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 © 2015 Ed Bagley

(Ed’s Note: Regrettably, Grandview Gardens has since been purchased by a private party that is now living in the former bed-and-breakfast as a home. There may never be a place like it still operating in the Western Washington area. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.)

When it’s time to get away from all the things we might label as “life interrupts” moments—the noise, distractions, calls, email and text messages to mention a few—you might want to consider Grandview Gardens in Keyport, WA.

When you have lived for more than seven decades, you begin to really appreciate the value of silence. When you walk into a lot of homes today, the occupants are surrounded by noise; it’s as if they couldn’t exist without the distractions. Children are on smartphones or tablets, playing video games, texting or yacking, the adults are multi-tasking as the television is on with the volume up and no one watching or listening.

More than one person has realized the value of silence, or quiet time. An example is French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who said “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”. It is clear that Pascal meant quietly without any interruptions or distractions.

The obvious connection between Pascal and Grandview Gardens? Silence. Pure, unadulterated silence. At Grandview Gardens silence is a welcome blessing to the onslaught of mixed-media and multiple distractions all begging for our attention.

We live in an over-communicated world in which never being out of touch means never being able to get away. We are swept along in the same rapid current as everyone else, a current that is swift but hardly deep. There is no room to unplug and learn to think differently from the crowd. In silence we will be able to experience life instead of information.

Grandview Gardens is a quaint, quiet, calm waterfront bed-and-breakfast setting that is inspected and approved by the Washington Bed & Breakfast Guild for quality, comfort, cleanliness and hospitality. If that doesn’t sound like an ad, it should, and it’s true.

Don’t come to Grandview Gardens for its name, it has a garden, but it is not a garden showplace. Come for the home atmosphere, the waterfront and your hosts, Tom and Jackie Lewis. Tom will be the quiet one; Jackie will be the personality. They are excellent hosts. They will not disturb your room, your space or your enjoyable stay. Jackie will cook you a great breakfast in you wish, or not. It’s your choice.

The beauty of Grandview Gardens for my wife and me included no time we had to get up, no appointments to keep, no clients to see, no phones to answer, and no disturbances to mess with our mind, heart, soul or spirit.

Grandview Gardens is exclusive in that there are only two rooms—the Cape Cod Room and the Northwest Coastal Room–both designed and decorated for patrons who value quality and taste. We chose the Cape Cod Room because for more than 20 years we traveled from Washington State to Cape Cod to vacation with our extended family since my wife grew up in Massachusetts.

The Cape Cod Room has a two-tone, greenish-blue teal color with a vaulted ceiling, white crossbeam, crown molding, whitewood wrapped windows, queen bed, two lighthouse-styled lamps with night stands, a round table with 4 chairs, a couch and rocking chair, all of the electronics with a generous storage spaces on a stand below, tasteful artwork featuring shells, starfish and sailboats, and a bathroom with a double vanity, tub and shower with rain shower water heads. The room is impeccable, from the oscillating fan to the clever door locks.

The spacious window offers up a large deck area on the first floor below and a waterfront view with a marina, dock and the serene waters of Port Orchard Bay, surrounded by waterfront properties across the bay with a backdrop of enormous evergreen trees lining the hillside of the Olympic Mountain Range. Time literally stands still as watercraft slowly move through the bay to and from the Puget Sound.

Grandview Gardens is located in Keyport, 3 miles east of the Bangor Naval Submarine Base in the North Central Area of the Kitsap Peninsula in Western Washington. Keyport has a population of 554 people. If you do nothing else, don’t miss lunch with hand-rolled, delicious pizza at the Keyport Mercantile Store, and dinner at the upscale Whiskey Creek Steakhouse on the main road in Keyport. 

We stayed five days and made a number of memorable side trips, including Port Orchard, Poulsbo and Port Ludlow.

Port Orchard was on my wife’s list because it is the home of Debbie Macomber, a #1 New York Times and USA Today best-selling American author of romance novels and contemporary fiction. We had tea and lunch at Debbie Macomber’s Victorian Rose Tea Room, which is next door to Debbie Macomber’s A Good Yarn Shop, where she actually writes her novels on the upper floor of her office.

From my perspective, visiting the Victorian Rose Tea Room is not a guy thing, but it’s guaranteed that the woman in your life will be thrilled that you went with her and bought her the latest Debbie Macomber book with Debbie’s personal autograph. My wife hasn’t read all of Macomber’s 485 published works, but she has read enough that, with thousands of other women readers, she has helped Debbie Macomber become a very rich author who had donated a lot of money to community projects in Port Orchard.

Poulsbo proved to be an education of an enlightened city with a mission: relieve you of your money and have you almost thanking them for doing so. Our time in Poulsbo was that good. Poulsbo is called Little Norway and, if you are of Norwegian descent, this would be a great place to live. Driving into Poulsbo, a city of 9,500 population, it is evident that the entire community decided to be pro-business rather than anti-business.

The city powers-to-be leveled their downtown waterfront area on Liberty Bay, developed a beautiful waterfront park with a generous parking area, and a series of quality restaurants with the waterfront view. Perfect for dining on a clear, sunny day on our August trip.

The adjacent main street above the waterfront is Norwegian themed and lined with boutiques and specialty shops for tourists and out-of-town guests. My favorite place at the Poulsbo waterfront was J.J.’s Fish House. We ate there twice and, even though I have paid a lot more for a seafood dinner at a fancier place, I have never enjoyed it more than I did at J.J.’s Fish House. From a businessman’s perspective, the cross-promotion and marketing materials by merchants in Poulsbo was exceptional.

Another favorite stop was The Fireside at the Port Ludlow Resort. Chef Dan Ratigan specializes in Northwest cuisine, has a habit of purchasing food locally, and then figuring out what to create with what he has bought. In a word, it’s amazing, especially the scallops.

We found our silence, away from the maddening crowd, at Grandview Gardens. We will be booking our reservations early for next year.  

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.