is speaking the text, but when I listen it sounds like a different language to me. The reader is attempting to sound stoic, and giving no importance to the meaning of the words he is reading. it ends up sounding like an alien language to me and I had to give up after 10 minutes of being entirely confused

unfortunately could not finish

(2 stars)

i am sure this is a fascinating book, but the reader is so choppy in his words & use of punction. there is no fluidity to it, so iy makes it very hard to listen to. i have tried twice & never got to the end of chapter one. i will just have to read this one myself the old fashioned way.

My Friend Ben

(5 stars)

Wow, i’m very impressed that his writing style is down to earth and plain enough to still be enjoyable today. I felt like he was having a conversation with the reader, I specially liked the little anecdote he has about the fish and why he can eat them. I won’t lie I’m a little disappointed that the book seems to end before the revolutionary war, doesn’t really touch upon the Declaration of Independence, the constitution, or the bill of rights. Although this doesn’t take away from the rest of the book since he tells you all about himself and where he came from, what form to starts, the experiences that made him who he is. I’m very pleased with the fact that even then he believed that slander and propaganda in the media was malpractice. It was even amusing to know that even Ben Franklin had trouble with the lady sometimes. Great listen the narrator does a good job, I recommend this to anyone and everyone who, especially if you live in the United States.

wise counsel for anyone seeking improvement

(5 stars)

Excellent advice for living, and much wisdom imparted by a man of diligent and frugal accomplishment. The reader annunciates clearly but his pace stumbles frequently causing the listener to needs give extra attention to what is being said in order to understand some parts. The value of Franklin's insights far out weighs any shortcomings in the reading.


(5 stars)

This is a wonderful autobiography from one of the the "Great Lights" of the founding fathers. Franklin is astonishingly self aware and free of conceit. And while he does, on occasion hold forth his own conduct to furnish as an example he does it so in such a genial and matter of fact manner as to hardly seem boasting and without such anecdotes an autoiography scarcely would be worth reading. As for the reader, he has my personal gratitude for undertaking such a vast and time consuming project and has not simply done a great service but has done a spectacular job. The reader let's Franklin be Franklin and despite the great individuality and natural colour in his voice he is prepared to simply read without histrionics or unnecessary ardour. Despite Franklin 's straightforward manner he was a man of the eighteenth century so the turn of phrase is a little more cumbersome than the crash and roll of Hemingway. Nevertheless, I am glad the narrator didn't descend into theatrical perriwig delivery.

Most enlightening!!!

(5 stars)

This biography was written in such a way as to narrate to the reader with some breif retrospective excursions. Benjamin Franklin was, self motivated, practical and a very relate-able man with some extraordinary skills. Amongst his many facets, Benjamin was foremost a statesman and an avid seeker of truth. I heartily recommend this read to any person who loves to learn of the wisdom of others. (This is now my third time reading Benjamin's work)


(4.5 stars)

I have no idea what other reviewers are talking about I think the volunteer readers did an excellent job. possibly they are ignorant of the fact that the book is written in the language of the times I read this when I was younger. their loss if they didn't finish it as it iswell established as one of the better American biographies.