Few books are considered elementary when we look into the world of Finance. One of such book is The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clayson. As the book preface suggests, few books stand the test of time and are still valid. It is quite fascinating how, nearly a 100 years old book is still relevant today, and it is actually based on a society which is thousands of years old. The book speaks about general rules of personal finance and building wealth which are valid today and probably much well in to the future.

Personal Experience

I got this book nearly 2 years before writing this article. However, for a long time I did not move forward of 10-12 pages. Recently, I decided to move a little forward in completing the book. After going through a few more pages, I completed half of the book in next few hours. TBH, the book is just a 100+ pages but still, it is quite an achievement for me personally. It is straight forward and speaks out some general concepts as rules and some in BOLD to make the reader, a bit more focused on the point the author is trying to convey. However, so far, I found some certain subtle nuances. These are quite spoken high of, by many Mentors and Gurus these days. These are not focused much but are still quite relevant and important at present. Moving forward, I would like to highlight them and if you are planning on reading the book, this may have some spoilers.


Before going to the points, I would like to mention the premise, if you haven't read the book. The book in the first half gives lessons of personal finance from perspective of Arkad, The Richest Man in Babylon, wealthy than the King himself. He is a self-made wealthy man, starting from a modest job and built his wealth learning saving and investment from his Mentor. He first gives some advice to his friends and later to a hundred people on orders of the King, when he observes the wealth difference among his subjects. Some consider his success as luck, but Arkad is an example of how Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity. Many of these lessons or rules are to the point to keep the reader on track.

The Subtlities

Now coming to the subtle points, these are something that are relevant at present and spoken quite frequently over many Media and Forums. Fascinating to see them being valid and important till date. These are not boldly mentioned in the book but can be picked up when we relate it with Present World.

  1. Surrounding yourself with Good People : In the beginning, two of Arkad's friends are a bit sad about the way of their finances. However, they wanted to improve and consult Arkad how they can do it. During their conversation, they do not look down upon each other or some other people. They see the slaves and are grateful for their better life. They want to improve their finances but not in shady ways. While a book should/will not suggest any shady ways to readers directly, we should pick up the importance of surrounding ourselves with like-minded people. It shares the importance of Networking and how a growth mindset among peers can improve and uplift each other. Further in to the book, A discussion in Center of Learning of Babylon regarding luck, enforces this idea.
  2. Mentorship and notion that People are happy to help : The friends asks Arkad for his advice to improve their finances and he gives it. The subtlety exists in how we must approach the people we look up to for advice and often they are happy to help us. Further into the book, Arkad explains how he got advice from his mentor and how his mentor is quite happy to help him progress and improve. Most people are happy to share their journey and help those who are in need of it. They are happy to see them succeed. It also mentions the downside, that, Most of the Advice is free, but we must be careful about who we get it from. Experience, Self Practice and Success can be good measures to filter advice.
  3. Self Care and Self Priority : This is quite a big thing at present. Several industries are running and branding themselves on the idea of Self Care and Self Priority, from healthy eating companies to new age cosmetics. However, the book proposes and expands on an idea of paying oneself. Whatever, we are spending in name of Self care, we are paying to others in a hope that it helps us. But, is this really happening? This is a question we must answer ourselves. Spending entire earnings in name of self care may not be a right way. Saving, Investing and Insuring must be foremost part of self care before spending. There is also a discussion, if personal budget is self deprivation but when it is made by ourselves by introspection and prioritization, isn't it self-preservation?
  4. Power of Habit : Atomic Habits, by James Clear (2018), is one of the most suggested and sought after, on how small and consistent work, as habit, can make a big difference (I need to pick this up). However, there are several mentions of this in the book. This proves how some concepts stand the test of time. An Example of Living below means and habit of saving, illustrates how we can get comfortable through prioritizing and making/breaking habits.
  5. The Abundance Mindset : This, is what prompted me to write this post. I was awe-struck on finding it. It is so-far mentioned only once(in total first half), when Arkad says his 100 pupils that, there is abundance in Babylon for all them. This took me back to a podcast with Kunal Shah, founder of Cred (check it out). Scarcity is when we think our wealth is a result of others loss. This way of thinking is a bit common in Indian context, where wealth is given lesser priority than other Social aspects. However, it is not a way to go, especially, when we are embracing Capitalism at every level. It may leave us in a constant state of self-doubt and remorse. On the other hand, Abundance mindset focus on improving our wealth and also uplifting others as there is an abundance for everyone of us. It is important to think such way to reinforce ourselves morally in a Capitalistic world.

Apart from these there are several others on Procrastination, Investing early and starting small, Acting upon gut feeling and Luck. It is definitely a trove of most sought after concepts of present.


I found these things when I read the book, maybe because I am looking for them or as result of acquired knowledge from other source previously? I am not entirely sure of either. It is really fascinating, how these are still relevant and passed on for years, yet disappointing that they are never taught formally. I am looking forward to read further and complete the book and maybe write another post. Feel free to share you ideas/opinions and read the book if possible.