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 2006 by Ed Bagley

(Ed’s Note: I originally wrote this post in 2006, 14 years ago. What I share with you about shopping online today is even more true today, only the prices are higher. Some people will lay down thousands of dollars for an offer online. I was only a newbie when I attacked “Traffic Swarm” like a honey badger on a bee hive. I would not surf Traffic Swarm today, I’m a little wiser, and you can be too.) 

Any newcomers to Internet Marketing who would like to gather a little field intelligence on the landscape and competition need only to surf “Traffic Swarm,” which bills itself as “the fastest and easiest way to instantly increase traffic, visitors and sales to any website, product or service.”

Well, that claim is certainly debatable as there are more than a hundred offers on the Internet today that make the same claim with a straight face. Be that as it may, Traffic Swarm also lets you know instantly that its service is automated, targeted, cheat-proof, proven and “viral marketing” (a heady term that makes one think that he might now indeed be in possession of cyberspace), all five of these claims are Internet Marketing buzz words more common than a thousand bees making small talk at the entrance to their hive.

The uninitiated would learn that you can join Traffic Swarm free, post an advertisement of your own, and then surf (look at) other marketer’s ads to earn credits, which you can in turn spend to draw traffic and visitors to your own offer. It is a very nice little package for beginners which, even if it does not bring you sales of your product or service, does give your website or offer page exposure and presence on the Internet.

Traffic Swarm is where I surf to find out what is going on in the world of Internet Marketing offers. There are dozens of other sites that could provide me with the same fodder, but Traffic Swarm has, in my experience, proven to be as good as any other at what it does.

My message has nothing directly to do with Traffic Swarm; it has to do with the users of Traffic Swarm, who hawk their goods like any merchant in a loud, noisy marketplace with vicious, unrelenting competition for your hard-earned dollar.

All of which brings us to the Latin phrase “caveat emptor,” which means let the buyer beware. The New Oxford American Dictionary (we bow to the King’s English) says this about caveat emptor: the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made. Herein lies the problem with online purchasing: we cannot examine the goods before we commit to buying whatever it is a person may be selling.

This fact of purchasing works in the seller’s interest, and the seller, not the buyer, will do anything to keep it that way, including, but not limited to, exaggerating claims, playing upon your emotions, using psychological ploys to move you to the action they want you to take, pressuring you into making buying decisions with no opportunity to see what it is you are purchasing, and being disingenuous in an attempt to relieve you of your money.

I have begun to examine Internet Marketing ads online very closely, not to determine the legitimacy of any particular offer, but rather to determine the quality of language used in supporting the legitimacy of the claims made in any particular offer.

An e-mail that came to me this morning offers an example. It uses this opening sentence to hook you into linking to their sales page: “As incredible as it may sound you’re about to discover a system how you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website at $0 cost to you!”

(The hoped for reader reaction might be: My God, this is an answer to prayer, a system that can finally drive traffic and business to my website so I can make my first sale in 24 months as an Internet Marketer after indiscriminately spending hundreds of dollars on useless offers.)

As I analyze this opening sentence, remember the use of the words “incredible” (as in I am so lucky to find this offer, today, on the Internet), “discover” (my god, this is totally new and I could be the first one in and make a killing) and “$0 cost to you” (and to think, all of this without any expense to me).

As a newcomer to Internet Marketing I hit the link to the promised land, and the sales page greets me with this: “I’m Revealing My Secrets I Personally Use To Drive Thousands Of Potential Customers To My Websites!” This is coupled with the reassuring phrase “you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website and $0 cost you!” Again, remember the reference to “$0 cost to you.”

The most powerful word in this opening is “secret” (as in only this very successful person and I are going to learn the secret). The word “secret” and “guru” in Internet Marketing go together like matching bookends.

There is, really, no big secret; there really is just one-upmanship in thinking there is. Literally hundreds of other marketers are successfully using the same secret. The inexperienced buyer simply has not yet apparently acquired the knowledge, applied the knowledge and profited from the experience. The reader is then reassured that “This works for any product, website or affiliate website” (as in it can work for you too).

Then there is an invitation to “Join my Marketing Tips Newsletter and I will show you free marketing tips – worth $500” (wow, what I deal for me). Once signed up, you will in most cases be immediately put into an autoresponder, which bombards you with e-mail messages on a timed basis (like every other day for the next 400 days). You can opt-out of these messages at any point in most cases, but most newcomers do not figure this out until they become very annoyed with the process.

This entire sales page takes a sharp left turn here, the idea being to get the person on a mailing list in case they are not buying into the for real paid offer that follows (remember, we started with “discover a system how you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website at $0 cost to you!” (as in free).

Prior to learning the actual price point that is coming (as sure as there is handwriting on the wall) is this claim: “I absolutely guarantee that if you use these tactics, you will get substantially higher rankings” (in search engines).

This, of course, is an asinine statement to make as the author of the statement controls neither the search engines or their ranking of websites. At best, the author could only guarantee to return the buyer’s purchase price should he or she feel dissatisfied with their particular results in using the tactics offered.

The bottom line is if you really want the advertised information the discounted price ends up at $49.97, with the admonition that it will be raised to $79.97 on December 1 (so it is a Limited Time Offer and you better act now or be left out). These ads invariably pressure for immediate action.

One could argue that the statement “discover a system how you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website at $0 cost to you!” is literally true, what is not being said up front, however, is that it is going to cost you $49.97 to get the “secret information package” that would allow you to do so.

Given a more than cursory view of the offer, you must now decide how credible the offer is, and whether you will act immediately in your own best interest, because there is no doubt that the author of this ad is acting in his own best interest.

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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.