Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki - My thoughts twenty years later
September 18, 2022 • written by Kevin Olega
Do you still recommend the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”?
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a best-selling book commonly recommended for introducing financial education to people with zero knowledge about business and investments.
I’ve seen several experienced business owners and investors disagree with this recommendation many years later.
To be fair, financial education is a complicated topic because there are many elements to consider.
I agree that Rich Dad Poor Dad functions more of an intro than a guidebook.
The author spends more time explaining concepts and even more time self-promoting instead of giving useful advice.
I realized that many of the things I learned are oversimplified.
I also concluded that the teachings are low-resolution as I gained more experience.
I missed many of the questionable recommendations because I lacked experience.
Many ideas that I accepted as lifehacks of the rich are either illegal or wrong.
There’s also a high risk of misinterpretation for impressionable people like myself.
When did I read “Rich Dad Poor Dad?”
Here are some of my stupid takeaways from when I first read the book at 16.
Rich=Good, Smart, Poor=Bad, Stupid MLM/Network Marketing is better than employment if you don’t own a business or passive income. Work to learn not to earn and worship the wealthy. Buying Starbucks coffee and anything fun is stupid. Learn how to sell. It’s the most valuable skill. (Nope, Sales is one of the many required skills)
What did you learn from the “Rich Dad” series?
Here are some useful intro ideas:
Visual guide to the wealthy, middle-class, and poor cash flow.
Intro to real estate and paper investments.
Value of being the owner instead of the top employee.
Taxes eat up a giant cut of your income, so you need to figure out structures to help minimize taxes because the default setting is designed for the average person to overpay taxes.
Concept of working to learn (not earn) is useful but has led me to put myself in several abusive employee-employer relationships. Overcoming cynicism section because it seems the financial system is designed to work against people at first glance.
Overcoming laziness. Yes, some people can’t be bothered learning about money.
Overcoming bad habits. Yes, there are poor money habits.
Choosing friends carefully.
Take classes, read, and attend seminars.
What are your objections to the lessons of Robert Kiyosaki?
Robert Kiyosaki’s teaching seems anti-employee and anti-business owner, so following his advice is a terrible idea.
Here’s why and this could be my interpretation from re-reading this book multiple times between sixteen and twenty-two years old:
Extremely high regard for investors and business owners and disrespect for employees and the self-employed.
Extreme disrespect for how people spend their money. Buying nice things (from Starbucks coffee to a car) and experiences are terrible ideas (you are stupid). Put all your focus into building assets that generate passive income.
Robert Kiyosaki is the kind of con man who steals your watch and sells it back to you.
I read this book and became a poor worker that also avoided promotions and other opportunities in my job because “it’s not my business, and I’m not the owner.”
I stayed at low-paying sales jobs because of the high-income potential, ignoring the fact that I was not earning money when I had low sales.
I voluntarily stayed in entry-level jobs to maintain my equally low-income “MLM business.”
Why do you regret recommending the “Rich Dad” series?
When the scales fell off my eyes, the main issue I had for the book or his “Rich Dad” series, in general, was that it made me think twice:
He’s using the book to “sell himself to the reader.” You’ll receive a call where a rep will invite you to $2,000 seminars.
Low-resolution advice and oversimplified explanation that likely leads to misinterpretation. Hence my poor career choices in my early twenties.
Pushing to sell his $200 board game “Cashflow” and also happens to be a seminar in a box used by MLM or Network Marketing reps as a recruiting tool.
Working in sales to learn instead of earn, delayed gratification, and other concepts twisted by MLM or Network Marketing reps as a recruiting tool.
Big network marketing companies pushed his book, and he is persuading people to participate in network marketing. Robert Kiyosaki is the source of the quote, “The traditional corporations are the real pyramid business.”
What do other people say about Rich Dad Poor Dad?
I went to my mentor’s website, and here’s his feedback:
“Yet another Rich Dad book shat out for the usual audience of those who don’t read. Often so bad it hurts, but with the occasional useful sentence. He always seems to go out of his way to avoid giving any usable info - only generalities. Does he care? Is he trying to write great books? Are these things just machine-generated or something?”
What useful ideas in Rich Dad Poor Dad don’t get as much attention?
I went back to the book twenty years later, and here are some useful concepts that I missed.
I eventually picked up these lessons elsewhere.
I learned from other authors and teachers or concluded some of these ideas from personal experience.
Many useful ones are in chapter 9, close to the end of the book. Many of these concepts aren’t repeated as often and aren’t explained too well, so I likely just recognized these because I learned them from others.
Inventing money by creating deals and introducing people.
The main management skills needed for success are:
Management of cash flow (repeated all the time)
Management of systems (explained in future books)
Management of people. (not explained well)
The most important specialized skills are sales and marketing. The ability to sell–to communicate with another human being is the base skill of personal success.
Communication skills such as writing, speaking, and negotiating are crucial to a life of success. Some technical experts can’t communicate effectively.
Sellers and marketers need to be good teachers.
Master a formula and then learn a new one: The power of learning quickly.
Focus on learning management skills instead of product, service, or widget.
Pay professionals well to receive good advice.
Practice thinking about “how to get your money back.”
Use assets to buy luxuries.
Find someone who has done what you want to do, take them to lunch, and interview them.
Make lots of offers. Finding a good deal, the right business, people, investors, or whatever is similar to dating.
Jog, walk around your area, and pay attention instead of going with mainstream offers.
Look for people who want to buy first, then look for people who want to sell.
Learn from history.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a mixed bag for me. Do I recommend the book? Not really. It’s a waste of time because the useful sentences are buried in the middle of stories and Robert Kiyosaki’s self-promotion. Are there valuable concepts that you found helpful? Yes, there are some, but I don’t recommend this book unless you have the proper guidance.
What books should you read instead of Rich Dad Poor Dad?
What to read instead:
Richest Man in Babylon by George Clayson explains the concepts of building wealth better with no follow-up book or seminar needed.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi teaches you good habits and practical ideas to manage, save, and invest your money. No negative feelings about buying coffee from Starbucks. There are more important factors to pay attention to with finances, and Ramit explains different styles that allow you to focus on what matters. I like this book because it doesn’t assume you are the beneficiary of a trust fund.
Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins teaches you concepts used by advanced investors explained in a more accessible format for regular people like you and me.
Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman is a great book that gives you an overview of business and simplifies how many complex elements of managing a business work.
The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is a better intro to designing your lifestyle and building time and financial freedom. This book helped me recover from brainwashing by MLM/Network Marketing. Contrary to popular financial books, you can enjoy the millionaire lifestyle without needing a million dollars. 80-20 rule, using automation, delegation, and intro to negotiation. Tim is a great guy in general. I lost 40lbs, gained 20lbs of muscle, learned how to cook, and learned how to analyze from his following books.
Atomic Habits by James Clear explains the concepts of building good habits and removing bad habits clearly and concisely.
Anything You Want and Your Music and People by Derek Sivers are my two favorite business books where the author shares how he built his business from the ground up with little resources. This is an excellent manual for running a business. Buy both the PDF and the Audiobook because Derek reads the book himself and has a soothing voice that also gets your attention.