Model of a Letter of Recommendation of a Person You Are Unacquainted With (Benjamin Franklin)

August 3rd, 2009 | by Jason Alba |

I’m regularly asked about the power and importance of LinkedIn Recommendations.  One issue that comes up has to do with one of my pet peeves: what to do when someone who you don’t know asks you for a LinkedIn Recommendation?

My answer is to ignore (archive) it.  Don’t even respond.

Here’s a humorous recommendation from Benjamin Franklin… you can find it on Google Books in Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin as well as in Little masterpieces of American Wit and humor.

Sir:  The bearer of this, who is going to America, presses me to give him a letter of recommendation, though I know nothing of him, not even his name  This may seem extraordinary, but I assure you it is not uncommon here.  Sometimes, indeed, one unknown person brings another equally unknown, to recommend him; and sometimes they recommend one another!  As to this gentleman, I must refer you to himself for his character and merits, with which he is certainly better acquainted than I can possibly be.  I recommend him, however, to those civilities which every stranger, of whom one knows no harm, has a right to; and I request you will do him all the favor that, on further acquaintance, you shall find him to deserve.  I have the onor to be, etc.


  1. 3 Responses to “Model of a Letter of Recommendation of a Person You Are Unacquainted With (Benjamin Franklin)”

  2. By Roberto Lofaro on Apr 17, 2011 | Reply

    thanks for posting it and referring to the Linkedin recommendations

    I was actually looking for this letter exactly for the same reason: I had way too many people who barely passed by one of my projects asking to provide a recommendation for their work.

    And this is probably the easiest turn down- by chance, I had used a similar but less ironic turn down- nonetheless, I think that this is better!


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