Books–the written word in general–will always have a place in our hearts above technology. For whatever reason, books have endured where technology has become obsolete and has had to advance. For the entrepreneurs of the world, even books written in the Depression era are still viable, like George Samuel Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon.
The Richest Man in Babylon started out as a series of pamphlets released in 1926 that were subsequently put into book form. Instead of giving straightforward advice and practical solutions like you may find in modern era business books, The Richest Man in Babylon is a work of semi-fiction, teaching financial lessons through a series of parables.
Since being reissued in 2004, The Richest Man in Babylon has witnessed a new found popularity and has become thought of as an essential set of lessons to learn when planning on opening and operating a business.
Basically, every story deals with managing money in its own unique way. This is why banks and other financial institutions were among the first to hand out the original pamphlets to their customers. During times of recession and depression, nothings quite as important as saving money to invest in what you truly need. Nearly every lesson is viable today.
The Richest Man in Babylon is laid out over eleven chapters: One: The Man Who Desired Gold; Two: The Richest Man in Babylon; Three: Seven Cures for a Lean Purse; Four: Meet the Goddess of Good Luck; Five: The Five Laws of Gold; Six: The Gold Lender of Babylon; Seven: The Walls of Babylon; Eight: The Camel Trader of Babylon; Nine: The Clay Tablets from Babylon; Ten: The Luckiest Man in Babylon; Eleven: A Historical Sketch of Babylon.
There’s a recurring theme throughout each chapter, and some of the characters are the same in the eleven separate tales. The solid principles that you can grasp a hold of in this book include: always saving at least 10% of your money for emergencies, sound investments, etc.; spend 20% of your money on debt; and the remaining 70% should cover your living expenses.
Readers of The Richest Man in Babylon will quickly learn that this book, while giving sound advice on how to acquire and regulate wealth, doesn’t make it okay to go spend money on luxury items.
Money earned, per this book, needs to be put to use in some shape, form or fashion. Spending it recklessly, even if you have a lot of it on hand, will result in a struggle eventually. That’s why it’s always important to have the investment money, as well as some of your debts paid down in case you need to borrow or simply to have collectors off of your back.
The book certainly isn’t short on wisdom, even if it does fall short on giving practical advice for the types of economies were dealing with today. Even still, wealth is wealth and knowing how to manage it comes in handy.