20 Things I learned from reading The Richest Man in Babylon

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

If you are looking for classic personal financial advice any self help enthusiast will point you into the direction of George S. Clason’s book, The Richest Man in Babylon. Written in 1926, this book of parables set 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon, is still a best seller today. The Ancient Babylonians were the first people to discover the universal law of prosperity.

I read this book earlier in my budgeting journey and if there is any wisdom I would pass on about budgeting or even finance, it would be from this book. Starting a budgeting journey is not just about discipline, but also education. You need to educate yourself so that you can make financially smart decisions. The Richest Man in Babylon surely passed on some gems, here are 20 things I’ve learned. My notes are informal and often contain quotes from the book as well as my own thoughts.

1. Get an income that will keep afloat no matter where you go, aka make money while you sleep.

2. A part of all you earn is yours to keep, aka pay yourself first!

3. Live on less than you earn.

4. Seek advice from those who are competent and willing to give it.

5. Learn to make money work for you.

6. Wealth grows wherever man exerts energy.

7. I learned this word while reading the book; “Niggard/Niggardly”. This means being ungenerous with money or time. I don’t know who needs to hear this but stop being niggardly!

8. Don’t confuse your necessities with your desires.

9. A budget helps you to decide on what desires are worth spending your money on.

10. There are limits to your time, there are limits to your strength, there are limits to what you may eat. There should be a limit to your spending.

11. Multiply your money. Put your money to work by investing. Yes there have been accounts of people who have lost their money by investing, but with that they gained a wealth of knowledge. Ultimately invest what you can afford to lose until you understand the process.

12. Increase your ability to earn through self-development, reading more and going back to school/get experience.

13. Don’t stand still, be progressive or you’ll be left behind.

14. To attract luck, take advantage of opportunity.

15. Don't be an unwise buyer and foolish spender.

16. Seek wisdom first.

17. Life is hard and there will always be people who can’t overcome it, don’t let that be you.

18. Ensure future income for retirement, a disability or if you die, ensure your family is cared for.

19. Invest where your principal is safe. Consult with wise men.

20. Get your own.

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