Given this book’s large size, I hoped to find a lot of helpful, practical information in it that would help me learn the basic concepts and vocabulary of investing and perhaps give some direction on how to best invest any “excess” cash I might accumulate. Disappointingly, Kiyosaki’s anecdotal style, focus on generalities, and avoidance of technical terminology rendered the book almost completely unhelpful. There are a couple interesting concepts, such as creating valuable businesses yourself instead of simply investing in other people’s businesses and using your business to purchase assets so that you can stay poor on paper and avoid paying tax. Unfortunately, much of the information seemed pretty sketchy and the author provides very few examples of his ideas in action. Overall, this book felt like a waste of time and casts a rather charlatan shade over Kiyosaki’s whole financial self-help enterprise.
[Why I read it: I’ve read several of Kiyosaki’s books and this one looked interesting.]
This book is a good follow-up to the too-anecdotal Rich Dad Poor Dad because it provides a variety of practical details and observations that give the reader an increased understanding of Kiyosaki’s financial philosophy. Some of his ideas make sense immediately (e.g. your house is not an asset, protecting your money with smart tax strategies, the power of information) but other concepts are still hazy to me (e.g. what is “leverage,” viewing bank loans as tax-free money).
Kiyosaki makes a couple of points that I found very depressing but illuminating. First, he advocates working for a network marketing company in order to learn sales skills and how to build a business. Network marketing gives me the creeping horrors and if that’s what it takes to be an entrepreneur, I might not be cut out for it. Secondly, he quotes a friend who says “Entrepreneurs have two characteristics…ignorance and courage” (194). This is a phenomenon I’ve noticed in many areas of life, not just business-building. It’s the blindly optimistic and self-confident who go out and do things successfully, not necessarily the people with real talent or skills.
[Why I read it: Kiyosaki doles out the info pretty thinly in his books and you need to read a few to get a handle on his ideas.]
Using simplistic diagrams and entertaining anecdotes, Kiyosaki preaches a financial message that is as appealing as it is suspiciously pat: don’t just work for money, make money work for you. By this, I gather that he means to focus on acquiring income-producing assets instead of the more traditional approach of focusing on increasing your salary, only to spend it on ever-growing liabilities and expenses such as taxes, a too-big house, or expensive junk. Additionally, Kiyosaki points out that it is the hardworking self-employed and 9-5 rat racers who are, unfairly, the ones most gouged by taxes (a point to which I can personally attest)–the passive income and strategically-formed corporations of the financially literate are much less susceptible to taxes.
That said, I am very suspicious (I could end the sentence there but I’ll continue) of the advice of someone who makes money partly by selling hyped-up books, games and seminars about making money. It seems that there is an inherent conflict of interest or, at least, an unhealthy circularity similar to a career adviser whose own career is giving career advice. However, Kiyosaki’s basic ideas seem sensible and I could imagine them successfully directing the energies of someone who has set their mind on working hard to become very rich. (Of course, this is the kind of person who would likely become wealthy with or without the help of this book.) People looking to get rich quick will be disappointed–Rich Dad Poor Dad is more philosophical than practically helpful. I think its main value is to provide some context and an engaging introduction to Kiyosaki’s financial strategies. I plan to read his other books, which will hopefully substantiate his claims with rather more technical information and fewer generalities.
[Why I read it: I think I read this once years and years ago, but it came up again recently because my brother is researching the idea of investing in rental properties and mentioned reading it.]