Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad

During my holiday vacation this year I came across a neglected copy of Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Having a bit of free time on my hand, a burning curiosity to see what was inside of this short and popular book and with nothing better to do I sat down for a few hours and read it.

I see now why the book has been so popular-- the advice contained within is sensible and sound enough to be of value to many people, while the story and the book themselves which are wrapped around these few principles are so lacking in technical detail or substance that they are still appealing to the simplistic mental faculties of your average American drone.

That's really the heart of it. Kiyosaki is no story-teller, and he may not even be much of a businessman in real life. It seems as if an awful lot of his financial success has come from self-promotion, the timeless strategy of "fakin' it 'til you make it!" come to life. Kiyosaki's decision to share many of his principles in the form of stories and dialog from his (eight-year-old) childhood are trite and uninteresting. The narrative lacks authenticity when much of what is being recounted has obviously been concocted with a heavy-handed dose of artistic license. And it's apparently come to light somewhat recently that Kiyosaki admits his "Rich Dad" never actually existed.

But the few principles sprinkled throughout the book are worthwhile and likely extremely helpful for the many who would otherwise be totally clueless about their personal financial affairs. Kiyosaki's biggest pitch, you must produce before you can spend, and you should always do so in a sustainable fashion, rings loudest today in light of current economic catastrophes. But that doesn't compensate for the book being overly long. If you want to know what it's about without actually reading it, try this WikiSummary of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Otherwise, if you must buy it and/or read it yourself, I highly suggest skimming. You'll easily find the main concepts and ideas and be spared the plodding development. Take the big picture concepts, leave the rest and don't take any of it (or Robert Kiyosaki) too seriously.

I give it a 2/5. The book peaks in the first twenty pages, when you finish it you are left with this odd feeling like something shady has happened but nonetheless it gets a few points for having some worthwhile principles to keep in mind in consideration of personal financial affairs.

For the genre, I much prefer the classic The Richest Man in Babylon, a book full of true wisdom (rather than sound advice) which manages to be told in a captivating manner as well.

Buy Rich Dad, Poor Dad on

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