Let’s Learn What The Ancients have to say about money and gold from the GEORGE CLASON’S Richest Man in Babylon.
Old Banzar had the vantage point for news. He was closest to the conflict and first to hear of each fresh repulse of the frenzied attackers. An elderly merchant crowded close to him, his palsied hands quivering. “Tell me! Tell me!” he pleaded. “They cannot get in. My sons are with the good King. There is no one to protect my old wife. My goods, they will steal all. My food, they will leave nothing. We are old, too old to defend ourselves—too old for slaves. We shall starve. We shall die. Tell me they cannot get in.”
“Calm thyself, good merchant,” the guard responded. “The walls of Babylon are strong. Go back to the bazaar and tell your wife that the walls will protect you and all of your possessions as safely as they protect the rich treasures of the King. Keep close to the walls, lest the arrows flying over strike you!” (Excerpt from George Clason’s Richest Man In Babylon: the walls of Babylon).
The Richest Man In Babylon is a book that was crafted to shed some light on the historical landscape of the great city of Babylon. This city had such glory, wealth, and power. It earned it a position as one of the most significant civilization heritage for humankind before it was eclipsed by the hands of time and the pressures of incessant battles on its giant walls. George Samuel Clason wrote it, and the book navigated through different stories of the rich and the poor, the debtors and the lender, the slaves and their masters, the giver and the taker, the traders and the merchants. Virtually everything revolved around gold, money and power.
George Clason took it all to the letters by showing us how a city that had only fertile soil and water as its resources sprouted to become the great city that once stood proudly on the Mesopotamian geography, with the Euphrates river flowing by its side and through it. Also, its inhabitants were able to adequately utilize the means and resources at their disposal to create an empire that remained formidable and undefeated for centuries.
The Richest Man in Babylon: Reading Through The Pages
This book’s pages are stuffed with stories that bear great lessons through the paragraphs, meant to instruct the reader about its principal subject: money. The book is a call to make do first with what we have in our possession, rather than complain about what we do not have, and it shows us how to do it. But what’s interesting here is how George Clason was able to weave everything into a historical story that speaks for itself. In the pages of this book, you would hardly hear George Clason talking, but the ancients teaching and showing us the way to real wealth.
The Richest Man In Babylon: Arkad
The first chapter reveals a man named Bansir, sitting at the front of his minimalistic house, seriously discouraged. He was a chariot builder in Babylon and had an unfinished chariot sitting in his workshop, waiting to be completed. But on this particular day, he was so frustrated about his whole life that he didn’t even care. Every now and then, his eyes would meet the dispirited glance of his wife, who would seldom appear at the door like she was reminding him that the money bag is still as dry as the desert. It would be better to get back to the workshop and finish the chariot, lest their frustration would only worsen. Amid everything, kobbi, his best friend, comes into the scene, raining prayers of good fortune on Bansir, and further requested him to lend him some two shekels. Bansir, amid his gloominess, replies that even if he had two shekels, he wouldn’t borrow him because they would become his fortune, and no man lends his fortune, not even to his best friend.
Kobbi was taken aback by Bansir’s response. He had assumed Bansir was only idle because he had enough shekels and even to spare. He immediately urged him to return to his workshop and finish the chariot, but Bansir didn’t move an inch. He’s had enough already. Bansir began to open up to his friend about how frustrated he is about not having enough money to take care of himself and his family and how he dreams of living the life of a rich man.
Though kobbi was quite surprised at his friend’s attitude, he soon identified with his struggles because they were no different. Both friends talked a good while and wondering why the rich have so much and the poor so little, even barely to live. They later concluded that perhaps, the rich knew something that the poor didn’t, and that’s why they have better lives. After reasoning with each other, they concluded that they would go and find a rich man and ask him for money advice. And that there’s only one man who could do great justice to their question, and who else would be a perfect fit if not the richest man in Babylon: Arkad, their old friend.
Where Has All The Gold Gone?
Once and again on the pages. A trend is noticed where many lose their money and wonder why, and how and when it happened. Such was the case of Bansir and his friend, Kobbi, who kept wondering why they had not enough gold to keep their lives running without suffering the undue friction of lack, or how they kept being poor, even though they’ve received countless shekels from being paid. Arkad tells his story to prove that gold is only at the mercy of those who know how to invest in it and create more gold streams. He explains how he grew from being the son of a humble merchant with no inheritance to Babylon’s richest man with a great chain of wealth. Arkad went further to say, “I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.”
One day, after King Sargon returned from the war with the Elamites, his Royal Chancellor presented a severe challenge before him, that there was not enough gold to go around for everyone, to which the King responded, “Where has all the gold gone?”
“It has found its way, I fear,” responded the Chancellor, “into the possessions of a few wealthy men of our city. It has filtered through most of our people’s fingers as quickly as the goat’s milk goes through the strainer. Now that the stream of gold has ceased to flow. Most of our people have nothing for their earnings.”
The King thought deeply about what to do. He later decided to summon the man who has amassed the most wealth in Babylon: Arkad and seek his advice. When he came, the King explained the problem and said that he wished for Babylon to become the world’s wealthiest city. Arkad then suggested that the King should prepare a class of 100 men to teach the seven cures to a lean purse, which he had used himself to accumulate wealth.
The Seven Cures To A Lean Purse
Four nights later, the chosen hundred assembled themselves in the great hall of the Temple of learning, and there, Arkad gave them the seven cures to a lean purse, which are these:
- Start your purse to fattening (You should pay yourself first).
- Control your expenditures (Don’t spend more than you earn).
- Make your gold multiply (Invest your money and let it work for you).
- Guard your treasures against loss (Don’t unhealthy risks for wealth).
- Make your dwelling a profitable investment (Own the house you live in so that you can invest more).
- Insure a future income (Protect your home and belongings with insurance)
- Increase your ability to earn. (Invest in yourself, and grow on ways on how to make money).
Every evening, men from different business backgrounds, some old, some young, some middle-aged, would gather around and discuss and argue about subjects involving money, including Arkad himself, who was the primary instructor. Even after the death of Arkad, these classes continued. It was an indiscriminate gathering where the rich, the middle-class and the poor would gather and reason together on the same chair.
The Five Laws Of Gold
Old Kalabab was the one who told the story to a group of twenty-seven men seated amidst the flickering light from the fire of desert shrubs. It was the story of Arkad’s son, Nomasir, who was given a gold bag and a clay tablet containing the five laws of gold by his father. He was sent away to make his fortune. Arkad was testing his son to see if he was fit enough to inherit his wealth. You can read the book to find out what happened to Nomasir, but here are the five laws of gold:
- Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man. Who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and his family.
- Gold labours diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
- Gold clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
- Gold slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
- Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his inexperience and romantic desires in investment.
The ancients have said a lot about gold, and though the great city of Babylon lies in ruins of sand and dust today, the wisdom they had left behind will continue to help generations to come. If you haven’t read this book, go read it, and you’ll be glad you did.