Gems from, “The Richest Man in Babylon”

So, I have decided to get off social media – or at least reduce my dependency on it and read more. But would you believe that the first book I am reading was one recommended on one of those social media platforms – they do have their uses people. So many is a constant need in this world whether we like it or not, and this need was driven to me today as I sought yet another loan. I think it is providence, no, God that has led me to this book. Forgive me if I have not given you the name of the book, The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason. This book was written in 1929! However, it could have been written yesterday for all the gems and truth bombs it contains. Now to really explore it here I will be look at different sections of it until I reach the end. As I said before this book was written in 1929 about a civilization approximately 40000 years ago – the more things change the more they remain the same! What is on the buffet table of this book are not choice morsels of food, no, but financial advice wrapped in succulent proverbs that are tickling my brain a little – so if you decide to read for yourself do so in a quiet place!

The book has eleven chapters, with interesting titles like, “The Man Who desired Gold” and “The Five Laws of Gold”. However, when you begin reading what’s between the pages you realize there are no gems about get rich quick schemes and how to get to the point of drowning in wealth . No, what you begin to do is think of all the unwise choices you have made in relation to money and how those bad choices have landed you in a place where you are always obsessing about having more.

Pay Yourself First!

The first thing that jumped out at me and that made me feel attacked when I understood was the idea of paying yourself first. I always thought that my paycheck was my pay and by working like a dog – maybe a bit of exaggeration here – I was paying myself. But oh no I was not. When I get paid each month, I take out bills and money for other things. However, what this book was telling me to do was to take out money to set aside first. Listen, I do not think this is a new concept to many but how it is presented in the book made me feel real shame. All this time I was complaining that I had to do so much with my money and barely had anything, but I was doing it wrong. I did not think of paying myself from my own pay! I cried and complained that I could not safe, that I had nothing but those things were the result of my decision to be a sacrificial lamb to pay out to others and not to myself. Well think about that.

Lessons to Learn

I know for me learning life lessons reveals that I am mostly book smart when it comes to money matters. However, all is not lost. Some lessons revealed in this book that we must learn to be financially secure is to “live upon less than you could earn”, “seek advice from those who are competent through their own experiences” and “learn to make gold work for you”. There is the temptation especially if you pay attention to what others have to live above our means, to get advice from people who seem to have it together but when you check out don’t. There is also the temptation to think only of today – live in the moment – and nit make use of what we have now. Guilty, guilty and guilty. However, Clason points out to us through this work that it is important to ” teach ourselves how to acquire money, keep it and use it” and this wont happen overnight. It is a process that is like a marathon and not a sprint. At least that is my take away.

Golden Nuggets

There are some other golden nuggets that I want to leave with you to consider from chapter two of the book entitled, “The Richest Man in Babylon”:

  1. Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared – how often have you allowed any kind of opportunity to slip by? Time to stop doing so.
  2. …invest thy treasure with greatest caution that it be not lost. Usurious rates of return are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon the rocks of loss remorse – it us so easy to be deceived if you appear desperate or are anxious to gather insurmountable wealth, yes, the scammers are waiting for those desperate among us.
  3. seek the advice of men whose daily work is handling money…A small return and a safe one is far more desirable that risk – yes, have you ever been tempted by someone who had an idea but no know how?
  4. Enjoy life while you are here. Do not overstrain or try to save too much. If one-tenth of all you earn is as much as you can comfortably keep be content to keep this portion. Live otherwise according to your income and let not yourself get niggardly and afraid to spend. Life is good and life is rich with things worthwhile and things to enjoy – here we are admonished not to get carried away building our wealth. God has given each of us only have one life to live and we need to enjoy it and not obsessed over acquiring wealth!

I will end on the last point above, because sometimes we get so anxious because of financial insecurity that we forget that we do not need to have it all, We need to have enough to enjoy the things already here, some things that carry no price tag.

Join me next time to see what other gems I have uncovered!

The richest man in Babylon | The Story Bookstore