It seems like there are a few books that stand out as favorites that I invariably end up reading over and again. When in comes to managing money and personal finance this is my hands down favorite. Not only is it easy and fun to read, but the simple lessons taught in this short book really work.
The book is a compilation of several somewhat interwoven short stories that use the ancient city of Babylon as the backdrop. It begins with two friends lamenting their financial problems. They decide to seek out the advice of their old friend (now the richest man in Babylon). Each story teaches an important common sense lesson on wealth and happiness.
I doubt that anyone will learn anything they don’t already know by reading this book (i.e. working hard can be beneficial, save your money, don’t make risky investments, etc.), but who can’t benefit from a reminder of these rules every once in a while? One of my favorite parts involves a father who gives his son a sum of money and a list of recommendations about how it should be handled. Predictably the son disregards the advice and learns some hard lessons. Yet in the end, he learns to follow the advice and earn back all he lost and more.
In my work as an estate attorney, I have met lots of individuals who have accumulated amazing sums of wealth. To my knowledge, few of them became and stayed wealthy through get rich quick schemes. Most of them became wealthy using basically the principles taught in this book.
The first time I read this book I felt somewhat embarrassed because I had made so many (errr, all) of the mistakes as the characters in the book. Unlike some recent books on wealth management, this book doesn’t make you feel too guilty, and it actually offers easy to follow common sense ways to immediately improve your financial situation. By the way, this is also a great book to give to teenagers. I would not hesitate to recommend it to someone as young as 12 or 13.
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