(Wow. Rereading Rich Dad Poor Dad for the first time since it inspired my original deviation from the "go to college so you can get a good job" life plan almost a decade ago brings back a lot of memories and reminds me why it struck so close to home originally.)

overview

Specifically, Robert Kiyosaki tells the story about how growing up he had 2 fathers, one a "rich dad" who never finished high school, the other a "poor dad" who was a highly-educated and highly-paid government employee. When he was young, so the story goes, Robert asked his Rich Dad to teach him about money and the lessons he learned were very contradictory to those he learned from watching his Poor Dad.

For instance, Poor Dad said, "go to school so you can get a good job and earn a lot of money" while Rich Dad said "one of the lessons of the rich is that they don't work for money - they work to learn and let their money work for them."

Poor Dad encouraged Robert to take a high-paying job thinking that would ensure his security, while Rich Dad enouraged Robert to look for assets to purchase that would provide income. Rich Dad said as long as you're reliant upon someone else to pay your bills, you're never truly secure.

notes

The narrative nature of the story uses anecdotes to support the main points and to make the author approachable. The result of which is that by the time he begins recounting his major successes late in the book, the reader trusts that he too can be successful. Furthermore, the contrasting nature of the two title characters provides the narrative with a satisfying conflict/resolution pattern throughout the book.

Personally, I connected with the story of the "highly-educated, poor dad" as my own family has a LOT of education and a LOT of back-breaking debt. Money was never a secure or open topic in the household in which I grew up. While we never lacked, my parents also never seemed to get ahead financially.

Likewise, early in the book, Robert recites a poem that has seemed to resurface during every major transition point in my life, and I did not remember it even being in this book - The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. If there could be said to be a soundtrack to my life, this manifesto of a poem would definitely be the recurring title track. In other words, while I don't remember it being a part of the book 10 years ago when I last (and first) read it, it doesn't surprise me now.

conclusion

It's been almost 10 years since I last read the book that started it all for me, and much of what I believe and say today can be directly traced back to its lessons. "I work to learn, not to earn" is a mantra I've used in every job since college; and recognizing the difference between income-producing assets vs money-costing liabilities has kept me from getting too comfortable in a middle-class lifestyle. I'll probably never be a savvy real-estate investor like Robert Kiyosaki, as frankly buildings and houses hold little interest for me, but whatever assets I do end up with, I know that they'll be due, at least in part, to the lessons of a Rich Dad.