Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Do you like a speckled ax?

I'm reading Walter Isaacson's "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" right now, and it's interesting how relevant it is to some of the things I'm focusing on (and struggling with). I'd always heard that Franklin carried a notebook with him, and that he wrote down his virtues (core values) and systematically worked to improve himself in those specific areas.

What I didn't know was how tempted he was to not do those things. For example, one of the virtues he struggled with was:

"Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."

Hey - that sounds like something I'd like to do, and something I work on!

How relieved I was to find out that Franklin had trouble with that one, too. According to Isaacson's account:

[Franklin] likened himself to the hurried man who goes to have his ax polished but after a while loses patience and declares, "I think I like a speckled ax best."

I certainly identify with that one. Pick up this book (click on the title above to see it on Powell's, the best bookstore in the world) if you haven't read it - it's very well done, and great for aspiring productivity geeks like me.

Next time I'll talk about how Franklin kept score to track how well he did with his Virtues.