In 1743, with the “first Drudgery” of settling the American colonies behind him, Benjamin Franklin announced it was high time for the colonists to improve the lot of humankind through collaborative inquiry. The resulting American Philosophical Society, an association dedicated to harnessing intellectual and creative powers for the common good, set into motion an American Enlightenment—an intellectual revolution that laid the foundation for the political one that followed. Telling the story of America’s coming-of-age through its love for practical invention, applied science, and self-reliance, historian Jonathan Lyons, author of The Society for Useful Knowledge, illustrates how the movement for useful knowledge is key to understanding the flow of American society and culture, from colonial times to our digital present. Presented as part of the Town Hall Civics series with Elliott Bay Book Company. Series supported by The Boeing Company, the RealNetworks Foundation, and the True/Brown Foundation.