The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest man in Babylon is a compilation of pamphlets dealing with personal finances, written as a parable set in ancient Babylon. The book is based on the adage that, ‘A lean purse is easier to care than endure.’ This adage although its set in ancient Babylon, is applicable and timely today.

After years of prosperity, Babylon found itself in sore straits. Few people in the city had sufficient money to provide for their needs. The King called Arkad, his learned minister and questioned him about the secret of wealth and asked if it could be taught. Arkad stated, ‘That which one man knows can be taught to others.

The First Cure – Start thy purse to fattening: ‘For every ten coins thou placest within thy purse take out for use but nine. Thy purse will start to fatten…and bring satisfaction to thy soul.’ Arkad ended the first class by declaring: ‘Which desirest thou most’ Is it the gratification of thy desires of each day’ Or is it for substantial belongings’ The coins thou takest from thy purse bring the first. The coins thou leavest within it will bring the latter.’

The Second Cure – Control thy expenditures: ‘That which each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow equal to our income unless we protest to the contrary.’ The key is to institute and observe a budget. ‘The purpose of a budget is to help thy purse to fatten.’

The Third Cure – Make thy gold multiply: ‘Put each coin to labouring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and [bring] a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly onto thy purse.’

The Fourth Cure – Guard thy treasures from loss: The first rule for sound investing is ’security for thy principal.’ Study investments wisely before parting with hard earned money.

The Fifth Cure – Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment: By owning your home you can invest a portion of the nine-tenths of your money that you live on, and make your worth grow more rapidly.

The Sixth Cure – Insure a future income: Plan and save now got the time when you do not have the capacity to earn.

The Seventh Cure – Increase thy ability to earn: ‘The more…we know, the more we may earn. That man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded.’

Along with these cures, Arkad continually advised against over straining (trying to save too much) becoming ‘niggardly and afraid to spend.’ He suggests hard work, compassion towards those less fortunate, and making life with things worthwhile and things to enjoy.

May you all have the Merriest of Christmases and a Happy and Healthy New Year!!

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