Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon George Samuel Clason, published as a series of pamphlets in 1926, is one of the first self help books ever written. Today’s reader will find the parables about wealth set in ancient Babylon to be hopelessly old fashioned and mawkishly sentimental. However, this little book that can be read in a couple of hours contains enough truth to change your life.

I am not exactly sure how or when it happened, but somewhere along the line we Protestants began to associate wealth with virtue and poverty with vice. Not only is this theologically unsound, but we know it is not always true. There are good rich people and bad rich people. There are good poor people and bad poor people. Money is neither good nor bad. It is just money.

The dichotomy is inappropriate. Rather than associating poverty with sin and wealth with eternal merit, let’s try a different descriptor. Although very bad things happen to very good people and very bad people prosper, in even a halfway just society those examples are exceptions rather than the rule. There are certain behaviors that build wealth. There are certain behaviors that destroy wealth. I would prefer to call them wise and unwise actions. A very good person can find themselves in a very bad financial situation because they are a good person who consistently engaged in unwise behaviors. I know a generous Godly woman who found herself in just such a predicament because she gave too much of her money to lazy irresponsible family members. In the end this action did not help her family, because she was only enabling their bad behavior. These actions also left here deeply in debt.

The basics of wise financial actions are both simple and timeless. This silly little book from a different century has more than enough wisdom to set you on the road to financial freedom. It contains a number of parables about such subjects as wise investment, the importance of insurance, avoiding scams, extricating yourself from debt, and the goddess of luck who favors the bold.

This book also contains two important lists.

The Seven Cures for a Lean Purse

1. Start thy purse to fattening-live on 90% of your income, save 10%
2. Control thy expenditures-live on a budget
3. Make thy gold multiply-invest your money to produce income,
4. Guard thy treasures from loss-avoid scams and get rich quick schemes
5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment-own your own home
6. Insure a future income-save for your retirement
7. Increase thy ability to earn-be a lifetime learner

THE FIVE LAWS OF GOLD (quoted from the book)

I. 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.
II. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
III. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
IV. 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.
V. 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.

Here is a link to a free PDF copy of this classic. Don’t be too cool and too sophisticated to learn something from another century.

Free PDF Copy of the Richest Man in Babylon

No comments:

Post a Comment