Book Summary – The Richest Man in Babylon


My bullet-summary of George Clason – The Richest Man in Babylon [1926]

  • A man is what he thinks.
  • Wealth increases the possibility of happiness and content.
  • I claim my share of a happy life –> study + learn theory & practice.
  • 3 LAWS:
  1. Live on less than you earn.
  2. Seek financial advice from those who are competent (through experience… E.g. you don’t talk about cars with the bread-maker, you just talk about bread! With a car-maker you talk about cars, not bricks…). Seek wise counsel.
  3. Make gold work for you (together with its children) –> a part of all I earn is mine to keep. “Think about it morning, noon and night. Impress yourself with the idea. Fill yourself with the thought. As it grows it will stimulate you.” Make gold be your slave.
  • “Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.”
  • “Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfilment. When I set a task for myself, I complete it. Therefore, I am careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks (e.g. I can’t lift 1ton alone!), because I love leisure.” –> each time a bigger task though!
  • “Wealth grows wherever men exert energy.”
  • Get a millionaire as a partner!
  • Have the desire to prosper before getting there!
  • The 7 Cures for a Lean Purse:
  1. Start your purse to fattening: “For every ten coins you place within your purse take out for use but nine. Your purse will start to fatten at once and its increasing weight will feel good in your hand and bring satisfaction to your soul.”
  1. Control your expenditures: “Budget your expenses that you may have coins to pay for your necessities, to pay for your enjoyments and to gratify your worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.”
  1. Make your gold multiply: “Put each coin to labouring that it may reproduce its kind even as flocks of the field and help to bring to you income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into your purse.”
  1. Guard your treasures from loss: “Guard your treasure from loss by investing only where your principle is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where you will not fail to collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect your treasure from unsafe investments.”
  1. Make your dwelling a profitable investment: “Own your own home.”
  1. Insure a future income: “Provide for in advance for the needs of your growing age and the protection of your family.”
  1. Increase your ability to earn: “Cultivate your own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skilful, to act as to respect yourself.”
  • “Good luck waits to come to that man who accepts opportunity.” We all have countless situations where we regret afterwards not acting swiftly enough. Procrastination very often gets in the way of good luck! We desire riches, yet, how often when opportunity presents itself, the spirit of procrastination urges delays in our acceptance and we become our own enemy.
  • To attract good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Men of action are favoured by the Goddess of Good Luck.
  • Gold is reserved for those who know its laws and abide by them.
  • Don’t approve of giving without evidence of the ability to acquire, protect and multiply wealth.
  • The 5 Laws Of Gold:
  1. Gold comes 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.
  2. Gold labours diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
  3. Gold clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of wise men in its handling.
  4. Gold slips 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 keeping.
  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who follows the advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.
  • Wealth that comes quickly goes the same way.
  • Wealth that stays to give enjoyment and satisfaction to its owner comes gradually.
  • You should know that to borrowing and lending there is more than the passing of gold from the hands of one to the hands of another (there’s the risk associated to it). If you desire to help your friend then do so in a way that will not bring your friend’s burden upon yourself!
  • Loan process. Keep a token chest, a token for each loan until it is repaid. Some tokens will always stay in the chest.
    • The safest loan is where the borrower has possessions greater than the value of the one they desire. Such loans are based on property.  If necessary, these can be sold to repay the loan.
    • Others have the capacity to earn to repay the loan and interest. They will have income as long as they are honest and suffer no misfortune. Such loans are based on income.
    • Others neither have property or enough income. Their borrowings are guaranteed by family or good friends (collateral).
  • I do not discourage borrowing gold. I encourage it. I recommend it if it be for a wise purpose.
  • It is easy to lend. If it is lent unwisely, it is difficult to get back. I like not idle gold, even less I like too much of risk. Better a little caution than a great regret.
  • We cannot afford to be without adequate protection.
  • The hungrier one becomes, the clearer one’s mind works.
  • Ill fortune pursues every man who thinks more of borrowing than of repaying.
  • No man is otherwise who cannot respect himself and no man can respect himself who does not repay honest debts. Your debts are not your enemy and you shouldn’t run out of town to escape them. If you stood up and fought like a man, you would find respect.
  • You have shown me a vision; already I feel the soul of a free man surge within me.” Where the determination is, the way can be found.
  1. Firstly, the plan provides for his future prosperity. One-tenth of his earnings were put aside for his own to keep.
  2. Secondly, seven-tenths of his earnings paid for all living expenses.
  3. Thirdly, two-tenths of his earnings provided a way for his debts to be paid out over a time.
  • “Work is the best friend I’ve ever known. Work, well done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.”
  • Act like a free man and succeed like one!
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