The Richest Man in Babylon

IN Book Notes
The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in BabylonLoved this book 20 years ago and love it now that I’m revising it. 80% of the book can basically be summarized with this one sentence: “Save more than you spend“. :)

Recommended reading for everyone although it’s not exactly an ‘easy-read’. I think I read it when I was about 15, so I think it’s definitely a great book to read from the age that you start wanting ‘more’ for yourself. The reason being is that it’s a “story” rather than a how-to book but you learn the principals by default while you are reading.

Here are more notes from this fabulous read “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S Clason. The notes probably won’t mean much to anyone that hasn’t read the book, but for those that have, it’s a great reminder of the principals.

The basic principles of effective money management are:

  1. Save at least 10-percent of all that you earn for an investment fund for the future.
  2. Learn to live on 90-percent or less of your income.
  3. Invest your accumulated capital into projects that will provide a safe, steady income, taking full advantage of compounding of the interest received.
  4. Invest only in areas in which you have expertise or with people who are experienced.
  5. Buy the house in which you live so you don’t waste any money on rent.
  6. Have a realistic insurance program.
  7. Always keep working at various ways and means of increasing your income.

Basic principles to acquisition of wealth:

  1. Live on less than you earn.
    A real change in perspective comes when a person makes a commitment to pay themselves first each month, one-tenth or more, before anyone else.  If a person pays themselves first and then lives on the remainder of their income, their lifestyle will adjust accordingly.
  2. Seek advice from those who are competent to give it through their own experiences.
    Once capital starts to build up, a vast array of investment opportunities will present themselves. The key factor in looking at any proposal is to examine the background of the people making the proposal. Have they actual experience in that field of business, or are they simply giving you an opportunity to use your capital in pursuit of their idea?

Seven Cures for a Lean Purse

  1. Start thy purse to fattening
  2. Control thy expenditure
  3. Make thy gold multiply
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
  6. Insure a future income
  7. Increase thy ability to earn

The Seven Ways of Filling Your Bag

  1. Start filling your bag
    From every 10 coins you earn, spend only nine of them. You will see how your bag starts filling quickly. You will see that you can arrange anyway with this income and you will be earning money quickly.
  2. Control your expenses
    What we call obligatory expenses grow in proportion of our income, if we don´t do something to avoid this. Don´t confuse your desire with your needs.
  3. Make your gold fructify
    Make your gold work for you, then its sons and the sons of sons. Investing your gold: Loans, opportunities. Gold multiplies fast.
  4. Protect your gold
    If you have gold, you will be tempted to invest in any attractive project. Assure your capital. Ask the wise people about what they know.
  5. Make your property a rental investment
  6. Assure future income
    Foresee some income for your old age and your family.
  7. Increase your ability to acquire goods
    More knowledge we have, more money we earn.

The Five Laws of Gold

  1. Gold comes easily and in greater quantities to the man who saves the tenth part of his income for his future and family.
  2. Gold works with speed and diligence for the wise owner that finds for it a productive use.
  3. Gold maintains itself under the protection of prudent persons who invests with the council of wise people.
  4. Gold escapes from people who invest without a purpose in places that are not familiar.
  5. Gold runs away from people who force gold to impossible profits and follows the seductive councils of impostors.


Excerpt from the book: p54 the Penguin Group version published 1991.

“Like our friend, the buyer, I also had to recognize and conquer procrastination,” responded the merchant. “To me, it proved to be an enemy, ever watching and waiting to thwart my accomplishments. The tale I did relate is but one of many similar instances I could tell to show how it drove away my opportunities. ‘Tis not difficult to conquer, once understood. No man willingly permits the thief to rob his bins of grain. Nor does any man willingly permit an enemy to drive away his customers and rob him of his profits. When once I did recognize that such acts as these my enemy was committing, with determination I conquered him. So must every man master his own spirit of procrastination before he can expect to share in the rich treasures of Babylon.”


Clason, George. “The Richest Man in Babylon” 1926.


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Penny (

Who are we? What are we doing here? What is the meaning of life? Penny is a truth-seeker, ever-questioning, ever-learning, ever-researching, ever delving further and deeper down the rabbit hole. This site is a legacy of sorts, a place to collect thoughts, notes, book summaries, whilst providing a searchable archive to easily lookup and reference.