Monday, February 20, 2012

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

George S. Clason wrote The Richest Man in Babylon (1926) is written in the form of a parable.  The book begins with two men talking about there struggles with working so hard, yet not acquiring any wealth.  They decide to go to the richest man in Babylon, Arkad, for advice.  The rest of the book is Arkad's experience and advice on acquiring wealth. The premise of The Richest Man in Babylon is the idea that "Money is governed today by the same laws which controlled it when prosperous men thronged the streets of Babylon, six thousand years ago."  The table of contents of The Richest Man in Babylon is as follows:

  1. The Man Who Desired Gold
  2. The Richest Man in Babylon
  3. Seven Cures for a Lean Purse
  4. Meet the Goddess of Good Luck
  5. The Five Laws of Gold
  6. The Gold Lender of Babylon
  7. The Walls of Babylon
  8. The Camel Trader of Babylon
  9. The Clay Tablets from Babylon
  10. The Luckiest Man in Babylon
  11. A Historical Sketch of Babylon
Arkad first gives the men wanting his advice 7 cures for a lean purse:

  1. Start thy purse to fattening: This is the most important step.  Save at least 10% of what you keep for yourself.  I would add that tithing should come first, then paying yourself.  
  2. Control thy expenditures
  3. Make thy gold multiply
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
  6. Insure a future income
  7. Increase thy ability to earn
Next Arkad gives the men 5 laws of gold:

  1. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family. 
  2. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field. 
  3. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.  
  4. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.  
  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.  
The Richest Man in Babylon is centered around the lessons highlighted above.  The story helps hold the readers interest and makes the book enjoyable.  The book is short at only 148 small pages, but it has many timeless lessons on the use of money.  I would recommend this book to someone who just wants to get back to the foundations of good money management.  A more thorough summary of the book can be found here.

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