Book Summary Review · Wealth

The Richest Man in Babylon

A story is told of the great city of Babylon. Of its glory and grandeur. With tall walls that seemed to touch the heavens, strong enough to ride a six-horse chariot on top, protecting the city and the castles within it. A wonder only comparable to the pyramids of Egypt. Sitting in the barren dry land, this didn’t hinder Babylon from having its bountiful harvests of wheat and barley so much as to attract traders to the city despite it not being on a natural trade route. Sitting beside the Euphrates River, the wide canals supplied water to the city allowing for irrigation. This at the time was a great invention. The Sumerians enjoyed even more advancement from spears and axes to written clay tablets for record-keeping. They also had a trading credit system that helped in their businesses. Gold was said to be as bountiful within its walls, all this grandeur in the year 2000 B.C

Desire

Within the city lived a simple hardworking family man called Bansir. All his life he had been laboring making the best chariots for the wealthy but he could barely get by. One day sitting beside the tall inner-city walls protecting the rich men’s palaces, he wondered why his hard toiling has never afforded him much wealth and discovered although hardworking and dutiful, the favor of great bounties he had wished for will not come his way if he continues on the path. His dear friend a musician who played the lyre came by and teasingly finding Bansir relaxed sitting in peace under the hot tropical sun thought he had money and borrowed two shekels only to learn of Bansir empty purse. They both wondered and pondered on the great wealth around them in comparison with their endless struggle. They noted that although the city had wealth there was also abject poverty. With slaves toiling for their masters and the rich careless spending. Although free men, they felt as if they were slaves to their struggles. A feeling many of us relate to in today’s world struggles. They soon discovered the secret to wealth is a flowing purse and that meant a steady income. Admiring their childhood friend Arkad who rode in gold chariots and was said to be the richest man in Babylon, they sort t find his help. We have to seek wealth first for us to get it, if that is our desire, they both agreed.

Arkad was of humble background and many coveted his newfound wealth not understanding how he came about it since he was average growing up. He tells them that wealth is a choice our part is to put in time and effort. Time a commodity all men have in plenty but we waste it. 

Algamish’s first lesson was to learn to live on less than we earn, second is to seek advice from those competent through their experience and third is to learn how to make money work for us. How to acquire, keep and use money. For opportunity only seeks the prepared. You have to be definite and have willpower. Not to start difficult and impractical tasks.

To always seek wise counsel for it is always freely given for when youth come to age for advice, he receives the wisdom of years. But too often does youth think that age knows only the wisdom of days that are gone, and therefore profits not. But remember this, 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.

– Algamish.
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A part of all I earn is mine to keep. – Affirmation and the road to wealth. 

“Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade.’ 

Quote

If we have not acquired enough in the years since we were youths, it is because we either have failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth or else we do not observe them.

The one percent and the seven cures

Just as in today’s reality. There exists the one percent of super-wealthy individuals who have amassed so much wealth that it is difficult to comprehend. The same case is seen in Babylon thousands of years ago where King Sargon is presented with a problem to solve. The city’s citizens are struggling to get by since there is no gold to spend. Farmers are struggling to sell their produce, merchants can’t move their products, and people unable to feed themselves. The reason is, so much wealth is being held by a few wealthy individuals who have learned how to take advantage of opportunities available to all. The King summons the richest man in Babylon Arkard and asks him to spread his wisdom across the city so that it may be a city of many wealthy men. He obliges and below are the seven cures of a lean purse;

  1. Save a tenth of what you earn – Always know that a part of all that you earn is yours to keep
  2. Control your expenditures – Despite people earning different sums, our expenses will always grow to equal our incomes. Learn to separate expenses from desires. Many desires are like weeds and there are limits to their gratification. A budget is like a bright light in a dark cave that illuminates the holes, the budget shows leaks in our expenditures. 
  3. Make your money multiply – wealth is not in the money you already possess but the income you generate. Let your money work for you.
  4. Guard your money against loss – learn to save the small amounts before you are blessed with bigger amounts. Always secure the principle and be shy of getting rich quick schemes.
  5. Invest in your home – A comfortable home ensures a happy life and attracts abundance.
  6. Ensure your future income – Invest in properties that appreciate such as land and houses instead of savings account. “Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family.”
  7. Increase your ability to earn – have strong desires, make them simple and definite. 

The more wisdom we know, the more we may earn. That man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded.

The Goddess of good luck

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The Babylonians wished to know of a way to attract luck. Their shrewdness and keen thinking brought them wealth and although they did not have learning institutions, they had hanging gardens that served the same purpose. From a thorough discussion, it was concluded that luck is much like success and it only comes when preparedness meets opportunity. We should therefore be prepared for example by having an income stream however small, be ready to put aside one-tenth of the earnings, and when an opportunity comes knocking invest the savings without hesitation for procrastination brews regrets of missed opportunities. Making deposits on potential opportunities is a good way to lock the potential profit for further investigation and before doubt comes and distracts you. 

The 5 Laws of Money/Gold

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A question is posed, if you were to choose between a bag of gold and scrolls of wisdom, what would you choose?

Below are the 5 laws of gold/money as told by Nomasir, Arkads son after his losses and experiences. 

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

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

III. Gold/money clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.

IV. Gold/money 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 keep.

V. Gold/money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Conclusion

Using the laws, one may accumulate wealth gradually, keep it and enjoy it for wealth is born in knowledge and consistent purpose. 

The book also talks of the borrowing and lending of money that is used in the banking industry today. It is genius that they had the same system many years back. It goes further and mentions the practical use of money and the need for specialization in a trade to easily attract profit. To always safeguard our hard-earned money with diligence and reason, avoiding get rich quick schemes and impractical lending. 

“better a little caution than a great regret”  

Mathon

We have to be brave in heart and have a victorious mindset. Let go of the victim mentality because as we think so we are and our actions will portray the same. We must lose the lenses that see lack and view the world with a new set of glasses. Those that see potential and abundance even where there seems to be lurking. To develop a will so strong that can conquer our deepest fears. “Where the determination is, the way can be found” Dabasir

This is a great book rich in wise principles, good values, fascinating history, deep quotes many referenced in this review and key life lessons.

Remember, work, well-done, does good to the person who does it. It makes us better people.

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28 thoughts on “The Richest Man in Babylon

  1. Great article and very informative, as usual. The king of Babylon around that time was Nebuchadnezzar. He built the hanging gardens for his wife, and they are one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s the home of my ancestors—the Chaldeans. They were great inventors, astronomers, mathematicians, and philosophers. There developed cuneiform writing. This is a great read and very informative depicting wonderful tips and lessons.👍🙌

    1. A tough King but a very advanced civilization who seemed to have a deeper understanding of the universe and it’s secrets. Its said that there are more secrets uncovered in modern day Iraq especially esoteric. Nice, I didn’t know the garden was a gift. It’s awesome the way you understand your lineage this well and that you have a link to the Chaldeans. Thank you for your comment, glad you enjoyed the read.

  2. While true , it’s also true that the very basics of how money works are purposely kept a secret by those who have the money . Only by diligently seeking out those secrets and applying them will you be able to do the things you listed . The system rewards the ones who put in more effort than others . Effort to study how it works and then do it . The fact is that most people will be workers , not owners because most people are not ambitious enough to do what it takes . They’re content with a little. And that’s okay . The owners should not oppress their workers .

    1. True. But as you said, one must put effort to understand the mechanics behind getting money, something many people will shy from and most of these secrets can be found in books for a start. The discipline to follow through the values found is what I think to be difficult plus breaking out of the now reigning ‘conformity’ society so carefully placed to build on ‘workers economies’. Its a science of sorts, and yes, it has his challenges

  3. What I mean is that within each of those points is included the need to learn a whole lot more to implement them. We are not born knowing how to save or invest or get loans to start a business or be a shrewd business owner. Theses things require something many don’t have , determination and ambition.

    1. True words. We are born into a world of abundance and taught to see scarcity. One has to have a strong will, and the above values of determination and ambition. Do you think a mindset change can separate one from lack to wealth?

      1. Definitely. If mindset leads to action. Communists are teaching ‘wealth is bad’ and ‘spread the wealth’ at the same time. Capitalism is the only way to public access to creating wealth. The current push by Democrats will actually prevent access!

      2. I can imagine the confusion. Capitalism is good, because it allows for distribution of resources but may exploit the working class majority for profit maximization and poses a threat on the circular economy in the long run. But it works despite its challenges.

      1. It was an early gift. I came to learn when older that money has it’s principles, rules and language. It’s a science on its own and it’s energy. It can be a great servant or a terrible master depending on ones understanding of its principles.

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