While there are MANY books that cover the ideas of saving and investing money, none seem to hold the same level of admiration as George S. Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon”. Originally written as pamphlets for banks and insurance companies (according to Wikipedia.com); it was finally published as an actual book in 1926. Throughout the years, this book has found it’s way into many successful hands such as company CEOs and financial advisers, but what makes The Richest Man in Babylon one of the most recommended books in it’s genre is the priceless knowledge it provides to those who read it.
A Brief Summary of the Story
Right from the beginning, The Richest Man in Babylon takes you back to the ancient city of Babylon where we first meet Bansir, a chariot maker. He has become upset with the fact that he has worked hard his whole life, yet has very little to show for it in terms of wealth. With his good friend Kobbi, they decide to visit Arkad (the richest man of Babylon), where they learn that they shouldn’t only be working for their money, but their MONEY should in turn be working for them. Throughout the early chapters, we witness Arkad’s timeless lessons of paying yourself first, controlling your expenses, making your money multiply, and much more.
” A bag heavy with gold or a clay tablet carved with words of wisdom; if thou hadst thy choice, which wouldst thou choose?”from The Richest Man in Babylon – Chapter 5
Fast forward a few chapters later and we meet Kalabab who discusses The Five Laws of Gold he had learned from another man named Nomasir (Arkad’s son). In this chapter Kalabab explains, “Gold is reserved for those who knows its laws and abide by them”. He discusses how wisdom is far more valuable than gold and how “sons of men” choose to ignore financial wisdom and end up wasting all of their gold as an outcome of it. This is an idea that is as true today as it was back then. People who don’t know how to manage their money, most often than not, end up spending it all on things that bring no financial value to them in the future. The lesson we can learn from this chapter is that wisdom is the most valuable asset you can have when it comes to saving money and investing.
Towards the later part of the book, we get introduced to Dabasir, a man who lived above his means, and in the process, ended up owing many creditors money. He became enslaved and would be sold to tend to camels that belonged to his new owner’s wife. There, he would start to speak to the wife and explain that he was truly a free man, but as she pointed out, his financial situation proved otherwise. Eventually Dabasir would save enough that he could finally pay off his creditors, and find his true freedom. This teaches us, as the reader, valuable strategies that we can get ourselves out of debt as well, while also learning to live below our means.
My Overall Conclusion
After reading The Richest Man in Babylon for myself, I can easily see why so many people have recommended it. While many books only touch on one or two subjects for managing your money, The Richest Man in Babylon rewards us with multiple lessons that we can apply to all aspects of our lives. It teaches us how to save money, how to invest it, how to protect your money, and even how to get out of debt. The one thing that may be a turn off for some people is the Old English that it uses to tell its stories. I have seen “modern” versions of it online, but I have not personally read them to judge whether or not they provide the same amount of information as the original edition. My suggestion is to check out the original 1926 edition and simply look up words you may not know, as you come across them.
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