In an Over-Communicated, Intrusive World, Simple is Better
Ed

Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon” Part 2 – The 7 Cures for a Lean Wallet and The 5 Laws of Money

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Part 1 of this 2 Part series ends the synopsis of George Clason’s book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” but Clason raises an important question: Why should
so few men be able to acquire so much gold?

The answer is because they know how.

One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.

And so it was that the good king of Babylon sought out the richest man in Babylon to teach to others in his kingdom the secrets of his success.

This is a synopsis of what the richest man taught to the people
of Babylon:

The Seven Cures for a Lean Wallet

1) Start your wallet to fattening. Save one-tenth of all you earn. Remember that a part
of all I earn is mine to keep. Do this faithfully. Do not let the simplicity of this escape you.

When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings,
I got along just as well.
I was not shorter than before, and, money came to me more easily than before.

2) Control your expenses. How is it that all do not earn the same yet all have lean wallets? Here is the truth: That which each of us calls our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to
the contrary.

Confuse not necessary expenses with desires. We all have more desires than our earnings can gratify. Examine which of the accepted expenses of living can be reduced or eliminated. Let your motto be 100% of appreciated value demanded for every dollar spent.

Budget your expenses so that your actual necessities are met without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.

3) Make your money multiply. Protect your growing treasure by putting it to labor and increasing. Money in your wallet earns nothing. Money that we earn from our money is but a start; it is the earnings generating earnings that builds fortunes.

When the richest man in Babylon loaned money to the shield maker to buy bronze, he said this: “Each time I loaned money to the shield maker, I loaned back also the rental he had paid me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased.”

4) Guard your money from loss. Everyone has an idea of how to make quick money; few, however, have the evidence of making money to justify their idea, scheme or offer of quick riches. The first sound principle of investment is security for your principal.

Before you loan your money to any man assure yourself of his ability to repay your loan, and of his reputation to do so. Make no one a present of your hard-earned treasure.

Consult the wisdom of those experienced in handling money for profit. Such advice is often freely given for
the asking, and may possess more value than the amount you
are about to invest.

5) Make your home a profitable investment. When you can set aside only nine-tenths of what you earn to live, and can use a part of that nine-tenths to improve the investment in your housing, do it; owning your own home is also an investment that grows with your wealth.

Your family deserves a home they can enjoy and call their own. It builds a sense of stability and well-being.

6) Ensure a future income. Build income-producing assets that do not require you to work forever. We will all grow old and die.

You should prepare a suitable income for the days to come when you are no longer younger and cannot work as hard, and to make preparations for your family should you no longer be with them to comfort and support them. Provide in advance for the needs of your growing age, and the protection of your family.

7) Increase your
ability to earn.
Desire precedes accomplishment, and the desire must be strong and definite. When you have backed your desire for saving $1,000 with the strength and purpose to secure it, you can then save $2,000.

Desires must be simple and definite. Desires defeat their own purpose when they are too many, too confusing, or too difficult to accomplish. Cultivate your own powers to study and become wiser, more skillful, and more productive.

Here is more sage advice from Clason’s masterpiece on financial matters:

The 5 Laws of Money

If you had to choose, would you choose tons of money or wisdom? Most men would take the money, ignore the wisdom, and waste the money. Here is the wisdom:

1) Money comes gladly and in increasing quantities to any man who will put aside not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and the future of his family.

2) Money labors diligently and contently for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying unto itself in infinity if kept working diligently. Money multiplies itself in surprising fashion.

3) Money clings to
the protection of the cautious owner who invests it with the advice of men wise
in its handling.

4) Money slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes that he is not familiar with, or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep. The inexperienced handler of money who trusts his own judgment, and puts his money in investments which he is not familiar, always pays with his money for his experience.

5) Money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings, or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers, or who
trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Here is the hard lesson of the 5 Laws of Money: You cannot measure the value of wisdom in bags of money. Without wisdom, those who have it quickly lose money, but with wisdom, money can be secured by those who have it not.

This ends the condensation.

Copyright 2012 by Ed Bagley

Alexander Pope, best known for popularizing the heroic couplet, came to my attention in an English literature class at Michigan State University in the mid-1960s.

I was more interested in reading Pope at the time than learning about Pope because he clearly knew how to do what I call “turn a word”. That is, to write a string of words that grabs your attention and delivers a thought so profound that it cannot be ignored.

Pope was a master at this art in writing. Perhaps you have read or heard these gems:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

To err is human, to forgive, divine.

The ends must justify the means.

More than one author has rewritten these thoughts and claimed them for monetary gain. Each of these thoughts could remind us of a stunning truth: someone said it first.

Some pundits say that England’s William Shakespeare is the most read and most quoted author ever. Many suggest that the Holy Bible is second. It has been said that British author Agatha Christie’s books have only been outsold by Shakespeare and the Bible.

Alexander Pope may not have sold as many books, but he has been cited as the second most frequently quoted writer in the English language, after William Shakespeare.

Pope (1688-1744), the master of the heroic couplet, is generally regarded as the greatest English poet of the early 18th Century. He was widely known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer.

For the uninitiated, the heroic couplet is a pair of rhyming iambic pentameters. Iambic is a verse using iambs, and an iamb is a metrical foot consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable. So there you have it, learning once again springs on your computer monitor.

The heading to this article is an example of Pope’s heroic couplet: A little learning is a dangerous thing, Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring.

Read for a moment, appreciate just how good Pope and his verses were, and understand why he would grab my attention:

On bribery: Judges and senates have been bought for gold; Esteem and love were never to be sold.

On churches: Who builds a church to God, and not to Fame, Will never mark the marble with his Name.

On curiosity: One who is too wise an observer of the business of others, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity.

On the Devil: Satan is wiser now than before, and tempts by making rich instead of poor.

On education: ‘Tis education forms the common mind. Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.

On expectation: Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.

On fashion: Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

On gossip: And all who told it added something new, and all who heard it, made enlargements too.

On judgment: ‘Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own.

On order: Order is Heaven’s first law; and this confess, Some are and must be greater than the rest.

On pride: What the weak head with strongest bias rules, Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

On proverbs: Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is, but always to be blest.

On providence: Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust, Yet cry, if man’s unhappy, God’s unjust.

On right: Always do right. That will gratify some of the people and astonish the rest.

On self-knowledge: Trust not yourself, but your defects to know, Make use of every friend and every foe.

On self-sacrifice: Many men have been capable of doing a wise thing, more a cunning thing, but very few a generous thing.

Here is the message: Great writing and great writers are timeless for those who seek knowledge and truth. If you care for neither then it does not matter. For example:

If today’s generation is on spring break at the beach, drinking and drugging, and running around half-naked willing to hump each other that is their business and their perfect right.

My suspicion is that their personal life is so bereft of anything meaningful that they must put on a public display to convince themselves they are having a life experience. In their effort to raise shallowness to an art form they occasionally succeed.

Now back to something worth examining, the life of Alexander Pope, who should provide inspiration for not only poets and writers but also for the handicapped.

Pope, born in London, was the son of a linen merchant and his wife. Since they were Roman Catholic, he grew up having to deal with the Church of England, which banned Catholics from teaching upon pain of perpetual imprisonment.

His aunt taught him to read and he was educated at two secret Catholic schools that, while illegal, were tolerated in some areas.

Pope suffered from Pott’s disease, a form of tuberculosis affecting the spine. This stunted his growth and deformed his body, perhaps ending his life at 56. He was only 4-foot-6 and was apparently not very attractive, which may explain why he never married.

Despite his inauspicious start in life, Louis Kronenberger in “Alexander Pope Selected Works” says “In terms of money as well as fame Pope was probably the most successful English poet who ever lived. No other in his own day—few in any day—had so many readers or received such nearly universal acclaim.”

Pope’ s works would not cause him to be forgotten, but the growth of Romanticism in the late 18th century would. Joseph Warton would deny that Pope was ever a “true poet” and dismiss him as merely a “man of wit” and a “man of sense” thus hastening the demise of the “Age of Pope”.

It would take until the 1930s to rediscover Alexander Pope and his works. By posting this article on Internet directories hopefully Alexander Pope and his works will again take their rightful place among the great works in history. With apologies to a great writer:

Then Alexander Pope who was soon forgot,
Might finally become a true juggernaut.

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Financial Thoughts on Investing by Warren Buffett

(Ed’s Note: The following condensation is from The Tao of Warren Buffett, written by Mary Buffett and David Clark and available for sale at Amazon and bookstores nationwide. I am always impressed by what Warren Buffett has to say and am doing this condensation to help promote their book.)

On Investing: I made my first investment at age 11. I was wasting my life up until then.
(Ed’s Note: The first lesson of investing is patience. Start early and sit on your investment until it has time to hatch, it may take 20 or 30 years to hatch, but if you are in the right investment you will do very well. Do not keep moving your money into and out of different investments—all that does is make your broker rich at your expense.)

(Ed’s Note: For more of Warren Buffet’s advice go to the menu bar above and click on Financial Thoughts.)

“A Man for All Seasons” Demonstrates What Integrity Should Be in the Middle Ages and Now

 

A Man for All Seasons – 4 Stars (Excellent)

“A Man for All Seasons” poses the question: What would a man sacrifice for his principles?

When King Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) seeks approval to divorce his aging wife Catherine of Aragon who could not bear him a son, and marry his mistress Anne Boleyn,
the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church stand
in his way.

Henry VIII’s new Chancellor of England and Cardinal–
Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield)—stands in his way as well. Henry VIII wants Sir Thomas More’s blessing in his action but does not
get it as Sir Thomas More, a good Catholic and Cardinal, will not go
along with such heresy.

More resigns as chancellor, seeking to live out his life as a private citizen, but Henry VIII will settle for nothing less than More’s public approval of his headstrong course. Sir Thomas refuses to either endorse or denounce the King’s action, and remains a man of principle.

Great effort is made to convince More to change his stance on Henry VIII’s action. One of More’s rivals, Thomas Cromwell (Leo McKern); another religious, Cardinal Wolsey (Orson Welles); and The Duke of Norfolk (Nigel Davenport)
all take their turns at More.

One example is when More testifies before an inquiry committee and Norfolk attempts to persuade him to sign an oath of allegiance:

Norfolk: “Look, I’m not a scholar, and frankly I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not—but Thomas, look at these names! You know these men! Can’t you do as I did and come along with us for fellowship?”

More: “And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Heaven for doing according to your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing according to mine, will you come along with me—for fellowship?”

There are several lines by More that merit mention but there is not enough space to do so. Here is one of the best: “I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by
a short route to chaos.”

Sir Thomas More was a very smart and savvy—as well as principled—man.

Henry VIII gets every person of any consequence in England to sign his oath (the Act of Supremacy), endorsing his action, except Sir Thomas who will not sign, and remains silent as to the reason why he will not sign.

Cromwell is an English statesman and the chief minister to King Henry VIII. It is Cromwell who presides over King Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon in 1533 and Henry’s subsequent break with the Roman Catholic Church.

When More proves himself to be loyal to King Henry VIII by not speaking out against him and also shows himself to be a loyal subject by not inciting rebellion, Cromwell appears to prosecute Sir Thomas out of personal spite.

In the end, Sir Thomas is the only person in England who will die for his principles, and commit himself to God for judgment. He is betrayed by an ambitious, lower level appointed attorney general, Richard (John Hurt), whose outright lie condemns Sir Thomas to be beheaded.

Sir Thomas More loses his head (no pun intended) but most importantly, not his soul. Sir Thomas is later canonized as Saint Thomas More by the Roman Catholic Church.

Henry VIII subsequently dies of syphilis, and the evil Thomas Cromwell who orchestrates Sir Thomas More’s tragic demise is himself judged a traitor to England 5 years later and is also beheaded. And what was the FINAL fate of More’s adversaries — Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey and The Duke of Norfolk? Only God knows.

The riff subsequently leads to England’s split from the Roman Catholic Church and the creation of the Anglican Church, the Church of England.

A Man for All Seasons does not deviate from the truth of Sir Thomas More’s stance, and as such provides a role model for acting with right thinking and right motives, even at the cost of one’s life.

What makes A Man for All Seasons even more impressive is that the plot for the movie is based on the true story of Sir Thomas More. Sir Thomas More was a scholar and statesman who became the leading humanist of the Renaissance Era.

A Man for All Seasons is
a story about everything that is right in England and life (Sir Thomas More’s integrity to his principles) and everything that is wrong in England and life (greed, avarice, lust, lying, cheating, stealing, the corruption of power, and the corruption of religious leaders).

A Man for All Seasons was writer Robert Bolt’s greatest success, first as a play and then as the screenplay for its 1966 movie release following a successful Broadway run. Bolt’s 16th Century period piece has exacting details of the era.

A Man for All Seasons would win 6 Oscars at the 1967 Academy Awards: Best Picture (Fred Zinnemann), Best Director (Fred Zinnemann), Best Writing (Robert Bolt), Best Actor (Paul Scofield), Best Cinematography (Ted Moore) and Best Costume Design (Elizabeth Haffenden and Joan Bridge).

The film also received Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Robert Shaw) and Best Supporting Actress (Wendy Hiller as Sir Thomas More’s wife Alice).

In addition the movie garnered another 27 wins and 5 nominations, including Golden Globe wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor and a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Interestingly, Charlton Heston lobbied heavily for the role of Sir Thomas More, but was not seriously considered. Richard Burton was offered the part and turned it down.

The producers originally wanted Laurence Olivier as Thomas More and Alec Guinness as Wosley, but Director Fred Zinnemann insisted on Paul Scofield and Orson Welles in the roles. The rest is history. Zinnemann obviously knew how to direct a great film and create a huge box office success.