Benjamin Franklin’s “club of mutual improvement”

What a lovely idea found as an aside in a post on Brainpickings – are there other examples of such “clubs”? It would be interesting to compare the rhetoric found to surround them with that found in contemporary ‘productivity’ culture:

At age twenty-one, he formed a “club of mutual improvement” called the Junto. It was a grand scheme to gobble up knowledge. He invited working-class polymaths like him to have the chance to pool together their books and trade thoughts and knowledge of the world on a regular basis. They wrote and recited essays, held debates, and devised ways to acquire currency. Franklin used the Junto as a private consulting firm, a think tank, and he bounced ideas off the other members so he could write and print better pamphlets. Franklin eventually founded the first subscription library in America, writing that it would make “the common tradesman and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries,” not to mention give him access to whatever books he wanted to buy.

http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/02/20/the-benjamin-franklin-effect-mcraney/


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