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Speaking Franklin

We're not saying grab your kite and run out into a storm, but if you're cooking up entrepreneurial spirit, Ben's is the recipe to follow.

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This story appears in the May 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Before he became a patriot and founding father, Benjamin Franklin was a manager. This information may surprise those who have come to associate the bespectacled statesman solely with the patriots who founded the United States of America. But Franklin is, without a doubt, one of the great figures in American history. He is also one of the great figures in American business history.

The United States closed the 20th century with the most vibrant economy on the planet. According to some, the roots of America's current business success lie in the principles embodied more than 200 years ago in the life of Franklin, the founding father of American business. His life exemplifies the innovation, technology and ingenuity that have propelled the American economy to unprecedented heights in recent years. What follows is an examination of one of his rules of management, an ideal for lifelong learning that is as pertinent to entrepreneurs today as it was in the 18th century.

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