Sunday, December 21, 2008

Some thoughts about Rich Dad's philosophy

This is a response to a question from Khun Leela. (I find unrelated remarks refreshing and good ideas for blogposts, thank you.)

When Rich Dad's books first hit the bookstores somewhere between 1997 and 2000, being the book nerd I was, I read it. It was advertised as bestseller and the word "rich" often sparks curiosity, it also was an easy read, so why not?

My first reaction to his book was, "Yeah, this kind of thing would only works in the States". So I shelved the book and eventually gave it away to clear my bookshelf. As someone who has loved reading from a young age, I've slowly learnt not to take books too seriously because it's usually written for a certain kind of audience and not necessarily relevant universally. Years were spent thinking I belonged to that world of thought, always feeling there was so much to read, so much I didn't know. Years spent living in an imaginary world; one would be quick to say. Until, I came back to my homeland, and it was in a Buddhist ethics class taught in Thai that taught me how question the authenticity of books and other worldviews. (These words of wisdom are in this other blogspot.)

Since shelving Rich Dad's book, I've noticed how it has risen to fame. In Thailand, it was translated into Thai, and I found myself going to one gathering of people who were playing his popular board game, Cashflow, translated into Thai as well. It was quite entertaining. In my table (there were about 10 something tables of players in the room), we were about maybe 4-5 "teams" (you could either play individually or with a partner). What was funny was the couple opposite me, a husband and wife team. Each time they threw the dice and made decisions we were hearing a bit of their life story and their financial conflicts.

The book recently came back to attention when my then 17-year-old son found some inspiration in it. So I re-read it again and discover this whole network of websites and other Cashflow playing groups, even one right around the corner where I live in another totally different country and language.

I think the book and its related products did some good for all those millions who read and believed. One, it got you seriously thinking about how financially literate you were. Most of us are pretty hopeless, even an economist like me. For myself, I figured it simply wasn't our culture, but when being financially hopeless starts to hurt you when you are looking at your retirement prospects, you pay more attention to these things and try to get something out of it.

Two, Rich Dad's books got people who weren't raised in business-oriented environment like my son to think about the possibility of making business. As he grew, and fast he did, he eventually dropped the book and started reading other more worthwhile things but still keeping his goal to one day be a successful businessman.

Would I recommend the book, Rich Dad's philosophy? Well, I'm already compromised by writing this blog. However, I've included below some interesting links about the book that I knew were there on the internet but never felt compelled to search them out until Khun Leela asked the intriguing question. We can all make up our own minds once we've clearly looked at more sources other than the well known.

"Why people buy Rich Dad, Poor Dad's nonsense":
Analysis of Kiyosaki's book:

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