Robert Fulghum and Benjamin Franklin

Published 20 Sep 2017

I choose Benjamin Franklin’s List of Virtues over Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten. Why? The reason is because Benjamin Franklin did not need to expand all of his virtues to really get to his point. His work serves as words of wisdom to anyone who will read it, digest and ponder the message. Although Fulghum’s work can ring a bell in an instant by way of its lighthearted title, it lacks something which Franklin’s work heaps of, and that something is the thing called “warning” and “consequence.”


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Benjamin Franklin wrote it as if he was a prophet of life, providing people with insightful warning on what could be and what would be had they chosen to do a particular thing, had they opted to go a particular path. Fulghum’s work is merely a collection of tips in living a colorful and regretless life, but Franklin, he already stated all things that are necessary not only to live a full and happy life, but to lead a life that will not be marred by regrets and remorse. And moreover, although Franklin’s work may sound not that colorful unlike Fulghum’s, it is almost equivalent to time-tested idioms, and not to mention the Bible.

In today’s world, Franklin’s work is more applicable, but that does not necessarily mean that Fulghum’s work should be regarded lightly, because by al means, it is fantastic and we will learn a lot from is but to put in short, the List of Virtues is more complete, more realistic and full of wisdom. Franklin saw the world in a very cautious perspective with all consequences in life perfectly emphasized. A citation of an example is his emphasis on the importance of hard work and the preciousness of time, “One today is worth two tomorrows.” Not only was Franklin being idiomatic, but that virtue is very sensible, very appropriate to today’s life. If only all people will buy a copy of Franklin’s work they will render self-help book authors jobless. Franklin did not need education or a degree in philosophy when he wrote that. He only needed common sense.

Works Cited

  • Fulghum, Robert. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten . New York City: Ballantine Books, 1986.
  • Franklin, Benjamin. “List of Virtues.” Poor Richard’ Illustrated (1800)
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