The Benjamin Franklin Diet

Anything Benjamin Franklin piques my interest and my visit to library yielded yet another book on Ben – Discover Ben Franklin’s Principles for His Own Good Health by Kelly Wright. I’m always fascinated by Ben’s writing – right combination of logos and pathos with mellifluous flow. He, in many ways, reminds what great Tamil scholars have said on food & eating albeit in his own style addressing his generation on solid research conducted on himself. Still it’s refreshing, invigorating and encouraging to read and subtly calls your action, My friend has succumbed to this call and he’s on a simple diet off late. But let me reserve it for another blog entry on the results of his food experiments.

Let’s look at what Thiruvalluvar (great Tamil Poet) has to say about eating 2500 years ago: [Translation Source G.U.Pope]

From Thirukural – 1330 Couplets:

No need of medicine to heal your body’s pain,
If, what you ate before digested well, you eat again.

With self-denial take the well-selected meal;
So shall thy frame no sudden sickness feel.

Who has a body gained may long the gift retain,
If, food digested well, in measure due he eat again.

Ben’s Thoughts:

Rules of Health and long Life, and to preserve from Malignant Fevers, and Sickness in general.

The Difficulty lies, in finding out an exact Measure; but eat for Necessity, not Pleasure, for Lust knows not where Necessity ends.

Wouldst thou enjoy a long Life, a healthy Body, and a vigorous Mind, and be acquainted also with the wonderful Works of God? labour in the first place to bring thy Appetite into Subjection to Reason.

Rules to find out a fit Measure of Meat and Drink.

If a Man casually exceeds, let him fast the next Meal, and all may be well again, provided it be not too often done; as if he exceed at Dinner, let him refrain a Supper, &c.

A temperate Diet frees from Diseases; such are seldom ill, but if they are surprised with Sickness, they bear it better, and recover sooner; for most Distempers have their Original from Repletion.

Use now and then a little Exercise a quarter of an Hour before Meals, as to swing a Weight, or swing your Arms about with a small Weight in each Hand; to leap, or the like, for that stirs the Muscles of the Breast.

A temperate Diet arms the Body against all external Accidents; so that they are not so easily hurt by Heat, Cold or Labour; if they at any time should be prejudiced, they are more easily cured, either of Wounds, Dislocations or Bruises.

A sober Diet makes a Man die without Pain; it maintains the Senses in Vigour; it mitigates the Violence of Passions and Affections.

It preserves the Memory, it helps the Understanding, it allays the Heat of Lust; it brings a Man to a Consideration of his latter End; it makes the Body a fit Tabernacle for the Lord to dwell in; which makes us happy in this World, and eternally happy in the World to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.



The Etymologicon: A circular stroll through the hidden connections of the English language

Mark Forsyth’s book as claimed is witty, erudite and ribald – no doubt about it and is addictive too. What I liked most is about ‘Concealed Farts’, some words captured below for posterity:

SHIT = Store High In Transit – stamped on manure bags transported in olden days
Organ comes from Organon, a Greek word – something you work with and hence a part of the body, as in the old joke: Why did Bach have twenty children? Because he had no stops on his organ.
Frequentative Suffix – e.g. gruntle, snuggle, trample, tootle, wrestle, fizzle, bustle, nuzzle, waddle, straddle, swaddle: come from grunt, snug, tramp, toot, wrest, fizz, burst, nose, wade, stride, swathe
Antanaclasis – using same word in different senses – e.g. bullied bison in buffalo city = Buffaloing Buffalo buffalos
Halcyon days – salary days, Dog days – every dog has its day.

Milton and et all have invented words and may I do my part – I’d like to introduce a word – spendspect – be thrifty and smart, always inspect your spending for excesses and stinginess, hence maintain a balance tilting to the weaker side as necessary. Let it be a noun and verb, I’m magnanimous!

Maximum Information for Minimum Cost

As an entrepreneur, you’ll likely need to examine many promising ideas before you hit on one that you might be able to leverage to create a successful venture. Hence the goal is to examine and discard the bad ideas quickly in favor of good. How do you obtain the information you need? If you don’t know where else to begin, here are five near-universal strategies to pursue:

  1. Conduct Interviews: Find potential customers and ask them about their challenges, their motivations and how important it is to them to solve their problems. It’s much better to interview random target customers in this case, not friends or family who might shade their answers out of politeness or just to make you feel better.
  2. Ask Experts: Find people who have worked in the industry you’re targeting, or who have tried similar ideas in the past. Unless your;e going to be their direct competitors, you’ll be surprised at how many knowledgeable people are willing t give your their time.
  3. Conduct Focus Groups: By asking several potential customers or others  and getting them to interact with one another, you can learn more than just by asking directly
  4. Try to sell your product even before you’ve produced it. But at the very least (apart from ethical and legal, taking money for promises) you can gauge people’s interest. In the best case scenario, you might win dup with customers offering you cash before you’ve invested very much yourself. That’s some of the best information you can possibly get.
  5. Ask people to consider investing

Remember, you’re looking for feedback – but more than that, you’re looking for the big idea that shows you potential customers and investors are excited and will really follow through when your product or service is available for sale. It’s like they say about breakfast: The chicken that provides the eggs is interested. The pig that provides the bacon is committed.

— Courtesy Breakthrough Entrepreneurship by Jon Burgstone & Bill Murphy Jr.

Discover Passion–Ben Franklin’s version by Kelly Wright

Seest thou a man diligent in his calling, he shall stand before kings – Ben Franklin.

Life is about curiosity and creating and living. The idea of finding your passion in life is to expand outside your head and get so excited about your goals that you’re 100 percent focused on making your dreams come true. Ben found that when men had nothing to do, they began to find fault with small things, such as their food. On the idle Days they were mutinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their Pork & Bread and in continual ill-humor: which put me in mind of a Sea-Captain whose Rule is to keep his Men constantly at Work; and when his Mate once told him that they had done every thing, and there was nothing farther to employ them about; O, says he, make them scour the Anchor.

We’ve all been there. When there’s nothing to do and life seems dull and purposeless, we tend to find fault in little things – out weight, fate, etc. Franklin’s remedy was to get in action and keep busy, He advised, “Be industrious, Lose no Time, Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions”.

But what should you do with your life? how do you go about finding your true calling? How do you find that passion for living that occupies your mind continually? To the question that plagues us all, what should I do with my life? the great philosopher Aristotle discovered the answer: “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling”.