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About The Book

New York Times bestselling author Eric Weiner follows in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, mining his life for inspiring and practical lessons in a book that’s part biography, part travelogue, part personal prescription.

Ben Franklin lingers in our lives and in our imaginations. One of only two non-presidents to appear on US currency, Franklin was a founder, statesman, scientist, inventor, diplomat, publisher, humorist, and philosopher. He believed in the American experiment, but Ben Franklin’s greatest experiment was…Ben Franklin. In that spirit of betterment, Eric Weiner embarks on an ambitious quest to live the way Ben lived.

Not a conventional biography, Ben & Me is a guide to living and thinking well, as Ben Franklin did. It is also about curiosity, diligence, and, most of all, the elusive goal of self-improvement. As Weiner follows Franklin from Philadelphia to Paris, Boston to London, he attempts to uncover Ben’s life lessons, large and small. We learn how to improve a relationship with someone by inducing them to do a favor for you—a psychological phenomenon now known as The Ben Franklin Effect. We learn about the printing press (the Internet of its day), early medicine, diplomatic intrigue and, of course, electricity. And we learn about ethics, persuasion, humor, regret, appetite, and so much more.

At a time when history is either neglected or contested, Weiner argues we have much to learn from the past and that we’d all be better off if we acted and thought a bit more like Ben did, even if he didn’t always live up to his own high ideals. Engaging, smart, moving, quirky, Ben & Me distills the essence of Franklin’s ideas into grounded, practical wisdom for all of us.

About The Author

Bill O'Leary

Eric Weiner is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Geography of Bliss (now a docu-series featuring Rainn Wilson) and The Geography of Genius, as well as the critically acclaimed Man Seeks God and The Socrates Express. A former international correspondent for NPR, his work has appeared in The AtlanticNational GeographicThe Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the anthology Best American Travel Writing. He lives with his family and a menagerie of animals in the Washington, D.C. area. For more information, visit:

Product Details

  • Publisher: Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster (July 18, 2024)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501129049

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Raves and Reviews

“In a project that’s a disarming blend of biography, memoir, travelogue, and self-help, Weiner has produced a book that's both informative and inspiring. . . . Ben & Me is a delightfully idiosyncratic companion to that work that will have readers feeling regret when they have to leave Ben’s wise and colorful company. Few of us can hope to come close to living a life as useful and consequential as Benjamin Franklin’s, but Weiner gives us ample encouragement to at least try.” —BookReporter

“A warm combination of homage and introspective memoir . . . Franklin still inspires, with a lifelong ‘sense of wonder,’ respect for virtue, and lively curiosity.” Kirkus Reviews

“Throughout his life Benjamin Franklin constantly strove to improve himself, master self-control, and most of all live a useful and virtuous life. As the author reflects in this quick and quirky read, this is not a bad formula for modern Americans who are on a journey of self-discovery.” New York Journal of Books

“As Benjamin Franklin would say, ‘There is nothing so improving to the mind, soul, heart, and funny bone as another book from the sharp quill of Eric Weiner.’” —Christopher Buckley, author of Has Anyone Seen My Toes?


“Part travelogue, part soul-searching memoir and part intellectual matchmaker, [The Socrates Express] packs an extraordinary amount into 287 pages of text. Erudite, funny and frequently self-deprecating, Weiner serves as your interpreter and guide along the way. Bursting with amusing trivia, insights and cultural references, he is on a quest to make even Schopenhauer relatable. . . . It is entirely possible to read this book just for pleasure, but it is so much more. . . . Each chapter is like a chocolate truffle — tasty and dense. . . . Space them out and savor the ideas to see which ones suit you.” The Washington Post

"Eric Weiner's The Socrates Express rekindled my love for philosophy. A smart, funny, engaging book full of valuable lessons, The Socrates Express is not an explanation—it's an invitation to think and experience philosophy filtered through Weiner's words. . . . The structure of this book is brilliant. . . . An engaging read . . . With plenty of humor and straightforward prose [Weiner] engages with deep thought and encourages us to focus on questions instead of answers. . . . A fun, sharp book that draws readers in with its apparent simplicity and bubble-gum philosophy approach and gradually pulls them in deeper and deeper until they're contemplating desire, loneliness, aging, and death." —NPR

“Delightful . . . There are so many reasons to love this book . . . . If you are planning summer travel or a staycation, this book will take you places intellectually and humorously.” —San Francisco Book Review

"With signature clarity and humor, [Eric Weiner] picks up where The Good Place left off. In a rare philosophy book that’s a delight to read, he illuminates what deep thinkers through history have known about a life well lived." —Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals

“A delightfully entertaining, practical guide to navigating life . . . Weiner crafts a seamless, engaging study of condensed knowledge crafted in graceful prose.”—New York Journal of Books

"[Weiner's] writing is fresh and even revelatory as he pulls together seemingly disparate notions and asks meaningful (and often unanswered) questions. His tone alternates between informative and insightful to cheeky and challenging. . . . Readers will enjoy Weiner's unique approach and ultimately satisfying conclusions." Booklist (starred review)

“Such a globe-trotting tour of philosophy can only be as good as its guide, and Weiner proves to be a curious, sincere, and generous companion. His good cheer alone serves as a model for how to live, and many readers will appreciate his method of taking what’s useful for him and leaving what’s not. . . . ‘The world needs more philosophical enthusiasts,’ Weiner writes. This book is sure to generate its share.” Kirkus Reviews

“A pleasant surprise. Part high-level survey of the central ideas of a diverse group of philosophers, part memoir, part 'how to' book and part travelogue, [The Socrates Express] is an invigorating introduction to some of philosophy’s eminently practical uses. . . . A serious man of ideas . . . refreshingly free of prescriptiveness.” —The Book Reporter

“Weiner makes a convincing and winningly presented case for the practical applications of philosophy to everyday existence in the 21st century. With humor and thoughtfulness, he distills the wisdom of thinkers from throughout history . . . into ways to slow down, ask questions, and pay attention. . . . His book offers an appealing way to cope with the din of modern life and look at the world with attentive eyes and ears.—Publishers Weekly

“Equal parts vivifying travelogue and Philosophy 101 crash course . . . Weiner’s gift is his lively ability to unearth fresh insights about their ideas that relate to the chaos of the present day.” —Boca Mag

“Weiner offers bubble gum philosophy that provides a quick, sweet taste. . . . Those looking for lite insights will be drawn in gradually from the shallow (getting out of bed and walking) to the deep end (aging and death).” —Library Journal

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