One thing I was thinking about with Franklin is that not only was he a man of obviously great intelligence and talent, but he also had an incredible drive and work ethic that served him well. This dude was no slacker. This made me flash back to "Of Human Bondage" when Philip is in art school. As I said in my post on the topic, it takes more than talent to "make it". You have to have the drive, the work ethic, the mental focus, and confidence. Franklin worked hard, was very thoughtful, and made things happen. I wonder if today's world has too many distractions to cultivate Ben Franklins anymore. What if Ben had an X-box, and cable TV, and internet access? Would he still have put all his qualities to their best use? Or would the distractions of modern life lessen what he could accomplish, simply by wasting his time? How many of us is that true for?
Anyway, the work ethic continues on this end...I've already started my next book: Willa Cather's "My Antonia".