The book, The Richest Man In Babylon (The Success Secrets Of The Ancients) was written by George S. Clason, and first published in 1926. There have been several imprints of the book since then by different publishers.

The not-too-long yet didactic book spells out in simple details the timeless and universal financial principles used by men of ancient Babylon to amass wealth. Babylon became the wealthiest city of the ancient world because its citizens were the richest people of their time. According to Clason, they were able to achieve this because they appreciated the value of money, and practised sound financial principles in obtaining money, keeping money and multiplying money. These principles are articulated with an interesting storytelling technique and archaic English – both specifics I find especially pleasing – in the book.

The book excites me and builds on the enthusiasm gotten from the insights in Rich Dad Poor Dad. It further reinforces the truth that building wealth is attainable by acquiring the requisite knowledge and inculcating certain financial habits and behavioural changes. This is a discovery that motivates me and inspires me to continue on the path to financial prosperity. The book’s writing style is simple, concise and easy to grasp. The author makes use of storytelling to pass across the message which makes the lessons easy to remember. I will recommend it to all my friends and family.

The key lessons from the book are summarised below.

The first thing I realised is that the laws and principles of money and wealth have not changed much over the ages. Money – a medium that makes possible the many pleasures on earth – is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws that govern its acquisition. Furthermore, time and study are required for any worthy endeavour, including the art of amassing wealth. Becoming wealthy starts with a burning desire, a fervent passion.

The overarching principle of wealth is deciding that a part of all I earn is mine to keep. This portion should not be less than one-tenth and I must pay myself first consistently. This is the first and most important principle. Also, if I must become wealthy, every naira I save must earn, and its earnings must also earn, that all may help to give the abundance I desire.  I must not squander my savings but invest them to make more earnings.

He who takes investment advice from one inexperienced in such matters will lose his investment. The lesson here is to take advice from people experienced in the particular field and subject. There are three pertinent financial lessons: to live on less than one earns, to seek advice from those competent through their own experience to give it, and to make money work for one. Expenditures must be strictly controlled and one must demand 100% of appreciated value for every naira spent. This is achieved by a budget.

Interestingly, a man’s wealth is not in the money he has in stock but the streams of income that keeps accruing to him. A steady inflow is achieved by profitable investment. In truth, to become wealthy, one must continue to increase one’s ability to earn by constantly acquiring new knowledge and learning new skills.  

Good luck waits to come to that man that accepts opportunity. Opportunity does not wait for the procrastinators. Men who grasp opportunity move steadily to fulfilment but the majority hesitate, falter and fall behind. Men of action are always lucky. Make no delay when action – prompt and decisive – is required. To take one’s first start to building an estate is as good luck as can come to one. It is wise to make a payment immediately when is convinced the bargain is wise. We cannot afford to be without financial protection.

Good luck comes to a man of action.
Good luck comes to a man of action.

The book teaches that Gold i.e. money has five (5) laws. One: It comes gladly and increasingly to any man that put away a tenth of his earnings to create wealth for his future and that of his family. Two: Money works diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying as flocks of the field. Three: Money clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling. Four: Money slips away from the man who invests it in purposes of business he’s not familiar with or which are not approved by individuals learned in its keep. Five: Money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who heeds the alluring advice of scammers or trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment. The wise application of these five laws will surely lead to wealth.

Other lessons include:

  1. If one desires to help a friend, one must do so in such a way that one does not assume the burden of the friend. More so, one is under no obligation to part with one’s just earnings and rewards.
  2. In financial decisions and all other decisions, better a little caution than a great regret.
  3. One should avoid debt at all cost and one should know that humans in great throes of emotions are not safe risks for lending.
  4. Where there is a will, there is surely a way – even out of a great debt.
  5. He who spends than he earns is inviting trouble and humiliation.
  6. Nothing should take the place of work in a man’s life. Better to treat work like a friend. Better to work hard irrespective of appreciation, because work makes the worker better. Dedicated enterprise leads to success.
  7. Excellent work and industry brings friends, honour and success

After reading the book, I was able to make some resolutions. I’m hoping you would make similar ones too.

  1. When I set a task for myself, no matter how little, I will make sure I complete it. Every time. All the time. This will give me the confidence that I can achieve essential things I set out to do. So, I’m careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks.
  2. I’ll save 20% of all I earn on a monthly basis. This will be achieved by a standing order that funnels directly into a savings account. I’ll invest these savings plus another 10% of all my earnings starting from this month.
  3. I’ll constantly make a monthly budget and stick by it come what may. I will not spend outside my budget and I will avoid debt.
  4. I’ll look into and work towards other sources of income such as book sales and affiliate marketing.
  5. I’ll change my attitude towards work. I’ll now approach my work as if my life depends on it. I will hold myself accountable and enjoin the services of a partner to keep me accountable too. I’ll smash my goals and attain all my targets.
  6. I will blot the spirit of procrastination by acting prompting and decisively. I will stop attempting to multitask. Rather, I will face a task and complete it accordingly before moving to the next one. I won’t let my work pile up.
  7. I will not be drawn into inviting investments of which I have no knowledge or have a trustworthy agent to educate me.
  8. When presented with an opportunity, I will do due diligence quickly and act on time and decisively.
  9. I will invest only in tried and trusted ventures which yields decent returns and guarantees security of my principal.
  10. I shall henceforth give only as I wish and not out of obligation. I will also cut all expenses made out of self-indulgence, making sure I live way below my earnings, come what may.
  11. I will stop waiting for things to happen. I’m now going out and making things happen for me. I’m now overcoming my mental and psychological barriers. I’m now taking charge of my life. I refuse to be idle for a moment again.
  12. I will also seek out partnerships that can multiply my opportunity to earn more via my investments.