The Richest Man In Babylon

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A short time ago, a friend recommended the book, The Richest Man in Babylon (Affiliate link). He’s got a business mind and does business consulting. He’s helping me grow my own, and this book was part of my “homework.”

I picked up a copy on Amazon and read it pretty much in one night. It’s not horribly in-depth, but it offers some very practical advice. It offers advice we need in troubled time.

You see, when we’re talking about difficult times, it’s easy to think about the physical reality of it. We can imagine riots or robberies. What we don’t think about is financial upheaval. We don’t think about that, but we should.

These days, people are routinely attacked for decade-old jokes. People want to destroy their lives over remarks made long in the past.

We’re entering into what some of us call The Crazy Years.

While it makes sense to prepare yourself for physical confrontations as well as for physical health in general, that only goes so far. Are you ready for economic confrontation?

Look, most people aren’t likely to be attacked over a remark in the past. It’s not that you get a pass so much as no one is going to look. However, economic confrontation can take many forms, not just that.

My friend, Sarah Hoyt, wrote this a little while back:

It’s bad crazy.  There’s a lot of bad crazy running in the world.  And we must stop it — and build under, build over, build around — or it will kill society.

Seeing it and asking “But what does this have to do with what you’re supposed to do?” is sometimes enough.  And if it isn’t we need to create parallel structures and companies and fields that actually perform that function.

Or we weill sink like a bridge made of soap.

She was talking about the controversial Gillette ad, but the idea of “build under, build over, build around” is solid. You, personally, need to “build under, build over, and build around” for your life, for your family.

Which brings us back to The Richest Man in Babylon.

You see, my efforts exist to “build under” the crazy growing around us. The idea is to make myself as bulletproof as possible financially so I can be who I am without worry. I’m a Barbarian, which means I’m not one to shun confrontation, but let’s also be honest here. Most confrontation these days isn’t physical.

No, people who disagree with you go after your job. They try to destroy your life because you hold the wrong opinions. I don’t like that one bit.

Yet the book is precisely what many of us need. It offers some straight advice on not just creating wealth but also getting out of debt. It does it in a series of parables, but they’re not so convoluted you can’t get the gist of the advice. On the contrary, it’s pretty straightforward and simple to understand.

Just a few days after reading it, I found myself on the phone with my friend. It had nothing to do with his consultations, but I couldn’t help but thank him for recommending the book to me.

There was some simple, profound advice in there, but there was some wisdom that explained things I’ve experienced, such as how no matter how much income you make, your expenses will grow to encompass all of that income unless you are very, very careful. That’s been a problem for me my whole life and I know I’m not alone on that.

Also among the advice are old chestnuts like “pay yourself first,” advice that makes little sense on the surface, but does after reading the book.

Yes, this is a book review of a financial book on a site that spends most of its time talking about physical training.

However, the gist of this site isn’t about looking like a bodybuilder or lifting like Halfthor Bjornsson. It’s about being safe and secure in difficult times and becoming a better person through it.

Well, how else are you going to be safe and secure if you can’t afford to live in a safe neighborhood?

Over the coming days and weeks, I’m going to delve deeply into the book and the bits of advice offered. This will serve two purposes. One is to introduce you to the ideas, but another is to reinforce them into my own mind.

Frankly, I think we all kind of need it.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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