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George Samuel Clason

George Samuel Clason (November 7, 1874 – April 5, 1957) was an American author, best known for his book “The Richest Man in Babylon” which was first published in 1926[1†]. Born in Louisiana, Missouri, Clason attended the University of Nebraska and served in the United States Army during the Spanish–American War[1†].

In his professional life, Clason started two companies, the Clason Map Company of Denver, Colorado, and the Clason Publishing Company[1†]. The Clason Map Company was the first to publish a road atlas of the United States and Canada[1†]. However, it did not survive the Great Depression[1†].

Clason’s most significant contribution to literature began in 1926 when he started writing a series of informational pamphlets about being thrifty and how to achieve financial success[1†]. These pamphlets, set in ancient Babylon, were distributed by banks and insurance companies. The most famous ones were later compiled into the book "The Richest Man in Babylon - The Success Secrets of the Ancients"[1†]. Clason is credited with coining the phrase, "Pay yourself first"[1†].

Clason moved to Denver in 1900 and had two children, Clyde B. Clason and Robin Clason McKown, who were also authors[1†]. He was married twice, to Ida Ann Venable and Anna Burt[1†]. In 1949, he moved to Napa, California, where he died on April 5, 1957[1†].

Early Years and Education

George Samuel Clason was born on November 7, 1874, in Louisiana, Missouri[1†][2†]. Details about his family and cultural background are not widely available, which often is the case with figures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Clason attended the University of Nebraska[1†][2†]. It’s unclear what he studied there, but his later work suggests a keen interest in finance and literature. His education likely played a significant role in shaping his understanding of financial principles and his ability to convey them through engaging stories.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Clason served in the United States Army during the Spanish–American War[1†]. This experience might have had a profound impact on his life, potentially influencing his worldview and informing his later work.

After his education and military service, Clason moved to Denver in 1900[1†]. This move marked the beginning of his professional journey, leading to the establishment of his companies and the creation of his most famous work, “The Richest Man in Babylon”.

Career Development and Achievements

George Samuel Clason’s career was marked by entrepreneurship and innovation. After moving to Denver, Colorado in 1900[1†], he founded the Clason Map Company in 1905[1†][3†][2†]. This company was the first to publish a road atlas of the United States and Canada[1†][3†][4†][2†]. Clason’s company initially focused on mining and mineral maps, capitalizing on the Colorado and Nevada mining industry, but quickly transitioned to railroad maps, city maps, and by the 1920s, road maps[1†][3†]. As the company expanded, Clason opened a secondary office in Chicago, Illinois, then a rising map publishing center and railroad hub[1†][3†]. At least one other satellite office was opened in Los Angeles[1†][3†].

Despite its initial success, the Clason Map Company did not survive the Great Depression[1†][4†]. However, Clason’s career did not end with the closure of his map company. In the late 1920s, he began writing a series of informational pamphlets about being thrifty and how to achieve financial success[1†][3†][4†]. He used parables set in ancient Babylon, and these pamphlets were distributed by banks and insurance companies[1†]. The most famous of these pamphlets were later compiled into the book "The Richest Man in Babylon - The Success Secrets of the Ancients"[1†]. Through this work, Clason is credited with coining the phrase, "Pay yourself first"[1†].

Clason’s career demonstrates a pattern of innovation and a knack for understanding the needs of the public. His contributions to cartography and personal finance literature have left a lasting impact.

First Publication of His Main Works

George S. Clason is best known for his book “The Richest Man in Babylon”, which was first published in 1926[5†][1†]. This book is a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon, offering financial advice through these stories[5†][1†]. The book has been widely distributed and has had a significant impact, with Clason being credited for coining the phrase "Pay yourself first"[5†][1†].

Here are some of his main works:

Each of these works offers unique insights and teachings, often using parables or stories to convey financial wisdom and advice[5†][1†]. His works have been widely read and continue to influence readers today[5†][1†].

Analysis and Evaluation

George S. Clason’s work, particularly his book “The Richest Man in Babylon”, has had a significant impact on the field of personal finance[6†][7†]. His book dispenses financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon[6†][7†]. The advice given in these parables is still considered relevant today, nearly a century after they were first published[6†][7†].

Clason’s characters face obstacles to wealth and success, including low wages, poor spending habits, indebtedness, and even enslavement, but they overcome these challenges through hard work, discipline, and a structured system of saving and spending[6†]. His book is now considered a classic source of financial advice[6†][7†].

A core part of Clason’s advice revolves around “paying yourself first”, “living within your means”, “investing in what you know”, the importance of “long-term saving”, and "home ownership"[6†][7†]. These principles are conveyed through his characters and their experiences, making the advice accessible and relatable to readers[6†][7†].

Clason’s work has been widely read and continues to influence readers today[6†][7†]. His book “The Richest Man in Babylon” is often referred to in modern recommended reading lists on personal financial advice and wealth management[6†][7†], which has kept the book in print almost 90 years after its first edition[6†][7†].

Personal Life

George Samuel Clason moved to Denver in 1900[1†]. He was married twice, first to Ida Ann Venable and then to Anna Burt[1†][8†]. Clason had two children who were also authors: Clyde B. Clason and Robin Clason McKown[1†].

In his later years, Clason moved to Napa, California in 1949[1†]. He passed away there on April 5, 1957[1†][8†]. His final resting place is the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Mateo County, California[1†][8†].

Conclusion and Legacy

George Samuel Clason’s legacy is primarily tied to his book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” which has sold more than 2 million copies in 26 languages[9†]. His financial wisdom, delivered through engaging parables set in ancient Babylon, has made his work an enduring classic in the realm of personal finance literature[9†][10†].

Clason’s phrase, “Pay yourself first,” has become a fundamental principle in personal finance[9†][1†]. His writings, which began as informational pamphlets distributed through banks, investment houses, and insurance companies, gained particular relevance during the Great Depression[9†]. His timeless advice on thriftiness and building wealth continues to resonate with readers today[9†].

Despite the closure of his map and publishing companies, Clason lived off the royalties from his book[9†]. His entrepreneurial spirit, combined with his ability to convey complex financial concepts in an accessible manner, has left a lasting impact[9†].

Clason passed away in 1957 in Napa, California[9†][1†][11†]. However, his teachings continue to guide individuals on their journey to financial success[9†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - George Samuel Clason [website] - link
  2. to-name.ru - George Samuel Clason biography [website] - link
  3. Geographicus - Clason, George Samuel (November 7, 1874 - April 5, 1957) [website] - link
  4. Goodreads - Author: George S. Clason (Author of The Richest Man in Babylon) [website] - link
  5. Goodreads - Author: Books by George S. Clason (Author of The Richest Man in Babylon) [website] - link
  6. SuperSummary - The Richest Man in Babylon Summary and Study Guide [website] - link
  7. Wikipedia (English) - The Richest Man in Babylon [website] - link
  8. HowOld.co - George Samuel Clason Biography [website] - link
  9. Success - Inside the Richest Man in Babylon [website] - link
  10. Libridia - CLASON, George Samuel [website] - link
  11. Find a Grave - George Samuel Clason [website] - link
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