I just finished reading George S. Clason’s classic The Richest Man In Babylon. This is a book full of wisdom on personal finances/financial planning told as a series of “Babylonian parables”.
At the heart of these parables lay “the seven cures for a lean purse”:
1- Start thy purse to fattening
2- Control thy expenditures
3- Make the gold multiply
4- Guard thy treasures from loss
5- Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
6- Insure a future income
7- Increase thy ability to earn
In addition to the above George presents several other topics to re-enforce the above laws, such as desire, luck, lending and debt to name a few. None of the concepts presented in the book are novel, in fact they are all common sense. That being said, they are presented in a very enlightening context that spurs self reflection. The concepts discussed focus on the importance of savings, and investing these savings in a responsible and safeguarding manner. The book also focuses on the importance of hard work, and advocates against debt and living beyond one’s means.
This is a very inspirational book that is both easy and entertaining to read for old and young alike. It is truly amazing that the basic laws of personal finance realized thousands of years ago still apply. Wikipedia has a detailed summary on this book for further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Richest_Man_in_Babylon_%28book%29 . On a side note for readers, this edition is written in King James English.
Below are some excerpts I found particularly insightful:
1- “One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how.Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.”
2- “Preceding accomplishment must be desire. Thy desires must be strong and definite.”
3- “…to attract good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities.”
4- “Better a little caution than a great regret.”
5- “Where the determination is, the way can be found.”