There are a lot of critics that dislike Robert Kiyosaki, some of them quite vehemently. So before I begin my (overall positive) review, let me address some of the most common concerns.
He’s a bad writer
He’s a terrible writer. To his credit, he recognizes and admits it. I can think of dozens of ways his writing could be improved. But the fact that his message is jumbled, poorly explained and obscure does not make his message less valuable.
He just says the same thing over and over
This is also true, and it relates to objection #1. He couldn’t really figure out how to say what he wanted to say, so he kept reshaping his words and trying again. Subsequent books in the series, rather than reading like sequels, read like second drafts. So, if you get to the end of the book and think you’ve really understood his message, don’t feel obliged to read the rest. BUT, if you find his message intriguing yet elusive (very possible, since he’s a terrible writer), reading the other books will help you “get it”. The local library is a great resource for this, so you don’t have to buy them all.
He doesn’t give you enough information to actually do anything
He doesn’t. But he also never claimed that he did. He specifically said that if you were interested in doing the things he described, you should go check out books, do some research, or find a mentor. The point of the book is not to teach you how to become an investor or business owner, it’s to explain to you why to become an investor or business owner. It’s to let you know that being an investor or business owner is a possibility.
He ruins people by encouraging them to try investments that they’re not qualified for
Please see above. When you finish Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you’ll hopefully be excited about learning how to develop passive income. But you do still need to learn it. The book contains nowhere near the level of detail you would need to actually get into this stuff and be successful. So don’t do anything stupid, ‘kay?
He has no idea what the definition of an asset is
Mmm… it would be more accurate to say that he uses a different definition than most people. What he calls an asset is what accountants call an “appreciating asset” or an “income-producing asset”.
On the one hand, it is kind of obnoxious to make up your own definition and then insist that everyone else use it. But on the other hand, I think we can all agree that accounting jargon is complex and confusing, and we’d rather have a simpler terminology. Kiyosaki’s definition cuts through the clutter and jargon, and leaves just the heart of what an asset means to you.: an asset is something that puts money in your pocket.
- If you’re filling out your tax return, use the government’s definition of asset
If you’re filing for a bank loan, use your bank’s definition of asset
If you’re trying to develop passive income and get out of the rat race, use Kiyosaki’s definition of asset.
On to the good stuff
In my first post I said that the idea of not having a job had begun to enter my consciousness about 10 years ago. I can actually peg that to a specific event: when my mother gave me Rich Dad, Poor Dad and said I should read it. I had not much interest in finance at the time, but we were on a road trip to California, and I was grateful for the distraction (I’d finished my fantasy novel by the time we got to Vegas).
The title of the book comes from Robert Kiyosaki’s experience growing up in Hawaii. When, at the age of 9, Robert asked his dad how to be rich, his dad admitted that he had no idea. But he suggested that Robert ask his best friend, Mike, whose dad was going to be rich someday. So he and Mike went to Mike’s dad, who agreed to teach them how to be rich. And so Kiyosaki got money advice from two sources thereafter — his “rich dad” and his “poor dad.” This gives Kiyosaki a unique opportunity to see exactly what the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class do not — the subtitle of the book. And one of the things they teach their kids is how not to have a job.
As I said, there’s not a lot of technical detail in the book. In fact, that lack of technical detail is one of the reasons I’m writing this blog. But Rich Dad, Poor Dad does provide one thing that no other book I’ve found can offer to you:
He explains the concept of being rich. The necessary requirements for not having a job, and the attitudes required to achieve that state. What passive income is, and that it’s possible for you to get some of it.
My upbringing focused entirely on getting a job. What I wanted to be when I grew up. Getting good grades so I could go to college so I could get a good job instead of flipping burgers. Determining my strengths so I could pick a career that fits me. That I would have a job was never in doubt; the only question was whether I would have a “good” job or a “bad” job. The only problem was… they all seemed like bad jobs to me.
What this book said to me, for the first time ever, was “You’re right. They are all bad jobs. Jobs suck. And there is an alternative. Here’s another option.”
The you-need-a-job mentality is hard to break; it’s so pervasive in our culture. My mother keeps asking me when I’m going to get a real job, and she’s the one who made me read Rich Dad, Poor Dad! But nothing on this blog will help you until you understand and believe.. until you grok.. that money without a job is possible. Not easy. Not quick. But possible.
If that concept seems too strange for you to wrap your mind around, then read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It’s worth the terrible writing.
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