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Kiyosaki’s rich dad, poor dad: a book review

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A while ago, I said that I would review Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’ve been a little snowed under recently, so this book review is coming out later than I’d have liked. Never mind.

It’s difficult to exactly describe this book. It’s subitled What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money - That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! It’s portrayed as being loosely anecdotal, with Kiyosaki and his friend Mike being educated in how to be rich by Mike’s father - the Rich Dad of the book’s title (Kiyosaki’s own father is Poor Dad). Ostensibly Rich Dad is grooming Mike to take over his Hawaiian business empire, and Kiyosaki goes along for the ride.

Rich Dad’s advice is to concentrate on ‘minding your own business’. Buy assets that generate income, learn how to run a business, incorporate and you will be rich. On top of that Kiyosaki’s advice is to invest in real estate (don’t forget to use some weird American tax exchange thing-y!), don’t bother to diversify, go to seminars, learn about sales, and don’t be afraid of failure.

Lots of things about this book annoyed me. Some of the advice is dangerous, including the dismissal of diversification, the reliance on real estate investing, and the flexible approach to insider trading, and tax law.

Despite saying that you shouldn’t be reliant on tax laws to make money, many of the suggestions are reliant on US tax laws which becomes even more obvious when you live in a different tax system. Kiyosaki overstates the benefits of incorporation for sheltering your income from tax, saying that it’s the way to protect income from taxation by deducting expenses before paying tax.

If you look on plonkee money, you can probably guess that I make money from advertising. I’m not incorporated (the US equivalent of registering as a limited company) but self-employed, and I can still deduct legitimate expenses (like web-hosting, or book purchases for reviews) before tax. There are benefits to incorporating, but they are mostly not tax related.

Another problem I have is that Kiyosaki’s strategies are all risky. This risk isn’t mentioned explicitly, is rarely mentioned implicitly, and he belittles people who want to go the slow and steady route. Whilst, in real life, you may indeed want to go for a high risk strategy, you should never do so without understanding what is involved and what you stand to lose, as well as gain.

The problems I have with the book that I’ve mentioned above mean that I would not give this book to a personal finance novice. I’d be afraid that they would unwittingly break the law, or waste a good deal of money chasing after Kiyosaki’s ideas, buying into deals that are too good to be true.

I would not give this book to someone interested in personal finance, because it doesn’t say anything. In fact that’s the reason that I dislike this book the most. Really, and truly, Kiyosaki spends the entire 200 pages exaggerating, skimming over details, and advertising his own products. There are no actionable points, but you are left with the impression that if you just bought another Kiyosaki book, that would hold the key to how to be as rich as he is. That’s a great sales tactic, but I bet it’s one that he repeats over and over.

Do not bother to buy this book. Fortunately, I won my copy and didn’t pay a penny for it. I’m at least the third owner of this book. If anyone else would like to be the fourth, I’m giving it away to the first person that contacts me with their postal address (put rich dad, poor dad in the subject line). Rob Lewis @ moneywatch.co.uk has claimed the book, you’ll have to get your own copy if you want to read it. Maybe he’ll share what he thinks of it?

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14 comments for “Kiyosaki’s rich dad, poor dad: a book review”

  1. It seems like everyone is talking about this book at one time or another. Is it an ebook or a real published book? It seemed to be one of those books that get passed around to the unknowing masses who think that general concepts in finance are going to make them successful.

    Posted by Save Money | April 7, 2008, 1:48 pm
  2. @Saving Advice:
    It’s a real published book. It was a bestseller a few years ago, and it’s famous enough to have made it over to the UK. And everyone does seem to talk about it at least once.

    Posted by plonkee | April 7, 2008, 2:55 pm
  3. Thanks for the review - I’ve never read one of his books and this review is just one more reason that I never will!


    Posted by Four Pillars | April 7, 2008, 3:02 pm
  4. Btw the book has been claimed by Rob Lewis. And he’s British, so that saves me money :) .

    Posted by plonkee | April 7, 2008, 8:32 pm
  5. I agree with you on this book. It left me bored and not so impressed with the author, regardless of how the book has hit the market. I wonder how many people buy it and read it, only to be dissapointed-


    Posted by Lisa | April 7, 2008, 8:34 pm
  6. I read his book before I got into PF and really didn’t like it. Now that I know more about it I dislike the book even more. I don’t think he appreciates peoples’ different temperaments and goals. I actually addressed his attitude (though not directly) in my blog post Sunday on being middle class.

    (Or maybe I did mention him directly…I don’t remember)

    Posted by Mrs. Micah | April 8, 2008, 2:07 am
  7. I read this and felt much the same way as I did after reading Maui Millionaires. I just don’t go for books with sales pitches contained. It’s one thing to advertise other’s services, but it is another to constantly advertise your own products.

    Posted by Frugal Dad | April 8, 2008, 2:32 am
  8. I read this book years ago and it changed my life. I have since bought two rental properties and am currently looking for more. I would definately recomend it as well.

    Posted by Debt Free Dave | May 16, 2008, 9:49 pm
  9. Guys, I would say that most of you had a shallow reading of the RDPD book of RK as it contains only general investing principles (what else did you expect, how-to-make-a-million-bucks recipe may be???)

    Posted by Seth Plate | June 1, 2008, 8:54 pm
  10. Its great reading Rich Dad Poor Dad. It has greatly changed my mindset concerning money.It has informed wise choices for me. I recommend it to all as a must read.

    Posted by Afolayan Ayoolu | February 20, 2009, 10:20 pm
  11. I agree that reading Rich Dad Poor Dad is a bit like being wired up to an infomercial in a Clockwork Orange style get-up. ;)

    However some people need to be banged over the head until they get the concept of passive income. He’s brought that idea to more people than anyone, for better or worse.

    Posted by Monevator | September 20, 2009, 7:55 am
  12. The more money you pay for the “thing”, the more time taken to understand Rich Dad Poor Dad, it would definitely look like a scam to everybody, because you are not able to catch what the meaning of all this.

    Do we all make RDPD concept to be an instant rich concept? Where do we invest our time and money then? Actually the answer is depend on us. Looking back at Robert Kiyosaki background, you would be able to know what to invest, Real Estate? Writing Books? However, I want to let you all know, if you are not familiar in the field, you would really hard to get it started. The real answer is still in your hand that is “Invest” something that you comfortable of, and make the “MONEY” work for you. This is the concept. Not necessarily into the Real Estate if you are not familiar with the term, transactions, the history of it.

    In terms of the definition between the Assets and liabilities, his definition might seems confusing. But if you read some more materials, he wants us to make the “MONEY” work for us. Let see an example;

    I found this from website saying:
    “I am an engineer working in wireless technology. I buy the latest cell phones and PDAs when they become available. I buy a faster computer every year. Liabilities? No. Without using cutting edge technology on a regular basis, I would not have the successful career that I have. No toys, no knowledge, no promotion, no job, no income.”

    Actually the meaning should be like this, making people pay for your upgrades, such as company that is willing to pay you all the expenses for learning new technologies. Getting a company sponsor your knowledge and appreciate your skills.

    If you want to be successful to pay every single cents on your own, it is just like buying your house from your every single hard earning money.

    Your asset = Hard earn money.
    Robert Kiyosaki’s Asset = People pay for it continuously and more. That’s why you feel it is like a scam, because this Asset belongs to Robert Kiyosaki, not you. Robert Kiyosaki has proven this concept so far.

    In summary, if you work for “MONEY”, you are actually BUYING.

    If “MONEY” work for you, you are actually INVESTING, meaning you put a very little money inside, the rest of the time, the money is paying by itself, and pouring in while you asleep and doing nothing.

    Posted by Steven | January 6, 2010, 6:17 am
  13. I am glad that I saw this review of the book because I was going to read it. For a person that hasn’t much knowledge regarding the subject can be an inspiring book, but for somebody that knows most about it looks like a scam. I will read the book anyway and I will try to compare the book with your opinion regarding it.

    Posted by john | November 1, 2010, 8:13 am

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