November 26, 2020

The Richest Man In Babylon : Book Review and Summary

Good book which gives financial advice. Must read for financial book
The Richest Man In Babylon review

About "The Richest Man In Babylon"

The richest man in Babylon is written by George S. Clason and published in the year 1926, which is almost a century ago. Book provides financial advice in the form of fictional stories. Book mainly focuses on the laws that can be used to save, secure, and multiply the saved money. The book contains 144 pages with 11 chapters. Copies of The Richest Man In Babylon are still available on Amazon and it can also be read for free using Kindle unlimited subscription. As per Wikipedia, this book is regarded as a classic of personal financial advice.

About Babylon

Babylon was a famous city in ancient Mesopotamia. Babylon was built along the banks of the Euphrates river. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World listed by Hellenic culture. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000 and it has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world from 1770 BC to 1670 BC. This city doesn't exist anymore however its ruins are found in present-day Hillah, Iraq.

The Richest Man In Babylon Review

To start with, the title of the book is a complete misnomer, most people including me misinterpret the book as the story of the richest man of Babylon but this book is actually about the basic financial laws that can be followed to save, secure, and multiple the saved money. Though this book is written almost a century ago, the laws explained in the book still holds good and will continue to hold good for a few more centuries. The author explains the financial laws through fictional stories so that any layman can understand the law and implement it in real life. There no is mathematical formulas or any calculations, it's just simple parables that can be understood by anyone including kids. 

Arkad - the richest man of Babylon, Dabasir - a camel trader, Sharru Nada - a merchant prince of Babylon are a few of the lead characters in the book who shares their experience of becoming rich by following certain principles in their life. These principles followed by them are put in a structured format which acts as financial advice for each one of us.

The first few chapters about Arkad are thought-provoking and sets high expectations for upcoming chapters but latter chapters don't really live up to the mark. Though every chapter conveys financial advice, only the first few seem to infuse into the mind, and others are not as effective as the initial ones, probably the analogy isn't intriguing. 

I have provided a complete chapter-wise summary in the latter part of this post but if you are in a hurry and looking for a quick summary then this book mainly says - we should pay a part of our earning as a salary to ourselves. For every ten coins that we earn, we should spend a maximum of 9 coins and the 10th coin should always be saved. We should put these saved coins into work so that it earns some more coins for us. These earned coins must be invested back so that it can earn some more. But be wise while investing and take advice from experienced people. Expenses will grow as our income grows, hence budget the expenses so that we will have coins to pay for the necessities and for enjoyments. Guarding the coins is as important as saving it, else it will be lost. It's important to take advantage of the opportunity that knocks on your door. Last but not least, work hard to succeed in life.

Some of the laws and rules seem to repeat in multiple chapters and overlap with each other. There are chances that a few of the readers might give up reading the book halfway through. I would say hold on to that feeling and read the book completely. In case if you don't like the book, 60-90 minutes is what you gonna lose, but if you grasp the message and implement that in your life then it might turn into a game-changer.

The Richest Man in Babylon is the first book that anyone has to read among the famous financial books that's available currently. This book will set the stage for other famous financial books such as Rich Dad Poor Dad,  The Intelligent Investor, Think and Grow Rich, etc. No doubt it is the best financial book for beginners, provided you put up with the archaic English words.

Since the book is written almost a century ago, there are lots of archaic words, and stories are written in poetic form. I read this book on Kindle and it was easy for me to look up the meaning of the words in Kindle's inbuilt dictionary. But if you are planning to read it using a hard copy, I suggest you have a dictionary handy.

The Richest Man In Babylon quotes

- 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 given its acquisition.

- A man's wealth is not in the purse he carries. A fat purse quickly empties if there be no golden stream to refill it.

- 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.

- If you did keep for yourself one-tenth of all you earn, how much would you have in ten years?

- Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having.

- Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.

- Wealth grows wherever men exert energy.

- Part of all you earn is yours to keep.

- Gold in a man's purse must be guarded with firmness, else it will be lost.

- Men of action are favored by the Goddess of good luck.

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

- Gold comes not often, and goeth away quickly.

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

- Better a little caution than a great regret.

- Where the determination is, the way can be found.

- Desires must be simple and definite. They defeat their own purpose should they be too many, too confusing, or beyond a man's training to accomplish.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

The Richest Man In Babylon chapter-wise summary

Historical sketch of Babylon

The author explains the history, geographical location, and greatness of Babylon in this chapter. Babylon is known for its wealth and splendor. Babylon had no forests, no mines, and not even stone for building. It was not even located upon a natural trade-route. Everything that made Babylon great was man-made and man-developed. It's man's hard work that made Babylon an amazing city of ancient times. Babylonians were the original inventors of money as a means of exchange. 

The Man Who Desired Gold

Bansir, the chariot builder of Babylon, and his musician friend Kobbi discuss among themself why they are poor even though they work hard as any other man. One of their friend Arkad who did schooling with them is the richest man in Babylon. Bansir and Kobbi wonder how he became rich from naught, and they decide to check with Arkad about his secret.

The Richest Man In Babylon

Bansir and Kobbi approach Arkad and asks about this secret of becoming rich. Arkad then explains if they are poor even after studying under the same master then it is because they have either failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth or they do not observe them. Learning is 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. Arkad decided to find out how to accumulate wealth.
Arkad asks his friends if you keep yourself one-tenth of all you earn, how much would you have in ten years? then he suggests every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it earns is its child that also can earn for you. Pay yourself first for what you earn.

Seven cures for a lean purse

Start thy purse to fattening: For every ten coins that we earn spend almost 9 coins and save the tenth one.

Control thy expenditures: Necessary expenses will always grow to equal our income unless we protest to the contrary. Hence budget the expenses so that we can pay for both necessities and enjoyment.

Make thy gold multiply: Build an income that continuously flows into the purse and keepeth it always bulging. Income that continues to come whether we work or travel. In simple lines, invest what we have earned so that it multiplies by itself.

Guard thy treasures from loss: Gold in man's purse must be guarded with firmness, else it will be lost. Invest only where the principal is safe, where it can be reclaimed if desirable and where you will not fail to collect fair returns. Consult a wise man before investing.

Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment: No man's family can fully enjoy life unless they do not 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. It's about owning versus renting the residence, Arkad advises to own thy own home.

Ensure a future income: Be prepared for the needs of growing age and the protection of your family in advance. Advice is to have a pension and future retirement income.

Increase thy ability to earn: Cultivate your own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect yourself.

Meet the Goddess of Good Luck

Arkad advises the men to learn to see luck in the business and trade they do and not in the game or in the horse. It's common that luck will escape from man's hand. Men of actions are favored by good luck. Take action when an opportunity arrives at your door.

The Five Laws of Gold 

Nomasir - son of Arkad explains the five laws of gold as follows

Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family.

Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.

Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.

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.

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.

The Gold Lender of Babylon

Rodan receives 50 coins from King. He approaches Mathon - a money lender to learn how to invest the money safely. Mathon advises Rodan to lend money only to those who will repay it for sure. The advice boils down to the fourth cure of lean purse i.e Guard thy treasures from loss.

The walls of Babylon

It's an analogy that compares how the walls of Babylon protected its citizens from Assyrians attack against how we should guard ourselves during unexpected tragedies. We should guard ourselves by having insurance, savings accounts, and dependable investments.

The Camel Trader of Babylon

Tarkad - son azure, poor guy looking for food with no money bumps into Dabasir - camel trader from whom he had taken the money. Dabasir shares his story of struggle with Tarkad. Dabasir was once a slave in Syria before turning into a camel trader. Sira - the kings wife advises him to be determined and work hard to earn the freedom and go back to Babylon and repay the debts. Dabasir followed her advice and repaid all his loans. This chapter basically says where there is a will there is a way, we should be determined about what we wanna do.

The Clay Tablets from Babylon

Archeologist takes us through five clay tablets of Babylon and reveals the parables inscribed on it. This chapter isn't very relevant to the context of this book, hence it can be skipped.

The Luckiest Man in Babylon

This is the longest chapter of the book. 
Sharru Nada - merchant prince of Babylon shares his experience of making wealth with his friend's grandson Hadan gula. Nadda worked as a slave because of his brother's mistake. Nadda gets sold as a slave to a baker but he makes use of this opportunity and learns baking skills. Later he sold honey cake during his free time and gave part of his earning to his master. 

One of Nada's customers is Arad Gula - the grandfather of Hadan Gula. Nadda suggests Arad Gula to work hard so that he can also succeed in life. 

After learning baking skills, Nada sells himself to a moneylender but it turns out into misery.

Arad Gula got his freedom by following Sharru Nada's principle of working hard. Arad Gula returns his favor by buying Nada from moneylender and makes him a business partner. Nada considers himself the luckiest man when Gula buys him back. Willingness to work made Nada escape from slavery and become Gula's business partner.

FAQ about The Richest Man In Babylon

When was The richest man in Babylon written?  - It was written and published in the year 1926.

What is The richest man in Babylon about?
 - The richest man in Babylon provides basic financial advice in the form of stories, which are easy to understand and implement.

How many pages is The richest man in Babylon?
 - The richest man in Babylon is about 144 pages consisting of 11 chapters.

Is the richest man in Babylon a true story?
 - No, stories are fictional.

Who is the richest man in Babylon?
 - As per the book The richest man in Babylon, Arkad(fictional character) is the richest man of Babylon. In fact, he is richer than the king of Babylon.

Is the richest man in Babylon fiction or nonfiction?
- It's a fictional book that provides basic financial advice.

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