“The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason

This is one of the biggest classics in personal finance. Clason originally wrote the different chapters as pamphlets for banks, but published the collection in book form in 1926. The chapters are different parables using the success of ancient Babylon as a model for modern success. There is a lot of arcane “thou shalt” language in the book, so I have done my best to translate it for us modern humans.


  • Bansir and Kobbi talk about how after half a lifetime of work, they have no true income to pay for anything beyond essentials. For that reason, they are not much better off than slaves.

Arkad (the rich childhood peer of Bansir and Kobbi)

  • People who do not save a percentage of their incomes are paying everyone but themselves.
  • The sooner you start saving, the sooner you can benefit from i.
  • “He who takes advice about his savings from one who is inexperienced in such matters, shall pay with his saving for proving the falsity of their opinions.”
  • Don’t eat the earnings of your savings – make them work for you too.
  • The three laws of handing wealth: (1) learn how to acquire money (2) learn how to keep/save money (3) learn how to make money work for you.

Cures for a lean wallet

  • For every ten dollars, use only nine.
  • Control expenditures – don’t confuse necessary expenses with desires
  • Make your money multiply
    • A man’s wealth is not the contents of his wallet, it’s the income that he builds.
  • Guard yourself against loss – do not be too confident in investment
  • Make your house a good investment, not just the cheapest dwelling possible
  • Ensure a future income

  • Don’t hesitate when opportunity presents itself – don’t procrastinate.
    • It is wise to pay immediately when we are convinced our bargain is wise.
  • “Men of action are favored by the goddess of good luck.”


Five laws of gold

  1. Gold comes in increasing quantity if you set aside 1/10 of your earnings for your future and your family
  2. Gold multiplies for wise owners of it.
  3. Gold stays with cautious owners in invest it using proper advice.
  4. Men lose gold when they invest it in things they don’t understand.
  5. Gold runs away from men who invest it in shaky odds.


  • If you loan money to a friend, don’t do it in a way that harms you.
  • A little caution is better than a lot of regret.


Amazon Associate link: “The Richest Man in Babylon” ($1.99 at the Kindle Store)


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