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.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – 4 Stars (Excellent)

What a relief! Like many of my fellow reviewers, I held my breath after “Dead Man’s Chest” hoping installment three “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” would not be left in the chest with Davy Jones’ disgusting, slimy beating heart.

Three could have gone in the dumper with the average performance of Priates two, but thankfully “At World’s End” gets an excellent rating like the first Pirates’ presentation “The Curse of the Black Pearl”.

Dead Man’s Chest got mixed reviews nationally as many reviewers could not tolerate a plot that was too convoluted to follow. Trust me when I say that At World’s End was no better in that regard, but was far and away better as important story lines returned. Here are some:

 1) The romance between Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) resumed. Just looking at Keira Knightly in her finest can take your mind off of the troublesome story line. The relationship between the two was all but destroyed in “Dead Man’s Chest”.

2) Jack is back! The Curse of the Black Pearl had Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) front and center with all action revolving around him. Dead Man’s Chest dimmed the spotlight on Captain Jack and eventually had him “killed” off at the end. At World’s End brings Captain Jack Sparrow back front and center, where he should be as the focal point of this saga.

Pirates of the Caribbean begins and ends with Jack Sparrow, and if he is given a lesser role the story suffers.

3) The over-the-top sight gags in Dead Man’s Chest (the sword fight in the giant wheel which went on far too long and the hanging baskets between the cliffs) put too much focus on production gimmicks rather than the characters. People make the story of Pirates, not gimmicks.

At World’s End has swordfights aboard ship and cannons blowing ships apart, right on, this is a pirate story for cripes sake, not some ballet production on a ferris wheel.

Give someone credit for letting writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio tell the story without marching orders. I believe these two writers were pushed into throwing anything together to satisfy the immediate demand for a sequel that would dovetail into another sequel. Gore Verbinski directed all three movies.

Given how convoluted the story line is, here is the best synopsis of At World’s End by J. Curcio (it certainly helps if you have seen the first two Pirate films):

“After Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from the land of the dead (Davy Jones’ locker), they must face their foes, Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander). Beckett, with control of Jones’ heart, forms a dark alliance with Davy Jones in order to rule the seas and wipe out the last of the Pirates.

“Now, Jack, Barbossa, Will, Elizabeth, Tia Delma and crew must call the Pirate Lords from the four corners of the globe to a gathering to figure out how to release the goddess Calypso, Davy Jones’ former lover, so she can come to their aid. Once Calypso is free, all of the Pirate Lords will stand together in their fight for freedom against Beckett, Jones, Norrington, the Flying Dutchman, and the entire East India Trading Company.

“During the battle, Will proposes to Elizabeth who insists that Barbossa marry them immediately. When Davy Jones mortally wounds Will aboard the Dutchman, Jack places the sabre in Will’s hand and helps him stab Davy Jones’ heart in the Dead Man’s Chest, thus killing Jones and making Will the Flying Dutchman’s captain.

The crew cuts out Will’s heart and places it in the Dead Man’s Chest. Jack and Elizabeth escape before the ship is pulled into the whirlpool, but it quickly resurfaces with Will at the helm. Will captains the Flying Dutchman and Jack Sparrow captains the Black Pearl as they destroy Lord Cutler Beckett’s ship, killing Beckett and causing his armada to retreat.

Although Will has been saved and the Dutchman crew has regained its humanity, Will must spend the next 10 years at sea ferrying souls to the next world. Will and Elizabeth spend one day together on an island to consummate their marriage, and Will entrusts Elizabeth with the Dead Man’s Chest containing his heart.

The rest is simply too good to give away here. Do not make the mistake of leaving when the credits begin to roll as there is a bonus scene at the end of the credits that is critical to understanding where the movie is headed next.

There are too many secret alliances, turncoats, double-crosses and self-centered activities going on to detail them in this review. Suffice to saw that the action happens so quickly that the plot does become convoluted.

There was in fact an actual council of pirates at one time in history. The 9 Pirate Lords portrayed in the film are:

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow: Pirate Lord of the Caribbean Sea.
Geoffrey Rush as Hector Barbossa: Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea.
Chow Yun-Fat as Captain Sao Feng: Pirate Lord of the South China Sea.
Takayo Fischer as Mistress Ching: Pirate Lady of the Pacific Ocean.
Hakim-Kae Kazim as Gentleman Jocard: Pirate Lord of the Atlantic Ocean.
Marcel Iures as Capitaine Chevalle: Pirate Lord of the Mediterranean Sea.
Ghassan Massoud as Ammand the Corsair: Pirate Lord of the Black Sea.
Marshall Manesh as Sri Sumbhajee: Pirate Lord of the Indian Ocean.
Sergio Calderon as Captain Villanueva: Pirate Lord of the Adriatic Sea.

The scenery is really outstanding in At World’s End; some of the scenes were filmed during the filming of Dead Man’s Chest so locations would not have to be revisited.

Keith Richards, who had been courted to appear in earlier Pirate films, agreed to appear as Jack Sparrow’s father and keeper of the Pirate Code in At World’s End.

When the Pirate’s Code is brought out to settle a dispute, Barbossa refers to the code created by “Morgan and Bartholomew”.

This is a reference to famous pirates Henry Morgan and Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts. Morgan was famous for sacking several impenetrable treasure towns, including Portobello, the Fort Knox of its day.

Black Bart was simply brutal without any conscience whatsoever, he killed and pillaged at will and was one of the pirates to develop a code of honor which his crew followed upon pain of death.

These are my favorite lines in the movie:

Will Turner: No cause is lost if but one fool is left to fight for it.

Barbossa: Dying is the day worth living for.

Barbossa: All men are drawn to the sea perilous though it may be.

Will Turner (when he gives Elizabeth the Dead Man’s Chest with his beating heart in it): It was always yours . . . Will you keep it safe? (How is that for a romantic line, ladies?)

Cabin Boy: Yo ho, haul together, hoist the colors high. Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die!

Among the locations in At World’s End were the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, the dunes in Guadalupe (CA), Niagara Falls in New York, ocean battle scenes were located near Palmdale (CA) and sea sequences in Rancho Palos Verdes (CA).

At World’s End runs 2 hours 47 minutes, 15 minutes longer than Dead Man’s Chest and 30 minutes longer than Spider Man 3.

Despite its length, At World’s End had the best Memorial Day Weekend opening ever, hauling in $142 million, and was second only to Spider Man 3’s best opening weekend ever at $151 million. When you add in the international numbers, At World’s End hauled in $332 million for the weekend.

At World’s End rang up the most valuable haul among any pirate booty ever.

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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.