Book Recommendation #2

Today I am excited to share another book recommendation. It is yet another finance book (they are a LOT easier to read than most engineering books) titled “The Richest Man in Babylon.” This book, written as a series of pamphlets in 1926 by George S. Clason, was lent to me by my good friend Andrew, and has been a joy to read for a number of reasons.

Like any useful finance book, this one describes the ins and outs of wealth, including how to make money, how to keep money, and how to invest money. It is a set of parables written from the perspective of ancient Babylonians, where the city of Babylon was the wealthiest city in the world at the time; and, just like any wealthy city, there were many wealthy as well as poor people. Most of the teaching about money flow is through dialogue, where characters directly attack the problem of acheiving wealth from all angles, mostly by the poor asking the rich about their techniques. These parables become timeless tools that explain complex ideas in ways that are as valuable today as they were thousands of years ago.

Being a collection of parables, the book relies little on numbers and instead focuses on the strategies and mindsets involved with wealth. Rather than choosing between an investment for 6 years at 12% interest and another for 8 years at 10.5% interest, the stories lay out a plan of paying yourself (i.e. setting aside a savings) and then trusting your earnings with a person whose knowledge is strong (don’t give money to a brickmaker to buy gems, because he doesn’t know the value of gems since his business is bricks). Many of these ideas are well circulated in the culture today, but the images of seeing how money can work for you are a true value.

While the version I have is written in a “King James’ language” style, the characters and ideas they represent bear strong resemblance to friends and family I know; even myself, occasionally. One of the greatest overall morals of the book is that anyone can be rich, with proper setup and enough time. The book is not a get-rich-quick scheme (in fact, it discusses those sufficiently), but after over 80 years in print, the ability to relate today with a story from thousands of years ago is a testament to itself of the power in this writing.

I recommend everyone pick up this book and spend some time with it. At a hundred and forty-something pages in my edition, it is short enough to not overstay its welcome, and a chapter/pamphlet a day allows more than enough time to dig deeply into the author’s thoughts and practice accordingly in your own life.

PS: Things have been looking up. I appreciate the concerns of everyone. There may be some news regarding jobs, but in the meanwhile I’m broadening my application base.

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~ by MichaelStaudenmeir on November 3, 2010.

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