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Book review: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

The Richest Man in BabylonThe Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book teaches timeless financial wisdom in the form of fictitious parables set in ancient Babylon. I found the stories entertaining and the financial lessons as valid today as they were in Babylon millennia ago.

There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but that doesn’t lessen the value of the simple financial basics: pay yourself first (at least 10%), live on less than you earn, get advice from financially competent people, and put your money to work through cautious investing.

The book recommends enjoying life, and not working so hard to amass wealth that you become miserly. It says that to succeed, you must have strong, definite desires and ambitions, not vague dreams. The story of the goddess of good luck teaches that you must always be prepared for opportunity, because luck rewards men of action.

I first heard about this book on the Open for Business podcast. When an investment manager recommended it too, I decided to read it. I'm glad I did!

My favorite chapter was Seven Cures for a Lean Purse. Here are the lessons:

• Start thy purse to fattening: save 10% of all you earn
• Control thy expenditures: budget 90% of earnings to cover necessities and luxuries
• Make thy gold multiply: put money to work by investing
• Guard thy treasure from loss: seek financial advice and make wise investments
• Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment: own your home to decrease living costs and increase enjoyment (compared to renting)
• Ensure a future income: plan for the future financial well-being of yourself and family
• Increase thy ability to earn: increase your skills through study and practice



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