Listen to enough podcasts about business, investing, real estate, and entrepreneurship and you will eventually hear an episode or two about the B-E-S-T… B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S… B-O-O-K-S… E-V-E-R!!! (Usually introduced with the cheesy low, echo-reverb that sounds like the Lord speaking to Noah.) I listen to quite a few of these kinds of podcasts, and as such, have heard quite a few different opinions on this matter. Since this is the crossroads of two of my strongest interests (books and business), I tend to pay closer attention to these episodes than a lot of other people. That being said… I have spotted a trend. There are three books that keep appearing in these best-of lists: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
I would like to take some time and touch on all of these works over the next few weeks because I feel like they all represent different pieces to the puzzle of financial health and each has enough content to warrant a post of its own. One of these I will be reading for the first time, and the others I will be reading again to refresh my perspective on the work. This week we will be looking at the first one on our list, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.
This is the work that I had not read previously. Originally published in the 1920’s, this book is considered a classic. It is a story told in parables of wisdom from the ancient city of Babylon. I have to admit, The Richest Man in Babylon started off with enough hithers, thines, and thous to have me a bit worried. It felt like this book was going to get old, fast. However, to the contrary, it didn’t take me long to get into the flow of the story. It actually lends it a voice that is quite unique.
The parables all circle around the principles of work, thrift, and investing. Considering the heavily stylized voice, you would think there would be a need to tease out the meanings from the layers of nuanced hyperbole. Yeah, not so much. The Richest Man in Babylon lays it all right out there for you. It smacks you over the head with what it needs you to understand, it just does it from the ancient desert city of Babylon.
The principles that are discussed all fit within the realm of ‘common sense’ when you hear them. However, when you hear them all together and are forced to take an inventory of your own actions, you realize that The Richest Man in Babylon has something for everyone. It shows us that we are all on a journey to better financial health no matter how good our starting point. Work ethic, hope, living below your means, saving your money first, investing carefully, reinvesting the profits, and having your money make more money passively… these are all things that are at the core of this book.
The Richest Man in Babylon is a guide to the higher-level principles – a 30,000ft view of financial wellness. After listening to what these parables have to say, you will need to devise how to work them into your life and monthly routine. They might not be easy or seem like a good idea right away, but they are absolutely the foundation of what will get you where you want to go – no matter where that is.