The Richest Man In Babylon- A Must-Read!
In less than three days I was able to finish this book by George Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon. I have always been intrigued by what people say about this book.
A lot of successful men and women have recommended this book and it seems this has been their reference for their success.
I too have always been baffled about what it is like to gain more wealth and how come some people are able to do it and others cannot. I told myself that probably if I buy this book I will be enlightened somehow.
When I bought this book and finished it I know that I have made the right decision. In fact I even highlighted some lines because I really want to put the teachings in my heart so that soon my subconscious mind will absorb it, and soon I will be working towards financial success.
Truth is, I already started with investment with the stock market because I belong to a club in the Philippines that teaches its members to invest in the Philippine stock market. No, we did not focus on trading but on slow process of small investment done every month, and in the future will result to a large amount. Anyway, maybe I will discuss than on another blog and let us focus on this magnificent book that I highly recommend to all who are curious about wealth and how to make it grow. Here are my favorite parts in the book.
One of its lines says that, “The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall the tree grow.” It simply says that you should start saving as early as you can. The earlier you begin, the bigger chance of having more savings.
I was started saving at the age of 27 when I began working abroad. My salary in the Philippines is almost 10 times smaller than my salary here in the Middle East. What is surprising is that a lot of money experts say that no matter how small your salary is, if you keep 10% of it, it will one day accumulate in a big amount.
If you do this act earlier, you could just imagine how much you will be having in 5-10 years. In the Philippines, I started working when I was 21.
I always had this excuse that I could not save enough because my salary was small. What I did not know is that I just have to budget my expenses and always pay myself first. In the book it has told that “A part of all I earn is mine to keep.” I told myself recently, “If I started saving when I was 21, maybe I have more in my savings now”.
The second part that I like is the line, “The more of wisdom we know, the more we may earn. That man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded.” This portion of the book also reminded me of the popular saying that you cannot be a jack of all trades. Each of us has chosen our own fields.
Others grew up to be doctors, engineers, businessmen etc. We have to be really good in the path we chose. When we excel at it, we become experts and people learn to trust us better. One of the men in the book also told that “I urge all men to be in front rank of progress and not to stand still.”
For us modern people, I started to believe that we must learn to love whatever job we have. From the janitor to that hallway to the CEO of that giant company, I think each person must do his part well. If we want to advance ourselves or to attain higher, we must increase our skills or have the drive to learn more.
The more we give value and contribution to the world we live in, the more we will be rewarded. When we say world, it does not just gaining popularity on a national or international level. When I mean world, it could be your office, your home, and in your community. If you are a housewife, you can become a better mom, or cook, by reading while the children are sleeping. If you are an employee and have plenty of time and you have the resources, you can pursue a post-graduate course.
What about discussion about debt?
“Ill fortune pursues every man who thinks more of borrowing than of repaying. “
It is a wake-up call for so many people. How many of us are guilty of spending more than what we can earn? How many of us have really been living below our means? Lucky for us we are living in this day wherein we do not have to make our children or pets as collateral.
During the days of Babylon, if one cannot repay what they borrowed, they will give up their land or their herds of sheep as payment.
Also, some of them even become slaves because they have nothing more to give. Here is the interesting part. There were a thousand tablets with meaningful carvings that have been found by researchers. Five of the clay tablets that were obtained have greatly taught a lot this archaeologist who studied the written words.
This archeologist, Alfred Shrewsbury and his wife were both buried in debt during that time. Because of his job to interpret the Babylonian tablets, he was not only successful in bringing out the clear message of what was engraved; he was also able to learn from its teachings.
The tablets contained the journal of Dabasir, a man who belonged to a respectable family, yet because he was too enamored with a lavish lifestyle, he eventually became poor. He lost his resources that he had no choice but to return his wife to her father.
To seek for better life, he became one of the robbers and stole unarmed caravans in the desert. Unfortunately, they were caught by spearmen, and were sent to Damascus to be sold as slaves. A Syrian woman bought him because of his ability to tend camels that she could surely use for her frequent travels.
With all the conversation they have had as slave and master, the Syrian woman named Sira, discovered that Dabasir was not actually a slave by birth, but a man belonging to a rich family in Babylon.
Because of his desire to go back to his country and face his debts, the woman set him free with two camels and some water and food.
From there another challenge came when he almost lost his strength in the middle of the hot desert. But it suddenly dawned on him what Sira said, that if he has the soul of a free man, then he must fight and find his way back to Babylon with all the strength left in him, to regain back his happiness. Off he went further, with his camels who were also about to give up.
Soon they found water, grass, and fruits, and then found again their wealthy homeland, Babylon. He visited every man he was indebted, and he got several reactions. Some were extremely mad and wanted a large sum of the debt be given back to them right away. Others said that they are willing to wait. One of the men his indebted was Mathon, the gold lender.
Knowing his skill in camel tending, Mathon sold Dabasir to Nebatur, the camel trader, commissioned by the king of Babylon to purchase many herds of camels for some great expedition. Because he applied the knowledge he had in Syria about camels, he was able to apply it, and thus was given more amount of copper and silver.
Little by little, he was able to repay his debts and even got his wife back from her father. He kept his word to pay his creditors, and earned back his reputation, confidence, and freedom. Dabasir believed then that, “Where the determination is, the way can be found.”
Another part that caught my attention was when it discussed about investment. How many of us have heard that we must never invest in something that we do not know? Well, it has already begun during the olden times.
The richest man in Babylon, Arkad, told his students his first mistake in engaging in wrong investment. After saving a substantial amount of copper, he gave it to his brick maker who promised that he will buy him precious jewels from the Phoenicians. In return, what came back are bits of glass that looked like gems.
The Phoenicians fooled his brick maker. Knowing his mistake, his old mentor named Algamish told him this, ”..next time if you have advice about jewels, go to the jewel merchant. If you would know the truth about sheep, go to the herdsmen. Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having. ”
Compare it today, it’s not hard to see some people who were victimized by scams because they did not do proper research and that they sought advice from wrong people and so they were taken advantage of.
My fifth opinion on this book is that its teachings are actually no secret. In fact they are reminders. The principles are just the same. Technology may have tremendously advanced. People of today have already discarded the literal “slavery” method when one cannot pay the creditors. But the spirit of slavery is still present once we cannot manage our expenses and incomes well, and end up being on our loan or credit card debts.
Some could not sleep at night due to their financial woes. Others have had their marriages or family broken because of their overwhelming money problems . They could not attain the happiness they want in their lives, and that for me, is one form of slavery.
As a conclusion, I could say that it is no wonder why this Babylonian parables have attracted millions of readers.
Everyone can relate to the insightful stories in this book because we encounter money every day of our lives regardless of our race or country we live in.
Now, that city of Babylon is nothing more than heaps of sand and flat land, but their story of success lives on until this very day, offering us the best of wisdom they have had.
I highly recommend this book to those people who want to improve their financial situation, or those who simply want to run their imagination on what it is like to be wealthy during the prosperous period of the City of Babylon.