Well, it had to happen sometime. After stirring up a hornet’s nest the last time I discussed Robert Kiyosaki, it somewhat became inevitable that I would review his very well known personal finance book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This book has been inspirational to many people, but the book seems to have produced as many critics as champions. What’s really inside those covers? Let’s dig in.
The Good On an extremely fundamental level, most of the concepts in this book are sound. The fundamental point of the book is that you should try hard to save money and accumulate assets that can eventually replace the income you make from your employment, and that’s something I agree with. It’s also rather inspirational, as it paints a way of life that fulfills the dreams that many of us have of being free and independent.
The Bad The book starts to fall apart when you start trying to use it for concrete examples. If you try to follow the exact “success stories” that Kiyosaki writes about, you’re going to find that they’re few and far between, and the specific paths he talks about are not all that easy to follow.
The Ugly But where the book really collapses for me is that it’s insulting in a lot of ways. Kiyosaki insults and demeans everyone who does not share his point of view, referring to them as stupid and as “hamsters.” This is a very desperate and poor salesmanship technique – it does absolutely nothing to benefit anyone other than, in the eyes of the simple-minded, making Kiyosaki appear strong and others appear weak. It’s ridiculous and demeaning to everyone who reads it, whether they agree or not.
So, there is some good in Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but it’s surrounded by other problems. The final nail in the coffin, though, is that the “good” part of this book appears in other books without the incomprehensible examples and the insults and the salesmanship. Try reading Your Money or Your Life, for example: it teaches the same lessons of being self-reliant and being frugal and minding your own business, but it does it with concrete and specific examples that you can follow and, more importantly, it does it without resorting to blatant salesmanship and insults.
The only reason to buy this book is if you really, really need inspiration and didn’t already find it in Your Money or Your Life. If that’s not true for you, don’t buy this book and don’t waste your time on it.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad is the twenty-second of fifty-two books in The Simple Dollar’s series 52 Personal Finance Books in 52 Weeks.