Blaine McCormick's clever book, Ben Franklin: America's Original Entrepreneur, entices the entrepreneurial muse by mining the good doctor's autobiography for the business lessons it contains.

McCormick, a Franklin scholar and an associate dean at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, has shaped a unique adaptation of the original work, revising its often abstruse language and syntax, and reorganizing the narrative into a three-part chronology that traces the beginnings, development and maturation of this successful 18th-century entrepreneur.

The result is a solid business primer and intriguing portrait of America's foremost businessman, statesman, scientist, inventor and diplomat. Franklin's life story, full of common sense, creative genius and psychological insight, has been distilled into palatable chapters, embellished with McCormick's trenchant analysis of Franklin's business acumen and peppered with apt quotes from his incomparable Poor Richard's Almanac.

McCormick also includes informational tidbits about current business leaders and practices that relate to the lesson at hand: a young Franklin, motivated primarily by thrift, extols vegetarianism. Is it any wonder that Corn Flakes inventor W.K. Kellogg and Apple Computer maven Steve Jobs would follow suit? McCormick views Franklin as the founding father of American business, and notes that the great man clearly intended, as proven by a letter written shortly before his death, that his autobiography will be of more use to young readers; as exemplifying the effect of prudent and imprudent conduct in the commencement of a life of business.

The models are many and all are useful in today's business vernacular, whether they involve a moral lesson, like the one learned after a youthful indiscretion involving minor theft, or a strategic maneuver, as when Franklin gains community cooperation for public projects by using the power of advertisements and contracts (both, of course, printed for profit by Franklin's own press).

This book's streamlined approach holds much for history and business buffs and, in accordance with McCormick's dearest wish, may sufficiently pique readers' interest to return to Franklin's original text to study it with greater appreciation.

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