on October 15, 2004
When he isn't engaged in his nearly incessant showboating, Kiyosaki actually gets down to some practical, all be it general, guidance on how to think about money:
* Probably the greatest insight is how to think about assets and liabilities. A million accountants scream in anguish, but a primary residence, with a large mortgage, high taxes and high fixed costs to top it off, is not an "asset" for Kiyosaki because it doesn't produce a positive cash flow. Instead, he lists several items, such as rental property, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, business partnerships with limited involvement, promissory notes and royalties (p. 89), that generate money and should be invested in.
* Don't get into large debt positions for non-necessities. Buy your luxury items for cash (p. 176). This is part of any sound financial planning and is taken to its logical endpoint by the authors of "The Millionaire Next Door."
* Watch out for the tax effect of your sales of real estate. In this sense, the book is out of date, since the tax laws were changed in the late 90s to permit up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for married couples) from the sale of a primary residence be exempt from federal tax, under certain circumstances. No longer must you rely on the 1031 "trading up" provision he describes, at least not exclusively.
* Fear can be utilized as a great motivator to act, as opposed to fear causing you to be a deer in the headlights of life.
However, before we all run off to leverage real estate to become gentlepeople of leisure, let's try to remember a few things.
* This book is written for one reason: to be earn the author money. Kiyosaki is even somewhat up-front about it, noting that royalties are one of the best assets for a person to have (p. 89). Therefore, you should be skeptical -- not cynical but merely skeptical -- about the advice he gives.
* For every Kiyosaki there's a multiple of people who crashed and burned in stock and real estate speculation, and the difference between the author and those people is due in some measure to chance.
* It is much easier to invest in undervalued, illiquid assets in downturns when you're already sitting on a pile of cash.
* Dropping our current jobs to do Kiyosaki's kind of analysis and investing does not make sense for most of us. After all, our jobs are, in Kiyosaki's sense, an "asset" because they generate positive cash flow.
* The principle of "paying yourself first" (p. 172) is not something to be applied inflexibly. Kiyosaki is giving everyone advice from a position that may not be applicable to everyone (p. 176). Yes, the idea of saving a portion of your income is a good idea, even an outstanding idea. But stiffing the tax man and your creditors is not, and unless you operate a business or are engaged in a profession where you can rapidly earn extra cash, it's not a good idea to try to scare yourself into coming up with a brilliant plan to pay them off. You might wind up with a solution like George Segal and Jane Fonda in "Fun With Dick and Jane."
* Beware the author's personal biases. If he truly believed that America is "on the course" to collapsing because the difference between the haves and have-nots is widening (p. 48), he'd be investing in foreign real estate, in gold and would hold a lot of money in cash. He's not. In fact, he does the exact opposite. He bets on American's long-term stability by purchasing real estate.
* The author casually talks about extremely risky investments, such as $5,000 investments returning $1,000,000, as if these were almost ordinary (p. 78). That's highly misleading. He does mention in the book that out of ten limited investments, a preponderance of his business investments "go nowhere" or completely fail, but that should be highlighted when those stratospheric returns are mentioned.
Overall, Kiyosaki has some good advice. However, do not think that you are likely to duplicate his personal experience to success. If you look at how he made his money, he essentially got rich holding real estate in the 70s, in Hawaii, as well as being one of the state's best salesmen. He was at the right place at the right time, with a particular important skill. He then had sufficient money in the 80s and 90s to be able to invest in real estate in the economic downturns. So his position does not correspond to most of ours.
on October 15, 2000
I know this book was a best-seller and has a 4.5 star average on Amazon. This does not make it good, and I will explain why.
First, most people focus on his inspiration and pointing out that you need to save money instead of spending it. To put it bluntly, "Duh." To be more constructive, there are much better books on this subject - for instance, "Your Money or Your Life." It's easy to spout platitudes about why you should save, but Kiyosaki doesn't tell you how.
Second, his real estate advice. Kiyosaki emphasizes making money in real estate, since it seems clear that is how he made his fortune. But he does a terrible job explaining that as well. People have lost fortunes in real estate; Donald Trump went from being a billionaire to losing most of his empire. It isn't easy. Kiyosaki himself says that winners learn from their failures; where are his failures?
Perhaps he should refer people to other books about real estate, but one of the books he recommends was written by a man who had a half-million dollars in tax liens filed against him and declared bankruptcy - all before "Rich Dad" was written. That isn't exactly the kind of advice I was looking for!
Third, experts in the fields he talks about generally agree that his advice is bad. A review by an experienced real estate professional is here: [...] His advice on making money via IPOs is completely wrong; you can't invest that little money so close to the IPO filing for such a large discount. It just isn't done that way.
Fourth, his emphasis on making money. I like money, don't get me wrong. Like most people reading this review, I'd like to be a millionaire. But, I think, there is an underlying current of meanness in Kiyosaki's book. The way his "rich dad" kept people waiting and intimidated them with his power, the way Kiyosaki himself resented being left out of the parties held by the "rich kids." It's disturbing.
Fifth, for all the talk about spending less, Kiyosaki clearly lives up the high life (or claims to.) Rolex watches (why?), Porsches (again, why?)... all these are types of liabilities, which he spends most of the book saying you should avoid. It's flash, which I think ties into his rejection as a 'poor' child, and also meant to impress the reader by letting them think that, someday, they too will be able to show off their wealth.
Most millionaire's aren't this way. "The Millionaire Next Door", which cannot be recommended highly enough, has interviews with real millionaires who live modestly - in fact, probably living on less than you are - and yet they accumulated their fortunes through hard work. (Real estate and owning your own business qualifies as hard work!) It is a much more educational book, but is also more inspiring to see people like yourself who did make it.
Summary: this book has some decent information in it (but there are better books), is inspirational at points (but inspirational books are a dime a dozen!), and didn't really do squat for me.
on April 26, 2005
For the most part, it seems that people either love or hate the book and now having read it, I think I understand why. Most likely it seems that it depends on your personal situation and knowledge prior to reading the book.
I think that if you were someone who was just making ends meet, using all of your salary to support your lifestyle (in Kiyosakian parlance, buying "liabilities") and doing little to save and invest (buying "assets"), I can see that this book might serve as a wake up call and can inspire and motivate people to look for ways to possibly change their situation. Furthermore, the book's various claims, (however misleading or unrealistic as I point out below) plays right into such people's desires to learn the "secret of success" of the rich that if only they knew, they could quit (or abandon their plans) to go to school, quit their jobs and just invest and live off of investments the rest of their lives without working.
OTOH, if like many of us, you were making a good salary WORKING but spending responsibly (i.e. limiting "liabilities) and meanwhile trying to invest aggressively as much as we know how to do based on our unique circumstances and preferences (buying "assets"), the book really provides no substance and stretches credibility. For us, you don't need inspiration and what specific info the book provides is either dated, incorrect, or misleading. Also for many of us, we didn't read it realizing ahead of time that it was entirely a motivational book rather than a "methods" book since the title alludes to "methods" that that rich possess that we of humbler backgrounds lack.
This book makes fantastic claims. There is a quick and easy "secret of success" that "the rich" (always treated as a monolithic group) know and the rest of us don't; this "secret information" is far more important than hard work, getting a good education, investing wisely, or any traditional method to become rich and successful; and if you only learn "the secret" (translation: buy Kiyosaki's book) you, too, will be rich.
According to Kiyosaki, "the rich" become rich by using three different strategies: 1). They form and own corporations, thus paying less taxes than people who get their income as employees. 2). They invest in real estate in certain "secret" ways that let them earn a lot of money with little risk or tax liability; 3). They use tips from friends for insider's trading to make a killing in the stock market. Kiyosaki's advice, in essence, is to suggest to the reader to emulate "the rich" by using the same tax-avoidance strategies, real-estate schemes, and insider's trading "they" supposedly use to get rich.
There are only two tiny problems with Kiyosaki's advice. First of all, these "secret strategies" are NOT the way the rich actually make money; it is rather the LAYMAN'S IMPRESSION of how the rich make money, an impression based mainly on numerous TV shows and movies which portray "the rich" in this way. As the (excellent) book "the millionaire next door" shows, this description bears no more relation to how the rich actually make money than James Bond films have to actual espionage work.
Second, not surprisingly, the "strategies" Kiyosaki proposes could work only in the movies - where, of course, the government and police are all in the millionaire's pocket, and let him "get away with it". If you actually try them in the real world, you will be laughed at, waste your time and money, get audited by the IRS, or worse.
For example, in reality, coroprations are *not* good tax shelters. In reality, you *cannot* deduct your personal expenses as "business expenses", or have your corporation give you "tax-free gifts" such as trips to Hawai or Rolex watches, as Kiyosaki claims. Doing so would get you audited and stiffly fined (or worse.) Also, in reality, "insider's trading" is a felony which could land you in jail. Finally, in reality, Koyisaki's real-estate advice is either illegal (as in his claim of using his cat as a "business partner"), immoral (as in getting "good deals" from unsophisticated sellers, apparently based on the principle of "it is immoral to let a sucker keep his money"), or doesn't work in the real world (such as his claims that he offered 275K for a 450K building and "they agreed to 300K", or that a bank agreed to take 50K instead of 60K for property he bought "simply because it was a cashier's check.")...This book, in summary, paints a fantasy picture of the world, and gives "financial advice" that will make you a laughing stock at best and put you in jail for insider's trading or tax evasion at worse.
If you have dreams of being the next Gates, Trump, etc, I'd say go for it. But don't give up your day job just yet based on Kiyosaki's fantasy notions because the real world doesn't work that way. The bottom line is that whether you work hard at a profession as an employee or whether you work hard to invest and build businesses, you will need to work. It is safe to say that while a few people will be able to invest and build businesses and live off of their assets without working, many of us won't be able to pull it off. There's nothing wrong with trying but don't do it with the mistaken notion that you'll automatically be better off than if you kept your job and invested carefully over a lifetime because you probably won't be.
on May 13, 2004
There are two concepts in this book that are worth something.
The first is the simple definition of financial independence: you must have income sources (not counting your job) equal to your expenses. (Actually, you need more, because the unexpected always happens.)
The second concept is simply that if you're eager to get ahead, then what you learn on the job will be more important than what you earn.
If you get these two things, you can toss the rest of the book. All the real information on all the pertinent subjects are covered in much more detail elsewhere; mostly what the rest of this book is pontificating re: his philosophies toward money, education, and what makes a loser vs. a winner. It's his attitude that he is selling. He offers an attractive combination of scorn, pompousness, hope, appeal to greed, and justification.
The biggest problem I have with the book is that this guy himself has no recognition of what he has given up. He doesn't understand the concept of 'opportunity cost' at all. This book is really no more than a passionate argument that his values are right and other values are dumb.
For instance, after he defines wealth as income > expenses, he says, "you can't be too rich". Then he describes how he quit a job he loved (flying) to master sales.
IMO rich is good *only* insofar as it allows you to pursue your true goals and desires. This guy seems to me to have it reversed; his goals and desires serve his desire for wealth instead of vice versa. Ironically, he keeps saying, "I don't work for money, money works for me!" - have you ever been a salesperson? Is there any more servile job? Even a waitress doesn't have to coax the customer to buy something. It's all about what the other guy wants; it's all about being pleasing to other people, and serving them.
Also, in another sense, it is entirely possible to be "too rich"; brazen selfishness of the sort this guy defends begets enemies, and history is littered with unapologetic greed causing chains of events that bring down wealth and power. One does not have to be a passionate believer in karma to be a little wary of anyone who thinks morals are for idiots and losers. (Like his real dad.)
His "rich dad" is the man he wishes were his dad; an 8th grade dropout with (we are told)a reputation for selfishness and exploiting his workers. Reputation is apparently something you should be willing to live without in order to be rich. His employees hate him and, apparently, frequently curse him. This apparently amuses Rich Dad - one more sign of how powerful and cool he is? Rich Dad teaches the author that power means playing petty power trips, intimidating vendors & employees, making people wait in the waiting room, etc.
Quite frankly, he neither sounds like someone I'd want to be, nor does he sound like a particularly well-adjusted person. Certainly not very *happy* (which is no doubt why he's so good at defending and justifying his questionable practices).
Poor Dad, on the other hand, is the author's own real father. The author showers so much contempt on his unfortunate father that I started imagining this book was written to get a last word in against a dead father who steadfastly refused to 'see reason'. The reason I start thinking this is because the father, as described by the author, claimed he "loves teaching" (the author absolutely insists that this just means his father was too dumb to figure out he could have made more money elsewhere) and obviously values education. The author, on the other hand, sees value only in "financial literacy", and describes himself challenging teachers (as in, what has this got to do with earning money? - a question guaranteed to seriously wound any parent who values education).
Personally, I think the author comes across as quite ignorant-sounding, especially when he's talking about politics and history and the like. (At some points so does his Rich Dad, IMO).
I also think that when he openly pities the poor idiotic girl who envies him his bestseller status, & he tries to explain to her about how to learn to hype - spend a few years mastering sales and advertising etc., and she walks away - well, it seems pretty clear to me that *he* is the one who just doesn't 'get it'.
In the end, you get what you chase, what you prioritize. Everyone does. This guy seems continually astounded that anyone could value anything other than cash, and that seems to be the underlying theme of the book. To get Rich, you have to make money your focus, your goal - you must put it first, you must dedicate yourself to learning the games and strategies of wealth, you must stop thinking like everyone else and learn how to think like rich people.
If you want to think like a rich person, though, I wouldn't recommend this particular rich person; I'd recommend someone a little less sleazy. Like maybe the guys who run Franklin Covey - I understand they're rich as sin and can still talk about things like "integrity".
on July 27, 2003
I have read a lot of the other financial books that teach frugality, cut up your credit cards and so on and lived by those principles and was able to amass some savings and investments.I also used to follow the normal way of investing which is to listen to your broker.Recently and against the advice of others, I started to apply the RDPD advice. I use my credit cards, I kept my day job while starting a business in my spare time. I am learning how to invest and am prepared when I go to financial people like brokers. I have also found a ton of tax deductions that I didn't know about before which my tax preparer didn't know because they go to school to fill out tax forms.I highly recommend RD/PD to help you get on the path to financial freedom.As for the 1 star bashers, there must be a reason why they repeatedly pst the same nonsense and unfortunately it has nothing to do with helping you. I wonder what their net worth is?
on February 1, 2003
That is the inability to release old beliefs.Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."RTK teaches adaptability; to see beyond the norm and to open your mind to new beliefs.I also found many of the reviews to contain errors. For example one reviewers states that RTK encourages one to invest in small cap stocks (true) and penny stocks (not true).There is a world of difference between small caps and penny stocks that I don't have time to explain here. T o make it short and simple, Dell and Microsoft were once small caps and as a person who actually read Rich Dad Poor Dad this what I got from RTK--to buy current small cap stocks with huge upside potential not stocks trading from a penny to a quarter that roll up and down in a range and are basically garbage stocks.Also, in reference to the Smart Money (talk about misnomers for a magazine title!), RTK did repeatedly and politely indicate that he did not want to release the name of Rich Dad to protect his confidentality and I applaud him for that. It was only after repeated requests that RTK "Lost his cool" and went into the Harry Potter thing. The other reviewers have it backwards (as usual)Personally, I don't care who Rich Dad really is....but do you have any earthly idea how much this man (Rich Dad) would have to go through from reporters if his identity was released?Bravo RTK and I don't blame you for "losing your cool".If you have an open mind and not suffering from homeostasis, you will find Rich Dad Poor Dad an enlighteningread.
on July 13, 2003
I don't like to read. In fact, I hate to read, but I finished RD PD in one evening. Once I started, I couldn't stop.This man may not win any literally awards, but he sure knows how to write in a captivating way.I have started to apply Kiyosaki's advice and am creating passive income and started a small home based business. To wit, have already doubled my income!Thank you Robert, great advice!
on December 5, 2002
The principles espoused by RTK in tnis first of the Rich Dad series are fabulous if only you will open your mind to new information.I was opposed to RD/PD at first too because it went against everything that I was taught in my formative years. But then I realized that nobody who taught me the "normal/conventional" way of getting ahead were doing all that well themselves.Since reading RD/PD I have started my own business and begun an investing program in equities and real estate.Great book Mr. K. Keep them coming.
on August 7, 2003
Rich Dad Poor Dad is the very best book available for those who want to become wealthy or at the very least, attain a moderate level of financial freedom.
I think some people miss the point and think this is a "get rich quick" book. Clearly, it is not. You can get rich quicker though and this book explains how.
No book stays on the best seller lists this long. Has this many 5 star reviews with continuing high book sales without having something worthwhile to share.
And what about the 1 star reviews? I suspect that this is just 1 person constantly reposting. Same unsubstantiated complaints against Kiyosaki. Same website keeps getting mentioned (how often do you see a 5 star reviewer hawking a website?) Their arguments are unsubstantiated and without base. Do what I do...don't read them.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.
B. Hinds author of Power Wealth
on September 29, 2005
Best way to answer that is with another question. What is your net worth and how does that compare to what Mr. Kiyosaki is worth? Here is another question. How does your net worth compare to the many successful Kiyosaki students?
Less than 2% of people in America are doing well. Less than 2% in the richest country in the world!
It pays to listen to someone like Robert Kiyosaki.