I would like to add a small caveat before I get into the details of what I learned. It is my desire to be able to make enough money to be able to support my family and never worry about how we are going to pay for anything. I know hard work and sticking to my beliefs will take me there.
It is not my intention in life to create massive amounts of wealth at the sacrifice of my personal goals and beliefs. However, if during the process of achieving my goals in alliance with my beliefs, I gain more wealth, then so be it. ;)
Here are a few of the big lessons I learned from the book. There are also a number of hidden gems you'll have to discover for yourself.
"The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason is a series of parables told from when Babylon was the richest city in the world; around 4000 years ago. Most of the stories are about men seeking advice about how to gain gold and make it grow. It is laid out into easy-to-understand principles and tangible goals.
1 - Seek Wisdom
An overarching theme seemed to be that most people don't know how to manage money very well;, even in those days. As it turns out, the knowledge was there the whole time. All you have to do is seek the right people with the answers. In the book, Bansir, a chariot builder was tired of not having enough money. So Bansir did something about it. He went to seek guidance from the richest man in Babylon, Arkad. Arkad was more than happy to tell him everything that made him wealthy.
Nowadays, there is a great amount of information about everything. Go out and seek knowledge from the best. Like we mention in our "Jack-Of-Most-Trades" article, take all information with a grain of salt. Often times, the people with great knowledge have learned that giving advice to someone that isn't in the right frame of mind to receive that knowledge is met with a cold shoulder. Being the type of person that goes out to seek that advice will set you apart from most people.
2 - Wealth Is Built Over Time
A man has a large estate and in the customs of the times, he needs to decide if his son is responsible enough to take over the estate when he passes. So he sends his son out to the world with a large bag of gold and a clay tablet carved with words of wisdom. His son is to return 10 years later and report of his travels.
During the first part of the sons travels, he foolishly spends his fathers gold on things he doesn't understand. He looses all his gold. After this, he goes through a time of bitter days. He then remembered that his father had confidence in him and decided to take his fathers wisdom carved on the clay tablets. He began to work and apply these "5 Laws of Gold". He continued to work and save small amounts of money.
It took years for a respectable amount of money accumulated. Years passed by and enough gold was saved to begin looking for investments. The son sought after men with sufficient knowledge to invest his money wisely. He applied these lessons and returned to his father with not only what he gave him, but and additional large bag of gold. The son was grateful for the gold, but the wisdom on the clay tablets is what was the true value.
Instant gratification is common place in the world today. We want faster internet, faster transportation and especially more money faster. Reliable and steady wealth usually isn't like that. So we have to adjust our expectations on how fast we can gain wealth. We need to take our time, apply solid principles and lay a steady foundation for building wealth.
3 - Hard Work + Desire = Luck
A chapter titled "The Luckiest Man in Babylon" discusses a story about a man that continually kept finding himself in bad situations. Even through the bad situations he continued to work hard and knew his outcome. He became a slave and searched for a way to buy his way to freedom. He eventually started a business to earn himself money to slowly save.
He saved a good amount, only to be taken to another slave owner because his current owner couldn't pay back a loan. He continued to work hard and prove his worth. After some time, he eventually found his freedom and named himself the luckiest man in Babylon.
Most of us want to be lucky in life. Working hard and knowing your outcome helps each of us to become more lucky. I think it's a combination of searching for opportunity that will take us to the next level. Undoubtedly it will take time and a great deal of effort, but the reward will be that much sweeter.
4 - Gold Will Labor For You
One of the first lessons in the book is: A part of all you earn is yours to keep. Meaning, pay yourself first, before all the bills, all the debts, and any luxuries you may have. The book recommends to pay yourself 1/10th of what you earn. Take that money you pay yourself and invest it into solid investments. The money in your investments will earn you interest and/or dividends. Over time, this money that you earn from investments will grow and grow.
If you make it an automatic habit to set aside money to pay yourself, you will not miss it at all. This money you don't miss, will work for you and you will reap the benefits years later. It's sometimes hard to see that far down the road, but if you can, then you'll wish you started saving money for yourself earlier!
I highly recommend the book for anyone that wants to understand principles of slowly growing wealth. It's laid out into easy to understand parables that still apply today. It will give you a great place to start on your path to gain wealth. If you don't have it, you can quickly purchase it HERE.
Anyone that has already read the book, what was your biggest lesson(s) you learned? Please share in the comments below.
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