Book Review: The Richest Man in Babylon

I have to confess until Preet posted a free version of this book I have never read it.  I’ve heard of it yet never found a copy to read.  That might be because The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason was published in 1926.  It really is one of the classics and at 147 pages in PFD it’s a short read.

I liked this book because it’s all told in a series of fables.  Often with stories within stories to make a series of points about money which are entertaining to read.  Money in the end is very simple.  The advice in 1926 is completely the same as today.  The details may change like RRSP being introduced in 1957 and TFSA’s being introduced in 2009, but the basics really always apply.

The heart of the book comes down to the seven cures to fatten a purse.  The seven cures were:

  1. Start thy purse to fattening.  Save 10% of you make for yourself.
  2. Control thy expenditures. You can’t have everything you want.
  3. Multiple thy gold. Don’t spend your profits and let it do its compounding.
  4. Guard they treasures from loss. Only invest where you can get your money back and trust those wiser than you to help make your money grow. Don’t get greedy when investing.
  5. Make thy dwelling a profitable investment. Own your home it will reduce your living expenses in the long run.
  6. Insure a future income. Save for retirement and in case you die early (insurance).
  7. Increase thy ability to earn.  Keep learning about new things, it will help you earn and in doing so you respect yourself.

Now today we could argue about the fine points of this plan, but overall I think all of the advise still applies in a general sense.  What I liked most about the book was the theme of self respect.  By looking after yourself and your money you will learn to respect yourself and have some pride in what you do.  I often seen this lacking from my self in my early days and having grown into it a bit over the years it does help. I find I’m more willing to take a risk on myself as I’ve gotten older and more confident in what I can do.

So is it worth reading?  Well given it is free, short and fairly enjoyable to read, I would say it’s worth your time.  The lessons may be somewhat on the basic side, but a remind never hurts and you might just learn something.

If you read the book, what did you think?  Please share with a comment.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Richest Man in Babylon”

  1. In my opinion this is the grandfather of all the PF books. I used to read a lot of other PF books in the past, then hit upon Richest Man in Babylon, and that’s when I realized that almost nobody has anything new in this area. These are the core concepts everywhere. And like you said, it is a short read in the form of stories, which proves that it’s EASY.

    Yes, today the specific investments are a bit different and we have complicated taxes, but those are details.

    I recommend this book to anyone. As well, read Millionaire Next Door. These two opened my mind the most.

  2. This was one of the first PF books I read. I found it an easy read and of course it’s all common sense that still applies today. It reminds us that PF planning can be simple, if you are willing to stick to the basic principles.

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