Of all the books on financial independence and wealth accumulation, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is probably one of the most popular. Asides being a bestseller, it is also one of the most criticized; you would understand why later. The basis of this book is about Robert Kiyosaki’s upbringing that supposedly consisted of the presence of two fatherly figures- his biological father (Poor Dad) and his childhood friend’s father (Rich Dad). Rich Dad was a business guru who did not finish high school and Poor Dad was a highly educated Ph.D holder that worked for the government. I am sure you already get the drift of the story. In 232 pages, Robert Kiyosaki explains what the rich teach their kids that the poor do not.
Basically, majority are living in what he calls the “Rat Race”; you know- go to school, get good grades, get a job, get married, expenses go up, get a raise, more expense, seek a bigger job, higher taxes and on and on. To be wealthy, one has to be out of the rat race and to be out of the rat race, you have to be financially educated. Rather than work hard for little money, clinging to the illusion of job security and looking forward to a skimpy pension; you can be financially free if you understand the 6 lessons he explained- or so he says.
Lesson 1: The rich don’t work for money
“The poor and the middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them”
Most people are controlled by fear and greed- the fear of being without money and immense greed as to the wonderful things money can buy. If you are controlled by any of these, chances are that you would not want to leave the rat race. The consequence of this is that you have little or no time to think and be illuminated; hence, you miss the entire cake while chasing a piece of it. The rich simply see what others miss, they work to learn, and they allow their money work for them rather than spend it as soon as they earn it. In this lies the first rule- save.
Lesson 2: Why teach financial literacy
“Intelligence solves problems and produces money. Money without financial intelligence is money soon gone”
This lesson basically talks about the real and perceived meaning of the term “asset”. Assets, according to this book, refer to only items that yield income; so your house or car is not an asset but a liability. Since being wealthy consists of the accumulation of assets, you need to be able to understand the true meaning of what an asset is. This chapter is one that has caused a level of controversy because in reality his theory is not necessarily true. In any case, rich folks acquire assets while the poor acquire liabilities.
Lesson 3: Mind your own business
Minding your own business simply emphasizes the need for focus on what you want to achieve and not that of others. He says that too many people spend their lives minding someone else’s business and making that person rich. In essence, your business revolves around your asset column and not your income column. Your income column shows your job or profession and the salary you earn from working for somebody else; however, your asset column shows your investments and your wealth in general. Focus on your asset column.
An important distinction is that rich people buy luxuries last after building their assets and the poor or middle class tend to buy luxuries first.
Lesson 4: The History of Taxes and the power of corporations
Here, the author analyzes the effect of taxes on the poor and middle class versus the rich. According to him, the ones that lose are the uninformed which in most cases are the poor. He talks about how the rich somewhat maneuver taxes and how the government feeds on the ignorance of the poor. Some of the theories in this chapter are slightly misrepresented as some of the tax avoidance mechanisms provided are in reality tax delays or even evasions.
He however, still emphasized the importance of enhancing your financial IQ. To do this, you require financial literacy (accounting knowledge), investing, understanding markets and understanding law. The rich own corporations and the poor work for people that own corporations.
Lesson 5: The Rich invent money
The rich become rich by simply seeing what others generally do not. That is, they seek opportunities in varying circumstances and enter deals boldly. While some of the examples in this chapter seemed too good to be true- some of which have been criticized for being fictionalized; the general idea is for one not to be afraid of taking risks and finding wealth amidst little.
The rich constantly strive to gather information and create money without seeing it as a god. The more you believe it can be done, the more it can actually be done. Accurate strategies, boldly acting on information, being open to calculated risks- those are the ways the rich invent money.
Lesson 6: Work to learn- Don’t work for Money
Following from his belief that telling a child to go to school and get good grades in order to get a good job is a deadly advice, he believes that where you have to work, do so only to secure knowledge and not to earn money.
Rich people do not restrict their knowledge to just one thing. Read books on sales, marketing, investments- anything that you can lay your hands on. He also emphasized the essence of giving. Giving is a necessary prerequisite for receiving.
Finally, he gave steps on how to proceed with the lessons: Overcome the obstacles of fear, cynicism amongst others; proceed with determination and positivity, remember to save, pick the right friends, and you are on the right course.
The book is such a great read that it makes me wonder how the bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki, filed for bankruptcy. After reading this long negative analysis of the book and the author- where he was accused of playing on people’s desire to believe and unforgivably fictionalizing some of the stories; I am unsure of which ideologies to believe and which to follow. I mean laying aside some of his bad advices, there exists no proof that Rich dad exists.
The content of the book in any case, serves as a push to action. That is one of the greatest reasons I would still recommend this book.
You can get this on Amazon.
This book is one of those books I kept on hearing about but somehow never got an opportunity to read, until recently. Halfway into reading it I was hit with the news that he went bankrupt. How can you write a world’s bestselling book on financial success and go bankrupt?! Regardless I chose to keep on reading rather than throw the book aside. So imagine my dismay when I learnt about the numerous misrepresentations conveniently delivered by the author.
What I would say is that many of the theories are true but one need not focus on the almost perfect examples he gave and expect that kind of overnight millionaire success. I honestly, at some point, started thinking about going into real estate as well! It is very important to understand only the application of the laws so you do not end up building castles in the air.
I rate this book 3.9 out of 5. You can give your own rating below.
About the Author
Robert Toru Kiyosaki is businessman, investor, author, motivational speaker and radio personality. He has written many related bestselling books -such as Cashflow Quadrant and Rich Dad’s Guide to investing; he is also the creator of the game ‘Cashflow’ and some other educational games.