franklin“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”   — Ben Franklin

If you’re looking for a resolution for the new year, you might look to Ben Franklin as a model.

Benjamin Franklin’s father had a dream of sending his son to Harvard. But he had a big family to support and was not wealthy. With 17 children, Josiah and Abiah Franklin could only afford two years of any schooling for Benjamin. Instead, they made him work, and when he was 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James who was a printer in Boston.

The printing business gave Benjamin the opportunity to read books and pamphlets which was his Internet. He read everything, and taught himself every skill and discipline one could absorb from text.

Ben wrote later that he was determined to fix this lack of education by investing several hours each day in reading and self-education.

Of course, self-learning is not schooling, but long-term it can have a significant effect. Long before “massive open online courses,” the idea of 10,000 hours for mastery and “personal learning networks,” Franklin calculated that by reading an hour or more daily in a chosen field, he would read approximately one book per week. One book per week translates into roughly 50 per year, and that would make him “expert” in a field within 3 years.

You may not be seeking expertise and you might choose s field that expertise requires more than just “book learning.”  And you might want a more “liberal arts” education, you might read in a number of fields instead of one.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  ― Benjamin Franklin