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The Richest Man in Babylon

By George Cleson

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One of the most extraordinarily powerful books on savings, investing, and debt. Many will attribute mindset to financial success rather than specific plans or investments. The Richest Man in Babylon starkly paints that narrative through historic stories during the Babylonian era. - Nicholas Beaird

Favorite Quotes from The Richest Man In Babylon

Money is the medium by which earthly success is measured. Money makes possible the enjoyment of the best the earth affords. Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws which govern its acquisition. Money is governed today by the same laws which controlled it when prosperous men thronged the streets of Babylon, six thousand years ago.

As for study, did not our wise teacher teach us that learning was of two kinds: the one kind being the things we learned and knew, and the other being the training that taught us how to find out what we did not know?

You have fulfilled your part of our bargain, my son,’ he said to me kindly, ‘and I am ready to fulfill mine. I will tell you these things you wish to know because I am becoming an old man, and an old tongue loves to wag. And when youth comes to age for advice he receives the wisdom of years. But too often does youth think that age knows only the wisdom of days that are gone, and therefore profits not. But remember this, the sun that shines today is the sun that shone when thy father was born, and will still be shining when thy last grandchild shall pass into the darkness.

Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having. 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.’ Saying this, he went away.

You first learned to live upon less than you could earn. Next you learned to seek advice from those who were competent through their own experiences to give it. And, lastly, you have learned to make gold work for you.

Fortunate only in that I had the desire to prosper before I first met him. For four years did I not prove my definiteness of purpose by keeping one-tenth of all earned? Would you call a fisherman lucky who for years so studied the habits of the fish that with each changing wind he could cast his nets about them? Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.”

Usurious rates of return are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon the rocks of loss and remorse.

Counsel with wise men. Seek the advice of men whose daily work is handling money. Let them save you from such an error as I myself made in entrusting my money to the judgment of Azmur, the brickmaker. A small return and a safe one is far more desirable than risk.

A part of all you earn is yours to keep.

When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings, I managed to get along just as well. I was not shorter than before. Also, ere long, did coins come to me more easily than before. Surely it is a law of the Gods that unto him who keepeth and spendeth not a certain part of all his earnings, shall gold come more easily. Likewise, him whose purse is empty does gold avoid.

Now I will tell thee an unusual truth about men and sons of men. It is this; That what each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.

Misfortune loves a shining mark. Gold in a man’s purse must be guarded with firmness, else it be lost. Thus it is wise that we must first secure small amounts and learn to protect them before the Gods entrust us with larger.” So spoke Arkad upon the fourth day to his class.

Good luck can be enticed by accepting opportunity. “Those eager to grasp opportunities for their betterment, do attract the interest of the good goddess. She is ever anxious to aid those who please her. Men of action please her best. “Action will lead thee forward to the successes thou dost desire.”   Men of action are favored by the goddess of good luck.

Opportunity, she will not wait for such slow fellow. She thinks if a man desires to be lucky he will step quick. Any man not step quick when opportunity comes, he big procrastinator like our friend, this merchant.”

Wise are thy words, my friend,” responded the buyer. “Good luck fled from procrastination in both these tales. Yet, this is not unusual. The spirit of procrastination is within all men. We desire riches; yet, how often when opportunity doth appear before us, that spirit of procrastination from within doth urge various delays in our acceptance.

“Gold is reserved for those who know its laws and abide by them

The Five 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 earngs 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.

This I do to prove to thee, my father, of how much greater value I consider thy wisdom than thy gold. Yet, who can measure in bags of gold, the value of wisdom? Without wisdom, gold is quickly lost by those who have it, but with wisdom, gold can be secured by those who have it not, as these three bags of gold do prove.

If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a way that will not bring thy friend’s burdens upon thyself.”

humans in the throes of great emotions are not safe risks for the gold lender.

Youth is ambitious. Youth would take short cuts to wealth and the desirable things for which it stands. To secure wealth quickly youth often borrows unwisely.

Gold, you see, Rodan, is the merchandise of the lender of money. It is easy to lend. If it is lent unwisely then it is difficult to get back. The wise lender wishes not the risk of the undertaking but the guarantee of safe repayment.

to assist those that are in trouble, ‘tis well to help those upon whom fate has laid a heavy hand. ‘Tis well to help those who are starting that they may progress and become valuable

citizens. But help must be given wisely, lest, like the farmer’s ass, in our desire to help we but take upon ourselves the burden that belongs to another.

The walls of Babylon were an outstanding example of man’s need and desire for protection. This desire is inherent in the human race. It is just as strong today as it ever was, but we have developed broader and better plans to accomplish the same purpose. In this day, behind the impregnable walls of insurance, savings accounts and dependable investments, we can guard ourselves against the unexpected tragedies that may enter any door and seat themselves before any fireside.

The hungrier one becomes, the clearer one’s mind works — also the more sensitive one becomes to the odors of food.

Being young and without experience I did not know that he who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation.

How can you call yourself a free man when your weakness has brought you to this? If a man has in himself the soul of a slave will he not become one no matter what his birth, even as water seeks its level? If a man has within him the soul of a free man, will he not become respected and honored in his own city in spite of his misfortune?’

We found water. We passed into a more fertile country where were grass and fruit. We found the trail to Babylon because the soul of a free man looks at life as a series of problems to be solved and solves them, while the soul of a slave whines,

That man who keepeth in his purse both gold and silver that he need not spend is good to his family and loyal to his king. “The man who hath but a few coppers in his purse is indifferent to his family and indifferent to his king. “But the man who hath naught in his purse is unkind to his family and is disloyal to his king, for his own heart is bitter.

It is the real fun, to start accumulating money that you do not want to spend. There is more pleasure in running up such a surplus than there could be in spending it.

When no buyers were near, he talked to me earnestly to impress upon me how valuable work would be to me in the future: ‘Some men hate it. They make it their enemy. Better to treat it like a friend, make thyself like it. Don’t mind because it is hard. If thou thinkest about what a good house thou build, then who cares if the beams are heavy and it is far from the well to carry the water for the plaster. Promise me, boy, if thou get a master, work for him as hard as thou canst. If he does not appreciate all thou do, never mind. Remember, work, well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.’