The Richest Man in Babylon (George S. Clason) – Book Summary7 min read

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Classon Book Cover

Three Sentence Summary

Simple era-spanning wisdom on acquiring wealth conveyed through real world stories, what’s not to love! This makes it a great beginners guide documenting how wealth works and how the rich get richer from the story’s of the people of Babylon. It may be old but the morals learnt can be applied to the modern day to start you on your journey.

My Top 3 Take Aways

  1.  Save 1/10th of every pay check and put that money to work via sound investment opportunities.
  2. Advice on investments or anything in life should only be taken from people who are knowledgeable in that trade/field. Seek this advice!
  3. Wealth requires research, study and hard work. This will put yourself in the best situation for when opportunity arises.

Who Do I Recommend This Book For?

As with all non-fiction this book is best for someone who is willing to learn and apply the knowledge. For this book however, beginners to saving and those wanting to become wealthier will benefit the most as these are the most basic strategies of becoming richer. That being said anyone who is later in their journey can benefit as it is always good to refresh basic principles. It is only a short read so no excuses!

Full Summary


These story’s documented from the teachings of Babylon’s richest man, Arkad, are truly able to change a person’s outlook on wealth when applied to the modern day. Whilst the book was written over 90 years ago the story’s told originate from preserved clay tablets over 3000 years old and remarkably still offer plenty of financial wisdom.

Pay Yourself First

The key first step, as reiterated multiple times in this book, is to pay yourself first. This goes for every pay check, gift and odd piece of income. After all money is money, no matter where it comes from. Arkad recommends saving a minimum of 1/10th of every pay check and putting it aside for investment opportunities. This is a great habit to get into as commitment to this allows for a decent accumulation of wealth.


The powerful thing about this is living off 9/10th of your pay check is usually very manageable by cutting out just a few expenses which are not truly necessary. As Arkad explains “necessary expenses will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest”. Think about your current spending patterns, chances are there’s something you can reduce maybe its not eating out as often or taking coffee to work instead of going to Starbucks. Small daily expenses soon add up so look at how you can streamline that spending habit. There is plenty of saving advice online so read up, track your own spending and see where you can find some concessions. At the end of the day how can you expect to become wealthy if you cant even take control of your spending. Saving can become quite addicting so you may soon find yourself thinking you can manage even more, which is great! Just don’t drop below that 1/10th mark.

What Could You Save?

Anna has just graduated University at the age of 21 and has landed a job earning the average UK graduate starting salary (2022) of £24,294. So using this advice how much can she save?

  1. Monthly salary without pension or student loans. £24,294/12months = £2,024.50 per month (gross). After taxes are paid, this leaves £1,712 left to play with.
  2. 1/10 of £1,712 = £171.20 per month. Leaving £1,540.80 to live off which from my own experience I have found perfectly doable.
  3. In a year this equates to £2054.40 which is a nice tidy sum while still living comfortably within your pay check.
  4. This sum is of course without considering where you put your money and so you can easily make anywhere from 3-10% depending on if you chose a savings account or choose to invest. Either way £2054.40 is the minimum and is flexible to use as new investment opportunities arise.

Seek Out Experience

As for the investment opportunities, this book doesn’t offer any specific options but Arkad does offer advice on making the decision. Good strategic investments are ones that have been researched first and the information has come from a reputable source. This means people who are knowledgeable in that field/trade. I feel this point is even more important in this age of social media where everyone has the ability to voice their opinions online. The ability to discern between people who are qualified to talk about the advice they give and those who are not, is a simple but critical skill. Now, I understand this sounds very hypocritical of me to say, which is why I implore you to read it for yourself! Read and have your own ideas and opinions, it’s the best way to learn. That being said I still hope you find my thoughts useful!


This point on seeking advice from people with the experience and knowledge of how you can succeed is crucial when done right. Direct communication will be most valuable as by making that connection you can unwittingly get yourself your own personal mentor. By going to people who are knowledgeable you show that you’re serious and willing to work. Successful people are usually more than willing to offer this advice. They’ve usually worked hard to get to the position they’re in so you’ll appear relatable maybe even reminding them of themselves at the beginning of their journey. Another key thing is that helping people feels good. By asking for simple advice from people you’ll usually get more value than you bargained for. Think about your next goal, think about people you know or know about who have achieved this and reach out. SEEK THIS ADVICE!

Research for Reward

‘Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar’ is a quote from law 4 of Arkads’ five laws of gold. He recommends putting time into researching the area of investment you are interested in. Learn from people well versed in the field and make sure you are fully aware of the risks that the investment entail. This book talks of insurance and safety of investments. Look into ways your money can be protected to minimise the risk. Rushing into opportunities that seem to offer quick and large returns are often the ones that lose you money and so are the most risky. Don’t skip the research, it’ll benefit you well into the future not just in this first investment. 

Making it Actionable!

“Too often does youth think that age knows only the wisdom of days that are gone, and therefore profits not”

The 3000 Year Old Fast Track

Wealth is a long term goal so finding enjoyment in the work is key. This can be as simple as the satisfaction of watching that 1/10th you put aside grow and grow as it earns for you. I find simple strategies are often the most powerful as you can stick to them consistently. Use this age old knowledge, start paying yourself first, research and seek advice from those more knowledgeable than yourself, then take action and put your savings to work. Procrastinating on this for fear of trying or thinking it won’t work for you is truly irrational especially thinking of the final chapters. These consist of stories from ex-slaves building their way to buying freedom. If a person forced into servitude can do it why can’t you, a person living in a world with more opportunities for earning than ever before thanks to the internet. If you are still sceptical about taking financial advice from over 3000 years ago, which is entirely reasonable, I’ll leave you on my favourite quote from this book. “Too often does youth think that age knows only the wisdom of days that are gone, and therefore profits not”.



If you’ve read this book already I’d love to know your thoughts and how you’ve implemented its strategies. Let me know down below!

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