I just finished listening to the abridged audiobook version of Walter Isaacson's superb 2003 biography of Benjamin Franklin. A very contemporary biography, briskly narrating the man's long life and highlighting his contributions to America and the way he both created and exemplified a uniquely American intellect.
What impressed me most about Franklin was the combination of practical businessman, intense intellectual, and statesman. The man was one of the best scientists and thinkers living in America at the time with many inventions to his credit. He was also a successful self-made businessman and spent the majority of his life shaping the political future of the United States. Well travelled and warm and human, too. I do not think we have such well rounded people today, certainly not in politics.