The Richest Man in Babylon is a book in a financial education series entitled “Wisdom and Financial Success” that teaches methods of attracting wealth through a story from ancient Babylon. The richest man in Babylon is the most famous book in this collection. The concepts covered in this book do not reflect the methods of making money. Instead, it explains to us how to maintain and manage the money that enters our lives; simple solutions that can help you change your financial situation.
Who wrote the book The Richest Man in Babylon?
George Samuel Clason, American writer and entrepreneur, born in 1874, was the author of this book. In 1926, he published a collection of his writings on financial education, which became one of the best seller books in the world.
Why a Babylonian man?
You may also be wondering why the central character of the stories in this book is a Babylonian. We must say that the author has two reasons for this. The first reason is because of the fame of the people of Babylon in amassing wealth. In the pages of world history, Babylon is the true symbol of wealth and greatness. The Babylonians did not live on a temperate plateau, but in a barren desert, with no mountains, no mines, and not even enough rain. Their only strength was the Euphrates River. However, they were very advanced and wealthy. For this reason, the Babylonians are a symbol of the human will to progress even in the smallest of possibilities. Clason’s second reason for choosing Babylon was the existence of clay tablets obtained from archaeological excavations. On some of these clay tablets were engraved the memories of a young debtor and his methods of getting rid of debt and amassing great wealth. Thus, Babylon was Clason’s best, and perhaps only, choice for his book.
George Samuel Classon:
“Today, money is governed by the same rules that were in place six thousand years ago. When the streets of Babylon were full of rich men. Money is plentiful for those who understand these simple rules and, more importantly, apply them.”
Bansir, the man who wanted gold
Bansir is the first character we meet in the opening pages of The Rich Man of Babylon. The same character sparks the first series of questions about poverty and wealth. Let’s hear excerpts from Bansir’s story from Clason:
When a dream changes your life
Bansir lived in Babylon and his job was to build chariots. One day he was sitting on the wall of the yard in despair, looking sadly at his simple house and his humble workshop. He should have finished the carriage sooner, but he had no desire to continue. His mind was on a problem he could not find an answer to.
Kobbi was Bansir’s childhood friend. When Kobbi goes to see his friend and asks him why he is upset, Bansir explains what happened to him to his best friend: “My dear friend Kobbi, it must be the torment of the gods that started with a dream; A meaningless dream. In a dream, I saw that I had become rich. Bags full of gold coins hung from my belt, and I also poured money into the hands of the poor and beggars. I bought a variety of food, house, clothes, and jewelry for myself and my wife. The sweet feeling of satisfaction, and contentment pervaded my whole being. But until I came to, I saw how moneyless I was. I felt just like someone who had been robbed by insurgents. After seeing this dream, I could no longer work like the previous days. “My mind is full of different thoughts.”
A question that changed Bansir’s life!
Many of our problems arise through the lens of not knowing what the right question is. Even when we do not know what the right question is, looking for the right answer is a futile endeavor. In the book The Richest Man in Babylon, Bansir was only able to free himself from poverty when, forty-one years later, he finally found the right question. Let’s hear it from his own word:
“Kobbi, my dear friend, I worked for a lifetime. My skill in chariot building is well-known. No one in Babylon can build my chariots well. Many rich people in Babylon leave the construction of their chariots to me alone. So why did I never overeat and get gold and silver coins? Why does the goddess of wealth work only for the benefit of certain people and leave us? I do not want to spend my whole life earning money just for dinner. I also want to get rich and provide a comfortable life for myself and my family. Kobbi, is not it better to go to those with whom the goddess of wealth is always with? “There must be a way to attract wealth, and we must learn it, my friend.”
Arkad, the superstar of the book The Richest Man in Babylon
The best books are the ones that talk about a teacher. A wise and warm person who shares the essence of his experiences with others with satisfaction and kindness. A teacher who makes stars like himself. In this book, this is Arkad who plays the role of the star-making teacher. Clason describes Arkad as very rich, kind, wise, generous, polite, and humble. In the continuation of the story, Bansir goes to Arkad’s house with his best friend Kobbi and a group of poor people from Babylon to learn how to get rich from him. Clason writes:
Arkad, windfall wealth or purposeful endeavor?
People asked: Arkad, you are happier than all of us. You are the richest man in Babylon. While we only struggle to survive the loss. You put on the luxurious clothes, you eat the most delicious food, you sit on a chariot of gold, and your wife is drowning in jewelry. While our only concern is to find enough copper coins to buy a piece of bread so that we do not starve. Arkad, we grew up together. We all went to the same school and in your youth you worked even less than us. You were no better than us. What happened when the goddess of wealth suddenly took pity on you and you became rich? Why does the world just turn to you and fight and disagree with us? Why do we not have a share of this wealth?
The speech began with a complaint and ended with a spear at the end. Arkad was outraged by these words and that he was misjudged by his friends, and replied: “If you have been content with surviving all these years and no more, it is because you are unaware of the method and law of amassing wealth and saving money. If the goddess of wealth rains coins on anyone, it puts the person in blacken. Since one spends for no reason and wastes all those valuable coins. I did not earn gold coins for free, nor did I skimp on them. “I just used the method my teacher taught me and applied it in my life.” People then asked Arkad to explain how he got rich.
Learning about the turning point of the Babylonian civilization
If we follow the trajectory of the story of the richest man in Babylon, we come to an interesting point. Instead of this book, there are wise people who are full of valuable knowledge and right in front of them are people who are thirsty to learn. They ask questions and enjoy hearing the answers. They learn and do. The Babylonian civilization, and even the world that was influenced by the Babylonians, owes much to the men and women who eagerly learned and taught. A nation that values learning has paved the way for itself to achieve wealth and progress. Arkad was the star of Clason’s book and taught the people of Babylon how to get rich. But Arkad himself had learned how to get rich from someone else. This is a good cycle that promises a happy ending.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether in their twenties or eighties. Anyone who continues to learn stays young.”
Algamish, the light that illuminated Arkad’s life
Arkad began to speak and told the story that made him rich: “I worked at the Registry as a clerk. I did a lot of work and earned little money. One day a rich man from Babylon came to me to write the ninth law. He was in a hurry and wanted to finish his work sooner. Yet, the ninth rule was very long and would not end soon. I promised him that if I worked on his board at night, he would teach me the secret of getting rich instead. Algamish accepted. I worked all night. The next day he was happy when he came to get his tablet. He looked at me cleverly and said, I found the path to wealth when I kept part of my income to myself.”
I asked, “Isn’t my income mine?” “Not at all,” he said. Tell me, don’t you give money to the tailor? What about the shoemaker? What to eat? Do not give money? Can you live in Babylon without spending? O fool! You give money to everyone except yourself. You only work for others. The only way to become rich is to set aside one-tenth of your income for a year. I will visit you next year. “Can you do it?” I proudly accepted the offer. Algamish came the following year. He became very angry when he asked me about the process of saving and realized that I had given all my savings to a bricklayer to buy precious stones from another country. “Are you going to a butcher to find out about your fortune?” Said Algamish. No, you have to go to the astrologers. Then how do you invest in a bricklayer to buy you gemstones? “Investments must have been wasted.”
Arkad failure in the first investment of his life
Arkad failed in its first investment and all its capital was wasted. Instead of emeralds and diamonds, the sellers sold the bricks, broken glass, and precious stones. “I started saving again, and this time I asked a few people before investing,” Arkad said. This time I gave my money to a famous sponsor to buy bronze. Now he would share the profits with me every four months. When I told him the story, he was happy and said, “What are you doing now with your profit?” “I spent it,” I said. “Once you have collected a tribe of gold coins for yourself, then start spending on the profits of the investments,” Algamish said.
A trained successor
Algamish’s work was not just to help a poor young man learn how to make a fortune and work with money. In fact, Algamish was training Arkad to succeed him. “When I saw his argument again, he was much older,” Arkad explained. “Arkad, you learned how to work with money,” he told me. Now I’m old and worn out. If you agree to go to another city for a while to defy my capital, I will share in my wealth. I accepted. “After a while, Algamish went to see the gods and left me some of his wealth.”
At the same time, one of them stood up and said: In fact, you were the heir of a large capital that is why you became rich.
Arkad replied: “If a fisherman, after years of studying the habit of the fish for years, do you consider that fisherman lucky?” Opportunity is a proud goddess who does not waste her time on those who are not ready. Only a firm and unshakable goal will guide and direct your work to success.
Seven Remedies for Empty Bags
In the next section of The Rich Man of Babylon, we read that Sargon, king of Babylon, asks Arkad to teach all Babylonians how to become rich. Arkad agrees and starts working in a class of 100 people. These 100 become ambassadors to spread wealth-raising methods throughout Babylon. Here are some golden tips to help you get started:
The first way: start collecting money
“Whatever job you have, whether you are a businessman or a laborer, you end up making money,” Arkad told the hundred. Every income is a stream of gold, part of which goes into your wallet. Your wallet will be refilled not once, but little by little. My children, this is the first remedy I found for my empty wallet. “Out of every ten coins, one coin remains in the bag and nine coins are taken away for expenses.”
The second way: control costs
At the next meeting, Arkad spoke of necessary and unnecessary expenses: “My children, do not confuse necessary expenses with your wishes. Each of you, as a family, has demands that exceed your income. The only way to control costs is to budget for them. “Remember not to touch the eleventh you put in your bag.”
The third way: multiply your gold
In the third session, Arkad told his students, “Now is the time to put your savings to work and increase it. Know that everyone’s wealth is not as heavy as the coins in his bag, but his income. “That is, the golden stream that constantly flows into his wallet is his real wealth.”
The fourth way: Save your savings
Arkad explained to his students that misery loves shiny signs. He continued: “The first principle of investment is to create security for the principle of capital. Before giving your savings, carefully consider every promise and guarantee and consult with others who are in the business to ensure a safe return on your investment. “Remember, getting rich quick is a romantic dream that leads you astray.”
The fifth way: buy a house
In the fifth session, The richest man in Babylon told his disciples, “It is a matter of pride to have a house of our own and to take care of it. It gives a person self-confidence and doubles his effort. “Therefore, I recommend that everyone purchase a house on which they and their families can take refuge.”
Sixth way: Think about the future from now on
On the sixth day, Arkad addressed the 100 people: “A person who makes a savings by knowing the laws of wealth must also think about the days to come. Plan for secure and sustainable investments to be available in the future. So, prepare in advance for the needs of old age and support your family.
The seventh way: increase your ability to make money
In the last session, Arkad told his students, “Everything is a wish before it is done and completed. Your dreams must be firm and serious. General aspirations are weak aspirations. The desire to get rich is a false desire. But the dream of having five gold coins is a tangible dream and anyone can pursue it. When you earn five gold coins with determination, then you can earn ten coins, then twenty coins and then a thousand coins in the same way. “The more ability you have, the more money you make.”
What is the way to attract happiness?
In the middle of the book, the author seeks to answer the question of what happiness really means and whether a basic account of happiness can be opened. In this part of the book, , Clason, talks about a discussion class with Arkad in which a cloth-weaver man asks Arkad how he can turn his happiness into something lasting in his life. Let’s hear a selection of the most golden questions and answers in this session:
Happiness in life, mirage or ever-spring?
The tall weaver stood up and asked Arkad, “This is something I love to do, and it’s lucky.” I found a bag full of gold coins today. “My great wish is that such happiness continues.”
“It’s a very interesting topic,” Arkad said. I am not in a place like horse racing where one loses more money to win or I am not looking for the goddess of luck in the streets. Rather, I am looking for a place where very valuable work is being done. Friends, what do you think? “Is there a way to encourage happiness to come to us?”
A young man stood up and said, “Great Arkad, I think the goddess of chance does not know I exist at all because no happiness happens to me like our weaver friend.”
Arkad replied: “Goddess of chance, there is opportunity and effort we make to take advantage of these opportunities.”If someone wants a chance, they have to take quick steps,” says Opportunity.
Arkad turned to the weaver and said, “You suggested the discussion about happiness to us. Now tell me, what did you conclude after all these questions and answers?”
“Until now, I thought happiness was the best thing that could happen to a human being without any effort,” said the weaver and continued “now I understand that this is not the case and happiness does not extend to anyone. I learned from these discussions that in order to be a lucky person, we must seize opportunities. As a result, we have to try to get the best opportunities.”
In the next section of The Rich Man of Babylon, Clason enlists the help of two characters, Radan, the spear maker and Miton, whose job it is to lend to the people, to teach them the golden tips of investing properly:
How to invest our gold coins?
The spear maker was rewarded with fifty gold coins for presenting a new design for the royal spears to the king. He wanted to use these gold coins properly. So to get advice on money, he went to someone who is always dealing with money, the lender.
Radan went to Miton’s shop and asked him to teach him some important things about money and investing. Surprised, Miton gladly accepted the request and began to say: “Radan, if you want to help your friend, do not act in such a way that you have to carry your friend’s burden. It is good to solve someone’s problem. It is good to remove the shadow of fate from someone’s life. This will lead to the development and increase of efficient citizens in the society, but the help must be reasonable. Help to the extent that you do not incur financial losses yourself.
Remember that young people often borrow unreasonably in order to get rich quick. Young people have no experience, so they cannot understand that a fruitless loan, like a deep well, pulls the person down quickly, and for a while, the person stumbles in vain. The next thing I want to tell you is to always look for people who are successful in their work. Since with their skill, they make your savings a good income, and with their wisdom and experience, they protect it from dangers. “Radan is unlucky enough to follow those who say that God gives gold to those who deem it right.” Before Radan left Milton’s shop, Milton told him, “Read what I have engraved on my chest before leaving. This sentence is also good for the lender and for the lender: Being cautious is better than a lifetime of regret.”
“A free man sees life with a series of problems that must be solved and solves them. While a slave is constantly grumbling, what can I do in the end? I’m just a slave.”
When memories become precious
At the end of the book, Clason refers to the clay tablets discovered at the site of the ancient city of Babylon. On some of these tablets, a man named Debasir engraved his memories. In these tablets he quotes that he was able to return to Babylon from Syria with a miracle and now he has a plan to pay his debts. In this program, he wanted to both clear his debts and create wealth for himself. The couple who worked on the translation of these clay tablets decided to use this method in their own lives. After a while, they were able to get out of debt and raise significant capital for themselves. You can read how Debasir works.
A plan that turned a slave into an honorable man
I have a plan to get rid of my debts. I made a vow to engrave what happens to me on a tablet each full moon. This is how I can watch the progress of what I have done. The program I have planned for myself is as follows. This is the first full moon tablet and the first tablet I carve.
The first tablet of Debasir, a move with hope
Every month, I save 10% of my income. I set aside 70% of it for spending during the month. I set aside 20% of my income to pay off my loans. I talked to my creditors and persuaded them to allow me to pay their claims on schedule, at least for two years. The gods were with me and everyone accepted, some open-minded and some frowning and upset. Every month, Debasir wrote on a clay tablet the amount of his income and payments to the creditors until he reached the last tablet.
Fifth tablet, the success tablet
Twelve full months, they came and went. This month is the brightest. I paid my last loan on this day. Today my wife and I had a hearty dinner and celebrated our success. When I returned the last coins to my creditors, they showed strange reactions. Some encouraged me to stick to my word, some apologized for the ugly words they attributed to me. Now I have respect among the people of Babylon. I have a lot of self-confidence and I walk in the city with confidence and not out of fear. With this plan and acting on it, I repaid my loans to the last coin, and in addition, I have savings that belong only to me and my wife. I do not know what will happen to these clay tablets after me and who will get them, but I recommend this program to all those who wish to progress.
The happiest man in Babylon
In the concluding section of The Rich Man of Babylon, Clason tells the story of a slave who, instead of complaining, used his ingenuity and effort to free himself from captivity and amass wealth, and later became a well-known businessman. Reading the golden parts of this story is not without grace.
The story of a slave who loved work
Sharonada was a great merchant from Babylon who was sold into slavery as a young man because of his brother’s debt. He and other slaves were sent to work in another city. Along the way, Sharonada met a man named Migdo. Unlike all other slaves, he was not afraid to work. Migdo and Sharonada soon became close. “Remember that working is man’s best friend,” he told Sharonada before being sold in the slave market. This is what will one day save us from slavery. “Work on it and get it done in the best way you can.” At the slave market, Sharonada praised herself to every master she came across to buy him. As a result, unsold slaves were forced to starve and flogged at the bottom of the walls of Babylon.
A glimmer of hope that had taken the form of a baker!
Finally a baker bought Sharonada. He learned to bake bread from a baker, and it did not take long for the baker to hand over the entire bakery to Sharonada, who stopped working. He suggested to the baker that he work a little harder and sell honey sweets in the market. The baker agreed and gave Sharonada a share of the cake sales. In the bazaar, he met a man named Arad Gola, who later changed his fate. After a while, the baker made a lot of money selling honey sweets and he was drawn to gambling. The baker had secured Sharonada’s title deed. When the creditors became frustrated with their claim, they took Sharonada with them. Sharonada, shocked, told her new master that it worked well for her. But his new master was one of the employers working on the wall of Babylon. That is what Sharonada was afraid of. Unreasonable floggings, hunger, hard work and a life without the slightest hope of liberation.
Sharonada worked for a time as a slave on the wall of Babylon until one day a messenger followed him. He picked up his wallet, which he had dug somewhere, and headed back to an unknown destination. When he arrived at his new owner’s house, he was surprised to see his same market friend, Arad Gola. Arad Gola had spent a lot of money to save Sharonada, but he was not upset at all. He said that men like you are very valuable. Arad Gola released Sharonada and the two started a big business together. Years later, when Sharonada told the story of his slavery to Arad Gola’s granddaughter, she said, “Yes. It is true that work is man’s best friend.“
“Investing in knowledge pays off the most.”
The richest man in Babylon, a book for today
With the passage of time, some jobs have disappeared and others have been created. In fact, the way we earn money is constantly evolving and innovating. But what has not changed from five thousand years ago and will not change from now on are the laws of working with money. The way in which Arkad taught wealth to a hundred people, or the way in which Debasir was able to transform from a poor debtor slave into a respectable and business man, remains valid today, and if one puts these methods at the forefront of his life. Will, without a doubt, achieve wealth.
As the archaeologist couple, they used the method that Debasir used for himself in the last five thousand years, and after years they were able to get rid of their debts. There was great advice in The Rich Man of Babylon. Recommendations that can make a big difference in the volume of our savings. But always remember that victory is practical. Without action, even the most golden tips are just words together.