The Smartest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason – Book Review

Title and Author:

The Smartest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Synopsis of Content:

During the 1920s George S. Clason wrote a series of pamphlets on how to gain financial security and success. Financial institutions gave them away to customers. In 1926 Clason brought them all together in a book called The Richest Man in Babylon.

The book is written as a fable about a man in ancient Babylon who is getting nowhere in his finances and learns valuable lessons from a wise man who has mastered the use of money. He tells the compelling story of the struggling Bansir who builds chariots for a living but never has any wealth to show for it and how he learns lessons from the successful and wise Arkad, the richest man in Babylon. As he spins the tale he teaches these key principles to the reader.

In addition to identifying these key principles he explains how they are used to build wealth and financial security. The lessons would have been valid in ancient Babylon, were equally valid in 1920s America and remain equally valid today.

He identifies seven key principles to achieve lasting financial success:

1. Start thy purse to fattening.

2. Control thy expenditures.

3. Make thy gold multiply.

4. Guard thy treasures from loss.

5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.

6. Insure a future income.

7. Increase thy ability to earn.

He also examines the common failures that lead to losing wealth and failing. He teaches how to avoid these failures and overcome the weaknesses that lead to so much loss and suffering.

By writing a fable of an ancient civilization Clason brings us ancient wisdom which can be used today.


This book is immensely useful to anyone who wishes to master the critical principles of building, preserving and growing wealth.

Readability/Writing Quality:

This book is very readable. It is like reading a small novel.

Notes on Author:

George Samuel Clason (November 7, 1874 – April 7, 1957), also known as George S. Clason, was born in Louisiana, Missouri, and died in Napa, California.

George Clason is best known for writing a series of informational pamphlets about being thrifty and how to achieve financial success. He started writing the pamphlets in 1926, using parables that were set in ancient Babylon. Banks and insurance companies began to distribute the parables and the most famous ones were compiled into the book The Richest Man in Babylon.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. Learn and apply Clason’s seven principles of financial wisdom.

2. You must take control of your finances. It requires daily effort to do this. It will pay off handsomely.

3. Living below your means will result in an ability to increase your means significantly.

Publication Information:

The Smartest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Copyright 1924-1955 by George S. Clason

Published by Penguin Books, USA.