The Richest Man in Babylon

Summary and takeaways from the book.

Ancient city of Babylon was a prosperous and important city of the Mesopotamian Civilization: one of the original 4 ancient old world civilizations.

The city is now in ruins.

The book 'The Richest Man in Babylon' is a classic, 100-page, easy-to-read book based on wisdom inscribed on clay and stone tablets in Babylon hundreds(thousands) of years ago.

The book contains useful advice about how individuals can get rich over time by saving and investing wisely.

ISBN: 978-1505339116
Published: December 3, 2014(originally published in 1920's)
Pages: 100
Available on: amazon

Mesopotamia - literally the land between two rivers of Tigris and Euphrates. It is the region of one of the original four ancient old world civilizations - along with Indus Valley, Egyptian and Chinese civilizations. Most of Mesopotamia is in present day Iraq.

Babylon was an important historical city of the region. Babylon was a prosperous region with well developed architecture, commerce and civilization. The city is now in ruins.

"Babylon became the wealthiest city of the ancient world because its citizens were the richest people of their time.

They appreciated the value of money. They practiced sound financial principles in acquiring money, keeping money and making their money earn more money. They provided for themselves what we all desire... incomes for the future.

The book 'The Richest Man in Babylon' is a classic, 100-page, easy-to-read book based on wisdom inscribed on clay and stone tablets in Babylon hundreds(thousands) of years ago.

It has useful advice about how individuals can get rich over time by saving and investing wisely.
"This book of cures for lean purses has been termed a guide to financial understanding."

Ancient city of Babylon

"In the pages of history there lives no city more glamorous than Babylon. Its very name conjures visions of wealth and splendor. Its treasures of gold and jewels were fabulous.

It had no forests, no mines — not even stone for building. It was not even located upon a natural trade-route. The rainfall was insufficient to raise crops.

Babylon is an outstanding example of man’s ability to achieve great objectives, using whatever means are at his disposal. All of the resources supporting this large city were man-developed. All of its riches were man-made.

"Babylon was ruled by successive lines of kings to whom conquest and plunder were but incidental. While it engaged in many wars, most of these were local or defensive against ambitious conquerors from other countries who coveted the fabulous treasures of Babylon.

The outstanding rulers of Babylon live in history because of their wisdom, enterprise and justice. Babylon produced no strutting monarchs who sought to conquer the known world that all nations might pay homage to their egotism.

Role of the Individual

The book rightly places responsibility on the individual for his prosperity.

"Our prosperity as a nation depends upon the personal financial prosperity of each of us as individuals."

"Success means accomplishments as the result of our own efforts and abilities. Proper preparation is the key to our success. Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding."

The book rightly highlights importance of personal responsibility in our own prosperity, and our nation's prosperity. It also rightly does not push us towards welfare state or any hidden forces behind prosperity. The path to prosperity is well known and well documented.

It is noteworthy that knowledge of prosperity and how to achieve was known hundreds(thousands) of years ago. It is also reassuring this ancient wisdom aligns with what we know today about prosperity.

Financial Education

"Tell me, Arkad, is there any secret to acquiring wealth? Can it be taught?

It is practical, your majesty. That which one man knows can be taught to others.

Financial Education is the core of the book. Process for acquiring wealth can be learned.

Financial Education is the core of the book. The short 100-page book gives practical suggestions('cures') on eliminating poverty('lean purse') and becoming prosperous.

The core message of the book is told as a story.

The conditions, story, and wisdom of those ancient times are very relevant to our present time with major government projects, wars, inequality and government created inflation.

"When the Good King, Sargon, returned to Babylon after defeating his enemies, the Elamites, he was confronted with a serious situation. The Royal Chancellor explained it to the King thus:"

"After many years of great prosperity brought to our people because your majesty built the great irrigation canals and the mighty temples of the Gods, now that these works are completed the people seem unable to support themselves.

The laborers are without employment. The merchants have few customers. The farmers are unable to sell their produce. The people have not enough gold to buy food.

But where has all the gold gone that we spent for these great improvements? demanded the King.

"It has found its way, I fear", responded the Chancellor, "into the possession of a few very rich men of our city. It filtered through the fingers of most our people as quickly as the goat’s milk goes through the strainer. Now that the stream of gold has ceased to flow, most of our people have nothing to for their earnings."

The King was thoughtful for some time. Then he asked, "Why should so few men be able to acquire all the gold?"

"Because they know how," replied the Chancellor. "One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability."

"One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how.

Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability

It is important to note that the King was thoughtful, and did not take the easy way out and order Gold and money confiscated from the rich. The Wise King of Babylon asked how others can get rich as well.

This is perhaps the most important takeaway from the book, and frequently ignored: don't let the government confiscate from the successful. Welfare State is immoral. Learn from the successful.

"The riches of Babylon were the results of the wisdom of its people. They first had to learn how to become wealthy."

Seven Cures for a Lean Purse

Save 10% of your income: "For each ten coins I put in, to spend but nine".

Control expenses: "That what each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary. Confuse not the necessary expenses with thy desires. Each of you, together with your good families, have more desires than your earnings can gratify. Therefore are thy earnings spent to gratify these desires insofar as they will go. Still thou retainest many ungratified desires."

Invest your savings as well as the interest/dividends you earn "Make Thy Gold Multiply", "Each time I loaned to him I loaned back also the rental he had paid to me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased."

Guard your principal, invest wisely and carefully: "Guard Thy Treasures from Loss", "Be not misled by thine own romantic desires to make wealth rapidly", "Consult with wise men".

Buy your property and live there, don't rent: "Make of Thy Dwelling a Profitable Investment", "No man’s family can fully enjoy life unless they do have a plot of ground wherein children can play in the clean earth and where the wife may raise not only blossoms but good rich herbs to feed her family. To a man’s heart it brings gladness to eat the figs from his own trees and the grapes of his own vines. To own his own domicile and to have it a place he is proud to care for, putteth confidence in his heart and greater effort behind all his endeavors. Therefore, do I recommend that every man own the roof that sheltereth him and his. Nor is it beyond the ability of any well-intentioned man to own his home."

Save for retirement: "Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family".

Earn more "Increase Thy Ability to Earn", "I urge all men to be in the front rank of progress and not to stand still, lest they be left behind", and "cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful".

More useful advice

Luck: "Good luck, we do find, often follows opportunity but seldom comes otherwise", "Men of action are favored by the goddess of good luck".

Loot and confiscation: "We cannot afford to be without adequate protection" from looting and confiscation by governments.

Wealth makes life easier, more comfortable and fulfilling in every way.

Only those who work hard for it, acquire new skills, learn, plan, save, invest, guard it... enjoy it.

Those who get wealth without effort end up losing it or stay in misery inspite of it.

* * *

"Go thou forth and teach these truths that every honorable subject of his majesty may also share liberally in the ample wealth of our beloved city."

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