Book Title: The Richest Man in Babylon
Author: George S. Clason
Date Published (Original edition): 1926 (original edition)
The Richest Man in Babylon – George Clason Background
To help put this book, Richest Man in Babylon, into perspective, I thought it would be useful to have a few life facts about George Clason. George was born in Louisiana, Missouri in November 1847. He attended the University of Nebraska and served in the United States Army during the Spanish-American War. As a successful businessman, he founded the Clason Map Company of Denver, Colorado, and published the first road atlas of the United States and Canada.
In 1926, he issued the first of a famous series of pamphlets on thrift and financial success, using parables set in ancient Babylon to make each of his points. These were distributed in large quantities by banks and insurance companies and became familiar to millions, the most famous being “The Richest Man in Babylon,” the parable from which the present volume takes its title. These “Babylonian” parables have become a modern inspirational classic.
Even Tony Robbins (well-known American author, coach, motivational speaker, and philanthropist) was inspired by this book “As a young man, I came across George Samuel Clason’s classic book, ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’, which offered commonsense financial advice told through ancient parables. I recommend it to everyone”.
The ancient Babylonians were the first people to discover the universal laws of prosperity. In his classic bestseller, “The Richest Man in Babylon,” George S. Clason reveals their secrets for creating, growing, and preserving wealth. Babylon enjoyed its heyday during the seventh and sixth centuries B.C., when it was believed to be the largest city in the world.
George Clason is credited with coining the phrase, “Pay yourself first“.
The Richest Man in Babylon – Book Lessons
The following is a summary of some of the key lessons arising from this classic book. The lessons are comprised of words taken directly from the book and then my associated translation into relatable investment related actions.
- I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. Keep for yourself one-tenth of all you earn – Pay yourself first – aim for a minimum of 10%
- He who takes advice about his savings from one who is inexperienced in such matters, shall pay with his savings for proving the falsity of their opinions – Seek financial advice from experienced financial planners / money managers
- Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities – Live to a budget and ensure you always have sufficient funds to pay off any debts
- Put each coin to labouring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to thee income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse – look to use savings towards investments that continue to pay back, eg stocks that pay dividends, rental properties
- Guard thy treasure from loss by investing only where thy principal is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where thou will not fail to collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect thy treasure from unsafe investments – understand risks involved before investing; don’t invest in anything where the money can be easily lost; where you do invest in higher risk areas, eg cryptocurrencies, keep percentages low
- Own thy own home – have a plan in place to save towards owning your own home
- Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family – build up a safety net to cover any unexpected major expenses that could suddenly arise; build up a nest egg for later retirement
- Cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself. Thereby shalt thou acquire confidence in thyself to achieve thy carefully considered desires – Keep learning through reading, seminars, podcasts and the like. Through taking action and gaining experience, you will become a more confident investor.
Closing thoughts: This book was an enjoyable read. It conveys some simple investment related lessons that we can all take on board.
If you enjoyed this book review, you will also enjoy my review of “Stocks for the Long Run“.
Read, learn, enjoy, be persistent and most importantly, take action!