I’ve never met Poor Richard from Poor Richard’s Almanac, but I feel somehow like I know him. Like we’re kindred spirits. I’ve been through the tough times, having sleepless nights worrying about where the next deal will come.
But I also feel like I know Poor Richard because Poor Richard knows a thing or two about what he’s talking about. In coming up with an image for my book, I’ve wanted it to reflect the contents and message of the book. To reflect what is in my mind. Accessible, but not fluff. Simple, but scholarly. Motivational, but not pushy.
I’ve been trying to imagine the cover of the book for over 5 years now! I’ve had everything from rocket ships to money to Einstein to houses to cartoons. But nothing worked. I even asked artists to help, but they couldn’t capture what was in my mind. It’s frustrating to have a good message, but not a package for it.
Then I discovered this image on Wikipedia under Poor Richard’s Almanack. The image is a United States public domain image having been published in 1887 by T. O. H. P. Burnham. The lithograph was engraved by Oliver Pelton. It is a tribute to Benjamin Franklin, and a tribute to Poor Richard’s Almanack. It was almost perfect for what I’ve had in my head.
But it wasn’t quite perfect. I had to modify Mr. Pelton’s beautiful work of art to fit my own needs. But I think it is absolutely appropriate because Poor Richard himself acknowledged that his writings were the “Wisdom of many Ages and Nations.” Benjamin Franklin is said to not have believed in copyrights as he felt that wisdom should benefit all.
So it is with Homes in Order: The (Brand-new, Old-fashioned) Way to Wealth. I have overtly borrowed, openly plagiarized, and tried to imitate as well as I can Poor Richard’s Way to Wealth. His values were good values.
But I haven’t just plagiarized. I have contributed my own significant content, and the message is 100% original. It is my research, my models, my voice.
I actually discovered the synergy with Benjamin Franklin late in the project. His voice and values meshed perfectly with my message. And so it was. I blended our messages of wealth and personal responsibility as well as I could.
And so I think it’s only appropriate that I borrow from Mr. Pelton and Burnham as their figure, too, was a tribute to Mr. Franklin.