The Way to Wealth

John Wood here, with your final edition of The Writer’s Life this week.

July 7th, 1757.

It was a big day in the history of publishing.

It’s the day Benjamin Franklin published Father Abraham's Sermon, also known as The Way to Wealth.

The Way to Wealth was a compilation of ideas and sayings from Poor Richard's Almanac, a publication Franklin put out from 1732 to 1758. It's overflowing with some of Franklin's best wisdom and best-known sayings.

Franklin (as Father Abraham, a fictitious character he created) dishes out some of the wisest advice ever committed to paper, including many of his best-known sayings. The first of which is a phrase from the Poor Richard's Almanac of 1733 – a phrase that has been repeated continually throughout the years …

"God helps them that help themselves."

Here are some of the highlights of The Way to Wealth, categorized by topic. It's timeless and relevant stuff that you should follow if you're currently trying to boost your career – and income:

  • Idleness

    Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright.

  • Time

    But dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.

    Lost time is never found again; and what we call time-enough, always proves little enough.

  • Oversleeping

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

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

  • Laziness

    Laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him.

  • Being industrious

    There are no gains, without pains.

    Diligence is the mother of good luck.

  • Doing things now

    One today is worth two tomorrows.


    Constant dropping wears away stones, and by diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and little strokes fell great oaks.

  • Leisure time

    A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.

  • Trust

    Trusting too much to others' care is the ruin of many.

  • Taking care of the "small" stuff

    For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost, and for want of a horse the rider was lost; being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for want of care about a horse-shoe nail.

  • Saving

    Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.

  • Learning

    Wise men learn by others' harms, fools scarcely by their own.

  • The value of things

    If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some.

  • Keeping up with the Joneses

    'Tis as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.

  • Being frugal

    Disdain the chain, preserve your freedom; and maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free.

These maxims are just as relevant today as they were in Franklin’s time, which goes to show that for all the history since then, human nature remains unchanged.

If you're looking to earn more money, a good way to start is by improving your daily habits. I recently wrote an article titled Nine Ways to Increase Your Personal Excellence Starting Today” … which will help you make sure that every day of your life is a productive winner.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
No ratings yet
Published: August 26, 2011

2 Responses to “The Way to Wealth”

  1. Great article. For a struggling copywriter like myself, these are definitely great quotes that I needed to build my confidence and to re-energize my focus. Thanks for this motivational piece.

    Guest (Allen)

  2. The way to wealth book is full of wisdom. Those 10 principles above are very important but I think it's all based on "God only help those who help themselves."

    Guest (help the poor)

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)