My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What can be said about a book that so much has already been said about? Rich Dad Poor Dad has been published for a little less than 2 decades now and it’s author, Robert Kiyosaki, has sold more than 26 million copies since.
The basic premise of this book revolves around Kiyosaki’s childhood, where he grew up with two dads. The second dad in the book is allegory, but he uses the two dads to describe the two schools of advice he received during his upbringing. The first was from Dad #1 (Poor Dad), his real father, who has advanced degrees from some of the best universities in the country and who continues to work for another company in order to support his family. Poor Dad advises Robert to get his Masters and work at a Fortune 500 company till he’s 60. Dad #2 (Rich Dad) never completed the eighth grade. Rich Dad advises Robert to work for himself, take risks, and invest his money. Throughout the book, Robert illustrates how, despite his lack of formal education, Rich Dad is able to achieve financial independence, travel, and donate millions to charity while Poor Dad still has to worry about paying his bills on time. How did Rich Dad do it? By understanding how financial literacy is from a young age.
Throughout the book, Kiyosaki highlights the differences of attitudes towards money between the poor and the rich. For example, he says that the poor work for money while the rich make money work for them. Got that? The poor work at jobs that pay low-but-consistent paychecks while the rich take risks and invest their money to produce income through real estate, businesses & stocks, and intellectual property. The poor incur liabilities that they think are assets while the rich incur assets and reduce their liabilities. The key is to be able to differentiate between an asset and liability and build a solid foundation early on so that you don’t have to continue working till you’re 60. It’s a revolutionary idea because let’s face it—we can’t save our way to financial freedom these days. Our only option is to find ways for money to work for us.
One of the aspects of this book that I roll my eyes at is that Kiyosaki sometimes makes his steps sound too easy to actually work. One day he was jogging through his neighborhood when he saw a “for sale” sign on a home and only half an hour later, he ended up paying $5,000 down payment for the house. Then over the next four years he proceeded to sell and trade that property up in value to ultimately buy a 30-unit apartment building valued at $1.2 million. Great job but let’s be real here, Rob—that was a spectacular and rare deal and it gives readers false hope that they too can do deals like that one. Don’t get me wrong, we all definitely need to improve our financial intelligence but let’s not pretend that any average Joe can go from working full-time at Wal-Mart to buying and selling rental properties worth millions at the drop of a hat. Surprisingly, a lot of his lessons didn’t seem as thought-provoking to me as I had hoped, though I presume it was because I had previously read a post on Wall Street Playboys that talks about working hard when you’re young to build a solid financial foundation, instead of wasting your money at happy hour like everyone else.
Despite some of its questionable segments, this book has really influenced me because it’s given me a glimpse at what an alternate path to success is. I’m not going to create the next Snapchat or Whatsapp. Nor am I going to get paid 2% on a $3 billion banking deal or get paid six figures to perform three to four surgeries a year. But I CAN take steps to buy real estate and slowly grow a portfolio of properties that will eventually produce steady cash flow for the long term. I CAN look into starting a modest business that can make me money while I sleep. And so can anyone reading this post.
For all the reasons above, I give this book 3/5 stars. I would recommend anyone interested in this book to read it with an open mind but also with a judicious one, because doing what Kiyosaki did is not as easy at he makes it look.
Read If You:
- Want to change your mentality about money so you can retire early
- Are able to think independently and can filter through advice from a money guru
- Consider yourself different from the masses, in terms of financial education and priorities
Don’t Read If You:
- Are looking for a get-rich-quick handbook
- Easily idolize the rich and think that they’re flawless
- Aren’t willing to change your perceptions towards money
Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your thoughts below in the comments section!