Thursday, August 26, 2010



The Richest Man in Babylon is a 1926 financial self-help book by George S. Clason. Here, Clason presents a number of short stories, set in ancient Babylon, that communicate basic wealth-building principles.

Clason’s principles are sound and timeless: work hard, live within your means, save, and invest wisely. Clason also presents a get-out-of-debt plan whereby the debtor lives on seventy percent of his income, saves ten, and pays his debts with twenty. All these concepts are offered so simply that just about any reader should be able to grasp them.

The stories themselves hold the reader’s attention most of the time, although the Babylon shtick gets a little wearisome toward the end (and this isn’t a long book). The characters all speak in King James-style English, but it doesn’t always sound right (recent revised editions of the book, I understand, have updated the English). But it’s never too big a problem, and even so, a lot of people are going to find The Richest Man in Babylon a lot more appealing than a dry, straightforward book on finance.

In short, The Richest Man in Babylon is a readable, accessible introduction to wealth-building principles and financial responsibility.