The Richest Man in Babylon, written by George S. Clason, is a compilation of pamphlets providing financial advice that were distributed by banks and insurance companies in the 1920s. The book, termed as an essential guide to financial understanding, presents timeless principles for managing money, increasing wealth, and protecting assets in the form of rules and guidelines such as “Seven Cures For a Lean Purse” (how to acquire wealth) and “The Five Laws of Gold” (how to preserve and grow wealth).
Although this book was published way back in 1926 (almost a century ago!), it’s still highly relevant today for anyone who wants to take charge of their finances.
Here are some life-changing quotes from the book that’ll help you take your financial life to the next level:
“Money is the medium by which earthly success is measured.
Money makes possible the enjoyment of the best the earth affords.
Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws which govern its acquisition.
Money is governed today by the same laws which controlled it when prosperous men thronged the streets of Babylon, 6000 years ago.”
“Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade.”
“I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.”
“Deride not what I say because of its simplicity. Truth is always simple.”
“That what each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary. Confuse not the necessary expenses with thy desires. Each of you, together with your good families, have more desires than your earnings can gratify.”
“The penalty of risk is probable loss. Study carefully, before parting with thy treasure, each assurance that it may be safely reclaimed. Be not misled by thine own romantic desires to make wealth rapidly.”
“No man’s family can fully enjoy life unless they do have a plot of ground wherein children can play in the clean earth and where the wife may raise not only blossoms but good rich herbs to feed her family. To a man’s heart it brings gladness to eat the figs from his own trees and the grapes of his own vines. To own his own domicile and to have it a place he is proud to care for, putteth confidence in his heart and greater effort behind all his endeavors.”
“In tilling the soil, in honest trading—in all of man’s occupations—there is opportunity to make a profit upon his efforts and his transactions. Perhaps not all the time will he be rewarded, because sometimes his judgment may be faulty and other times the winds and the weather may defeat his efforts. Yet if he persists, he may usually expect to realize his profit. This is so because the chances of profit are always in his favor.”
“No man can arrive at a full measure of success until he hath completely crushed the spirit of procrastination within him.”
“Without wisdom, gold is quickly lost by those who have it, but with wisdom, gold can be secured by those who have it not.”
“Wealth that stayeth to give enjoyment and satisfaction to its owner comes gradually, because it is a child born of knowledge and persistent purpose.”
“Our wise acts accompany us through life to please us and to help us. Just as surely, our unwise acts follow us to plague and torment us.”
“If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a way that will not bring thy friend’s burdens upon thyself.”
“Hopeless debt is like a deep pit into which one may descend quickly and where one may struggle vainly for many days. It is a pit of sorrow and regrets where the brightness of the sun is overcast and night is made unhappy by restless sleeping.”
“Be not swayed by the fantastic plans of impractical men who think they see ways to force thy gold to make earnings unusually large. Such plans are the creations of dreamers unskilled in the safe and dependable laws of trade.”
“The walls of Babylon were an outstanding example of man’s need and desire for protection. This desire is inherent in the human race. It is just as strong today as it ever was, but we have developed broader and better plans to accomplish the same purpose.”
“Being young and without experience, I did not know that he who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation.”
“If thou contentedly let the years slip by and make no effort to repay, then thou hast but the contemptible soul of a slave. No man is otherwise who cannot respect himself, and no man can respect himself who does not repay honest debts.”
“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?’”
“Work well-done does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.”
“Cling no longer to thy master. Get once again the feeling of being a free man. Act like a free man and succeed like one! Decide what thou desirest to accomplish, and then work will aid thee to achieve it!”
“Take whatever portion seems wise. Let it be not less than one-tenth and lay it by. Arrange your other expenditures to do this if necessary. But lay by that portion first. Soon you will realize what a rich feeling it is to own a treasure upon which you alone have claim. As it grows it will stimulate you. A new joy of life will thrill you. Greater efforts will come to you to earn more. For of your increased earnings, will not the same percentage be also yours to keep?”
“Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having. 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.”
“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. That is what every man desireth. That is what thou—each one of thee–desireth; an income that continueth to come whether thou work or travel.”
PS: If you enjoyed these quotes, I encourage you to check out my new eBook in the Snapshorts series: "The Richest Man in Babylon: Main Ideas & Key Takeaways".
Set in the ancient city of Babylon, this book is an inspiring collection of stories about merchants and tradesmen who struggle with financial obstacles and setbacks, and eventually overcome them to live happier, fuller lives. Through these anecdotes, Clason teaches the key tenets of financial success that will put anyone, no matter their life circumstances, on the road to riches.
In this Snapshort, you'll learn how to:
- Employ ancient wisdom to tackle money problems of the modern world
- Grow and preserve your personal wealth
- Master the fundamental principles of money management and investing
Click here to learn more and get your copy.