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.

The Quiet Man – 4 Stars (Excellent)

No one ever said that filmmaking was easy, only that it could be very good and sometimes enduring, as in “The Quiet Man”, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara with legendary Director John Ford.

Like a lot of great films, The Quiet Man is a story of the conflict and conquest in the courtship of a man and a woman. A woman determined to get her way, a brother determined to keep his sister from the man she loves, and a man determined to win the heart of the woman he marries.

Irish-born Sean Thornton (John “Duke” Wayne) is an American who swears off being a professional fighter after accidentally killing an opponent in the ring.

Returning to the Irish town of his birth, he starts a new life and finds happiness when he falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara).

Mary Kate’s brother, Will “Red” Danaher (Victor McLaglen) stands in their way. Without her brother’s permission, she cannot marry Sean. The male dominance in Irish culture during this period is evident. Women were to obey, period.

Red Danaher resents the fact that Sean was able to purchase his birth home adjacent to the Danaher’s property. Danaher had continually bid for the property next door but lost out to the American “newcomer” and outsider.

Eventually Danaher is duped into letting Sean marry Mary Kate, but initially he refuses to let Mary Kate take her inheritance (furniture and a dowry). The villagers persuade Red to give Mary Kate her furniture, but he stands fast on the dowry.

For Mary Kate the 350 pounds sterling she is owed represents a lot of money, but the breaking of tradition and doing the right thing becomes an issue she cannot and will not ignore, even for the sake of her marriage.

Mary Kate is a woman who, if nothing else, makes it clear she will be dealt with despite her ill temper and stubbornness. She believes that Sean is a coward for not confronting her brother Red. Sean simply does not want to accidentally kill another man in a fight over money.

When Mary Kate decides to leave her marriage and take the train out of town, Sean goes into action. After dragging Mary Kate off the train and through the pasture, the longest fistfight in screen history erupts.

Once Mary Kate realizes that Sean will fight for her, she is quite happy to return to their cottage and makes it clear that dinner will be ready when Sean returns home. The Duke (Sean) slugs it out with Kate’s brother, eventually wins, and wins back Kate’s heart as well.

The story of The Quiet Man reminds me of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and its movie version in 1967 starring Elizabeth Taylor as Katharina and Richard Burton as Petruchio.

Katharina is cast as an ill-tempered, strong-willed, opinionated, vocal, recalcitrant, unmanageable woman. Petruchio manages to bring her around and when he does, Katharina is content to do his bidding. I see a lot of Mary Kate Danaher in Katharina.

The supporting cast of The Quiet Man is a collection of Irishmen worthy of the name: Michaleen Oge Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald), Father Peter Lonergan (Ward Bond), Father Paul (James O’Hara) and The Widow Sarah Tillane (Mildred Natwick) among others. And, yes, there are a lot of relatives in this cast.

The Quiet Man was based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story by Maurice Walsh. Ford read the story in 1933 and purchased the rights to it for $10.

In 1944, John Ford, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara made a handshake agreement to do the film version, but it would take another 8 years for Ford to raise the money necessary to produce the film.

The Quiet Man was the first American feature to be filmed in Ireland’s picturesque countryside. The film almost never happened as Ford was told by producers that a “silly Irish story would not make a penny.”

Finally Republic Pictures was approached and studio chief Herbert Yates relented under the condition that Ford, Wayne and O’Hara would also do a western for Republic, a sure money-maker that would offset losses anticipated from The Quiet Man. The result was the 1950 production of “Rio Grande”.

John Ford was more than interested in doing the film. His real name was John Martin Feeney, his parents immigrated from County Galway, Ireland and settled in Maine. Ford also went by the name Sean O’Feeney.

Maureen O’Hara (real name Maureen Fitzsimons) was born in County Dublin, Ireland, spoke Irish and used her Gaelic language in the film. Her father was part owner of Ireland’s leading football team, the Shamrock Rovers.

John Wayne was half Irish. He appeared in more than 20 of Ford’s films, many of them low budget westerns and war movies. The Duke said that of all the films he made, The Quiet Man was his favorite.

Ford earned his 4th and last Best Director Oscar for The Quiet Man in 1952. His other 3 Best Director Oscars were for “The Informer” in 1935, “The Grapes of Wrath” in 1940 and “How Green Was My Valley” in 1941. Only How Green Was My Valley won an Oscar for Best Picture.

Ford remains the only director in history to win 4 Best Director Oscars. Two others—William Wyler and Frank Capra—have won 3 times.

Ford received the American Film Institute’s first Life Achievement Award in 1973. He has been recognized as one of the greatest directors of all time. His work had an influence on directors Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Sam Peckinpah, Peter Bogdanovich, Sergio Leone, Jean-Luc-Godard and Akira Kurosawa.

The Quiet Man won a second Oscar for Best Cinematography and was nominated for 5 other Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Victor McLaglen), Best Art Direction, Best Sound and Best Writing (screenplay by Frank Nugent). The Best Picture Oscar in 1952 went to “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

Action adventure freaks and lovers of unredeeming modern-day films such as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” will not be able to stand The Quiet Man, which is very slow developing yet offers a perfectly picturesque Irish setting for a real love story.

The Quiet Man is an Irish movie filmed in Ireland for the glory of Ireland, its people and its culture. I am only 15% Irish and a third generation American, but always claim that my 15% Irish heritage is the best part of me.

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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.