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.

Apocalypto – 4 Stars (Excellent)

Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” shows the raw, violent face of the advanced Mayan civilization in its decline, with its rulers insisting that the key to continued prosperity is to build more temples and offer more human sacrifices to their Gods. The result is the story of innocent Mayans being viciously attacked and their communal way of life being destroyed to meet an insane desire. Killing your own has never been a good idea historically and is perhaps a lesson we need to take more seriously today.

The focal point of this film is Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) and his family. He is one of many sons of Flint Sky (Morris Birdyellowhead), the leader of a small, isolated Mayan community in the tropical jungle of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula just before the arrival of the Spanish in the New World.

Flint Sky and his progeny wish only to be left alone to pursue their destiny in a peaceful environment. Enter Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo) and his raiding party looking for victims to sacrifice to the Gods. Jaguar Paw and pregnant wife Seven (Dalia Hernandez) and their son Turtles Run (Carlos Emilio Baez) escape the attack. Jaguar Paw quickly finds a hiding place to keep his family safe, and then he returns to help fight off the attackers.

Many in his village are killed and many more are captured. This story is about how the captured Jaguar Paw can possibly survive the enforced march to an untimely death and then return to save his family. In the end, he must choose to greet the oncoming Spanish as their ships roll into the harbor, or retreat to the jungle and continue to live a hidden life.

I promise you that when you see this film you will be glued to the edge of your seat. Apocalypto will hold your interest like very few films can. Some historians were falling all over themselves to criticize inaccuracies in the film, I suspect mainly to get some badly needed publicity which they obviously could not do on their own.

Gibson is a film producer in Apocalypto, not an historian. Good grief, if I want exact history, I will read history books. Gibson brings history to life and does what no one else in Hollywood dares or cares to do.

Gibson’s film is an excellent presentation of how we would like life not to be, and also a reminder that no matter how smart we think we are we can sow the seeds of our own destruction right here in the greatest nation Earth has ever hosted.

Apocalypto is produced by Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia and Bruce Davey, and written by Gibson and Safinia. It is worth the price of two tickets to see. I highly recommend it for adults. It is a not-so-subtle reminder of what civilization was and could be again. The fate of the Mayan civilization remains a mystery even today. We know that around 300 BC the Mayan calendar was invented in the Yucatan and was more exact than older calendars. We know the oldest Mayan temples in Central America were built around AD 200.

We know that the Classic period of Mayan civilization occurred between AD 250 to 900 with the development of hieroglyphic writing and advances in art, architecture and science. We know the Post-Classical period of Mayan civilization began in AD 900 and extended to 1519. The Mayan civilization was at its apex in the early 8th Century before eventually falling into decline and ultimately suffering abandonment.

We do not know why the civilization collapsed but can only speculate that its fall was from within, sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Apocalypto picked up nominations for Academy Awards in Makeup, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. I thought the cinematography was spectacular, the close up shots of Jaguar Paw running for his very life, the look of fear in the faces of those innocents who were violently executed by their attackers, and the jungle with its teeming flora and fauna.

Cinematographer Dean Semler used a Spydercam to shoot from atop the 170-foot waterfall when Jaguar Paw jumps to escape Zero Wolf and his killer squad. Semler filmed Apocalypto digitally, using the high-definition Panavision Genesis camera. Semler is an artist disguised as a cinematographer. The Central Ohio and Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Associations saw what I did in giving Apocalypto their Best Cinematography Awards.

Apocalypto should have garnered more awards, but Mel Gibson’s unfortunate drinking habit and run-in with a law enforcement officer did not endear him to the Hollywood community.

Gibson insisted on making the main sets based on actual buildings rather than computer-generated images. Three cheers for Gibson as I believe authenticity counts. I am so sick and tried of seeing stupid kung fu films showing actors jumping 150 feet straight up into the air and then fighting on a twig. I would like to see these wannabe clowns fighting Bruce Lee on his best day.

Was Apocalypto an epic? Absolutely. There was a main cast of 39 along with 700 extras. Ever wonder what a support cast is to a film? For Apocalypto there were 179 people in the Makeup Department, 67 in the Art Department, 50 in Sound, 36 in Special Effects, 153 in Visual Effects, 33 in Stunts, 80 in Camera and Electrical, 8 in Casting, 22 in Costume and Wardrobe, 18 in Editorial, 62 in Transportation and 100 more additional crew. Total support: 800+. Cost of the film: $40 million. Total box office and rental revenue figures: $72 million and counting.

Many of the speaking roles were by Mayan people who had never acted. The sick child who curses the hunting party as they lead the captives on a forced march to their death was played by a 7-year-old girl who lived in a dirt-floored hut in a village not unlike Jaguar Paw’s.

This was a haunting scene as the girl who was affected with the plague and untouchable upbraids the hunting party by saying “You fear me? So you should. All you who are vile. Would you like to know how you will die? The scared time is near. Beware the blackness of the day. Beware the man who brings the jaguar. Behold him reborn from mud and earth. For the one he takes you to will cancel the sky, and scratch out the earth. Scratch you out. And end your world. He’s with us now. Day will be like night. And the man jaguar will lead you to your end.”

Herein we learn how Jaguar Paw avoids being beheaded only to run the gauntlet of spears and arrows in his escape back into the jungle. This is a brutal and graphic film with beheadings like sound bites. There are too many gems in this film to list here. Suffice to say a village elder uses animals to tell a story about how man will never be satisfied despite using the Earth and everything in it for his own gain.

You will cringe when Jaguar Paw’s wife and young son face downing as she falls and must deliver her newborn facing certain death. In the end Jaguar Paw uses his wit and wisdom to claim the forest as his own. Get out and see Apocalypto. This is a film nearly everyone could benefit from seeing before they pass from this Earth. It will remind you of how fragile and perilous our life is.

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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.