Updated: Apr 26
Touted as the number one personal finance book of all time (at least according to the back cover), 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' by Robert T. Kiyosaki has sold over 32 million copies since its original publication in 1997.
You have to know which book I'm talking about. You know- the book that high school kids will read once and then add the word ‘Entrepreneur’ to their Instagram bios? All the while the only thing rich about the entire situation is the fact that they think reading a 179 page self help book entitles them to compare themselves to Elon Musk.
As a business student, the title of this book has been repeatedly whispered in my ear as some sort of all knowing guide to money- making it, saving it, spending it. I've heard dozens, if not hundreds of people call it the "secret to success." However, I can't help but wonder how much of a secret it must be if everyone has already read it? Furthermore, if this book really is the alleged secret to financial success, why aren't the 32 million above-mentioned readers millionaires yet?
You see, I'm a rare breed of person that actually didn't enjoy this book, and the reason isn't even the book itself. The book actually has some great lessons! However, a few Google searches later brought me to a slightly twisted revelation.
'Rich Dad Poor Dad' is supposed to narrate the author's real life experience with his well... Rich Dad and Poor Dad. His “Poor Dad” is his biological father that was financially challenged throughout his life, and he claims that his “Rich Dad” was one of the wealthiest men in Hawaii, and that he imparted invaluable financial lessons that couldn't be taught in a classroom. That's all perfectly fine.
However, there is absolutely no evidence to show that his “Rich Dad” even actually existed! When Mr. Kiyosaki was questioned on different occasions about the current whereabouts of his 'Rich Dad', he has concurrently answered that he is dead, that he has asked not to be identified, and that he is an ailing senior citizen- answers that all contradict each other. Which one is it? You can either choose to believe that the infamous 'Rich Dad' is an introverted ageing man that is somehow also dead; or you can just accept the fact that 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' is a work of fiction.
Drowning in Debt Dad?
You might be asking yourself - "So what if it's fiction? At least the author’s successful!" Well...sort of. Apart from the obvious fabrication (politically correct way of saying lie) of this supposed work of 'non-fiction', there is no documentation of the wealth that Robert T. Kiyosaki claims to have amassed before the publication of this book.
I'm going to spell that out for you a little more clearly - he was teaching people how to be rich, without actually being rich. There is no documentation of Robert T. Kiyosaki's self-declared wealth before the publication of his book on "how to be rich."
To rub even more salt in this morally delusive wound, in August 2012, he filed for corporate bankruptcy through one of his companies 'Rich Global LLC,' after refusing to honour a deal made with 'The Learning Annex.'
He had originally partnered with ‘The Learning Annex’ who helped him arrange a slew of seminars, workshops and speeches (fancy talk for reiterating the contents of his fictional book) in exchange for a certain amount of royalties. However, when it was finally time for him to pay up, he refused to cough up the cash. No biggie?
'The Learning Annex' then sued him for somewhere around 24 million dollars, which Robert T. Kiyosaki avoided by filing for corporate bankruptcy, yet another strategic tactic to avoid honouring the deal.
Robert T. Kiyosaki is one of those guys that has amassed a fortune by parasitically preying on vulnerable, financially distraught readers desperate for a quick 'get rich' strategy.
The reason why Robert T. Kiyosaki has been able to amass such a huge fortune is 99% marketing and maybe just 1% of actual finance knowledge.
Live your life according to what some self-proclaimed 'all knowing' being says? Or use your brain and think for yourself? The truth is, people are always looking for some sort of quick fix for whatever problem they're dealing with. I mean, why make smart, strategic decisions when you can read a book that claims to get you rich in just 9 steps! Moreover, there is always going to be some guy claiming to have a magical solution to all your problems.
Maybe Robert T. Kiyosaki will write a book about how to see unicorns and teleport to different dimensions! Maybe then I'll be impressed.
The truth is, financial self help books are a great way to make millions. That is, if you're the one writing it.
Before you leave any hate comments, I'll give you the chance to defend yourself. Tell me, why exactly do you choose to religiously follow a book about a man's "story"- a story with fictional characters and fictional wealth, about how to be "rich"- by refusing to honour legal contracts and evading business deals by taking advantage of corporate bankruptcy laws?
However, I've got to give credit where it's due- as a writer, I've experienced my fair share of writer's block. Therefore, Robert T. Kiyokaski is a role model for me, not because of his financial advice, but because of the fact that he's managed to write, market and sell fourteen books and an incalculable number of seminars and workshops that repeat the exact same thing over and over again. A true inspiration.
- Krish Mayani