The Richest Trader in Babylon

Photo Credit: Carla216 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Carla216 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Carla216 via Compfight cc

I really like books, and over the years I have compiled a pretty decent collection of good ones. My friend, who has been looking to jump start his side business, has been asking me for recommendations lately. I gave him ReWork, which is great, and he loved it. When he asked for more, I casually mentioned that The Richest Man in Babylon was a really good book that I read back in college.

After mentioning the book to my friend, it occurred to me that I didn’t remember much about the book aside from the fact that I read it in college and liked it. I had some free time on Monday night, so I decided to crack it open to jog my memory. What I read in the first chapter floored me:

Never in all those years did I think like this before. From early dawn until darkness stopped me, i have labored to build the finest chariots any man could make, soft-heartedly hoping some day the Gods would recognize my worthy deeds and bestow upon me great prosperity. This they have never done. At last, I realize this they will never do. Therefore, my heart is sad. I wish to be a man of means. I with to own lands and cattle, to have fine robes and coins in my purse. I am willing to work for these things with all the strength in my back, with all the skill in my hands, with all the cunning in my mind, but I wish my labors to be fairly rewarded. What is the matter with us? Again I ask you! Why cannot we have our just share of the good things so plentiful for those who have the gold with which to buy them?

For some reason, I had thrown this book into my collection and considered it just another personal finance book. However, when I read that passage on Monday night, I felt every struggle I’ve been dealing with come to a head. This fictional dude from centuries ago exactly described how I feel about my life and work.

While it is really fun to write positive and encouraging stuff for traders, I have also found that writing about my struggles is also very helpful for traders who are going through similar circumstances. I feel like I work my ass off day and night trying to make a better life, and at the end of the day I’m not much further along than the guy next door who works 38 hours/week and spends the rest of his time drinking and fishing.

My guess is that a lot of the people reading this blog can relate. We’re tired of working our asses off only to feel frustrated with the rewards. With that idea in mind, I’m going to take a few posts and explore this idea. In the book, the characters are on their way to ask the richest man in babylon to shed some light on their problems. Perhaps he can shed some light on my frustrations as well.