The First Personal Finance (and maybe only) Book Most People Should Read

woman reading a book

If you’re new to the world of personal finance, it can seem a little intimidating at first. Even if you’re a few years into your journey, there is a plethora of information available. Most people these days typically get interested due to social media, YouTube, or blogs.

Eventually, you might pick up a personal finance book. That’s where the publishers, affiliates, and authors want you to go. There are TONS of books to choose from. Most have catchy titles, make it seem easy, and many are selling you something else.

Personal finance wasn’t as popular in the past as it is today. When we were growing up (millennial and older), money wasn’t something that was generally discussed around the dinner table. In fact, there weren’t many people discussing finance outside of academia 100 years ago. There weren’t many books you could pick up at the local bookstore about which stocks to buy, how to invest, or how to grow your wealth.

The Richest Man in Babylon

Most people that graduated high school in the United States know about the Roaring 20’s and they have learned something about the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The collapse turned into the Great Depression, which would finally end in 1939.

In the middle of Roaring 20s, a small business owner in Colorado named George S. Clason ignored the mania on Wall Street. He started writing short stories about saving and wealth building, and distributed them as pamphlets.

By 1930, the parties and spirit of prosperity had withered away. Clason decided to put together his favorite stories, and published them as a book titled The Richest Man in Babylon. The book, which was set in ancient Babylon, took concepts about saving and wealth building and made them incredibly easy to understand. It went on to sell over 2 million copies, and is still considered a top read among those teaching financial literacy.

Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon

Why You Should Start Your Personal Finance Reading Journey Here

Why read a book written almost 100 years ago first? How can it apply to personal finance today? The lessons the readers can pull will build a foundation of wealth building and saving. There are no retirement target numbers, complicated account types, investment styles mentioned, or guru advice. It is plain and simple. The stories are easy to remember.

If you end up reading additional personal finance books after The Richest Man in Babylon, you will most likely notice that the lessons are virtually the same. The biggest difference is that the author may include their own personal finance prejudices into the content. However, these timeless lessons remain the same.

Over the last two decades, the markets have seen a dot com bust, a housing market crash, and a zero profit SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) crash. What was written in 1930 remains true today.

“THE FIVE LAWS OF GOLD I. Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earngs to create an estate for his future and that of his family. II. Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field. III. Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling. IV. Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep. V. Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.”

― George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon

Clason’s book can be found on Amazon, ranging from $4-$15. It might be the only personal finance book you will ever need to read.



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