Book Review – Lessons the Richest Man in Babylon Taught Me…

The richest man in babylon, Books for personal development, Naijabookworm, Nigerian Book Blog

This book had been in my home for at least 5 years, before I finally read it and only because it was recommended as part of my Leadership Course, even then I doubted if this was the same book because i thought the prose was weird. It’s a good thing I routinely ignore my first instinct when it comes to books, or i would still be ignorant to the basic/succinct principles for wealth generation promoted in this book and now my only regret is that i didn’t read this book 5 years ago.

All of the financial principles seem obvious and I keep asking myself why it took some ancient storyteller(s) for me to realise how i should have been managing my finances. Well, as they say, better late than never; here’s what i learnt from The Richest Man in Babylon.

  • Pay yourself first

“A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should not be less than a tenth no matter how little you earn.”

  • Your income will never be ‘enough’

“..what each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow to equal our income unless we protest to the contrary.”

  • Make your savings work for you

” Every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it earns is its child that can also earn for you” 

“.. 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 it always bulging”

  • Consult Professionals for Financial Advice

 ” …If you would have advice about jewels, go to the jewel merchant. If you would know about sheep go to the herdsman.(…) He who takes advice about his savings from one who is inexperienced in such matters, shall pay with his savings for proving the falsity of their opinions”

  • Improve your skill set, Never Stop Learning

“Always do the affairs of men change and improve because keen-minded men seek greater skill that they may better serve those upon whose patronage they depend. Therefore, I urge all men to be in the front rank of progress and not to stand still, lest they be left behind”

  • Say NO to Procrastination; Take advantage of opportunities as they come, that is the only way to get Lucky

“Opportunity, she will not wait for such slow fellow. She thinks if a man desires to be lucky he will step quick.”

  • Build/Buy your own home, even if you have to get a loan

“Then when the house be built, thou canst pay the money-lender with the same regularity as thou didst pay the landlord. Because each payment will reduce thy indebtedness to the money lender, a few years will satisfy his loan. (…) 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”

  • Prepare a Retirement Plan

” …plan certain investments or provision that may endure safely for many years (…) A man may buy houses or lands for this purpose”

  • Avoid making financial decisions based on sentiment; Don’t help people to your own detriment

“If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a way that will not bring thy friend’s burdens upon thyself. (…) humans in the throes of great emotions are not safe risks for the gold lender”

“What thy labour earns for thee and what is given thee for reward is thine own and no man can put an obligation upon thee to part with it (…) be not swayed by foolish sentiments of obligation to trust thy treasure to any person. If thou wouldst help thy family or thy friends, find other ways than risking the loss of thy treasure”

  • Stop Thinking like a Slave, be a problem solver

“… the soul of a free man looks at life as a series of problems to be solved and solves them, while the soul of a slave whines, ‘What can I do who am but a slave?'”

  • Make Hard Work your Friend

“Remember, work, well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.”

  • Having said all this, remember you have one life to live, #YOLO

“Enjoy life while you are here. Live otherwise according to your income and let not yourself get niggardly and afraid to spend. Life is good and life is rich with things worthwhile and things to enjoy.”

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  1. Ikr. The book is awesome and every principle was explained so well. Especially know that 1/10 of what you earn is yours to keep no matter how little.

  2. The download link you posted just made my day. This book has been a favorite of my dad’s since we were little, but I’ve just never gotten around to reading it.

  3. ?

    I love this book. I should read it again soon.

    Yes, seemingly obvious advice but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded from time to time.

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