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Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

I. George Clason's The Richest Man
in Babylon
About The Book

About The Author

Overall Summary

Chapter-by-Chapter Summary and Analysis

List of Characters

Major Themes And Symbols

Related Facts

Sources

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I.

George Clason's The
Richest Man in
Babylon

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About The Book

The roaring ‘20s. America was in the throws of its post-war boom years. Men and women
alike convened in local speak-easys where the Volstead Act couldn’t touch them to drink,
dance, laugh, and listen to all the latest and greatest Swing.

It wasn’t all fun and games during this decade of personal freedom and financial
prosperity. President Harding’s “return to normalcy” more or less began a period of
isolationism in the US. The Senate failed to pass the Treaty of Versailles and the US did
not join the newly created League of Nations. The fear of communism began to take root
during this time, even before the USSR grew into the powerhouse it was after World War
II. The KKK saw a resurgence in the 1920s as well, peaking mid-decade at around 4
million members.

While America saw unbridled growth, Europe began to fall into depression. Europe saw a
staggering drop in employment with 5 million people without jobs, 2 million of those in
Germany alone.

1926 was a particularly poignant. A rising star from Columbia University by the name of
Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp as the Yankees’ first-baseman, and future
entertainers/artists Marilyn Monroe and Miles Davis were born. The 40-hour work week
was first announced by Henry Ford, and NBC first hit the radio waves. Even as the rubble
of WWI was being removed, the foundation for WWII began to build as Hirohito is
crowned Emperor of Japan and Mussolini rises to power in Italy.

It’s also the year that George S. Clason wrote what is regarded as one of the finest
sources on personal finance ever written: The Richest Man In Babylon. The book
describes several simple rules to the reader through parables set in the ancient, wealthy
city of Babylon.

Originally, Clason wrote several pamphlets regarding the making and saving of money.
Due to their entertaining, simple nature, the pamphlets were widely accepted by the
public and used by banks and financial institutions to inform clients in regards to personal
finances. The Richest Man In Babylon is a collection of the most popular parables of that
time.

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About The Author

George Samuel Clason was born in Louisiana, MO. in 1874. His life lead him down many
avenues, in several parts of the country. He studied at the University of Nebraska and
served in the US army during the Spanish-American War.

After the war, he started two businesses, one of which was the Clason Map Company in
Denver, CO. His company was the first to publish a complete road atlas of the United
States and Canada. Unfortunately, like so many other businesses, the Clason Map
Company went bankrupt during the Great Depression.

The other business George started was the Clason Publishing Company. While his
businesses achieved little in the ways of success, his crowning achievement was the
publication of his collection of parables: The Richest Man in Babylon.

For decades this book has been a go-to source for information and inspiration regarding
personal finance. George Clason died in 1957 in Napa, CA. at the age of 83.

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Overall Summary

The Man Who Desires Gold

Bansir builds chariots and is dissatisfied with the profits he is currently making. While
sitting on a wall, brooding on his fortunes (or lack thereof), his friend Kobbi the musician
stops by to chat. Bansir relays to Kobbi the source of his malcontent: a dream he had
previously had in which he was rich.

The conversation continues and lands on a mutual friend of Bansir and Kobbi, Arkad: the
richest man in Babylon. Arkad is rich, and has a seemingly never-ending supply of gold,
which he spends freely. The story ends with Bansir and Kobbi searching out Arkad to find
out how to achieve that same state of wealth.

The Richest Man In Babylon

This parable introduces us to Arkad. Arkad was known throughout the city of Babylon as a
very rich, kind man. He spent and gave freely of his money, but no matter how much he
gave away, there was always more to be had.

Arkad tells Bansir and Kobbi the story of how he rose to wealth and power utilizing key
investment principles acquired in his youth. The chief point of his tale being this: in order
to become wealthy, one must make money work for them, and not the other way
around.

Seven Cures For A Lean Purse

In this tale, King Sargon of Babylon returns from his wars with the Elamites to find his
Kingdom in a sad state. After spending large sums of money building in the city, he found
that a few select men had amassed the majority of the wealth, while the remainder of
the people were poor. In an effort to remedy the situation, the King calls upon the richest
man in Babylon: Arkad.

King Sargon asks Arkad if he would be willing to teach his methods for accruing wealth to
several men. These men would, in turn, become teachers themselves and instruct others
on what they’ve learned. Arkad eagerly agrees and teaches one hundred men his “seven
cures for a lean purse.”

Meet The Goddess Of Luck

Arkad is now a regular instructor in the Temple of Learning. In this temple, various
subjects are taught and discussed by men of the city. Arkad has his own room in it. On
this particular day when Arkad asks what is to be discussed, a cloth-weaver brings up the
subject of luck and how he can attain more of it.

The conversation on luck quickly finds its way to the subject of gambling. Arkad relays to
the crowd that high-risk luck, such as winning at the races, is not luck at all because the
odds are against you. He goes on to state that in making your own luck, you must be
ready to act when an opportunity arises. Arkad tells his students that if luck is defined as
opportunity, the antithesis to luck is procrastination.

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The Five Laws Of Gold

Kalabab is a camel trader on his way to Babylon. With him are twenty-seven men he
hired to help transport goods across the desert. Since the journey went well and his herd
arrived safely, Kalabab decides to teach his hired men a bit of wisdom regarding the five
laws of gold.

He tells the story of Nomasir, Arkad’s son. Arkad does not want to give his estate to his
son outright, but rather have him earn it by becoming rich and well-respected in his own
right. He sends Nomasir out with a bag of gold and a clay tablet upon which are written
the five laws of gold; instructing him to use these two things to create wealth and become
respected among men. Only then would he earn the right to inherit his father’s estate.

The Gold Lender of Babylon

Deemed to having done excellent work for the king, Rodan the spear-maker is gifted fifty
gold coins. When Rodan’s family finds out about his good fortune, they begin to ask him
for the money to help ease their own situations. Confused, Rodan goes to Mathon, the
gold lender of Babylon to ask for advice.

Mathon shows Rodan a box of trinkets he uses as collateral from his lendees, explaining
that he never lends money without assurance that it can be repaid. He tells Rodan that if
he wants to hang on to his money, never to lend his money unless he knows how and
when he’s going to get it back and that the person to whom he is lending is capable of
repaying the debt.

The Walls Of Babylon

The city of Babylon is under siege by the Assyrians. Banzar, an old guardsman, stands
behind the great gates as they are pummeled with a battering ram from without. As
citizens come up and ask him if the gates will hold, he assures them that they will. He
says that Queen Semiramis had the gates built a hundred years before to make sure that
the people and city that they guarded would be kept safe, and safe they would be.

After four weeks, the siege is lifted and the people rejoice.

The Camel Trader of Babylon

Tarkad is a starving youth of Babylon. Walking through the streets, his stomach growling,
he comes upon Dabasir the camel trader, to whom he owes two coppers and one silver
piece. When asked by Dabasir if he had the money yet to repay him, Tarkad replies that
he does not. Upon hearing this, Dabasir beckons Tarkad to follow him to the inn so he can
relay to him a story while he eats.

Dabasir’s story is of his youth. He borrowed money and spent freely, eventually finding
himself unable to repay his debts and living as a slave in Syria. He tells his life story to the
wife of his new master, saying that he is the son of a free man and was not born into
slavery. She helps him to escape, saying that if he has the soul of a free man he will
return to Babylon and pay his debts. If he has the soul of a slave, then he should remain a
slave. Insisting that he possesses the soul of a free man, Dabasir makes his way back to
Babylon and is able to slowly repay his debts, eventually gaining a position of honor in the
city.

The Clay Tablets of Babylon

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The clay tablets of Babylon detail Dabasir’s plan upon returning to Babylon from slavery
in Syria. The first tablet speaks of saving one-tenth of everything he earns as his own to
keep. Next, seven-tenths shall be kept in order to provide a home, food, and clothing for
his wife.

The second tablet describes how the remaining two-tenths of his pay should be divided
equally among those to whom he is indebted, until his debts are paid. Each person he
owes, and the amount owed, is copied down on the tablet to be kept as a reminder.

The third tablet states the total sum owed being one hundred and nineteen pieces of
silver and one hundred forty-one pieces of copper. It states that some of the lenders
reviled and shamed him, but others were open to the agreement and glad that he had
returned to pay his debts.

Tablet number four records Dabasir’s progress for the first few months. He is working his
plan, using two-tenths of his earnings to repay his debts while living on the other seven
and keeping for himself one-tenth. As each month goes by, his creditors are increasingly
pleased with his progress, even those who initially ridiculed and chastised him.

In the fifth tablet, a full year has gone by and Dabasir records that he has finally made his
last payment and is debt free. His creditors now all hold him in high-regard, and a few
even offered to lend him money again in the future, should he require it.

The Luckiest Man in Babylon

Sharru Nada, the trade prince of Babylon is riding into the city, his long train of camels
and donkeys trailing behind. With him is the bejeweled Hadan Gula, a youth in his service
and the grandson of his business partner, Arad Gula. Hadan Gula asks Sharru Nada why
he is working so hard, travelling back and forth across the desert. He exclaims that were
he as rich as Sharru Nada, he would spend his money as quickly as it came in and lavish
himself with luxuries. Sharru Nada explains that it was through hard work that he
amassed his mighty fortune, only to have Hadan Gula reply that work was for slaves.

Sharru Nada disapproved of Hadan Gula’s opinion on work, as well as his stance on
money. In an effort to help him, Sharru Nada devises a plan. He offers to tell the story of
how he had met Arad Gula, Hadan’s grandfather. Originally, Sharru Nada arrived in
Babylon as a slave. He was purchased by a baker and worked very hard in order to gain
his master’s approval. He tells Hadan Gula that it was while selling honey cakes on the
streets for his master that Sharru Nada met Arad Gula. Arad Gula was about to buy his
freedom, but fear and doubt about his ability to succeed without his master gripped him.
Sharru Nada gave him a few words of encouragement, reinvigorating Arad Gula’s
determination.

Later on, Arad Gula purchased Sharru Nada and freed him as a way of saying thanks for
his earlier words of encouragement. They went into business together as traders and,
through hard work, made much money.

Upon learning that his grandfather was once a slave, and used hard work to claw his way
up to social acceptance and financial success, he changes his opinion that work was only
for slaves.

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Chapter-by-Chapter Summary and
Analysis

The Man Who Desired Gold

Bansir, the chariot builder, sat dejectedly on a low wall outside his house. As he surveys
his modest property, his wife pops out now and again giving him a disapproving “you
should be working” look. As his glance moves to the hustle and bustle of the surrounding
city, his friend Kobbi the musician walks up. Noticing Bansir is sitting around instead of
working, Kobbi assumes things are going well for Bansir and asks to borrow two shekels
for the Nobleman’s Feast. Bansir explains that he doesn’t have two shekels to lend, not
even to his best friend. Kobbi asks why, if Bansir is in such dire straights, he isn’t working
on the half-completed chariot in his workshop. Bansir replies that it’s due to a dream he
had had the previous night. In the dream, he had all the money he could want, he was
able to give freely to the poor and purchase all his heart desired. Upon waking, he came
back to the realization that he had no money at all, and had been sitting glumly on the
wall ever since. Bansir goes on to explain that both he and Kobbi had worked hard their
entire lives, and made a decent amount of money over the span of years, and yet at this
point had little to show for it. How, then, could two educated men have worked so hard
yet attained so little?

Kobbi sympathizes with Bansir’s situation. He, too, has worked hard his whoe life playing
his lyre and has very little to show for it. Kobbi mentions that he passed their mutual
friend, Arkad, in the streets earlier that day. Remarking on the fact that his purse never
empties, Bansir has an epiphany. It’s not just a sum of gold that he desires, but ever
flowing source: income. Not just any income, but an income that will continue to
accumulate regardless of whether or not he is working or traveling. This time, the
epiphany is Kobbi’s. He realizes that the reason neither of them are wealthy is because
they never sought it. They decide that, since they both knew Arkad, they would go to him
and ask him to teach them his methods on accruing wealth.

Commentary

The first of many lessons is conveyed in the dialogue between Kobbi and Bansir. Simply
making money and attaining wealth are two different things. If making money is your
desire, and you put forth all your effort to do so, that is what you will do. However, if a
passive income is desired, money that makes itself and continues to accumulate in your
purse (or accounts), then that is what you must pursue.

The Richest Man In Babylon

Arkad was a famous man in Babylon. Famous not only for his wealth, but for his
generosity. Kobbi and Bansir studied under the same teachers as Arkad in their youth. All
three of them seemed to be relatively equal in both mind and body, yet Arkad attained
far more money and success than the other two. Curious as to why this was so, Kobbi and
Bansir approach Arkad and ask him. In reply, Arkad states that both Kobbi and Bansir
have “either failed to learn the laws that govern the building of wealth, or you do not

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observe them.”

Arkad explains that when he was younger, he looked around and noticed all the fine
things that wealth could provide and decided that he wanted this for himself. Being from
a relatively modest family with several brothers and sisters, Arkad knew that there was
no real chance at an inheritance. The first thing he had to do was to educate himself in
the attainment of wealth. He then tells Kobbi and Bansir the tale of how he was able to
learn these things, and how they, too can learn.

When Arkad was young, he found work as a scribe. He toiled night and day, etching into
clay tablets various things for his customers. He worked very hard, and yet like Kobbi and
Bansir, he had little to show for it. One day Algamish, the money lender, came in and
needed a copy of the Ninth Law in two days. He said he would pay two coppers for it if it
were finished within the time frame. Arkad failed to meet the deadline and the money
lender grew angry. Arkad made a deal with the money lender that if he were able to
finish the tablet by the next morning, the money lender would teach him how he could
also become rich. The money lender agreed and by morning the tablet was finished.

The money lender then told Arkad that he learned the secret to being wealthy when he
learned that a part of all he earned was his to keep. Confused, Arkad asks, “Is not all the
money I make mine to keep?” The money lender explains that the money Arkad makes is
spent on things like food, sandals and clothing; thus he is working for others, not himself.
He goes on to tell Arkad that every piece of gold he saves should be used to make more
gold, and the gold after that, and so on. To begin, Arkad was to save one-tenth of all he
made and use that to pay himself.

One year later, the money lender returns and asks Arkad if he had taken his advice.
Arkad replies that he saved one-tenth of all he earned for a year, and gave it to the
brickmaker who was going to use it to purchase jewels cheaply from the Phoenicians
which could in turn be sold for a profit in Babylon. Angered, the money lender explains to
Arkad that he made a foolish mistake. Why would he trust a brickmaker to be able to
purchase jewels? Why not ask a jeweler who’s business it is to deal in such things? The
money lender is proven correct when the brickmaker returns with useless baubles,
having been swindled in Phoenicia.

Another year later, the money lender returns and asks Arkad about his progress. This
time, Arkad explains that he purchased bronze for a shield maker, and that every four
months he is paid a dividend on his investment. Upon being paid, Arkad treats himself to
a fine feast. Once again, the money lender laughs at Arkad, exclaiming that he is “eating
the children of his savings.” The money lender explains that the money made from
Arkad’s initial investment should in turn be invested, and the money after that, and so on.
That way, he will eventually reach a point where he can feast as much as he wants and it
won’t hurt is income at all.

Algamish the money lender returned to Arkad one last time two years later. He asks
Arkad about his business ventures, and Arkad replies that he is not yet making the money
he desires, but his investment is making money, and it’s children, and it’s children’s
children. Pleased with Arkad’s progress and grasp of the concept, Algamish the money
lender makes Arkad his partner in his estate.

Commentary

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Three more important concepts on attaining wealth are outlined here. One is the concept
of living below your means. If you spend what you make, you will constantly be living
from paycheck to paycheck, with little to show for your hard work than the materials you
possess. By saving one tenth of your income, it forces you to live a little below your
means. There may be a few luxuries you have to do without, but in the long run saving
money is the beginning of accruing wealth.

The second important concept is investment. Simply saving money is great, but not
enough if you want to be wealthy. Invest that money and earn even more money from it.
That money you invested will continue to earn you money regardless of what you’re
doing. This is what’s known as passive income.

Lastly, saving and investing are pointless unless you invest wisely. When Arkad gave his
money to the brickmaker to buy jewels, he was investing foolishly because brickmakers
typically are not experts on jewels. He was rightfully rewarded with failure for this
mistake. The second time around, he invested his money with someone who knew how to
use it: the shield maker. The shield maker was able to purchase good bronze with Arkad’s
money and make it into shields which could then be sold at a higher price. Unwise
investments are as good as throwing your money away.

Seven Cures For A Lean Purse

King Sargon returns to Babylon victorious from his campaign against the Elamites. His
Chancellor comes to him stating that after all of his previous work building canals and
temples, somehow the people are unable to support themselves. Most of the money is in
the hands of very few men in the city and as a result, the shops are suffering and
laborers are going unpaid.

When King Sargon asks his Chancellor why so few have been able to accrue so much, the
Chancellor replies, “Because they know how”. The King decides that this knowledge these
few men have should be in the hands of all the people. He sends for the richest man in
Babylon, Arkad. The King asks if it would be possible to teach the knowledge of attaining
wealth to others, and Arkad replies that it is. Delighted at the opportunity to serve his king
and fellow men, Arkad agrees to teach a class of one-hundred men his methods, and
these men would in turn serve as teachers to others. Arkad calls the methods the Seven
Cures For A Lean Purse.

The first cure: Start thy purse to fattening.

Arkad tells the men to spend only nine of every ten coins they make. This single coin
saved will begin to fatten the purse, and each subsequent coin saved will continue to do
so.

The second cure: control thy expenditures.

The men ask Arkad how they can save one-tenth of all they make and still be able to
purchase the necessities. Arkad explains that while all the men present make different
amounts of money, each man’s purse is equally empty. He states that to each man,
“Necessary expenses will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the
contrary.” Meaning that necessary expenses and desires are often confused. In order to
control expenditures, an understanding must be reached between what’s desired and
what’s necessary.

The third cure: make thy gold multiply

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The third cure: make thy gold multiply

This third cure deals with investing the saved money. Arkad makes a distinction here
between the money a man has in his purse, and the income he builds. He states that
wealth is not the coin you have on you, but the coin you have invested that yields an
income. Arkad tells the story of a farmer who, when his son is born, gives a money lender
ten pieces of silver. He asks that it be lent out, and that the interest gained upon it in turn
be lent out, compounding it. When the son was twenty years old, the farmer went to the
money lender to see that his initial investment of ten silver pieces had grown to thirty-
one. Since his son didn’t need the money, he allowed the money lender to keep it and
continue as before. Once the son reached fifty years, he removed his money from the
lender’s business to find he now had one hundred sixty-seven pieces of silver.

The fourth cure: guard thy treasures from loss

As a man begins to acquire gold, he will be beset by temptations that he could make even
larger sums of money through riskier venues. The first thing you must do when investing
is to make sure your investment is secure. If it’s loaned to a person, make sure they are
capable of paying it back. If it is invested in a business venture, be sure that the receiver
of the loan is wise in the ways of the particular business, otherwise the risk of loss is much
greater.

The fifth cure: make of thy dwelling a profitable investment

Arkad explains to the men that it’s a wise investment to own your own home. The reason
for this is that when you rent a home, you pay out money and continue to rent. When you
borrow money to purchase a home, each payment you make reduces your debt by
some, and eventually you’re left with a home that you own. When you rent, whether you
stay or not, no matter what you pay you end up with nothing in the end.

The sixth cure: insure a future income

The sixth lesson Arkad teaches is to make sure you have money to provide for yourself
when you’re old, or for your family should you be unable to continue doing so. He says
that making investments now that will slowly build and yield results many years down the
road is a good idea, because when the time comes that you can’t work anymore you will
have money to live.

The seventh cure: increase thy ability to earn

In the final cure, Arkad tells his students that in order to make more money, you must be
better at what you do. Whatever your job is, people will pay more for higher quality and
better service. As you are paid more, you will be able to save more and subsequently
invest more. Also, as you invest your savings, you should endeavor to learn more and
increase your knowledge of investing.

Commentary

The very first step in building wealth is restated here in the first cure: live below your
means and begin saving money. Only when money is saved can it be invested and turned
into more money.

The second cure may be the most difficult for some in that it requires you to decide what
expenditures are necessary and what are luxuries that can be done without. Deciding
what’s necessary and what isn’t may not be the hardest part, as living without certain
things can make life less enjoyable.

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The third cure deals with investing the money once you’ve saved it. There are many ways
to do it, and the example in the text deals with a money lender. It also touches upon the
concept of compound interest. A typical bank account will feature compound interest in
that every time an interest payment is made, it is then added to the principal and the
next interest payment is made off of that new, higher amount. While a modern day bank
account is not the best way to make use of compound interest (since the payments are
usually very small) it is an important concept to understand if you plan on investing your
money.

Guarding your money from loss, as the fourth cure states, can be tricky. Once money
starts coming in, it can often lead to making unwise investment decisions in an effort to
bring in more money even faster. It’s important to not get greedy, and to always follow
the principles as outlined earlier in the book. The money you make is yours to invest, and
it should only be done with those who know what they’re doing. The second aspect of this
cure is to be sure that, whenever money is lent or invested, make sure that it’s secure. If
there’s a chance you may lose all your money, it might not be wise to proceed.

The point behind buying a home as opposed to renting does have its merits. When you
rent, you will be making payments indefinitely, as opposed to buying a house when
eventually your payments will end. Aside from that, the price of a house can rise, and in
selling it you can possibly make a tidy sum. When you rent, no matter the price of the
real estate, you will never make a dime off of it.

Cure number six deals with long term investments and the future. Making sure to provide
for yourself when you’re no longer able to work should always be in the back of your
mind when investing money. Long-term, stable investments exist in both the stock
market and in various kinds of high-yield bank accounts like IRA’s.

The seventh cure is one of the most obvious. If you’re saving one-tenth of your income to
invest, the larger your income the larger your investments. The second aspect of the
seventh cure, though, is arguably the most important. Increasing your ability to earn
through your investments by increasing your education on investing. The more you know,
the better at it you will be, and the more money you will make.

The Luckiest Man In Babylon

Arkad’s small school has now grown into what’s known around the city as the Temple of
Learning. It’s a place where men of the city come to learn and discuss matters with the
poorest mingling with the rich and powerful on equal footing.

Arkad arrives in the evening to eighty or so students, eagerly awaiting his lectures. Upon
asking what should be discussed, one man brings up the subject of luck. The man had
found a purse on the ground that held gold coins. Happy with his stroke of luck, it was his
desire to find out how to make it happen more often.

Beginning the discussion on luck, Arkad makes the distinction between seemingly random
coincidence, such as winning at the races or gambling, and the good luck of profitable
opportunities. He states that those who seek to make their luck at the gaming tables are
mislead, not only are the odds against them, but it’s the business of the gaming masters
to make money. The gaming masters know their business and therefore stack the odds in
their favor, always. While some people do win, the majority end up losing. Arkad explains
that this kind of luck, wherein a man has no power to influence the outcome, and the

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people whom he is betting against have greater odds of winning is false luck and a foolish
enterprise. Real luck is when an opportunity to invest and turn a profit arises. Not only
can this kind of luck be influenced by the investor, but these opportunities can be sought
out, increasing the likelihood of their occurrences.

The conversation on luck continues and the men discuss stories of how opportunities
arose, and through procrastination, let the opportunity pass and missed out on making
money. Arkad again makes a distinction between good and bad luck in this context. Good
luck, he says, is when an opportunity to invest and increase your holdings arises; bad luck
is when you allow that opportunity to pass.

Commentary

In order to understand good luck in the context of this parable, it is important to be able
to distinguish between random coincidence and opportunity. The case in which the man
found a purse with gold coins in it on the ground was random coincidence. While a person
may deem themselves “lucky” for having come across such a find, it is not the kind of
luck that happens often and cannot be stimulated to occur more often.

Profitable opportunities are the preferred source of luck in Arkad’s eyes. If a man is
looking to increase his wealth, then every opportunity in which to do so is considered
good luck, because it pushes him further down the road to his desires. Procrastinating or
otherwise allowing a profitable opportunity to pass is considered bad luck, because the
investor has not gained in any way from the transaction.

Unlike random chance, it is possible to increase the amount of profitable opportunities in
your life simply by going out and looking for them. As you invest and continue to educate
yourself, opportunities can arise that had before been hidden. Most everyone has, at one
time or another, allowed an opportunity to pass either due to procrastination or through
indecision. This chapter embodies the addage: “Fortune favors the bold.”

The Five Laws Of Gold

Kalabab the trader sits outside in his camp, surrounded by his camels and his twenty-
seven hired men. He poses a question to the men that, if offered a bag heavy with gold
or tablets upon which are carved words of wisdom, which would they choose? To his
question the men all answered that they would choose the gold, of course. After
remarking how it’s upsetting that most people would choose the gold over the wisdom,
he decides to reward his men with some wisdom as well as their pay. The five laws of
gold are what he explains to the men.

The story begins with Arkad and his son, Nomasir. In Babylon, as in many other places, it
is customary that a son inherits his father’s estate once he is grown into manhood and
the father passes on. Arkad, however, does not want to hand over all of his holdings to his
son if he is not sure his son can wisely handle them. Giving Nomasir a bag full of gold and
a clay tablet upon which are inscribed the five laws of gold, he sends him out to create his
fortune. If after ten years Nomasir has built a good reputation and a profitable enterprise
for himself, he will be able to return home and inherit his father’s vast wealth.

Ten years pass, and Nomasir returns to the home of his father. After a warm greeting
and a feast, Arkad asks Nomasir to tell him how he fared, and if he was able to
accomplish the task before him. Nomasir begins by telling his father that he quickly lost
all the gold given him. Setting out for Nineveh, Nomasir met some men in a caravan with

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whom he made fast friends. They explained to them that they knew of a man in Nineveh
who owned a horse that he claimed was the fastest there was. The men offered Nomasir
the opportunity to get in on a wager in the horse races. Thinking he had a rare
opportunity, Nomasir bet heavily on the horse with his friends only to find that it was
soundly beaten. Later, he learned that the men with whom he met in the caravan, as well
as the horse owner in Nineveh were working together to scam unwary people out of their
money.

The second investment venture Nomasir took part in also went sour. Another man in the
caravan to Nineveh explained that he knew of a shop owner who had recently died, and
his wares could be purchased for cheap. However, the man needed to return to Babylon
first to get his money, and during his time away the merchandise may be bought by
someone else. He asked Nomasir if he would be willing to put up the money to purchase
the deceased merchant’s wares, and Nomasir agreed. After making the purchase, the
man lingered in Nineveh and spent the money he and Nomasir made in their business
venture unwisely, eventually being put out by Nomasir who was forced to sell of the rest
of the business at great loss.

Finally, determined to accomplish the task his father set before him, Nomasir turned to
the tablet and the wisdom on the five laws of gold that lay engraved therein.

The five laws of gold are thus:

1. 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.

2. Gold laboreth diligently and for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment,
multiplying even as the flocks of the field.

3. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of
men wise in its handling.

4. Gold slippeth away from a man who invests it in businesses or purposes in which he is
not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.

5. 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 of investment.

Nomasir then tells his father how he found gainful employment as a handler of slaves,
and began putting the five laws of gold to work, starting with saving one-tenth of all he
earned. The slave master, Nomasir’s boss, soon came to him with an investment
proposition. The King of Nineveh wanted to build large metal gates to protect the city, but
there was very little to he had. The proposition was that Nomasir would join with the slave
master and a few others in purchasing the metal for cheap from farther away, and then
selling it to the King’s men for a profit. The venture was a success and Nomasir was
invited into the confidence of the group of investors, thereby making other investitures
that profited him greatly both in gold and in experience.

After his story, Nomasir had a slave bring forth three large bags of gold. One to replace
what was given to him by his father, the other two was to pay his father for the wisdom
engraved on the tablet of the five laws of gold, stating that he placed far greater value on
the wisdom of his father than the gold with which it made him. Overjoyed, Arkad

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accepted his son’s gold and gave him his well-earned position as heir of his estate.

Commentary

The five laws of gold are a simple list of do’s and don’ts associated with the handling of
money and wise investments. They begin with saving a portion of everything earned in
order to provide seed money for an investment.

The second law states that gold wisely invested will continue to grow and in turn create
even more. While a man can work as hard as he may, he will eventually tire and need to
sleep. Gold, or money, on the other hand, once invested will begin to accrue interest
and/or dividends so long as it stays invested.

The third law governs the nature of the gold’s investment. When you invest your money
in any business venture, it’s important to make sure that your principal is secured, and
that the people with whom you are dealing are knowledgeable regarding investments.

The fourth law is more or less the same as the third law, but worded from the opposite
point of view. It states that you are likely to lose your money if you’re unfamiliar with the
method of investing.

The fifth and final law deals with three possible and common pitfalls when it comes to
investment. The first deals with impossible earnings. Gambling, high-risk ventures and
volatile stocks are all examples of this. The second pitfall is following the advice of
“tricksters and schemers.” These would be the men who tricked Nomasir into betting on
their horse, only to have it beaten. These men all shared in the winnings of the man who
owned the horse that won, and made a career out of misleading people. The third aspect
deals with investing on one’s own inexperience or romantic desires of investment. Most
people have heard stories of those who made it big investing in an unknown company or
venture, only to have it succeed beyond expectations. While this does happen from time
to time, far more people lose money in this way that gain it. Investing with the
expectation of making large profits quickly can be foolish, and more often than not leads
to loss.

The Gold Lender of Babylon

Rodan the spear-maker has just received a bonus of fifty gold coins from the King of
Babylon for coming up with an improved method of making spearheads. When his friends
and family found out about the gold, they all came to him with various requests and
investment opportunities. Rodan’s sister was particularly compelling, because her
husband wanted to begin a business as a merchant and needed someone to invest
capital in his idea. Rodan cared very much for his sister, but was wont to hand over his
newly acquired wealth. In an effort to get advice, he seeks out Mathon the gold lender.

Mathon begins by telling Rodan a story about a farmer in Nineveh who could understand
the language of animals. In his story, a donkey and an ox are conversing on the farm.
The ox’s job is to pull the plow all day in the fields, it’s tiring and causes the ox a lot of
hardship. The ox mentions that he feels the donkey is lucky, for his job is to carry the
farmer only when he needs to go to town, and spends most of his days standing about,
not having to work. Wanting to help his friend, the donkey comes up with an an idea and
tells the ox that the next day, he should claim to be sick and therefore not be required to
pull the plow. The ox likes the idea and the next day does just that. However, regardless
of whether or not the ox is sick, the fields must be plowed. That being the case, the

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donkey is instead hitched to the plow and forced to work in the fields the entirety of the
day.

Tired, sore, and angry, the donkey returns to the barn. The ox exclaims that he is pleased
at having such a good friend, the donkey, however, tells the ox that he only intended to
help his friend but is angry that he ended up having to do the task for him. The donkey
tells the ox that he heard the farmer tell his farmhand that if the ox was sick again the
next day, he would be butchered. Not wanting to be killed, the next day the ox acted
healthy and was once again hitched to the plow and forced to work in the field. Bitter at
the result of his having to shoulder the ox’s burden, the donkey never again spoke to the
ox.

After telling the story to Rodan, Mathon shows him a large box in which he keeps tokens
gathered from the people he lends money to. Each token is taken in exchange for the
loan, and Mathon explains to Rodan that every token that stays in the box is one debtor
who reneged on their deal, and a sore lesson to the gold lender.

Rodan explains that he is appreciative of the advice given him by the gold lender, but his
question is not answered. Should he give the gold to his sister’s husband that he might
become a wealthy merchant? Mathon then asks if the man knows the ins and outs of
being a merchant, such as where to buy inexpensive goods and where to sell them at
higher prices. Rodan replies that his sister’s husband did not have that knowledge.
Assisting Rodan in the forge and helping in some shops were the extent of his experience.
Upon hearing this, Mathon tells Rodan that were his brother in law to come to him asking
for hold, he would not lend it to him, because he had no knowledge of his trade and no
means by which to secure the loan.

Commentary

The gold lender’s story, while somewhat roundabout is a good lesson for anyone,
regardless of whether or not it has to do with money. If Rodan, in wanting to help his
brother in law, were to give his gold to him and find himself unable to be repaid, then he
would be shouldering the burden of his brother in law’s poverty. It’s a good idea to help a
friend in need, that’s what friends are for, but be careful that, in an effort to help, you
don’t end up sharing in their misery.

Second, in regards to the chest of trinkets, Mathon the gold lender was using them as
collateral in his lending practices. The best kind of collateral is that which is worth more
than the loan, the very principal modern day pawn shops use. If for some reason the
debtor defaults on the loan, the collateral can then be sold in order to regain the
principal, securing the loan and ridding the gold lender of any chance at a loss.

When Mathon asked if Rodan’s brother in law had any knowledge on the business of
being a merchant, he was following one of the five laws of gold. Every loan a money
lender makes is an investment in that it is always repaid with interest. If you’re going to
invest, the third law of gold states that you should invest with people knowledgeable
regarding the investment. Giving someone money in order to start a business they know
nothing about is a poor investment, and yields very little chance on any return.

The Walls Of Babylon

Babylon is currently under siege by the Assyrians, and Banzar stands guard at a hallway
leading to the top of the walls. The Assyrians have gathered outside the walls and around

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the gate near Banzar and are hammering away at it with a battering ram. The citizens
are gathered inside the city, afraid of the potential breach by the enemy army. In their
fear, a few citizens approach Banzar and inquire how the gates are holding up, and if
they should fall or not.

As each townsperson approaches Banzar and asks if the gates will hold, he replies in turn
that the gates are mighty and will not fall. They were built by the Queen a hundred years
prior in order to protect, and protect they would.

After four weeks, the Assyrians, unable to breach the walls, lift the siege and go home.

Commentary

This parable was short, but made a strong point. Babylon was a very rich city, and
because of this many people tried (and some succeeded) in conquering the city and
looting its treasures. Knowing that the city held many riches, the Kings and Queens built
incredibly strong walls in order to protect its gold and citizenry.

The same care should be taken to protect one’s own investments and livelihood. Making
sure the principal in any investment is secure is extremely important if you don’t want to
lose your money. Providing security for the future is also advisable, and insurance is an
excellent way of providing for the unforeseen.

The Camel Trader of Babylon

The story begins with Tarkad, jobless, alone and starving, walking the streets of Babylon.
He runs into Dabasir outside an eating house, a man to whom Tarkad is indebted for two
pieces of copper and one piece of silver. Dabasir asks if Tarkad has the money he owes
him, to which Tarkad responds that he does not. Ill fortune pursues Tarkad, so he says,
and he cannot get ahold of any money to repay his debts. Annoyed at the response,
Dabasir beckons Tarkad to follow him into the eating house to sit with him while he eats.

Dabasir ordered food for himself, but only some cool water for Tarkad. As they are
waiting for the food, Dabasir tells Tarkad of a man who has a piece of stone cut so thin
that you can see right through it. He explains that though the piece of stone is see-
through, it gives everything one views a yellow tint. Dabasir goes on to ask Tarkad if it’s
possible to see the world in a different color than it really is. Tarkad’s response was
noncommittal, as he was far more interested in the piece of goat meat set before
Dabasir than the question. Dabasir responds to his answer saying that he knows for
certain that it is possible, for in the past, he saw the world in a far different light. Thus
begins the story of how Dabasir became a camel trader in Babylon.

When Dabasir was young, he learned from his father the method of making saddles. He
was young, and his lack of skill in the trade made him little money. Wanting more than his
meager salary could afford, Dabasir found that many of the merchants in town would
offer him credit, allowing him to purchase things he wanted now and pay for them later.
As time went on, Dabasir purchased so much through credit that he was unable to afford
to both live and pay his debts at the same time. He borrowed money from his friends in
order to purchase the things he needed in which to live, but quickly found that he ended
up with even more debt. Since he was unable to support his new, young wife, she left him
and moved back in with her father.

Eventually, he fell in with some robbers and began a life of crime. Instead of using the

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money he stole to set his life back in order, he and the other robbers wasted it on food
and drink and clothing. After robbing one of the caravans, spearmen from a local chief
caught them and sold them into slavery in Syria. Dabasir was purchased by a Syrian tribal
Chief and given to his wives to keep as a eunuch. Luckily for Dabasir, none of the
Chieftan’s wives were much interested in owning a eunuch. However, one of the wives,
named Sira, needed someone to tend her camels and Dabasir, being a saddle maker,
was given that opportunity instead. Happy at being saved from an unfortunate fate,
Dabasir tried opening up to Sira and explained that he was not born into slavery, but was
the son of a free man. Sira scowled at him and replied that if he possessed the soul of a
free man, how could he have let himself come to be a slave in Syria?

Dabasir toiled for a year as a slave under Sira’s ownership, but found that he could not
himself mingle with the other slaves. Every night he sat apart and did not participate in
the gossip and games that the slaves played. Noticing this, Sira asked him why he chose
to segregate himself from the other slaves. Dabasir explained that he was pondering her
words to him about possessing the soul of a free man, and he found that he could not
bring himself take part in the lifestyle of the slaves. He asks her what she thinks of him
now, if he has the soul of a free man or that of a slave? In answer, Sira states that if he
has the desire to repay his debts and live as an upstanding member of society, than he
possesses the soul of a free man. However, if he does not desire to make things right,
than he should accept his lot and the soul of a slave. Sira asks Dabasir to prove that he
has the soul of a free man, else he should stay a slave in Syria. Unable to answer her,
Dabasir remains quiet.

Three days later, Dabasir is summoned to Sira’s aid as she needs to ride her camel to
another town to see her sick mother. After loading what seemed to Dabasir far too many
supplies for a three day journey, they leave. Upon reaching the home of the sick mother,
Sira gives Dabasir two camels and all of the supplies, telling him that if he is to prove his
worth, this is his chance. Taking her up on her offer, Dabasir quickly makes haste towards
Babylon.

The way is far, and Dabasir finds himself out of supplies with two very tired camels. Lying
in the dirt, Dabasir looks around him. The ground is rocky and his camels laying not far
away, exhausted. It has come to the final, bitter end, he thinks. This is where he dies. But
as he lay there some more, something changes in him. He thinks to himself, “Do I have
the soul of a free man, or a slave?” He realizes that if he has the soul of a slave, he
should just give up and die there in the desert. However, if he has the soul of a free man,
he would rise up and make his way to Babylon. Steeling his will, he rises to his feet,
summons his camels and begins travelling again. Eventually, Dabasir reaches more fertile
land with water, grass for his camels, and fruit for himself. He ends his story with his
eventual, triumphant return to Babylon.

Finishing his story, Dabasir asks Tarkad if he is ready to stand up, pay his debts and once
again be respected in Babylon? Tarkad replies, teary eyed, that he is ready to meet his
obligation. A man listening from the next table asks Dabasir how he fared once he
reached Babylon, to which Dabasir replied “Where the determination is, the way can be
found.” Dabasir visited everyone to whom he was indebted, and begged that they allow
him to repay his debts. One of the men he owed, Mathon the gold lender, helped him find
work with a camel herder from which he was able to earn the money to slowly repay his
debts.

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Commentary

The first lesson in this story is clear: purchasing what you cannot afford on credit can
easily spiral out of control. Initially, Dabasir was able to both earn the money to live and
to pay off his debts, but as his appetite for merchandise was unable to be sated, he
eventually found himself with more debt than he could repay. In order to avoid this
situation, purchasing on credit should only be done with the greatest of need.

The second lesson is directed at those who already find themselves indebted. Leaving
debts unpaid can eventually cost you everything you have, as it did Dabasir. Though
Dabasir was forced to live as a slave literally, it can be the same for one who is enslaved
by their own desires. When he is finally determined to return to Babylon and repay his
debts, Dabasir proves that he is in fact his own master and now in control of himself and
his desires. So, too should one be who finds oneself buried in debt. No matter how deep a
hole one finds himself in, once the determination to get out is found, a way to do so is not
far off.

The Clay Tablets of Babylon

The chapter begins with a letter from an Alfred H. Shrewsbury to a professor Franklin
Caldwell. The letter explains that in an archaeological dig on the site that was once
Babylon, some clay tablets are found which describe the story of a man named Dabasir.
Each tablet chronicles a portion of Dabasir’s life upon returning to Babylon from slavery
in Syria.

Tablet number 1

The tablet begins with Dabasir returning from Syria with the determination to repay his
debts and become worthy of respect in Babylon. The tablet is engraved shortly after
Mathon the gold lender helps him find a job with the camel herder. He explains that he is
first going to set aside one-tenth of whatever he can make and save it, to begin his
fortune. Second, he will use seven-tenths of his salary to take care of himself and his
wife, who recently returned to him from her father’s care.

Tablet number 2

Third on his list, is to save the remaining two-tenths of his salary and distribute it equally
among those to whom he is indebted, until they are all paid off. It goes on to list the
names of the people he owes money to, but the list is incomplete.

Tablet number 3

This tablet gives the total amount of money that Dabasir owes to his creditors as one
hundred nineteen pieces of silver and one hundred forty-one pieces of copper. It goes on
to say that Dabasir told each one of his creditors that he had no way to repay them other
than his ability to earn, and he explained to each his plan. Some of the men were happy
that Dabasir returned and was working to pay off his debts while others reviled and
scorned him.

Tablet number 4

After one month, Dabasir has earned nineteen pieces of silver from his job with the camel
herder. Following his plan, one-tenth he saved for himself, seven-tenths he spent taking
care of himself and his wife, and the last two-tenths were split up as evenly as possible

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among his creditors. After the first month, Dabasir’s debt has shrunk by nearly four silver
pieces and he owns for himself nearly two.

The tablet also chronicles Dabasir’s financial state during his second and third months
working for the camel herder. During the second month he made only eleven silver
pieces, but still stayed true to his word. He kept his own portion, fed and clothed his wife,
and used the final two-tenths to distribute among his creditors. The third month,
however, fared far better for Dabasir. He made forty-two pieces of silver this time around
and was able to pay off a larger chunk of his debt.

Tablet number 5

The fifth and final tablet finds Dabasir on the day in which he pays off the entirety of his
debts. It has been a year since he last engraved anything on the tablet, and he is
overjoyed to have finally paid off his debt. To his surprise, the creditors that at first had
reviled and scorned him were kind once again, proud of him for repaying what was owed.

While he is happy to once again be worthy of respect in his home city, he gives all the
credit for his ability to pay off his debts to his plan. Not only pay them off, but to have a
bit of gold saved up for himself as well.

The chapter ends with one more letter from Alfred H. Shrewsbury to professor Franklin
Caldwell. The letter states that Alfred followed the advice he found on the tablets and was
able to get himself out of debt in the same method of Dabasir.

Commentary

There are many clay tablets found in and around the ruins of ancient Babylon, but these
particular ones are highly suspect. The letters in the beginning and end of the chapter are
simply there to convey to the reader that following this method does in fact work to get
out of debt.

This parable serves to show the reader that the method described in the book of attaining
wealth can also be used when one is in debt. Even when you owe others, you must first
be able to pay yourself. Instead of using the one-tenth of his pay to give to his creditors,
Dabasir instead chose to live off of less money. Because he did this, when Dabasir was
finished paying off his debts he still had his savings with which he could begin investing.

The Luckiest Man In Babylon

Sharru Nada, the trade prince of Babylon is riding into the city at the head of his great
caravan. With him is Hadan Gula, the grandson of his business partner Arad Gula. Sharru
Nada knows that Hadan Gula’s father mismanaged his inheritance, and in an effort to
help the youth get a good start in business, asked that he accompany him on his trade
mission. Looking Hadan Gula up and down, Sharru Nada is disturbed to see his “gaudy
robes” and the jewels on his fingers and in his ears. As Sharru Nada is thinking this,
Hadan Gula interrupts his thoughts by asking why Sharru Nada works so hard. “To enjoy
life,” he replies. Hadan Gula balks at Sharru Nada’s answer and states that hard work is
for slaves.

As they see the Temple of Bel coming up on the horizon, Hadan Gula states that were his
grandfather still alive, he and his father would not be so hard pressed with money.
Neither he nor his father are able to make the kind of money his grandfather, Arad Gula,
was. Sharru Nada makes no reply but continues to ride toward the city. He notices some

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men toiling in a field and gets the feeling that they are the very same men he saw
working that same field when he passed by forty years ago. Looking at Hadan Gula, he
notices the resemblance to his old friend and business partner, Arad Gula and feels a
closeness with the young man. Sharru Nada devises a plan to help Hadan Gula, one that
might be a bit cruel, but will help him in the long run. It begins with telling him the story of
the first time Sharru Nada saw those same men plowing the field.

Forty years ago, Sharru Nada was on the very same road on his way to Babylon. This
time, though, he was shackled to several other men, as they were slaves headed for the
market. The man next in line to Sharru Nada was named Megiddo, a farmer from a
faraway land. He explains to Sharru Nada that every slave not purchased at the market is
sent to the slavers to work on the walls, and that is a terrible, terrible fate. Meggido also
says that good hard work can go a long way to making a slave useful, and to explain to
those looking to buy that Sharru Nada will work very hard in an effort to escape working
on the walls. Sharru Nada heeds Meggido’s advice and is purchased by a baker.

The baker is a decent man and Sharru Nada works very hard for him, eventually earning
the baker’s trust. Not wanting to stay a slave his entire life, Sharru Nada approaches the
baker with an idea. In the afternoons, once the baking is done, he can walk the streets
and sell honey cakes. He asks the baker if he can keep a portion of the money he makes
doing the extra work in an effort to one day buy his freedom. The baker agrees and
Sharru Nada goes to work. A few pennies a day is all he is able to make, but it’s a few
pennies closer to freedom, and it pushes Sharru Nada all the harder.

One day he comes across a man named Arad Gula. Arad Gula explains to Sharru Nada
that he also is a slave, and is partnered with his master in business. Arad Gula makes a bit
of money and is nearly able to purchase his freedom. Sharru Nada explains that he is
doing the same thing and they become fast friends. One day Arad Gula again meets
Sharru Nada, this time he is in distress. He has saved enough money to purchase his
freedom, but is afraid that he may fail in business without his master to look after him.
Sharru Nada tells him that he should no longer be slave, that he should “…act like a free
man and be one!” These words move Arad Gula and he decides to go through with
buying his freedom.

Time passed, and one night the overseer of the baker’s slaves came to Sharru Nada in
distress. The baker liked to gamble, and had lost a great deal of money the previous
night. In an effort to square his debts, he gave his slaves to the man he owed. The next
day that man showed up and took Sharru Nada away to work building a canal.

The work was much harder than baking, and Sharru Nada began to sink into despair.
Without being able to sell the honey cakes in the afternoon, he would not make enough
money to purchase his freedom. One day, when he was finally at the end of his
endurance, he received a message that his master required him in Babylon.

Upon reaching Babylon, Sharru Nada was surprised to see that his new master was none
other than Arad Gula! In thanks for his words of encouragement, Arad Gula purchased
Sharru Nada and, when he arrived in Babylon, greeted him by smashing his slave title,
freeing him from bondage. Together, they began a partnership and became very rich
merchants.

The story ended and Hadan Gula was deep in thought. “I had always wanted to be a man
like my grandfather”, Hadan Gula said. “Though I never knew just what kind of man he

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was.” With that, he removed the rings from his hands and ears and slipped back to ride
behind Sharru Nada in respect.

Commentary

The final story in the book is all about hard work. When Sharru Nada adopted Meggido’s
stance that hard work could set you free, it began a chain of events in his life that did
exactly that. The same principle goes for anyone who wants to create wealth. You can’t
save one-tenth of everything you earn when you’re not earning anything. Aside from
that, the harder you work at anything the better you will get at it and the more
opportunities will come to you.

No matter how hard things seem, or how dire your straits may become, the message
here is to cling to your hard work and eventually you will get through it.

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List of Characters

Bansir - A chariot maker in Babylon. After having a dream about owning a purse that
was overflowing with gold, he realizes that he does not have all he desires in life and sets
out to learn the secrets of building wealth.

Kobbi - A musician and the friend of Bansir. His role, while small, is pivotal in Bansir’s
story because it is Kobbi who brings up their mutual friend Arkad, the richest man in
Babylon.

Arkad – Arkad is the richest man in Babylon and a teacher of building wealth in several
of these stories.

Kalabab – A trader on his way to Babylon with twenty-seven hired men. He teaches
them the five laws of gold in payment for their hard work.

Nomasir – The Son of Arkad. His father sets before him a task to create his own fortune
if he is to inherit that of his father’s. Armed with a bag of gold and a tablet upon which
are written the five laws of gold, he sets out for Nineveh to claim his destiny.

Rodan – Rodan the spear-maker has recently been gifted fifty gold pieces by the king.
His sister wants him to invest in her husband and his dreams of being a wealthy
merchant. Confused as to what to do, he visits Mathon the gold lender looking for advice.

Mathon - The gold lender of Babylon. He advises Rodan on what to do with his recently
acquired money, as well as assists Dabasir in securing work as a camel herder to repay
his debts.

Banzar – Banzar is a grizzled old guardsman who is standing at his post while the city of
Babylon is under siege.

Dabasir – A camel trader in Babylon. In his youth, he finds himself deep in debt but
instead of trying to pay his debts, runs off to join a band of robbers and eventually ends
up a slave in Syria.

Sharru-Nada – An ex-slave and the trade prince of Babylon

Algamish – A money lender in Babylon. He is the man who originally taught Arkad how
to create wealth.

Key Terms and Definitions

Wealth - a great quantity or store of money, valuable possessions, property or other
riches.

Investment – To put money to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering
profitable returns

Gold – In the case of ancient Babylon, gold was the highest monetary denomination
available. In the context of modern life, the desire for gold can be described as the desire
for money, wealth, and the things purchased with it.

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Paying one’s self – Paying one’s self, as in one-tenth of everything earned can be
described as saving. The beginning of building wealth is saving money earned in order to
invest it.

Luck – Luck is described in the book as opportunities to invest and make a profit.

Security – Investing while making sure that your principle will not be lost should the
investment not prove profitable.

Wise Investment - An investment with someone who is knowledgeable on the subject
at hand, such as a stock broker.

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Major Themes And Symbols

Gold – Gold is essentially the universal symbol for wealth. Each of the characters in this
book either have gold or greatly desire it.

Living Below Your Means – Several of the characters in this book describe saving one-
tenth of everything they make. This means that only ninety percent of one’s salary should
be used to live on, while the other ten percent should be saved. In living below your
means, it ensures that you will not only not fall into debt (since you’re not purchasing
things you can’t pay for) but that you will slowly accrue a net worth that can be invested.

Compound Interest – Arkad invests his savings in bronze. The shield-maker buys the
bronze from him and pays him not only a portion of money when he sells a shield, but
interest on the total money borrowed. When Algamish asks Arkad what he does with the
money, Arkad replies that he has a feast and purchases fine clothes, to which Algamish
laughs and states he is eating the children of his gold. Whenever one invests and a profit
is gained, the initial investment as well as the profit gained should in turn be reinvested in
another venture, causing your money to grow faster.

Banks utilize compound interest when you deposit money. If you were to leave one
hundred dollars in your account for one month, it would gain interest. The next month,
the amount of interest gained would not be based on the initial hundred dollar deposit,
but the initial deposit plus the interest gained the previous month. With small
amounts of money, compound interest usually doesn’t amount to much, but when you’re
dealing with larger amounts, compound interest can be a sizeable source of incom.

Diversification – Investing in several different ventures can yield positive returns. Real
estate, stocks, money lenders, etc. all possess different rates of return. Not only that, but
if one venture goes sour you can still profit from money placed in other venues.

Wisdom – Aside from the methodology described in this book on the building of wealth,
wisdom is probably the most important theme. Investing under the guidance of those
with experience in the subject is an example of this. Knowing the limits of your own
knowledge and not giving in to delusions of grandeur, or get rich quick schemes is
another fine example of using wisdom.

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Related Facts

The ruins of ancient Babylon are located about 55 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq.

King Sargon, as mentioned in Seven Cures for a Lean Purse, is credited as being one of
the earliest empire builders, conquering all of southern Mesopotamia.

One of Babylon’s earliest Kings, Hammurabi, was the first ruler to ever publicly publish an
entire body of laws in a system that is easily read and understood by the populace.

The Pergamom Museum in Berlin, Germany houses a large collection of near-east
artifacts including a replica of the Ishtar Gate built by King Nebuchadnezzar II.

Alexander the Great, who conquered the mightiest empire on earth at the time, the
Persians, died in Babylon in 323 B.C.

Nebuchadnezzar II built one of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the hanging
gardens of Babylon.

The tower of Babel, from Biblical history, was said to have been built in Babylon.

According to Herodotus, Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar II was the largest city in the
world, with a size of about 4 square miles.

The Babylonians were great astronomers, even in their ancient times, and kept many
records on the movements of the stars and planets in the sky. Their version of astronomy
took a more mathematical approach, as telescopes and other advanced viewing tools
were unavailable at the time.

The city of Babylon was originally founded in 1867 B.C. and was finally met its end in 312
B.C. when Seleucus (one of the successors of Alexander the Great) founds a new capital,
Seleucia, farther north. The building materials for this new capital were taken from the
city of Babylon and many of the inhabitants were relocated there.

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Sources

Year In Review: 1926 http://www.baseball-almanac.com/yearly/yr1926a.shtml

Social Issues, 1920s http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1381.html

What News Events Happened in 1926 http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1926.html

Individual Retirement Account – IRA
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/ira.asp#axzz1tyHejXNU

Babylon http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/47575/Babylon?
overlay=true&assemblyId=101987

Excerpt from The Story of the Greatest Nations and the World’s Famous Events –
Biography of King Sargon of Akkad
http://www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/The_Story_of_the_Greatest_Nations_and_the_Worlds_Famous_Events_Vol_1/biography_hg.html

Writing http://www.mesopotamia.co.uk/writing/home_set.html

Robert Guisepi and F. Roy Williams: Sargon the Great http://history-
world.org/sargon_the_great.htm

Code of Hammurabi, Commentary by Charles F. Horne (1915), Claude Hermann Walter
Johns, Encyclopedia Britannica, Translation by L.W. King
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/hamcode.asp

Staatliche Museen Zu Berlin http://www.smb.museum/smb/sammlungen/details.php?
objectId=23&lang=en

TrueKnowledge.com http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/where_did_alexander_the_great_die

Famous Wonders: Babylon City http://famouswonders.com/babylon-city/

Babylonian Astronomy http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/ufhatch/HIS-SCI-STUDY-
GUIDE/0014_babylonianAstron.html

History of Babylon http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?
historyid=aa10

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About The Author

Ryan James Avery
Ryan Avery has been a personal trainer and writer for the past 5 years.
Over this time, he has contributed articles on a variety of topics including
music, history, video gaming and health & fitness.

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