The Richest Man in Babylon

2.6.13 Richest Man in Babylon

The Information Age website will be adding segments for the enrichment of the readers. My good friend Eric Evans is an avid reader. I asked him to write a review of one of his favorite books. He will be joining us on the site as an on-going contributor through his book reviews. “Richest Man in Babylon” is the first of many reviews.

Richest Man In Babylon

“Proper preparation is the key to our success. Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.” – George S. Clason

In 1926 a series of informational pamphlets on basic financial management were passed throughout banks and insurance companies. The following year, those pamphlets were made into a book and has been one of the go to personal finance books ever since.

That book, The Richest Man in Babylon, named after the most famous of those informational pamphlets, is a collection of financial stories. These stories take place in Babylon, which became the wealthiest city of ancient times through timeless principles detailed in this book.

If you are like me, a person that best learns through example, this is a perfect book for you as the chapters are short stories that lay out basic financial management lessons throughout the message. Trying to keep the stories as authentic as possible, they are told in a way as if it were the ancient days. But if you can get past that, the lessons being taught are priceless.

One of the things that make this book so great is that it is a simple read. And while these lessons are pretty much common sense, nothing we don’t already know, the stories put these things that we’ve been told over and over again into examples that we can visualize and gives us the reinforcement of these principles that we can all use.

Some of the basic principles reinforced in “The Richest Man In Babylon”:

  • A Part of All You Earn Is Yours To Keep: See, common sense. But in a society where we spend, spend, spend, we all need the reminder to pay ourselves before we pay anyone else.
  • Men Of Action Are Favored By The Goddess Of Good Luck: Even an investment with the lowest risk possible works better than stashing money in that old shoe box. In order for something to happen, do something.
  • Where The Determination Is, The Way Can Be Found: To make a long story short…Persistance pays off.
  • Seek Wise Advice From The Right People: “Why trust the knowledge of a brick maker about jewels? Would you go to the bread maker to enquire about the stars? No, by my tunic you would go to the astrologer, if you had then the power to think”…When you need advice think about who is best placed to give that advice. If you don’t know anyone, find a professional.

My favorite of them all, “Seven Cures for a Lean Purse”, was a story about Arkad, the richest man in Babylon, who was requested by the king to start a class to teach wealth building. This class was broken down into 7 days. In those 7 days Arkad explained…

  • Start thy purse to fattening: For every 9 you have to spend, put 1 away for yourself.
  • Control thy expenditures: Don’t confuse necessary expenses with your desires. We all will still want more, no matter how much we make. So learn how to control your spending.
  • Make thy Gold Multiply: Make your money work for you. Make it something that itself makes money.
  • Guard thy treasure from loss: While all investments have some sort of risk, if it can cost you a big portion of your principle, is it really worth it?
  • Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment: Own instead of rent. Remember when this book was written, this cure, while still true, was written before real estate became super expensive.
  • Insure a future income: Get your retirement plan together.
  • Increase thy ability to learn: The more wisdom we have, the more we can ear. Cultivate your powers, study and become wiser, to become more skillful.

Another good story “The Five Laws of Gold” is a five point philosophy given by Arkad, which I will leave for you to read when you pick up “The Richest Man in Babylon”.

“Richest Man in Babylon” is a good book to give teens, and to reinforce the principles that you may slip on yourself. Although the ancient language can become a little much, and some of the info becomes a bit repetitive throughout, the timeless common sense advice displayed throughout the stories makes this book a must have.

A free copy of a shortened version of the book is here.

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