Anthony Fox's Reviews > The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
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May 18, 2012

it was amazing

"...I made a million,today. What did you do?..."


A book review of “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason

Have you heard about The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason first published in 1926, it’s a story that maybe you should read? When I first read this story I was just a young boy, but it still fascinates me now.

My grandfather had given a copy to me to read, and after I finished reading it, I can remember him asking me what I had learnt. I can also remember what I said in reply.

I explained to my granddad that I understood the wisdom of saving and how Armad the richest man in Babylon acquired his wealth that had spent much of his time teaching others how to become wiser, and I guess wealthier?

You might consider that Arkad was lucky in his life that he was able to accumulate such wealth, but you would be wrong in your thinking. He had a simple philosophy save ten per cent of what you earn and invest, and this is what he did. Every day he taught to the crowd who would gather to listen that his fortune didn’t depend on lady luck, but on wise investment of one’s earnings.

Those bankers which lost billions for their banks recently and had to be bailed out by governments around the world they should read the story about Arkad, but I guess they would be too busy spending their bonuses. I find it difficult to multi-task as well. Even computers cannot multi-task it just appears so.

I wrote an article some moons ago called “Adding Alpha - Do computers have the alpha edge” that discussed how investment banks and institutions in today’s cyber space currently rely heavily on ‘algo trading’ to make money trading in stocks, shares, commodities, currencies. Algo trading is a term used to describe the algorithmic software which is used to gain that alpha edge against an increasing frenetic trading market where milliseconds can mean millions in buy and sell decisions in veiled trading markets. In a previous life, a trader said to me “… I made a million, today. What did you do?” I replied, “I’ve fixed the computer.”

Anyhow, my grandfather said you need to read it again, because you have missed the most important point. This is what I did. Essentially, it’s easy to miss the opportunities that come our way which is the moral of the story.

There’s a Jewish proverb that says, “You don’t need intelligence to have luck, but you do need luck to have intelligence.”

It wasn’t until I understood the importance of critical thinking that I really appreciated the truth in this book. When we make assumptions, we often make the wrong ones.

I hope you enjoy it.
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