Review – The Richest Man in Babylon

March 23, 2018


The Babylonians invented money. Unfortunately, not enough of it. The Richest Man in Babylon tells the secret how to acquire wealth, no matter what your current situation is. Does that sound too good to be true?

Author George Clason chose to reveal the secret to through a series of unrelated fictional stories of rich and successful Babylonians. In the first story, we learn about the “seven cures for a lean purse”. The second story states the “five laws of gold”, which are basically the same thing. The other stories in The Richest Man in Babylon just hammer home the same points several times more.

In a nutshell: keep ten percent of your income, reduce your expenses, invest profitably and get the advice of people that are experts in whatever investments you consider. Easy enough, almost trivial, but indeed the foundation of a future fortune. It is astonishing that not more people live that way.

One question The Richest Man in Babylon leaves unanswered is how to spot and identify the good investments. Giving money to a brickmaker to purchase jewels is presented as an example of a stupid investment, because a brickmaker does not know enough about jewels. Then how is it wise for a merchant to invest in some random dude who is building irrigation systems?

As a non-native speaker, I found the old-timey Shakespearean English (because that is exactly how ancient Babylonians talked) quite tiresome to read, although the stories never have real complexity to them.

If you fancy the same simple (albeit important) lessons presented time and again in several rather silly little stories, get The Richest Man in Babylon. If you want better content in a more timely package, get one of the many books that took inspiration from it over the decades (like the one reviewed here).

Whatever you do, take this quote with you: Start thy purse to fattening.


Key points:

  • pay yourself at least 10% of your income first
  • reduce your expenses
  • invest your savings under the tutelage of experienced investors


Author affiliations:

George S. Clason was a businessman and author. His most famous work, The Richest Man in Babylon, was originally published as a series of pamphlets distributed by banks or insurance companies, of all things.


Review copy:

copy bought
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (18. February 2015)
ISBN-10: 1508524351
ISBN-13: 978-1508524359

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The Richest Man in Babylon Book Cover The Richest Man in Babylon
George Clason
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
February 18, 2015

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