The Richest Man in Babylon, Beloved by millions, George S. Clason’s classic business book reveals the financial principles that hold the key to personal wealth–now with a new introduction by Suze Orman.

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The richest man in Babylon. One of my favourite book — of all time.

“If you have not acquired more than a bare existence in the years since we were youths, it is because you have either failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or else you do not observe them”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“I found the road to wealth when i decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“Every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it earns is its child that also can earn for you. If you would become wealthy, then what you save must earn, and its children must earn, that all may help to give you the abundance you crave.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should be not less than a tenth (1/10) no matter how little you earn. It can be as much more as you can afford. Pay yourself first. Do not buy from the clothes-maker and the sandal-maker more than you can pay out of the rest (9/10) and still enough for food and charity and penance to the God.”
“Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed, the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in the contentment beneath its shade.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only that is worth having. He who takes advice about his saving from one who is inexperienced in such matters, shall pay with his savings for proving the falsity of their opinions.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“Counsel with wise men. Seek the advice of men whose daily work is handling money. Let them save you from such an error as I myself made in entrusting my money to the judgement of Azmur, the brick-maker. A small return and a safe one is far more desirable than risk,

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

Seven Cures for a Lean Purse

(1) Start your purse to fattening
Always save a minimum of 1/10 of all your income. The given analogy is simple.

“If thou select one of thy baskets and put into it each morning ten eggs and take out from it each evening nine eggs, what will eventually happen?”
“It will become in time overflowing.”
“Because each day I put in one more eggs than i take out.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

(2) Control your expenditures

“Now I will tell thee an unusual truth about men and sons of men. It is this: That what each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow to equal our income unless we protest to the contrary.”
“Confuse not the necessary expenses with thee desires. Each of you, together with your good families, have more desires than your earnings can gratify. Therefore are thy earnings spent to gratify these desires insofar as they will go. Still thou retainest may ungratified desires.”
“All men are burdened with more desires that they can gratify. Because of my wealth thinkest thou I may gratify every desire? ‘This a false idea. There are limits to my time. There are limits to my strength. There are limits to the distance I may travel. There are limits to what I may eat. There are limits to the zest with which I may enjoy.”
“Therefore, engrave upon the clay each thing for which thou desireth to spend. Select those that are necessary and others that are possible through the expenditure of the nine-tenths of thy income. Cross out the rest and consider them but a part of that great multitude of desires that must go unsatisfied and regret them not.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

” Budget thy expense that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenth of thy earnings.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

(3) Make your gold multiply

“I tell you, my students, a man’s wealth is not in the coins he carries in his purse; it is the income he buildeth, the golden stream that continually floweth into his purse and keepeth in bulging. That is what every man desireth. This is what thou, each one of thee desireth; an income that continueth to come whether thou work or travel.

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

” This is, then, is the third cure for a lean purse; to put each coin to laboring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to thee income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

(4) Guard your treasures from loss (safe investment)

“Guard thy treasure from lose by investing only where thy principal is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable and where thou will not fail to collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the advise of those experienced n the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect thy treasure from unsafe investment.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

(5) Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment

“Thus come many blessings to the man who owneth his own house. And greatly will it reduce his cost of living, making available more of his earnings for pleasures and the gratification of his desires. This, then, is the fifth cure for a lean purse: Own thy own home.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

(6) Ensure a future income

“Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

(7) Increase thy ability to earn

“Preceding accomplishment must be desire. Thy desires must be strong and definite.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“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.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

“Cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself.”

excerpt from the richest man in babylon

The Five Laws of Gold

(1) Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family.
(2) Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
(3) Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
(4) Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in business or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
(5) Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his who inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

The Clay Tablets from Babylon


Supposedly the record of Dabasir’s financial affairs, the camel trader of Babylon who decided to be a man with a soul of freeman rather than the soul of a slave by paying off his debt and be a man worthy of respect among men in Babylon. These clay tablets dictate the details of how Dabasir worked his way out of debt and build himself a worthwhile fortune.

Here is the lesson on managing your earnings:

  1. 1/10 of all your earnings shall be yours to keep (savings)
  2. 2/10 of all your earnings shall be for your debt payment (suggested as pro-rata)
  3. 7/10 of all your earnings shall be for your living expenses (includes all except for your saving and debt repayment

If you find yourself dealing with a debt situation that is out of control, the only way to “fix” it is to organize your information and begin attacking the problem.  Old Dabasir details on the clay tablets how he used the first rule, saving one-tenth of all his earnings, to begin building up his savings.  Then, he made a list of all of his creditors, including the amounts owed.  He took this opportunity to visit each individual, explaining that he could not currently pay off the debt.  He took his list of debts to show them and explained to each that this debt would be serviced by two-tenths of his earnings, each debt in proportion.

Some of his creditors rebuked him – saying they needed all of the money returned immediately.  Others were happy to hear that he was working his way out of debt.  In the end, all had no choice but to accept his offer – which he attended to religiously, rebuilding his reputation as a trustworthy and integrity man of Babylon.  Each time he earned some money, one-tenth went into his savings, two-tenths was split among his creditors evenly, and the remaining seven-tenths he and his wife used for food, clothing, and other living expenses.

These are keys to financial success.

There’s no magic to it – but for some reason, those particular proportions work well and provide success to anyone who undertakes the plan.  Very important to the success of this plan is to write down your debts, and to talk to your creditors to explain your plan.  Don’t skip this step, as you’ll either cause problems for yourself when the creditors don’t understand, or you’ll underestimate the size of your debt.  Writing it down will put you in a position to track your progress as you begin retiring the debt, as well – which can be very helpful to keep you motivated through the process.  Sticking to the plan – having the discipline to carry it out – is all that remains for you to succeed.



Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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