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.

(Ed’s Note: I originally wrote this review in 2007.)

Camelot – 4 Stars (Excellent)

“Camelot” is a wonderful Broadway musical that garnered Oscars for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Music, and Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Sound.  It other words, Camelot was a superb technical triumph in its day.

Camelot also won Golden Globes for Richard Harris for Best Actor (as King Arthur), Frederick Loewe for Best Original Score, and both Frederick Loewe (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (lyrics) for Best Original Song “If Ever I Should Leave You”.

Golden Globe nominations also went to Camelot for Best Picture, to Vanessa Redgrave for Best Actress (as Guenevere) and to Franco Nero for the Most Promising Newcomer (as Lancelot Du Lac).

The cast was superb and included David Hemmings (as Mordred, who looked as slimy and cunning as possible), Lionel Jeffries (as King Pellinore) and Laurence Naismith (as Merlyn, the Magician).

Joshua Logan directed this film like a beautiful flower coming into blossom where it is planted only to be destroyed by fire.

Camelot, released in 1967, celebrates its 40th anniversary this October, and was based on the 1960 musical play Camelot written by Alan Jay Lerner with music by Frederic Loewe.

The play was based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from the T. H. White novel “The Once and Future King” and ran on Broadway for 873 performances. To say the least, it was well received.

The original cast for the play included Richard Burton as King Arthur, Julie Andrews as Queen Guenevere, Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot, Roddy McDowell as Mordred, Robert Coote as King Pellinore and David Hurst as Merlyn with Moss Hart as the Director.

Camelot became a modern day legend when it was immortalized—after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963—by revealing that the show’s original cast recording had been the favorite bedtime listening in the White House. Kennedy’s favorite lines were in the final number (when King Arthur knights a young boy and tells him to pass on the story of Camelot to future generations):

Don’t let it be forgot,
That once there was a spot,
For one brief, shining moment
That was known as Camelot.

Since then, Camelot has been associated with the Kennedy administration, and the glory and the tragedy of the Kennedy family. Kennedy was the youngest elected President, the first Roman Catholic President, and the youngest President to die.

The following synopsis of Camelot from wikipedia.com is important in setting the stage for what I am about to reveal to you (the songs to accompany the scene are in parentheses):

“Guenevere arrives in Camelot on a wintry morning to marry King Arthur (of England) and is greeted festively by the Court. Arthur, shy and nervous, hides in the nearby woods (“I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?”).

“Guenevere comes to the woods, uncertain about herself and her future (“The Simple Joys of Maidenhood”). She stumbles into Arthur, who tells her about life in Camelot (“Camelot”), and then discloses his identity. They are each happily charmed by the other.

“Arthur learns from Merlyn the wisdom of peace and brotherhood, and is inspired to establish the Round Table. The news of this reaches young Lancelot in France, who is determined to come to Camelot and join Arthur’s knights (“C’est Moi”).

“A May Day celebration takes place on the castle grounds (“The Lusty Month of May”), where Arthur introduces his wife to Lancelot. Guenevere takes an instant dislike to the cocky young man and (challenges) him to engage three knights of the Round Table in a jousting match (“Then You May Take Me to the Fair”). Arthur is dismayed by this and (is) at a loss to understand a woman’s way (“How to Handle a Woman”).

“In the jousting match Lancelot easily defeats all three knights, drawing the admiration of them all, including Guenevere. Lancelot falls in love with (Queen) Guenevere and is torn by the conflict between this love and his devotion to Arthur. He asks permission to leave Camelot for foreign conquests.

“Returning two years later, Arthur makes him a Knight of the Round Table. Arthur is painfully aware of the feelings between Lancelot and Guenevere but remains silent to preserve the tranquility of the Camelot.

“Lancelot reveals his feelings to Guenevere (“If Every I Would Leave You”). Nevertheless, she remains faithful to Arthur, and helps him in carrying out the affairs of State (“What Do Simple Folks Do?”).

“Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate son, comes to Camelot to dishonor the King and try to gain the throne for himself. He schemes . . . to trap Arthur in a forest one night. During the night, Lancelot visits Guenevere in her chambers, where she reveals her love for him (“I Loved You Once in Silence”).

“Mordred and some of the Knights of the Round Table interrupt, accuse Lancelot of treachery, and imprison him. Lancelot escapes, but Guenevere is sentenced to burn (“Guenevere”). At the last moment, Lancelot rescues her and takes her off with him to France.

“For the sake of his own honor and that of Camelot, Arthur must now wage war on France. Just before the final battle, he meets Lancelot and Guenevere, and forgives them both.

“In camp, Arthur meets a young stowaway who wants to join the Round Table. Arthur knights him on the field of battle and sends him back to England to grow up there and pass on to future generations the ideals of Camelot.”

Two side notes and then my revelation.

First, the song “If Ever I Would Leave You” (erroneously called “If Ever I Should Leave You” in the Golden Globe citation) was nominated and won in the category Best Original Song Written for a Motion Picture, even though it was not written especially for the film.

It was written for the original stage production of Camelot, and all the other nominees were songs especially written for films. This is the only instance in the history of the Golden Globe Awards that this has happened.

Second, even though Richard Burton won a Tony for Best Actor in the stage play and was offered the same part as King Arthur in the film, he turned it down. Richard Harris was magnificent in his performance as King Arthur in the film.

And the revelation? Camelot the play and Camelot the film were both truly inspirational musical productions, but I submit that the story Camelot was much more.

I felt in my heart that Camelot was also a primer in civilized human relationships and personal growth as well as a step forward for humanity. Let me explain.

When King Arthur realizes the relationship between his Queen and his chief knight, he says this, reacting like a man:

“I love them and they answer me with pain and torment. Be it sin or not sin, they betray me in their hearts and that’s far sin enough. I can feel it in their eyes. I can feel it when they speak, and they must pay for it and be punished. I shall not be wounded and not return it in kind! I’m through with feeble hoping! I demand a man’s vengeance!”

Then he calms down and says this, reacting like a king: “Proposition: I’m a king, not a man. And a very civilized king. Could it possibly be civilized to destroy the (ones) I love? Did they ask for this calamity? Can passion be selected?”

In the end, King Arthur takes the high road. He would not punish either of them given his druthers, he realizes he still loves Guenevere and loves his best friend and knight, Lancelot, as a brother.

He cannot, however, stop Guenevere from burning at the stake for her indiscretion. He enlists his confidant King Pellinore to watch and see if Lancelot will attempt to rescue her in time. Thankfully, Lancelot does.

King Arthur sees the wisdom of the Round Table, bringing the knights of the kingdom together to protect the weak rather than fight among themselves at the expense of the weak.

King Arthur sees the wisdom of a legal system that gives the accused his day in court rather than fighting for his life in a duel whether the accused is guilty or innocent. Poor King Pellinore does not understand or accept this precursor to rule by law rather than rule by might.

King Arthur uses his love to overcome his pain and suffering and ultimately loses not only the love of his life but his best friend.

And, most important, despite going into a battle he may well lose and perhaps even die, he has the presence of mind to knight a young man to carry his hope into the future, so his vision will continue.

Is Alan Jay Lerner a great writer of screenplays? Perhaps the best, ever. You decide. Camelot has been on my Top 10 Favorite Movie List for 40 years. Now you know why.

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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.