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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52 thoughts on “The Richest Man in Babylon

    1. Welcome. Yes it is. I was surprised at how old these investment principles are and more shocked at why we struggle with them despite being practiced for so long. On my part I think it’s the lack of the right information. Glad you liked it. Thank you and have a nice day to.

  1. “better a little caution than a great regret”

    I just wept profusely upon reading the quote as conclusion.
    ◇To always safeguard our hard-earned money with diligence and reason, avoiding get rich quick schemes and impractical lending.◇
    Absolutely
    Wonderful page to prepare young and old for the world awaiting them.
    Although….
    ○take advantage of opportunities available to all.○
    I struggle with this statement when it comes to the 1%

    1. Ikr….. Its the little steps that count the most. They form the bigger picture but impossible to see in their ‘littleness’

      The book is rich in prosperity principles and interesting to read. I’m glad you enjoyed and took home a few principles.

      It’s good you’ve mentioned the 1%. It’s a weed that can’t be ignored and in the recent past, been flourishing here in my country to. The sad part is the amount of exploitation on the larger population to profit the few. Funny thing is the book actually mentions the 1% when referring to king Nebuchadnezer and his exploitation of the slaves. Where millions were subject to slavery to their death to afford gold coins to a few. It however somehow counters the thought of suppression saying that to be a slave or wealthy is a choice. That one has to have a slave mindset to be a slave and vice versa. There was also an aspect of bad luck but with some struggle and a few principles one can dig out of the misery hole.

      To some extent there’s truth in the statements but just as others in the past struggled to get rid of Babylons wealth and free it’s slaves, the same is happening today in a different context. In a way its the balance of life, of rise and falls. I don’t support the 1% and know the reign is destined to fall with a few struggles, but also sure it’ll repeat in a few thousand years. A cyclic rhythm.

      The statement can be interpreted as general opportunities from balanced family life, peace, income generating medium business to vast wealth. Where opportunity refers to alignment to ones goal.

      1. The 1% for me really also depends which tribe you are born into and the standings of your family within the tribe
        Through the centuries political and economic systems were controlled by families within large tribes and these networks or dynasties stand almost forever. Granted their are families who are very successful in business or in academia but in most instances the foundations for these successes were solidified over time forming little kingdoms on their but always within the larger network. And somehow one is offered the perception that the young and wealthy seized the opportunity. It’s not really the whole truth. The world or their kingdoms, tribes and dynasties were their oyster. Dispersed or displaced people within a kingdom or dynasty likewise struggle over long periods of time to get one ladle of that pot of gold. So of course I am more interested in the study of the outlier, without the support of the underworld.
        I agree that goals need to be aligned with existing or potential possibilities within the political and economic landscape. Thereto it could suit or favours one more over the other.

      2. Very true. I follow and agree with your thoughts. It’s a reality that we see even today. In the last few years in my country, we’ve seen rise of family dynasties a few from businesses but many born from political corruption. It’s a growing concern and a huge imbalance. I’m very much interested in your study of the same.

      3. A very fascinating study, indeed. I am of the opinion that the foundations of empire or dynasty building is recorded in most sacred writings. Often scholars bemoan the warring nature of empire building through tribes and clans in sacred work, yet for me this is the basic truth and in modern times we haven’t seen any different. Look at the countries that have fallen and disintegrated after the fall of the Soviet Union are now mostly run through family connection and dictatorial in nature. They say history has no blank pages, but I find there is enough

      4. And the same scrolls that carry these secrets are rare than gold. Blueprints of sorts. I believe in the truth in your theory and yes, it’s evident through history also some institutions have a hand in it, some even religious for example the Catholic church I believe.

      5. Oh yes, for good or for bad the markings of the catholic church are engraved in history. Thereto powerful families usurped the institution of the church for their own ends.
        My thoughts were snapped after my battery died but in my experience just living and staying in various parts of my country I’ve become acutely aware of the power of the families in provinces.

      6. It’s a very well choreographed system that it exists and hides in plain sight impossible to perceive for many. But in the recent past they are getting more exposed. Is it the same case with the Zumas in your country or is this just a political scandal. The arrest has made huge headlines though, if only such mighty and powerful corrupt in my country could be served the same justice.

      7. My dear a can of worms that desperately needed opening was released with the former president’s 15 month sentencing. I’m not sure how the standing president will respond or if he will let the old man sit his term for parole. The current president goes about his business with stealth during these difficult days. He is not the people’s favourite, he doesn’t have the jailed presidents charisma, fanbase and children who relentlessly stand by him for their own reasons. It makes me extremely sad when I have to consider that he sits in a cell no matter how comfortable because he allowed himself to move along with the greed and self-interest that surrounded him. It is both, political, economical and if I may add tribal. It is sad how leaders across africa are rallying around the jailed president. Even sadder how visiting and resident professors from other parts of africa are calling for the unseating of a standing president. Scary years ahead. I’m not sure anymore if we can stem the tide and what we will become as a country and a nation and if the provinces will split and new boundaries formed. It won’t be bloodless.

      8. So sad and sorry to hear of the actual pressure in the country. Esoecially the tribal part. I’ve seen tribal and we to are a tribal country and with such conflicts, bloodshed follows, segregations and new boundaries that forever change the course of the country and stop growth.

        It was a bold move but maybe one that Africa wasn’t ready for?

        Definitely the whole world is watching intently and almost every significant influence on the continent has a card in play on this, and reaction to the situation.

      9. I don’t know then, when would be the right time? I’m not sure also of the condition of the army and the other forces to keep our fragile stability still intact. But our president is allowing the various institutions to do the work and he is not playing musical chairs with his cabinet, despite all the daggers thrown at him. Yes the world is watching and true we believe in sovereignty but we are not and island on our own.

      10. I know it’ll be tough, but your country will survive this, if anything emerge stronger. You are the pacebsetters to our continent and true, there’s no a good time for anything as now. NOW is always the best time, in any contest and aspect.

      11. Yes, now tell my people they are pace setters. They just can’t see themselves – ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’ – and hence cannot confidently assume their role.

  2. …..sorry my phone died,
    Hollow spaces, as if history needed to be erased and all one really do is follow the segmented lines and tattered remnants to figure it all out. In the tomes of history there are peoples names and livelihoods, habitats and environments who are never mentioned, yet dynasties were built by the sweat of their brows. And most times i see them as four and twenty biblical elders calling out to me, beseeching me to follow the line.
    We are going through difficult times. Dynasties and Kingdoms by all means necessary and with opportunistic ideological authority are uprooting the gains that people within nations collectively negotiated and many died for. Bloody, Opportunistic and Scary times. Who knows with Providence by our side the outliers will survive.

    1. I often wonder why great wealth often has to be built from pain and suffering of many? For example the technological economy as essential as it has been with greater storage of date, phones, computers etc at the core there are slaves mining the precious metals that go into the core components such as motherboards and suffering of our environment and it’s inhabitants through dumping to mention one. I however believe wealth can be created through people working for you or money working for your through service and increasing the significance of the service translates to more money and prefer this second mode if only it could be widely adopted and the other reduced.

      1. All that quickly comes to mind is the fact that no matter how advanced the creative process is to produce goods, in the planning and execution thereof, it is based on an old brain and mindset. There must be those in the cost and benefits planning who has to pay a high price which is cheap labour and raw materials. Whilst the glory and treasure goes to the few other .

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