He was a magazine editor, author, and leader of many – we’re talking, of course, about Walter Isaacson. In his new book, Benjamin Franklin (Simon & Schuster, $30), the former Kissinger biographer, TIME editor, and CNN honcho tells all about the Benjamin. Here are some ticker-worthy highlights. – JR
– Young Franklin was a vegetarian – but not only for PETA-certified reasons. He saved his meat money to spend on books.
– A notorious flirt, Ben never wed his common-law wife of more than 40 years, Deborah (her potter husband hadn’t divorced her after leaving her).
– Franklin had a contentious relationship with William – his illegitimate son with an unidentified woman – who remained loyal to the Brits after the Revolution.
– His passions included chess, inventing, and a daily ”air bath” – sitting naked in his home with all the windows open.
– Franklin managed to be one of America’s greatest patriots – and still enjoyed speaking near-fluent French.