THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON BY GEORGE S. CLASON
I write this review to ‘in short’ share my feelings after I have read pages fountain-ed with wisdom from ‘what I now’ refer the best financial advice book of all times. Not even an Harvard MBA or an Oxford Bachelor of Finance can oust it. I bought this book one evening as I was walking along the streets in town. Unfortunately, I have to ‘shameful’ say had no time to read it till I found it not on my table. It was my young sister who took it to school with her after she ‘legally’ stole from her father who had shown interest on it earlier. Lol, I had to read the soft copy of this book, The Richest Man in Babylon and here under I break it into small chunks to blow to you the stings of inspiration in case you are not a ‘die hard’ fan of self development books.
But wait! Does the name ‘George S. Clason‘ ring the bells? I’ll help. This is the brain behind the book I’m about to review shortly. Born in Louisiana, Missouri, 1874, Clason attended the University of Nebraska and served in the United States Army during the Spanish-American war. Clason started the Clason Map Company of Denver Colorado ‘which did not survive the Great Depression’ and his famous Clason Publishing Company. He’s celebrated for his writings on how to grow bank accounts and achieve financial success.
He started to write series of informational pamphlets in 1926 using parables set in ancient Babylon that were later on compiled in Books which Banks and Insurance companies distributed widely.
Now, let’s chew its sweetest core.
An Historical Sketch of Babylon
The author starts by describing an historical sketch of Babylon. It’s enough to say Babylon was once the wealthiest city in the world. You’d find the finest description, Clason has made that one ever could in this chapter. Lest thou sayest I made tired of thee.
The Man Who Desired Gold
The author then brings us to the dialogue between two friends; Bansir, ‘the chariot maker’ and Kobbi, ‘the musician’ who have been working so hard throughout their entire lives but have nothing to show. Kobbi meets Bansir sitting on a wall and borrows him two shekels not knowing how broke he was. Bansir narrates to him about the dream he had last night; he dreamt of being so rich that he made donations to the poor and escaped his modest life. Upon awakening, behold it was a dream. Kobbi then advises Bansir that they should go to Arkad, the wealthiest man in the Babylon to seek the wisdom on how to accumulate wealth. There is a difference between making money and attaining wealth. If your desire is to make money, that is what you will achieve. But desiring to attain an ever- flowing income that fattens thy wallet no matter you’re working, travelling or sleeping is what you should pursue.
The Richest Man in Babylon
In this chapter, Bansir and kobbi meet Arkad with whom they studied under the same teacher but he has attained a lot of wealth despite he wasn’t better than the two in any way. Arkad explains to them, the problem is they have either not studied the laws of building wealth or they do not observe them. Arkad explains how he observed the things wealth could bring and decided he wants them. He was raised in a large family with no chance of inheritance and therefore he educated himself on wealth attainment and he is ready to teach them his ways for he is a generous man.
When Arkad was young he secured a work as a scribe etching into clay tablets for his customers. One day Algamish, the money lender needed two copies and Arkad wasn’t able to meet the deadline. Algamish grew angry but Arkad promised him to finish them in the next morning in the agreement that Algamish will teach him the ways he attained wealth. Algamish explains he use to keep one tenth of all he earns while Arkad use to by food, clothing, sandals and the like and doesn’t pay himself. This is the reason he kept working for others. We should invest in the gold we keep, to make more gold, in that way we will employ our selves, says Algamish. Arkad then kept one tenth of all he earned in a year.
A year later, Algamish returns and asks Arkad if he worked on his advice. Yes, I worked on it, I kept one tenth for my self and gave it to a brick maker to buy rare jewels from Phoenicians that we may sell them at huge price in Babylon, replied Arkad. ‘Foolish boy’ retorted Algamish, how could you trust a brick maker to buy jewels? Why wouldn’t thou seeketh advice from a jeweler? The brick maker proved Algamish words true for the Phoenicians sold to him not jewels but pieces of glass.
One year later Algamish returned again and asked Arkad on his progress. Arkad paid one tenth of his annual income and invested by purchasing bronze for a shield maker who used to pay Arkad the dividends. But Arkad upon being paid, treats himself with fine feasts. Algamish laughs and exclaimed; you are eating the children of your savings. The money you earn from your initial investment and so on should be used to make more gold. That way, you can feast as much as you want without hurting your savings.
Two years later, Algamish appears to Arkad and asks of his progress. Arkad invested his money, saved one tenth every year and invested on it and the subsequent he earned. He attained wealth but not like the way he desired. Algamish then makes him a partner in his estates.
Seven Cures for a Lean Purse
Within this chapter, Clason explains the seven cures for a lean purse. I’ll highlight them;
- Start thy purse to fatten: spend nine of the ten golds you earn. Invest in the remaining one and the subsequent to make more gold.
- Control thy expenditure: Arkad explains, we all make money but our wallets are equally empty. His friends ask him how he could keep one tenth and manage to buy his necessities with the remaining. Arkad explains; they should understand the difference between what’s necessary against what’s desired.
- Make thy gold multiply: Arkad teaches that, wealth is that coin we invest to make more money and not that you keepth in thy wallet.
- Guard thy treasures from loss: Arkad teaches us to secure our investments. Never get tempted in a trap of making large sums from riskier venues. If it’s loaned, be sure you are paid back. If it’s invested in a business, be sure you partner with experienced people only, for it to make profits.
- Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment: Arkad describes; building thy own house is the greatest investment you can make. If you rent, you’ll keep paying for renting whether you sleepth in it or not. If you borrow money to buy a house, as you pay your debt you make thy self the owner of a house.
- Insure a future income: Arkad teaches; you should learn to slowly build thy savings to keep for your self, the old you and thy family for years are coming when you won’t be able to make money.
- Increase thy ability to earn: In this final cure Arkad teaches his students; for you to make more money, be sure you are good at what you do. Whatever you invest on, people will pay for higher quality and better service. As you are paid more, invest more and keep increasing your knowledge on investment.
Meet The Goddes of Good Luck
In this chapter, Arkad’s small school has now turned into the ‘known around the city’, Temple of Learning. Arkad gives lecture to eighty or so students. One man rose and narrated how he found a wallet on the ground with golds and asks how he could keep such lucky moments come often. Arkad explains, luck is when a man has power to influence the outcome. It’s an opportunity where you invest and turn your investment into profits. It’s not like betting. Although some win, many loose for you have no influence on the outcome, it’s a business to fatten game masters. Arkad discourages such false luck and foolish enterprises. Lucky is for the prepared minds only.
The Five Laws of Gold
In this chapter, the five laws of gold are revealed, I’ll mention ’em:
- 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.
- Gold works diligently and for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, it will multiply as flocks of the field.
- Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
- Gold slippeth away from a man who invests it in businesses or purposes in which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
- 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 of investment.
In the chapters; The Gold Lender of Babylon, The Walls of Babylon and The Camel Trader of Babylon, the author describes some wise tips about all you need to know before loaning your money. At some point, Babylon was under construction, traders sold slaves for construction and it’s only one slave who inspired me. He worked hard for his master’s business, made lots of profit and even surplus for himself and at last bought his freedom. This is the importance of making work our best friend. And it what means to be lucky, as it is described in the last chapter of the book; The Luckiest Man in Babylon.
The Clay Tablets from Babylon
This chapter starts with a letter from Alfred H. Shrewsbury, an archaeologist to Professor Franklin Caldwell of the University of Nottingham. He explains he found clay tablets that each explains a portion of life of a man named Dabasir, upon his return to Babylon from slavery in Syria. I’ll highlight what was written on ’em in summary using my own words:
Tablet number 1: setting one tenth of whatever he can make and save it. Use seven-tenths of salary to take care for a living.
Tablet number 2: save the remaining two-tenths of salary for your debts.
Tablet number 3: Record the total amount of money that you owe your creditors. Before loaning your money, know the borrower’s source of income and his plan on how he will repay.
Tablet number 4: This describes how Dabasir implemented the principles in Tablet number 1 and 2 and how successful he became.
Tablet number 5: The creditors are now happy that Dabasir was able to pay off his all Debts and the chapter ends with the letter from Alfred H. Shrewsbury to Professor Franklin Caldwell. The letter states how Alfred followed the advice he found on the tablets and was able to get himself out of debt in the same method of Dabasir.
Here are the words of Professor Franklin Caldwell; “Being a college Professor I am supposed to be a thinking human being possessing a working knowledge of most subjects. Yet, here comes this old chap out of the dust – covered ruins of Babylon to offer a way I had never heard of to pay off my debts and at the same time acquire Gold to jingle in my wallet and comfort my belt”.
I wish all university students could read this Book. I wish all university graduate could read this Book. I wish anyone before starting a small business to read this Book. It’s the most inspiring Book on wealth ever written.
Have you read The Richest Man in Babylon before? Let me hear what you think about it in the comments. Is there any other Books of this caliber you’d like to recommend to My Writers Bureau Readers? Please, mention the name of the Book and the author in the comments, then I’ll read them and make their review.
Wish you luck and love.