When I made my list of top ten money books, some readers questioned why The Richest Man in Babylon did not make the cut. I did consider adding George Clason’s timeless classic on personal finance but in the end I went with The Wealthy Barber instead because the latter has a more modern take on the same topic.

It turns out that The Richest Man is now in the public domain and you can download the book over at the Where Does All My Money Go? website.

If you can get past the slightly grating “thou” and “thy”, the book has some sensible advice such as this:

THE FIVE LAWS OF GOLD

I. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family.
II. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.
III. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.
IV. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.
V. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

This article has 12 comments

  1. This is the best “first” financial book out there. My father had me read this book when I was around fifteen years old, and it really struck a chord with me.

    Number one: it’s short. Modern publishers (and perhaps consumers) feel that if a book isn’t at least 250 pages, it’s not worth picking up. This book packs it all into a format that can be read on a rainy afternoon.

    Number two: the ancient setting drives home the permanence of the lessons. Even though it is fictional, I don’t have a problem believing that these “rules” have applied since the dawn of civilization.

    I have a penchant for the ancient middle east, and for finance, so this book is right up my alley. After all, currency was invented in Lydia (near Babylon) and the Syrians were the first bankers. Do yourself a favour; if you haven’t read “The Richest Man in Babylon”, set aside a couple hours and take it in.

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  3. Thanks for the link. I know people like this book so I’ve tried to get through it a few times and never managed it. Maybe having my own copy will change that.

  4. I couldn’t say it any better than Cash Canuck. Read this after the wealthy barber and preferred Richest Man in Babylon.

  5. Thanks for the link CC. I should also mention that the e-book includes a link to a free audio book to download as well.

  6. I would love to hear the book if its free. Otherwise I have heard only good reviews about it.

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  8. My bad! The audio book is not a free download. As I posted on my site, perhaps the PF bloggers can all pick a chapter and we can put together a free audio book ourselves! 🙂

  9. Its (audio format) available for download from google videos.

  10. I’ve always liked The Wealthy Barber myself. Thanks for the link!