I started The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin yesterday. Very good so far; it shows how he built himself up based off his natural intelligence, his willingness to learn and his willingness to work. He's a good example to us all. (Based off the chapter title, I've reached just before he starts printing Poor Richard's Almanac.)
I was inspired to read this since this Saturday I'll be visiting the exhibit Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World
at the Constitution Center. Looking forward to it; it should be pretty good. (See more information about the celebration of Ben's 300th birthday here
I also finished Washington: The Indispensable Man
on Saturday. Very good book; I learned a lot. Like Thomas Jefferson was a complete ass. He'd come to a decision as a member of Washington's Cabinet (and agree it was the only rational decision) and then criticize it to his political cronies saying it ws the best he could do. He often supported the interests of a foreign nation over that of America. It seems appropriate that he founded the Democratic party. While reading this book, I came to realize that I am much more of a Federalist/Hamiltonian than a Jeffersonian. I had always assumed the reverse due to my distase for strong, centralized government. Essentially, Jefferson's government would have been too small, while Hamilton's just enough power, although Hamilton probably would have been quick to expand the national government further given the chance.
The book really makes you appreciate George Washington all the more. It's quite possible that without George Washington, America never would have been started much less succeeded. We all owe him a deep debt of gratitude. A simple way to start to repay it would be to stop this nonsense of "President's Day" and call it by its proper name: Washington's Birthday.