Why Should I Read | The Richest Man in Babylon

If you’re like me, you too have tried to “get into” a finance course or personal finance book. You may be  realizing, like I am as well, that a failure to learn good financial principles compounds throughout your life and that not knowing what you’re doing is an incredibly bad idea.

Last week we talked about why stories drive change. This book, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason, presents useful financial principles in story form. I won’t reprint the stories here, so you’ll have to settle for a quick bullet-ed list of the “7 cures for a lean purse.” The audiobook version is $1.95 and only 4 hours long too!

This book was published in 1926 a few years before the great depression. Clason was the owner of a prominent map company and applied the principles he writes about throughout his life.

This small paperback is the seminal work on personal finance and entrepreneurial thinking. These lessons address topics such as avoiding debt, seeking out mentors and protecting assets. The short, allegorical book struck a chord with Depression-era readers, who clamored for its easy-to-read financial advice and wisdom on building wealth.

This book is concise, it delivers financial principles in story form, and it provided a basis for many authors and speakers of the 20th century as they wrote books and delivered seminars on financial success.

You may actually prefer a change of pace from the dry financial tomes that tell us how to pay down debt, buy a home, invest in stocks or other strategies like flipping houses or starting a business. Then the stories of Arkad, Dabasir, and Sharru Nada  set in the exotic gardens of Babylon or the deserts of the Middle east will be a welcome change of pace.

Babylon from above

NASA photo of Euphrates River, along which Babylon grew up.

If that sounds interesting, and you want more than these 7 quick points to overcome being broke we are going to cover, then go get this book on amazon for 4 dollars for a paperback or 1.95 on audiobook.

Think about this for a second, Og Mandino, one of the most successful personal development speakers and authors of the 20th century called this book the greatest text on personal finance and thrift of all time and it’s 1.95 on amazon. The problem isn’t lack of information, people, it’s lack of implementation.

Another personal-achievement expert, Brian Tracy, explained in his book Getting Rich Your Own Way that Clason’s message, despite its age, is still valid today. “The book is a primer on financial success because its principles are simple, direct and effective,” Tracy says.     Pulled from Success Magazine, April 13, 2011

Here are the seven bullet points on overcoming a lean purse from the Richest Man in Babylon.

  1. Set thy purse to fattening
    1. Specifically, hold 10% of your income for your own future.
  2. Control the expenditures
    1. Live on 90% of your income or less and don’t deviate from the budget.
  3. Make thy gold multiply
    1. Straightforward, don’t let it sit there, invest wisely. Parable of servants matt 25.
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss
    1. Invest only where the principle is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where you earn reasonable interest. Also seek counsel from wiser heads when investing.
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.
    1. Own your home. Here’s the thing, I take issue with this one to some extent but in almost all cases it’s better to own if you can do it without debt.
  6. Insure a future income
    1. Provide in advance for your family and/or retirement
  7. Increase thy ability to earn.
    1. Build your capacity, study and become wiser and more skillful, and act as though you respect yourself.

Those are the 7 cures for a lean purse from The Richest Man in Babylon. The audiobook is 4 hours long and costs less than a cup of coffee. If you can’t handle some Thees and Thous don’t bother, but with experience comes wisdom and many experienced individuals highly recommend this book.

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Why Should I Read | Eat That Frog

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.


According to Brian Tracy, “eating frogs” is a fun way to refer to overcoming procrastination.

Frog 2

There are 21 practices outlined in this book. All of them are immediately practicable for those interested in being more effective in the time that they have.

Do you fit this description?

If so, you may be looking for the “5 Easy Steps to Get More Done.”

I know I’ve clicked those articles before hoping there was some shortcut.

However, the one habit that could outshine all the others in the book may be the toughest of them all.

Here it is, start every work day by doing the most difficult task first.

Why?

Implementing this habit rids your day of procrastination.

As an interesting aside, the psychology of procrastinating is a fascinating topic. Here are two links, first to a fun Ted talk (Instant Gratification Monkey!), and second, a PsychologyToday article titled 10 Things to Know About Procrastination.

So to develop this habit, Tracy says there are seven steps that combine to maximize your capacity to scarf down that big, ugly frog first thing in the morning.

  1. Written List. This is a pre-emptive habit, ending your day or week by writing down what needs to happen the next time you start gets your subconscious mind aware of the next challenge to be faced.
  2. Reprioritization. The list you have has a number of first priorities, identifying them, and  using the 80/20 rule to identify what is the highest value for the effort. This is the first point in this week’s video.
  3. The choice. Select a single task that is among your highest priorities and has the most serious potential consequences from either getting it done or being left undone.
  4. Assembly. Still the day or week before, you’ll want to gather the information or tools you’ll need and put them where you can get started right away the next morning.
  5. Workspace. The final preparation piece beforehand, you clear your workspace so that it is only you and your frog.
  6. Discipline. This aspect is simply a willpower exercise, but if it is the first challenge of the day, your willpower hasn’t been depleted yet by distractions.
  7. 21 days. Tracy writes that if one will do these 7 steps every day for 21 straight days you will literally double your productivity in less than a month.

The way in which this chapter of the book ends is certainly motivating to me, and I hope it is to you too.

Develop the habit of doing the most difficult task first and you’ll never look back. You’ll become one of the most productive people of your generation.


So what frog are you going to eat?

Frog 1

Have you seen the video on this book? Click Here.

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