The Richest Man In Babylon

Foreword Chapter 1
The Man Who Desired Gold
Chapter 2
The Richest Man In Babylon
Chapter 3
Seven Cures For A Lean Purse
Chapter 4
Meet The Goddess Of Good Luck
Chapter 5
The Five Laws Of Gold
Chapter 6
The Gold Lender Of Babylon
Chapter 7
The Walls Of Babylon
Chapter 8
The Camel Trader Of Babylon
Chapter 9
The Clay Tablets From Babylon
Chapter 10
The Luckiest Man In Babylon
Chapter 11
An Historical Sketch Of Babylon
The Author And His Book Back Cover Overview

Background Colors


The Success Secrets of the Ancients
George S. Clason
Bantam Books - Copyright 1926 - Published 1955-1985


A lean purse is easier to cure than to endure.

Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts. Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.

This book of cures for lean purses has been termed a guide to financial understanding. That, indeed, is its purpose.

Money is the medium by which earthly success is measured.


Summary: Two friends discussing why they are both poor.
Conclusion: They decide to seek the counsel of a rich friend.


11 Wealth is a power. With wealth many things are possible.

12 As for study, did not our wise teacher teach us that learning was of two kinds: the one kind being the things we learned and knew, and the other being the training that taught us how to find out what we did not know?

13 When youth comes to age for advice he receives the wisdom of years. But too often does youth think that age knows only the wisdom of days that are gone, and therefore profits not. But remember this, 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 into the darkness.

The thoughts of youth are bright lights that shine forth like the meteors that oft make brilliant the sky, but the wisdom of age is like the fixed stars that shine so unchanged that the sailor may depend upon them to steer his course.

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

14 If you would become wealthy, then what you save must earn, and its children must earn.

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.

15 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 contentment beneath its shade.

Every fool must learn, but why trust the knowledge of a brickmaker about jewels? Your savings are gone.

16 You do eat the children of your savings. How do you expect them to work for you? First get thee an army of golden slaves and then many a rich banquet may you enjoy without regret.

17 You have learned your lessons well. You first learned to live upon less than you could earn. Next you learned to seek advice from those who were competent through their own experiences to give it. And, lastly, you have learned to make gold work for you.

You have taught yourself how to acquire money, how to keep it, and how to use it. Therefore, you are competent for a responsible position.

18 Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.

Will power is but the unflinching purpose to carry a task you set for yourself to fulfillment. If I set for myself a task, be it ever so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things?

Wealth grows wherever men exert energy.

19 Learn to make your treasure work for you.
Insure an income for thy future.
Invest thy treasure with greatest caution that it be not lost.

20 Usurious (lending money at an excessive or unlawfully high rate of interest) rates of return are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon the rocks of loss and remorse.
Provide also that thy family may not want.
A small return and a safe one is far more desirable than risk.
Enjoy life while you are here.



23 One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.

24 It is my desire that Babylon be the wealthiest city in the world. Therefore, it must be a city of many wealthy men.
That which one man knows can be taught to others.

25 First must each of you start wisely to build a fortune of his own.

26 Then wilt thou be competent, and only then, to teach these truths to others.

THE FIRST CURE: Start thy purse to fattening.

Because thou dost also labor and earn, thou hast every advantage to succeed that I did possess.

27 For every ten coins thou placest within thy purse take out for use but nine. Thy purse will start to fatten at once and its increasing weight will feel good in thy hand and bring satisfaction to thy soul.

28 It is a law of the Gods that unto him who keepeth and spendeth not a certain part of all his earnings, shall gold come more easily. Likewise, him whose purse is empty does gold avoid.

Which desirest thou the most? Is it the gratification of thy desires of each day, a jewel, a bit of finery, better raiment, more food; things quickly gone and forgotten? Or is it substantial belongings, gold, lands, herds, merchandise, income-bringing investments? The coins thou takest from thy purse bring the first. The coins thou leavest with it will bring the latter.

THE FIRST CURE: For each ten coins I put in, to spend but nine.

THE SECOND CURE: Control thy expenditures.

29 That what each of us calls our necessary expenses will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.
Confuse not the necessary expenses with thy desires.
All men are burdened with more desires than they can gratify.

30 Touch not the one-tenth that is fattening thy purse. Let this be thy great desire that is being fulfilled.

SECOND CURE: Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of thy earnings.

31 THE THIRD CURE: Make thy gold multiply.

He was an honorable man. His borrowing he would repay, together with a liberal rental.

A man's wealth is not in the coins he carries in his purse; it is the income he buildeth, the golden stream that continually floweth into his purse and keepeth it always bulging.

33 THE THIRD CURE: Put each coin to laboring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to thee income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse.

THE FOURTH CURE: Guard thy treasures from loss.

Every owner of gold is tempted by opportunities.

Often friends and relatives are eagerly entering such investment and urge him to follow.
The penalty of risk is probable loss.

34 Better by far to consult the wisdom of those experienced in handling money for profit.

THE FOURTH CURE: Guard thy treasure from loss by investing only where thy principal is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where thou will not fail to collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect thy treasure from unsafe investments.

35 THE FIFTH CURE: Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.

To own his own domicile and to have it a place he is proud to care for, putteth confidence in his heart and greater effort behind all his endeavors. I recommend that every man own the roof that sheltereth him and his.

36 THE FIFTH CURE: Own thy own home.

THE SIXTH CURE: Insure a future income.

It behooves a man to make preparation for a suitable income in the days to come, when he is no longer young.

38 No man can afford not to insure a treasure for his old age and the protection of his family, no matter how prosperous his business and his investments may be.

THE SIXTH CURE: Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family.

39 THE SEVENTH CURE: Increase thy ability to earn.

Preceding accomplishment must be desire. Thy desires must be strong and definite.

40 Desires must be simple and definite. They defeat their own purpose should they be too many, too confusing, or beyond a man's training to accomplish.

The reason for my greater success is more interest in my work, more concentration upon my task, and more persistence in my effort.

The more of wisdom we know, the more we may earn.

41 I urge all men to be in the front rank of progress and not to stand still, lest they be left behind.

Many things come to make a man's life rich with gainful experiences. Such things as the following, a man must do if he respect himself:
  1. He must pay his debts with all the promptness within his power, not purchasing that for which he is unable to pay.

  2. He must take care of his family that they may think and speak well of him.

  3. He must make a will of record that, in case the Gods call him, proper and honorable division of his property be accomplished.

  4. He must have compassion upon those who are injured and smitten by misfortune and aid them within reasonable limits. He must do deeds of thoughtfulness to those dear to him.

THE SEVENTH CURE: Cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself.

There is abundance for all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ SUMMARY ~~~~~~~~~~~~

28 THE FIRST CURE: For each ten coins I put in, to spend but nine.

30 THE SECOND CURE: Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of thy earnings.

33 THE THIRD CURE: Put each coin to laboring that it may reproduce its kind even as the flocks of the field and help bring to thee income, a stream of wealth that shall flow constantly into thy purse.

34 THE FOURTH CURE: Guard thy treasure from loss by investing only where thy principal is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where thou will not fail to collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect thy treasure from unsafe investments.

36 THE FIFTH CURE: Own thy own home.

38 THE SIXTH CURE: Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family.

41 THE SEVENTH CURE: Cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself.


42 If a man be lucky, there is no foretelling the possible extent of his good fortune. Pitch him into the Euphrates and like as not he will swim out with a pearl in his hand. (Babylonian Proverb)

46 I look to find her, not at the gaming tables or the races where men lose more gold than they win but in other places where the doings of men are more worth-while and more worthy of reward.

In tilling the soil in honest trading, in all of man’s occupations, there is opportunity to make a profit upon his efforts and his transactions.

This is so because the chances of profit are always in his favor.

48 It is not natural if we conclude a profitable transaction to consider it not good luck but a just reward for our efforts?

49 From thy earnings keep out one-tenth to put into favorable investments.

50 Opportunity stands before thee…do not delay.

Should I agree to pay one-tenth of my earnings into the enterprise, we must deprive ourselves of these and other pleasure we dearly desired. I did permit good luck to escape.

We see how good luck waits to come to that man who accepts opportunity.

51 Procrastinator … he accepts not opportunity when she comes.

54 The spirit of procrastination is within all men. We desire riches; yet, that spirit of procrastination from within doth urge various delays in our acceptance. In listening to it we do become our own worst enemies.

55 Tis not difficult to conquer, once understood. No man willingly permits the thief to rob his bins of grain. Nor does any man willingly permit an enemy to drive away his customers and rob him of his profits. So must every man master his own spirit of procrastination before he can expect to share in the rich treasures of Babylon.

I learned that to attract good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities.

Good luck, we do find, often follow opportunity but seldom comes otherwise.

Men of action are favored by the Goddess of Good Luck.


57 A bag heavy with gold or a clay tablet carved with words of wisdom; if thou hadst thy choice, which wouldst thou choose?

Hear the wild dogs out there in the night. They howl and wail because they are lean with hunger. Yet feed them, and they fight and strut, giving no thought to the morrow that will surely come.

Gold is reserved for those who know its laws and abide by them.

62 … had I but sought wisdom first, my gold would not have been lost to me. I would be guided by the wisdom of age and not by the inexperience of youth.

63 The Five Laws Of Gold
  1. 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 that of his family.

  2. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.

  3. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.

  4. Gold slippeth 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.

  5. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trust it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

These are the five laws of gold. I do proclaim them as of greater value than gold itself.

64 Do you know that the gold which you have saved can work for you and earn much more gold?

65 I recognized an opportunity to abide by the third law and invest my savings under the guidance of wise men. They would take no chance on losing their principal or tying it up in unprofitable investments from which their gold could not be recovered.

To him who is without knowledge of the five laws, gold comes not often, and goeth away quickly. But to him who abide by the five laws, gold comes and works as his dutiful slave.

66 Who can measure in bags of gold, the value of wisdom? Without wisdom, gold is quickly lost by those who have it, but with wisdom, gold can be secured by those who have it not.

67 Dost still think it but an inconsistency of fate that some men have much gold and others have nought? Then you err. Men have much gold when they know the five laws of gold and abide thereby.

Wealth that comes quickly goeth the same way.

Wealth that stayeth to give enjoyment and satisfaction to its owner comes gradually, because it is a child born of knowledge and persistent purpose.

To earn wealth is but a slight burden upon the thoughtful man. Bearing the burden consistently from year to year accomplishes the final purpose.

The First Law of Gold (67)
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 that of his family.

Any man who will put by one-tenth of his earnings consistently and invest it wisely will surely create a valuable estate that will provide an income for him in (Page 68) the future and further guarantee safety for his family in case the gods call him to the world of darkness. This law always sayeth that gold cometh gladly to such a man. I can truly certify this in my own life. The more gold I accumulate, the more readily it comes to me and in increased quantities. The gold which I save earns more, even as your will, and its earnings earn more, and this is the working out of the first law.

The Second Law of Gold (68)
Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.

Gold, indeed, is a willing worker. It is ever eager to multiply when opportunity presents itself. To every man who hath a store of gold set by, opportunity comes for its most profitable use. As the years pass, it multiplies itself in surprising fashion.

The Third Law of Gold (68)
Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.

Gold, indeed, clingeth to the cautious owner, even as it flees the careless owner. The man who seeks the advice of men wise in handling gold soon learneth not to jeopardize his treasure, but to preserve in safety and to enjoy in contentment its consistent increase.

The Fourth Law of Gold (69)
Gold slippeth 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.

To the man who hath gold, yet is not skilled in its handling, many uses for it appear most profitable. Too often these are fraught with danger of loss, and if properly analyzed by wise men, show small possibility of profit. Therefore, the inexperienced owner of gold who trusts to his own judgment and invests it in business or purposes with which he is not familiar, too often finds his judgment imperfect, and pays with his treasure for his inexperience. Wise, indeed is he who investeth his treasure under the advice of men skilled in the ways of gold.

The Fifth Law of Gold (69)
Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trust it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Fanciful propositions that thrill like adventure tales always come to the new owner of gold. These appear to endow his treasure with magic powers that will enable it to make impossible earnings. Yet heed ye the wise men for verily they know the risks that lurk behind every plan to make great wealth suddenly. (Page 70) Forget not the rich men of Nineveh who would take no chance of losing their principal or tying it up in unprofitable investments.

70 Our wise acts accompany us through life to please us and to help us. Just as surely, our unwise acts follow us to plague and torment us. Alas, they cannot be forgotten.

71 In the strength of thine own desires is a magic power. Guide this power with thy knowledge of the five laws of gold and thou shalt share the treasure of Babylon.


72 Fifty pieces of gold! What use should he make of it?

73 I crave thy wise advice. Many men come to me for gold to pay for their follies, but as for advice, they want it not.

74 More men want gold than have it, and would wish one who comes by it easily to divide. But can you not say “No?” Is thy will not as strong as thy fist?

Gold bringeth unto its possessor responsibility and a changed position with his fellow men. It bringeth fear lest he lose it or it be tricked away from him. It bringeth a feeling of power (Page 75) and ability to do good. Likewise, it bringeth opportunities whereby his very good intentions may bring him into difficulties.

75 That to borrowing and lending there is more than the passing of gold from the hands of one to the hands of another.

76 If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a way that will not bring thy friend’s burdens upon thyself.

Could a loan be well made if the borrower cannot repay? Must not the lender be wise and judge carefully whether his gold can perform a useful purpose to the borrower and return to him once more; or whether it will be wasted by one unable to use it wisely and leave him without his treasure, and leave the borrower with a debt he cannot repay?

77 The safest loans, my token box tells me, are to those whose possessions are of more value than the one they desire.

The loan is based on property.

In another class are those who have the capacity to earn. Such loans are based on human effort.

Others are those who have neither property nor assured earning capacity. They be guaranteed by good friends of the borrower who know him honorable.

78 He was my good friend. He brought a woman to wed. He spent his gold lavishly to gratify her desires. In a quarrel she thrust a knife into the heart he dared her to pierce.

Humans in the throes of great emotions are not safe risks for the gold lender.

79 He doth insist on repaying promptly. If they borrow for purposes that bring money back to them. But if they borrow because of their indiscretions, I warn thee to be cautious.

80 He is a wise trader. I have confidence in his good judgment and can lend him freely.

Youth is ambitious. Youth would take short cuts to wealth and the desirable things for which it stands. To secure wealth quickly youth often borrows unwisely. Youth, never having had experience, cannot realize that hopeless debt is like a deep pit into which one may descend quickly and where on may struggle vainly for many days. It is a pit of sorrow and regrets.

I do not discourage borrowing gold. I encourage it. I recommend it if it be for a wise purpose.

81 Should I lend my fifty pieces of gold to my sister’s husband?
Ask him for what purpose he would use it.
What knowledge have you of the ways of trade?
Merchants must learn their trade.

82 The wise lender wishes not the risk of the undertaking but the guarantee of safe repayment.

Tis’ well to assist those that are in trouble. But help must be given wisely, lest in our desire to help we but take upon ourselves the burden that belongs to another.

What thy labor earns for thee and what is given thee for reward is thine own and no man can put an obligation upon thee to part with it unless it do be thy wish.

83 I gladly lend to him my savings of an entire year that he may have an opportunity to prove that he can succeed.

I am a gold lender because I own more gold than I can use in my own trade. I desire my surplus gold to labor for others and thereby earn more gold. I do not wish to take risk of losing my gold for I have labored much and denied myself much to secure it. Therefore, I will no longer lend any of it where I am not confident that it is safe and will be returned to me. Neither will I lend it where I am not convinced that its earnings will be promptly paid to me.

84 Thou art about to become even as I, a gold lender. If thou dost safely preserve thy treasure it will produce liberal earnings for thee and be a rich source of pleasure and profit during all thy days. But if thou dost let it escape from thee, it will be a source of constant sorrow and regret as long as thy memory doth last.

Thy first desire is for safety.

Then be not swayed by foolish sentiments of obligation to trust thy treasure to any person. If thou wouldst help thy family or thy friends, find other ways than risking the loss of thy treasure. Forget not that gold slippeth away in unexpected ways from those unskilled in guarding it. As well waste thy treasure in extravagance as let others lose it for thee.

What next after safety dost desire of this treasure of thine? Be conservative in what thou expect it to earn that thou mayest keep and enjoy thy treasure. To hire it out with a promise of usurious returns is to invite loss.

Better a little caution, than a great regret.


90 Babylon endured century after century because if was fully protected. It could not afford to be otherwise.

The walls of Babylon were an outstanding example of man’s need and desire for protection. This desire is inherent in the human race. It is just as strong today as it ever was, but we have developed broader and better plans to accomplish the same purpose.

In this day, behind the impregnable walls of insurance, savings accounts and dependable investments, we can guard ourselves against the unexpected tragedies that may enter any door and seat themselves before any fireside.

We cannot afford to be without adequate protection.


91 The hungrier one becomes, the clearer one’s mind works.

92 Ill fortune! Wouldst blame the gods for thine own (Page 93) weakness. Ill fortune pursues every man who thinks more of borrowing than of repaying.

I myself have seen the world all of a different color from what it really is (Page 94) and the tale I am about to tell relates how I came to see it in its right color once more.

Being young and without experience I did not know that he who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation. So I indulged my whims for fine raiment and bought luxuries for my good wife and our home, beyond our means.

I paid as I could and for a while all went well. But (Page 95) in time I discovered I could not use my earning both to live upon and to pay my debts. Creditors began to pursue me to pay for my extravagant purchases and my life became miserable. I borrowed from my friends, but could not repay them either. Things went from bad to worse. My wife returned to her father and I decided to leave Babylon and seek another city where a young man might have better chances.

I fell in with a set of likeable robbers. I was seeing the world through a colored stone and did not realize to what degradation I had fallen. …our capture…we were stripped of our clothing and sold as slaves.

96 Sira: Ask this slave if he can lead a camel.

I told her much of my story. Her comments were disconcerting to me and I pondered much afterwards on what she said:

How can you call yourself a free man when your weakness has brought you to this? If a man has in himself the soul of a slave will he not become one no matter what his birth, even as water seeks its level? If (Page 97) a man has within him the soul of a free man, will he not become respected and honored in his own city in spite of his misfortune?

What every woman longs for is to be desired.

What think thou of me by this time? I asked her suddenly. Have I the soul of a man or have I the soul of a slave?
Have you a desire to repay the just debts you owe in Babylon? She parried.
Yes, I have the desire, but I see no way.
If thou contentedly let the years slip by and make no effort to repay, then thou hast but the contemptible soul of a slave. No man is otherwise who cannot respect himself and no man can respect himself who does no repay honest debts.

Does not thy great king fight his enemies in every (Page 98) way he can and with every force he has? Thy debts are thy enemies. They ran thee out of Babylon. You left them alone and they grew too strong for thee. Hadst fought them as a man, thou couldst have conquered them and been one honored among the townspeople. But thou had not the soul to fight them and behold thy pride hast gone down until thou are a slave in Syria.

98 Dabasir, hast thou the soul of a free man or the soul of a slave? Take then these camels and make thy escape.

100 I looked across into the uninviting distance and once again came to me the question, “Have I the should of a slave or the soul of a free man? Then with clearness I realized that if I had the soul of a slave, I should give up, lie down in the desert and die, a fitting end for a runaway slave.

But if I had the soul of a free man, what then? Surely I would force my way back to Babylon, repay the people who had trusted me, bring happiness to my wife who truly loved me and bring peace and contenment to my parents.

“Thy debts are thine enemies who have run thee out of Babylon,” Sira had said. Yes it was so. Why had I refused to stand my ground like a man? Why had I permitted my wife to go back to her father?

Then a strange thing happened. All the world seemed to be of a different color as though I had been looking at it through a colored stone which had suddenly been removed. At last I saw the true values in life.

Die in the desert! Not I! With a new vision, I saw the things that I must do. First I would go back to Babylon and face every man to whom I owed an unpaid debt. I should tell them that after years of wandering and misfortune, I had come back to pay my debts as fast as the gods would permit. Next I should make a home for my wife and become a citizen of whom my parents should be proud.

My debts were my enemies, but the men I owed were my friends for they had trusted me and believed in me. I staggered weakly to my feet. What mattered hunger? What mattered thirst? They were but (Page 101) incidents on the road to Babylon. Within me surged the soul of a free man going back to conquer his enemies and reward his friends. I thrilled with the great resolve.

101 The soul of a free man looks at life as a series of problems to be solved and solves them, while the soul of a slave whines, “What can I do who am but a slave?”

How about thee, Tarkad? Dost thy empty stomach make thy head exceedingly clear? Art ready to take the road that leads back to self respect? Canst thou see the world in its true color? Hast thou the desire to pay thy honest debts, however many they may be, and once again be a man respected in Babylon?

Where the determination is, the way can be found.

102 With knowledge, I put to good use, gradually I was able to repay every copper and every piece of silver. Then at last I could hold up my head and feel that I was an honorable man among men.

Where the determination is, the way can be found.


104 - The tablets … disclose the problem of a person named Dabasir to pay off his debts, one realizes that conditions upon this old world have not changed as much in five thousand years as one might expect.

105 - Tablet No. 1

I am determined to follow an exact plan that he doth say will lead any honorable man out of debt into means and self respect.

106 - This plan includeth three purposes which are my hope and desire.

First, the plan doth provide for my future prosperity.

Therefore one-tenth of all I earn shall be set aside as my own to keep. For Mathon speaketh wisely when he saith: That man who keepeth in his purse both gold and silver that he need not spend is good to his family and loyal to his king. But the man who hath naught in his purse is unkind to his family and is disloyal to his king, for his own heart is bitter.

Therefore, the man who wisheth to achieve must have coin that he may keep to jingle in his purse, that he have in his heart love for his family and loyalty to his king.

Second, the plan doth provide that I shall support and clothe my good wife who hath returned to me with loyalty from the house of her father. For Mathon doth say that to take good care of a faithful wife putteth self-respect into the heart of a man and addeth strength and determination to his purposes.

Therefore seven-tenths of all I earn shall be used to provide a home, clothes to wear, and food to eat, with a bit extra to spend, that our lives be not lacking in pleasure and enjoyment. But he doth further enjoin the greatest care that we spend not greater than seven-tenths of what I earn for these worthy purposes. Herein lieth the success of the plan. I must live upon this portion and never use more nor buy what I may not pay for out of this portion.

107 - Tablet No. 2

Third, the plan doth provide that out of my earnings my debts shall be paid.

Therefore each time the moon is full, two-tenths of all I have earned shall be divided honorably and fairly among those who have trusted me and to whom I am indebted. Thus in due time will all my indebtedness be surely paid.

Therefore, do I here engrave the name of every man to whom I am indebted and the honest amount of my debt.

107 - Tablet No. 3

To these creditors do I owe in total one hundred and nineteen pieces of silver and one hundred and forty-one pieces of copper. Because I did owe these sums and saw no way to repay, in my folly I did permit my wife to return to her father and didst leave my native city and seek easy wealth elsewhere, only (Page 108) to find disaster and to see myself sold into the degradation of slavery.

108 - Now that Mathon doth show me how I can repay my debts in small sums of my earnings, do I realize the great extent of my folly in running away from the results of my extravagances.

Therefore have I visited my creditors and explained to them that I have no resources with which to pay except my ability to earn, and that I intent to apply two tenths of all I earn upon my indebtedness evenly and honestly. This much can I pay but no more. Therefore if they be patient, in time my obligations will be paid in full.

108 - Tablet No. 4

This I have divided according to the plan. One (Page 109) tenth have I set aside to keep as my own, seven-tenths have I divided with my good wife to pay for our living. Two-tenths have I divided among my creditors as evenly as could be done in coppers.

110 - Great is the plan for it leadeth us out of debt and giveth us wealth which is ours to keep.

In my purse I now have twenty-one pieces of silver that are mine. It maketh my head to stand straight upon my shoulders and maketh me proud to walk among my friends. My wife keepeth well our home and is becomingly gowned. We are happy to live together. The plan is of untold value. Hath it not made an honorable man of an ex-slave?

110 - Tablet No. 5

Again the moon shines full and I remember that it is long since I carved upon the clay. Twelve moons in truth have come and gone. But this day I will not neglect my record because upon this day I have paid the last of my debts. This is the day upon which my good wife and my thankful self celebrate with great feasting that our determination hath been achieved.

Many things occurred upon my final visit to my creditors that I shall long remember. Ahmar begged my forgiveness for his unkind words and said that I was one of all others he most desired for a friend. Old Alkahad is not so bad after all, for he said, “Thou wert once a piece of soft clay to be pressed and moulded by any hand that touched thee, but now (Page 111) thou are a piece of bronze capable of holding an edge. If thou needst silver or gold at any time come to me.”

Nor is he the only one who holdeth me in high regard. Many others speak deferentially to me. My good wife looketh upon me with a light in her eyes that doth make a man have confidence in himself.

Yet it is the plan that hath made my success. It hath enabled me to pay all my debts and to jingle both gold and silver in my purse. I do commend it to all who wish to get ahead. For truly if it will enable an ex-slave to pay his debts and have gold in his purse, will it not aid any man to find independence? Nor am I, myself, finished with it, for I am convinced that if I follow it further it will make me rich among men.

111 - Letter from Professor Franklin Caldwell, British Scientific Expedition, Hillah, Mesopotamia

114 - It is the real fun, to start accumulating money that you do not want to spend. There (Page 115 - is more pleasure in running up such a surplus than there could be in spending it.

There is a most gratifying sense of security to know our investment is growing steadily. By the time my teaching days are over it should be a snug sum, large enough so the income will take care of us from then on.

Who would believe there could be such a difference in results between following a financial plan and just drifting along.

116 - We are determined never again to permit our living expenses to exceed seventy percent of our income.


121 - Did not thy grandfather tell thee I was once a slave?

Any man may find himself a slave, It was a gaming house and barley beer that brought me disaster. I was the victim of my brother’s indiscretions. In a brawl he killed his friend. I was bonded to the widow by my father, desperate to keep my brother from being prosecuted under the law. When my father could not raise the silver to free me, she in anger sold me to the slave dealer.

How didst thou regain freedom?

122 - Who wants to work hard?

Thou can’t get ahead by shirking. I like to work and I like to do good work, for work is the best friend I’ve ever known. It has brought me all the good things I’ve had, my farm and cows and crops, everything.

125 - Remember, work, well-done, does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.

I followed my new master away, thinking I was the luckiest man in Babylon.

126 - No work to do is bad for any man. I felt it was time for me to think of a way by which I might start to earn coins to buy my freedom.

127 - Thy grandfather said something to me one day that I shall always remember. “I like thy cakes, boy, but better still I like the fine enterprise with which thou offerest them. Such spirit can carry thee far on the road to success.

130 - Cling no longer to thy master. Get once again the feeling of being a free man. Act like a free man and succeed like one! Decide what thou desirest to accomplish and then work will aid thee to achieve it!

131 - Behold, the slave thou knewest is now a free man. There was magic in thy words. Already my sales and my profits are increasing. My wife is overjoyed. She was a free woman, the niece of my master. She much desires that we move to a strange city where no man shall know I was once a slave. Thus our children shall be above reproach for their father’s misfortune. Work has become my best helper. It has enabled me to recapture my confidence and my skill to sell.

133 - His hands were deeply calloused from hard work but his heart was light and there was happiness on his face. His was the best plan.

134 - I knew I was the luckiest man in Babylon. Work, thou see, by this, in the time of my greatest distress, didst prove to be my best friend. My willingness to work enabled me to escape from being sold to join the slave gangs upon the walls. It also so (Page 135) impressed thy grandfather, he selected me for his partner.

135 - Was work my grandfather’s secret key to the golden shekels?

Work attracted his many friends who admired his industry and the success it brought. Work brought him the honors he enjoyed so much.

Life is rich with many pleasures for men to enjoy. Each, has its place. I am glad that work is not reserved for slaves. Were that the case I would be deprived of my greatest pleasure.


137 - In the pages of history there lives no city more glamorous than Babylon. Its very name conjures visions of wealth and splendor. Its treasures of gold and jewels were fabulous. One naturally pictures such a wealthy city as located in a suitable setting of tropical luxury, surrounded by rich natural resources of forests and mines. Such was not the case. It was located beside the Euphrates River, in a flat, arid valley. It had no forests, no mines—not even stone for building. It was not even located upon a natural trade-route. The rainfall was insufficient to raise crops.

138 - Babylon is an outstanding example of man's ability to achieve great objectives, using whatever means are at his disposal. All of the resources supporting this large city were man-developed. All of its riches were man-made.

Babylon possessed just two natural resources – a fertile soil and water in the river. With one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of this or any other day, Babylonian engineers diverted the waters from the river by means of dams and immense irrigation canals. Far out across that arid valley went these canals to pour the life giving waters over the fertile soil. This ranks among the first engineering feats known to history. Such abundant crops as were the reward of this irrigation system the world had never seen before.

As a city, Babylon exists no more. The site of the city is in Asia about six hundred miles east of the Suez Canal, just north of the Persian Gulf.

139 – Today, this valley of the Euphrates, once a populous irrigated farming district, is again a wind-swept arid waste.

Such is Babylon, the wealthy city, today. A heap of dirt, so long abandoned that no living person even knew its name until it was discovered by carefully removing the refuse of centuries from the streets and the fallen wreckage of its noble temples and palaces.

Positive dates have been proved reaching back 8,000 years.

140 – They were an educated and enlightened people. So far as written history goes, they were the first engineers, the first astronomers, the first mathematicians, the first financiers and the first people to have a written language.

141 – In that distant day, the use of paper had not been invented. Instead, they laboriously engraved their writing upon tablets of moist clay.

Safely buried in the wrecked cities, archaeologists have recovered entire libraries of these tablets, hundreds of thousands of them.

142 - The later and more famous walls were started about six hundred years before the time of Christ by King Nabopolassar. Upon such a gigantic scale did he plan the rebuilding, he did not live to see the work finished. This was left to his son, Nebuchadnezzar, whose name is familiar in Biblical history.

142 - The height and length of these later walls staggers belief. They are reported upon reliable authority to have been about one hundred and sixty feet high, the equivalent of the height of a modern fifteen story office building. The total length is estimated as between nine and eleven miles. So wide was the top that a six-horse chariot could be driven around them. Of this tremendous structure, little now remains except portions of the foundations and the moat.

143 – The Babylonians were skilled in the arts. These included sculpture, painting, weaving, gold working and the manufacture of metal weapons and agricultural implements.

The Babylonians were clever financiers and traders. So far as we know, they were the original inventors of money as a means of exchange, of promissory notes and written titles to property.

144 - The eons of time have crumbled to dust the proud walls of its temples, but the wisdom of Babylon endures.


145 – George Samuel Clason was born in Louisiana, Missouri, on November 7, 1874. He attended the University of Nebraska and served in the United States Army during the Spanish-American War. Beginning a long career in publishing, he founded the Clason Map Company of Denver, Colorado, and published the first road atlas of the United States and Canada. In 1926, he issued the first of a famous series of pamphlets on thrift and financial success, using parables set in ancient Babylon to make each of his points. These were distributed in large quantities by banks and insurance companies and became familiar to millions, the most famous being “The Richest Man in Babylon,” the parable from which the present volume takes it title. These “Babylonian parables” have become a modern inspirational classic.


Ahead of you stretches your future. Along that road are ambitions you wish to accomplish. If you truly want to fulfill your desires, this book holds the secrets.

The success secrets of the ancients – a sure path to prosperity and happiness.

Join the millions of readers who have been helped by this famous book. Hailed as the greatest of all inspirational works on the subject of thrift and personal wealth, these fascinating and informative parables have become a modern classic. In language as simple as the Bible, “The Richest Man in Babylon” offers a financial plan to put you on the road to riches. It will guide you successfully through a lifetime.

The Richest Man in Babylon. Read it yourself. Recommend it to friends. And give it to young people starting out in life.