Life lessons from The Richest man in Babylon

richest man in babylon


Browsing through the Richest man in Babylon,  I thought to myself, “There’s no way on earth I’m going to read this book” Why? Well largely because of the writing style, seemed archaic to me. I however decided to give it a try one day and I never regretted it. It’s a must read and have book, a must have because you may want to always refer to the book once in a while.

I’m not going to do a summary of the book, you can find that anywhere online, I’m going to be sharing important things I learnt via phrases from the book.

1). Seek advice from people who are more learned and experienced than you, seek wise elderly counsel. Invest in relationships that can keep you accountable for your actions. Simply put, get a mentor!

Might we not find out how others acquire gold and do as they do?, Perhaps there is some secret we might learn if we but sought from those who knew

And when youth comes to age for advice he receives the wisdom of years. But too often does youth think age knows only the wisdom of days that are gone and therefore profits not…. The sun that shines today is the sun that shone when thy father was born, and will still be shining when thy last grandchild shall pass…

2). Have good intentions in helping others and friends grow, don’t seek to succeed alone leaving your friends behind.

… Also, let us ask other friends of our boyhood days, who have fared no better than ourselves, to join us that they, too, may share in his wisdom.

Thou wert ever thus thoughtful of thy friends… Therefore hast thou many friends.

3). Liberality brings out another dimension of wealth, giving makes you wealthier than hoarding.

Far and wide he was famed for his great wealth, also he was famed for his liberality. He was generous in his charities, he was generous with his family, he was liberal in his own expenses. But nevertheless each year, his wealth increase more rapidly than he spent it.

4). Sitting in the same classroom doesn’t guarantee the same level in life, surpassing in classroom work doesn’t guarantee higher success in life either.

Yet, once we were equal, we studied under the same master, we played the same games and in neither the study nor games did you outshine us… Nor have you worked harder or more faithfully, insofar as we can judge. Why then should a fickle fate single you out to enjoy all the good things of life and ignore us who are equally deserving?

5). The difference is the decision you make, the commitment and dedication you put into it. Your background does not have to limit you. Time and self development are very key investments. It is a choice you have to make for yourself.

… I declared to myself that I will claim my share of the good things of life. I would not be one of those who stand afar off enviously watching others enjoy… I would not be satisfied with the lot of a poor man. In the contrary, I would make myself a guest at this banquet of good things.

Being, as you know, the son of a humble merchant, one of a large family with no hope of an inheritance, and not being endowed, as you have so frankly said, with superior powers or wisdom, I decided that if  I was to achieve what is desired, time and study would be required.

6). Financial discipline which is the core of the book. Learn to save part of your income, increase your streams of income and let your money work for you. Beware of get-rich quick schemes.

I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep

Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed, the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in the contentment beneath its shade.

Then learn to make your treasure work for you… Insure an income for thy future. Look thou at the aged and forget not that in the days to come, thou also will be numbered among them.

Therefore invest thy treasure with greatest caution that it may not be lost. Usurious rates of return are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon the rocks of loss and remorse… A small return and a safe one is far more desirable than risk.

The first sound principle of investment is security for thy principal. Is it wise to be intrigued by larger earnings when thy principal may be lost?… Study carefully before parting with thy treasure, each assurance that it may be safely reclaim. Be not misled by thy own romantic desires to make wealth rapidly.

7). Be realistic and practical in setting goals and be committed to achieving them. Do not overstretch yourself, enjoy your life and don’t try to outdo yourself or others.

When I set a task for myself, I complete it. Therefore I am careful not to start difficult and impractical tasks because I love leisure.

Enjoy life while you are here. Do not overstrain or try to save too much. If one-tenth of all you earn is as much as you can comfortably keep, be content to keep this portion. Live otherwise according to your income and let not yourself get niggardly and afraid to spend. Life is good and life is rich with things worthwhile and things to enjoy.

8). Don’t sit back and wait for an opportunity, prepare yourself for one. When opportunity meets preparedness, success is inevitable. Start small with a great end in mind, never use lack of opportunity as an excuse not to start.

Would you call a fisherman lucky who for years so studied the habits of the fish with each changing wind he could cast his nests about them? Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.


In as much as this books preaches about personal finance and all the common sense, yet not so common practice of savings and investments, I picked some other valuable teachings which I have shared above and sincerely hope you learnt as well.







Life lessons from The Richest man in Babylon

8 thoughts on “Life lessons from The Richest man in Babylon

  • June 23, 2016 at 3:49 am

    I completely agree with your point on younger men seeking out wise mentors. He who walks with wise men will be wise (Pro 13:20). There are good and bad mentors also. So we need to be careful who we choose as a mentor as they can have a great influence on our lives.

    • June 23, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Well said. Thank you.

  • June 24, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I love this. Funny how we can read the same books but pick up different lessons. Great job Deola!

    • June 25, 2016 at 2:34 am

      Thank you! I actually read the book for the personal finance perspective it was recommended for and I couldn’t help but notice these subtle lessons from the book.

    • August 5, 2016 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks for your comment Victor. Do you mind sharing any?

      • August 5, 2016 at 11:37 pm

        No Deo, I don’t mind sharing. For instance, I reasoned that:

        1) Saving a little is better than not saving at all. The book says to save 10% of income.
        2) If you see someone being successful, don’t be jealous. Rather be humble and ask him how he made it so that you can make it too.
        3) If you wouldn’t listen to advise, neither can you profit with it. The book is full of advise.
        4) If you want to make a good pair of suite, don’t given it to a carpenter. (Common sense, you might say. But a man in that book failed this principle).
        5) If you consult the wrong people, you will get the wrong advise. Choose mentors wisely!.
        and many more, Deo!

        • August 5, 2016 at 11:41 pm

          So much wisdom! Thanks so much for sharing


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