Book Summary: The Richest Man in Babylon

This is one of the oldest books on investments and personal finance that has survived time and covers all the basic knowledge required for a beginner wealth builder. The fable covers simple advice to start wealth building to most common mistakes committed by those in their journey to financial independence.

The seven simple rules of wealth building:

(1) Start your Purse Fattening: Save money
(2) Control your expenses: Don’t spend more than you need
(3) Make your gold multiply: invest wisely
(4) Guard your treasures from loss: avoid investments in which you have no knowledge. Beware of promises that sound too good to be true.
(5) Make your dwelling a profitable investment : Own your home
(6) Ensure future income of your dependants and post retirement: Obtain life insurance
(7) Improve your ability to earn : Learn from the best in your field and obtain advice from them.

Stories of Wisdom from Babylon

The story anecdotes also covers the most common situations that we face in money – both lack of money and surplus of it without knowledge to handle them.

(1) Unexpected wealth brings with it many unreasonable requests from close relations and friends on business ideas that they have no experience in.  The story gives a clear framework on how to evaluate such project ideas and to reject the unreasonable and yet salvage the relation.

(2) There is a discussion on luck by the learned men of Babylon which bring out the probability of becoming wealthy by sheer luck such as gamble as against through proven principles of wealth building.

(3) The helpless feeling of having worked all our lives but yet end up with no savings and how to overcome such a situation.

(4) Relevance of insurance is discussed through Babylon’s impenetrable wall which saved its citizens from being invaded by neighbours, compared to real life unforeseen circumstances.

(5) The story of the wealthy camel trader who was once a debt ridden slave and how he redeemed himself through hard work is told as an inspiration.

(6) The story of how wealth created by hard work can be spent away in a few generation by children and heirs that have no respect for hard work.

(7) A story discusses how a professor of the current day who discovered the tablets followed the principles and got out of debt.

Warning and Limitation: Narrative style

The stories are a great read with a message. An excellent way to communicate simple but important truths over simply uninspiring prose. The language used though is archaic and  often distracting from the message itself.

Recommendation and Conclusion

This is a good first book to start for someone who is starting their journey of wealth building . Also suitable for someone who finds themselves in one of the financial trap stories above. This book is the only one most will require without having to go into the nitty grittiness of the ever growing complexity of the financial world. This book could be your step stone to wealth building.


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Published by

Priya Krishnamoorthy

Exploring the Journey of life everyday with a new outlook

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