I am, it must be confessed, somewhat of a self-help fan. (I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a self-help junkie.) Whether it be a book on memorising things, organising things, or just how to organise a personal budget, I’m all ears and interested.

In fact, many books have been quite influential and even life-changing for me.

But the big problem with the self-help market is that there are many, many books out there that are all fluff and motivation with very little in the way of sound advice. And this is where they start to fall apart. You can motivate all you want, but in my experience, unless you give concrete advice and particular steps to be followed, most people don’t change much in their lives at all.

I approached Rich Dad, Poor Dad with no particular ideas in mind, and was rather intrigued when I started the book. Kiyosaki tells the story of when he was growing up. His real father (the title’s Poor Dad) was a cautious man, who believed that the secret to life was to save your money, work hard, buy a house, etc. etc. Life was all about security.

Meanwhile, his best friend Mike’s father (the Rich Dad of the story) was a rapidly rising millionaire who believed in making money work for you, not getting caught in the rat race, etc.

So the book sets out to teach you what the rich do with money that the poor don’t.

And this is where it completely came unstuck for me.  Apart from a few very broad tips (e.g. work on building assets that can provide an income, etc.), the information about how to build wealth consisted of various anecdote of Robert’s about one-off things that he did (like buying a home for $20,000, selling it for $70,000), but no real advice on how to do these sorts of things in your own life.

I’m sure there will be people who argue that I’m wrong, but seriously if I told you to learn how to read balance sheets, go to lots of courses about making money and build assets, you wouldn’t exactly thank me for giving you life changing advice.  But that’s about all this book has to offer.

I can now understand why pyramid marketing sellers use Robert’s name as a drawcard.  His book basically says you need to be taking risks and getting assets that are going to generate money.  By not spelling out exactly what those assets should be, you’re in a ripe position to be talked into something like Amway.

When you combine that with further rumours floating around the net (and I can’t confirm them as true, but the evidence does seem to be pointing that way) that Rich Dad was just a made-up character, which calls a lot of the content of the book into question, well, then the whole thing becomes even more irritating.  Save your money.

1 1/2 out of 5.

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