Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad, Poor DadRich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's a good thing one of the authors admitted in this book that they weren't a good writer, because I'm about to tear into this book.

I get that it's a self-help kind of book, but still, there is something to be said for avoiding things like egregious repetition. Each paragraph (almost) repeats exactly what the previous paragraph has said, sometimes using the exact same damned words. This had me so annoyed, I was ready to take a match to the book.

And I abhor the idea of burning books.

Moreover, many of the anecdotes were tiresome and unrealistic (which is weird, because they all, likely, actually happened). I half expected Yoda to jump off the page and say, "Learn this and rich you will become, young investor." I might be a bit harsh here, but it really, really annoyed me.

Also, I'm not much of a capitalist. I mean, I have no issue with capitalism, provided that it is handled in a sensible, mutually beneficial manner.

In short, I think I'm too much of a socialist for this book. I tend to avoid investing in corporations, not only because I don't have the funds spare to do it with, but because there are very, very few corporations I can, in good conscience, invest in.

I refuse on principle to invest in a company that is involved in serious environmental "indiscretions" or corporations that take advantage of workers in developing countries (yes, I do shop at fair trade stores), or even developed countries. I'd rather give my money to Greenpeace, thank-you.

Why is this the case? Because I don't see a point in making a tonne of money for either myself or my children if my children will not have a healthy, safe planet on which to live.

That rules out almost every company currently on the stock market.... though, thankfully, that is changing.

Furthermore, my problem is that I don't want to be filthy rich. I want to be financially independent, but having porches and boats and a house that is far too large to clean is not on my priorities list. Perhaps that is strange, but I don't find so. I'm not that into being rich. I'm not particularly fussed as to whether I have a 5000 inch flat-screen television, or a yacht or other material signals of wealth.

I also don't mind paying taxes. I see taxes as an investment in my community's infrastructure. I like the idea that my children will have access to free health care. I like the idea that tuition fees will be manageable (though they are slowly creeping in the obscene - and already are obscene in the U.S.A.). I like rubbish disposal and smooth roads and parks and a fire brigade that is not a privately owned one (they used to be owned by insurance companies. I'll let you figure out why that's a terrible idea). I don't mind investing in my community. After all, my community is, more or less, my tribe.

For these reasons, I suppose, this book really wasn't for me.

That's not to say that it won't be for you.

As far as the content of the book, there were some things that made sense, and other things that made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. No doubt the authors of this book would classify me as "arrogant" or a "Chicken Little" or "ignorant." Granted, when it comes to money matters, I am a safe player.

However, advice like 'pay yourself first and let the government scream' is, to my mind, not sound advice. Ever.

Also, the authors state that there is a phenomenal debt problem amongst the middle class. I'm not disagreeing with this at all. Then they go on to say that the majority of workers are living within their means (p. 136).


No they're not! If they were, there wouldn't be a debt crisis.

I might have missed the point the authors' were trying to make, but it seemed really odd to me.

There were other details that I found irritating, but I won't go into them here.

Thank goodness the authors' didn't claim formal education was useless, or I'd really be having a conniption!

Despite my objections, the book did have some very informative and interesting things which would help anyone. Their ideas on real estate, for example, and their definition of an asset vs. a liability were extremely instructive. Moreover, they provide some practical starting off points for people who might not be willing to risk bankruptcy in order to get rich.

Now, if you're looking to get rich and have no social conscience or any other goal, this is probably the book for you. Even for people like me, there are some good points to take in and put into action. Like, for example, don't spend more money than you have. Wait until you have the funds to afford the luxuries, don't buy the luxuries to make it look like you have the funds. You know, things that ought to be common sense, but apparently aren't.

All in all, the book was "alright."

It's not really my thing, but it might be yours. That said, it did get me thinking, and it does have some very valid points. Worth a read.

View all my reviews

And here's today's Forgotten English word/phrase:
The devil.
- Walter Skeat's Specimens of English Dialects, Westmoreland, 1879


Life intervenes said...

There is a huge difference between the wholesale burning of books because you disagree with whats written, and burning your copy out of frustration and disgust with the quality of the writing. I have a long list of frustrating and annoying books taht I would love to turn into a conflagration for the second motivation.

S.M. Carrière said...

I did burn my notebooks upon graduation of High School.... but that's not quite the same thing!

What you say is true, and my burning would be the latter, if I could be bothered.

And yet, the thought of a book on fire makes me cringe.

Genevieve said...

Lol! Yeah, sorry Sonz, should have warned you about the whole amateur author thing and the American style over dramatisation. I agree with a lot of what you say but I whole heartedly disagree with not wanting to be wealthy.

It is very nice to have the financial freedom to be able to do the things you really want to do in life (like travel, set up all kinds of projects, set up fabulous businesses, spend time with much missed family and friends, do amazing and interesting things, and yes even own beautiful things like horses and a special place to call home etc).

Also, it is really important that children don't grow up with hang ups about money. Being wealthy opens up so many doors and allows so many wonderful experiences. Revering poverty as 'godly' or something to be happy with, and money or wealth as somehow 'bad' or 'unholy' is a load of BS.

Money is just a tool and being wealthy does not mean you have to be money grubbing, conceited or deceitful.

Plus there are so many companies and corporations that do have a social conscience and who are doing a lot of good for the world. It is very important to encourage and support these businesses and to change the ones that are not so good. I have money invested in a funds with Australian Ethical Investments and they have very stringent environmental, ethical and social standards.

I myself have very strict personal standards on how I spend my money. If you are poor you can't afford to spend money on good quality, organic, free range food or dining (and support those businesses with the same). You can't afford to spend money on buying organic and ethical clothes or products etc. I like that I pay taxes, it is very important but why should I pay more than I have to. People bleed money unnecessarily because they don't bother or know how to minimize tax.

Governments are notoriously bad at managing and distributing wealth and my tax payers dollars also fund pork barreling, lousy government social plans and mining subsidies. Quid pro quo maybe?

Being wealthy allows me to spend my money and time on things that make the world a better place, rather than spending my days working hard in drudgery trying to make ends meet and settling for second best, second hand or second rate (its not that bad for me but it is for lots of people), and I see nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy myself along the way.

Dragging people down for trying to be better and do better for themselves or the world does more harm than good and reflects some rather huge biases on your part. Think of all the wonderful things you could do if you were wealthy... feel like a year in the South of France so you can write and learn to ride horses? Or how about a trip to China visiting the Kung Fu temples and learning from masters? Maybe you want to set up an education fund for socially disadvantaged girls? Can't do that if you are poor.

I really want you to be able to do those things and anything else you have ever dreamed of. Please don't close your mind to wealth and being wealthy yourself. Think of all the good you could do for the world with wealth as a tool.

Love you lots Sonz!!!

S.M. Carrière said...

I agree with everything you said, actually. And I didn't say I didn't want to be financially independent (because I do. This debt thing is quite tiresome), what I did say is that I am not interested in owning yachts and porches and giant TVs that are completely unnecessary...

I'd have horses instead!

Joking aside, I didn't mean to come across as idealising poverty, but I'm not fussed about acquiring a real estate empire. It doesn't interest me.

I'm certainly not trying to bring down those who want great wealth. I am just saying I would be content with just enough.

Of course, should I find myself suddenly very wealthy, I wouldn't really say no to the money. After all, I want those horses.

I'm just not willing to risk bankruptcy trying to get there. "The game" as the authors called it (also, I believe that according to the authors, that makes me a "coward" of one sort or another).