Book Review: Personal finance with the richest man in Babylon

In Summary
  • Title – The Richest Man in Babylon
  • Author – George Classon
  • Publisher – Penguin
  • Genre – Non-fiction

The Richest Man in Babylon is a book written by George Classon on personal finance.

Originally written in 1926, the book is considered a classic of the genre and recommended reading for everyone who wishes to manage their finances better, saving more, investing wisely, saving for retirement and paying off debt even while living within their means.

The book is set in the famous city of Babylon, once considered one of the most important centres of finance, agriculture, trade and economics of the middle ages in the Middle East. The book follows characters such as a chariot maker, slaves, a money lender, the grandson of a wealthy man and The Richest Man in Babylon, as they strive to improve their financial situation and deal with challenges such as debt and financial windfalls.


The setting of the book in the Middle Ages means that it swerves the calculations and complicated scientific methods that make similar books have which make them difficult to read. The Richest Man in Babylon focuses on simple truths such as “seven cures for a lean purse”, “the five laws of gold” and “the goddess of good luck”.

While the reader may have reservations as to whether the solutions are scientific, they do offer simple rules that are based in common sense and easy to understand.

One of the greatest strengths of the book is how it deals with issues that everyone will face invariably in their personal finance life. The characters in the book face issues such as crippling debt, stagnating finances, getting unexpected financial windfalls, being stuck in jobs with little financial benefits, which business partners to engage with when one seeks to invest as well as how to avoid procrastination when seeking to invest.

The book’s greatest weakness is the lack of scientific evidence to some of the advice proffered to readers. Why should one save 10% of their income? Some people may choose to save less, or more, depending on their individual financial situation. The advice in this book should be used as flexible guidelines, rather than rules to be adhered to strictly.

In a nutshell, “The Richest Man in Babylon” is a superb read for anyone who wishes to improve the handling of their personal finances. I gained some interesting knowledge on how to invest, especially with family. It is a book that should be read by everyone before graduating to more scientific, contemporary books on how to invest and secure their future.

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The Richest Man in Babylon
The Richest Man in Babylon