Book Review

A financial classic on wealth building


It is early in the year, so resolutions are still top on our agenda. Study after study say that among the top three New Year’s resolutions are exercising, saving and investing more as well as eating right. The Business Daily, in its lead story of the first edition of 2019 by Charles Mwaniki explored the ways in which the high networth individuals might invest their money over the course of the year. I urge you to look at that on the BD website if you haven’t already.

I guess this is a good time as any other, for us all to read up on investing and take the crucial steps to achieve desired financial independence and prosperity. This is where George Clason’s The Richest Man In Babylon, first published in 1926 and still apt, comes in.

Clason tells the story of a rich man named Arkad, who had two childhood friends seeking riches that eluded them even with their hard work and so they sought his advice on the same.

Arkad’s secret to his friends was simple: “A part of all you earn is yours to keep”. He divulged that he had started with saving, then lent that money to a shield maker, who paid interest on the loan, thus the money kept growing.

The parables and stories of encouragement, wisdom and inspiration are interspersed through the book, easily marinated and applied into our modern living.


The emphasis of the book is a balance between hoarding money through saving and investing it wisely. First through budgeting realistically and chopping off spending habits that drain your cash and putting that disposable cash into long-term investment opportunities because having it add zeros to your bank balance never helped anyone unless it was deposited in the hands of professionals who know what to do with it.

Although ignorance is bliss, the more you learn about how little you know in finance, the more you realise how little you know. Becoming rich overnight then ceases to be a gleaming attraction.

Also, it is through accessing more opportunities that wealth is increased and opportunities opened through increased hard work. This is to not only spot these opportunities, but also through patience, and increased willingness to always seize them such that your fortunes will slowly begin to change.

Clason is easy to follow given he has sub topics off the main 10 ones that frame the 158-page book. It is written in a classical British text of the time and can get a little time getting used to. It is a complex book in terms of language, yet simple book in terms of ideology.

The Richest Man In Babylon offers tips on personal discipline to manage personal finances by living below your means, focusing on generating opportunity through hard work, saving, investing and avoiding debt. This advice makes The Richest Man In Babylon a small inspirational modern classic that has stood the test of time and is certainly worthy looking into early on in the year.