When you’re seeking personal finance advice, you might not immediately think of turning to the ancient Babylonians for it. But as the book The Richest Man in Babylon illustrates so well, there’s a lot to be learned from history and the timeless wisdom of the ancients!
Published in 1926, the book uses parable-style tales of Babylonian merchants, tradesmen, and herdsmen to illustrate important financial concepts. It’s a fun, quick read, uniquely written with plenty of “thees” and “thous” in the prose of the original edition (the most recent one uses more modern language).
Looking for some bite-sized The Richest Man in Babylon lessons and don’t have time for the entire 150 pages right now? Below, I’ll highlight some amazing Richest Man in Babylon quotes that you can apply to your financial plans and growth journey today.
You’ll walk away having learned seven basic financial principles that helped the Babylonians build one of the wealthiest kingdoms in history.
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If the Richest Man in Babylon quotes below end up inspiring you to read the whole book, you can do it for free!
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I can personally attest that the audiobook version is great to listen to on a road trip!
The best quotes from the Richest Man in Babylon
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best Richest Man in Babylon quotes. Swap out some of the “a man” phrases and “he” pronouns in the book, and clever girls will find themselves well on their way to becoming the “richest woman in Babylon!”
The Richest Man in Babylon quotes on earning money
- "In tilling the soil, in honest trading, in all of man's occupations, there is opportunity to make a profit upon his efforts and his transactions. Perhaps not all the time will he be rewarded because sometimes his judgment may be faulty and other times the winds and the weather may defeat his efforts. Yet, if he persists, he may usually expect to realize his profit.”
- “The more of wisdom we know, the more we may earn. That man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded. If he is an artisan, he may seek to learn the methods and the tools of those most skillful in the same line. If he laboreth at the law or at healing, he may consult and exchange knowledge with others of his calling. (And) If he be a merchant, he may continually seek better goods that can be purchased at lower prices.”
- “Good luck can be enticed by accepting opportunity.”
The Richest Man in Babylon quotes on saving and budgeting
- “I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. It should be not less than a tenth, no matter how little you earn. It can be as much more as you can afford. Pay yourself first.”
- “Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments, and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of thy earnings.”
- “Study thoughtfully thy accustomed habits of living. Herein may be most often found certain accepted expenses that may wisely be reduced or eliminated.”
The Richest Man in Babylon quotes on investing
- “Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade.'
- The first sound principle of investment is security for thy principal. Is it wise to be intrigued by larger earnings when thy principal may be lost? I say not. The penalty of risk is probable loss. Study carefully, before parting with thy treasure, each assurance that it may be safely reclaimed. Be not misled by thine own romantic desires to make wealth rapidly.”
- “Consult with wise men. Secure their advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect thy treasure from unsafe investments.”
- “A man's wealth is not in the coins he carries in his purse; it is the income he buildeth, the golden stream that continually floweth into his purse and keepeth it always bulging. That is what every man desireth. That is what thou, each one of thee desireth; an income that continueth to come whether thou work or travel.”
- "Gold, indeed, is a willing worker. It is ever eager to multiply when opportunity presents itself. To every man who hath a store of gold set by, opportunity comes for its most profitable use. As the years pass, it multiplies itself in surprising fashion."
- “Usurious rates of return are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon the rocks of loss and remorse.”
The Richest Man in Babylon quotes on debt
- “Youth, never having had experience, cannot realize that hopeless debt is like a deep pit into which one may descend quickly and where one may struggle vainly for many days. It is a pit of sorrow and regrets where the brightness of the sun is overcast and night is made unhappy by restless sleeping.”
- “Yet, I do not discourage borrowing gold. I encourage it. I recommend it if it be for a wise purpose.”
- “A man must pay his debts with all the promptness within his power, not purchasing that for which he is unable to pay.”
The Richest Man in Babylon quotes on real estate
- “Thus come many blessings to the man who owneth his own house. And greatly will it reduce his cost of living, making available more of his earnings for pleasures and the gratification of his desires.”
- “There are diverse ways by which a man may provide with safety for his future. A man may buy houses or lands for this purpose. If wisely chosen as to their usefulness and value in the future, they are permanent in their value and their earnings or their sale will provide well for his purpose.”
Quotes on planning for retirement
- “Ensure an income for thy future. Look thou at the aged and forget not that in the days to come thou also will be numbered among them. Therefore invest thy treasure with greatest caution that it be not lost.”
- “It behooves a man to make preparation for a suitable income in the days to come when he is no longer young.”
- “Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family.”
The Richest Man in Babylon quotes on charity
- “[A man] must have compassion upon those who are injured and smitten by misfortune and aid them within reasonable limits. He must do deeds of thoughtfulness to those dear to him.”
- “If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a way that will not bring thy friend's burdens upon thyself.”
Quotes on personal development and self-discipline
- “Cultivate thy own powers to study and become wiser, to become more skillful to so act as to respect thyself.”
- “Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you take only what is worth having.”
- “Our acts can be no wiser than our thoughts, Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.”
- “Better a little caution than a great regret.”
- “Remember, work well done does good to the man who does it. It makes him a better man.”
- “Preceding accomplishment must be desire. Thy desires must be strong and definite.”
Leverage these quotes to change your life!
The Richest Man in Babylon’s lessons are simple yet timeless and if implemented, will change your life!
If you’re looking for more specific guidance on how to implement these lessons from The Richest Man in Babylon, you’re on the right website!
We also go into more detail about this book in our Richest Man in Babylon summary!