George Samuel Clason


George Samuel Clason was a soldier, businessman and writer, today best known for his success classic The Richest Man in Babylon.


George S. Clason was born in the city of Louisiana, Missouri in 1874. He went to the University of Nebraska and served in the United States Army during the Spanish-American War.

After the war, he moved to Denver, Colorado where he founded the Clason Map Company of Denver, and started his lucrative publishing career. Although successful, the company didn’t survive the Great Depression.

In 1926 he issued the first of a famous series of pamphlets on thrift and financial success, in the form of parables set in ancient Babylon to make each of his points. Banks and insurance companies began to distribute the parables in large quantities, to teach the benefits of saving and hard work, so they became familiar to millions. The most famous of them is “The Richest Man in Babylon”, which gave the title to the book that contains the most popular of Clason’s parables.

Clason was married twice. He died in 1957.


Long ago, Babylon was the richest city in the world, with lavish houses, palaces and huge city walls; the Babylonians used irrigation to create fertile farmland where once there had been desert. But, according to Clason, Babylon was also the cradle of modern finance: money as the means of exchange and all forms of lending and borrowing were all highly developed. Its inhabitants were allowed to make money freely, and the prosperity of the city continued for centuries.

That’s why Clason chose to place his short stories in Babylon. Through his pamphlets he wanted to demonstrate the unchanging principles of finance and wealth-building. The message he sends is that saving, investing and financial propriety are equally as important as setting goals, a strong work ethic, and an optimistic attitude.

Clason’s pamphlets also bear one other idea that other early New Thought writers, such as Napoleon Hill and Wallace Wattles, express in their books: if you are to accrue wealth in a satisfying, sustainable way, both financial knowledge and a strong awareness of abundance are necessary. And although Clason isn’t saying that directly, the message of his pamphlets is the same: faith and knowledge, when they work together, will allow you to create fortunes that will last, and you can use the wisdom that you attained in the journey to help others.


Clason is, among other achievements, credited for publishing the first road atlas of the United States and Canada. His books include:


Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.

If you desire to help thy friend, do so in a way that will not bring thy friend’s burdens upon thyself.

Where the determination is, the way can be found.

Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you only take what is worth having.

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