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Is Robert Kiyosaki a Liar?

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Robert KiyosakiWonderful. After reading Ben Stein’s column, which I mentioned earlier today, I came across Robert Kiyosaki’s latest on Yahoo Finance, Lying is Easy, Wealth Takes Work.

Let’s just start right at the top:

Being politically correct means saying what’s polite rather than what’s accurate. I like to be accurate.

Actually, being politically correct is saying what’s accurate in a way that doesn’t unnecessarily offend people. Maybe some people “need to be offended” sometimes, but I take a more positive view of the human psyche. In any case “being politically incorrect” is the new “being politically correct.” Everyone wants to do it.

Kiyosaki talks for a while about taking responsibility for your own situation. Oh, if only life were that simple. It’s not. Your environment has a lot to say about who you are. Kiyosaki proves he’s not politically correct by making an example of fat people.

Kiyosaki wants obese people to admit that they’re fat only because of their own doing. That may be true for some people, but people who grew up in a household culture that was based around sugar and therefore obesity have more to blame than just their own actions and decisions. There comes a point when one can start making their own decisions, but it’s more than an issue of will power. You’re dealing with chemicals within your body that are working against you, thanks to the way you were brought up.

Bob does have one intelligent thing to say:

One of the biggest lies businesspeople tell is that it’s hard to find good employees. In other words, they lie about their lousy leadership skills by blaming their employees for being bad workers.

Okay, sure. So lousy leadership skills result in bad workmanship, and leaders shouldn’t pass blame onto their employees. What about the reverse? If “human logic” as the ancient Greeks philosophised is correct, this shows that employees who perform poorly should blame their managers for their lousy leadership skills.

I think we all know that no one will ever want to hear that. Perhaps there are a lot of factors to blame, and every situation is different. No… that perspective doesn’t allow for witty catchphrases. I love how Kiyosaki ends the article:

Two of my favorite stories are of the alchemists, proto-scientists who searched for a way to turn lead into gold, and of Midas, the legendary Phrygian king who had the ability to turn whatever he touched into gold.

It is my sincere belief that we all have the power to be alchemists, as well as to develop our own Midas touch. All we have to do is stop lying to ourselves, and stop being lousy leaders who blame others for our problems.

Basically, Kiyosaki revered alchemists, but only their hackneyed, stereotypical, and anti-scholarly idea that alchemists were scammers who attempted to turn lead into gold, and Midas, but only the myth of his ability to turn anything into gold, nothing historically accurate.

“We all have the power to be alchemists, as well as to develop our own Midas touch.” Kiyosaki is lying to himself. This sentence sounds great, and I’m sure it can be inspiring and motivating for people with malleable minds, but get serious. You can’t turn lead into gold through a chemical process, and you can’t turn anything into gold by touching it. Even metaphorically, his thesis is just plain ridiculous, and is the opposite of the title of the article, “Wealth Takes Work.”

I know there are a lot of people who swear by Kiyosaki’s writings. After reading his Yahoo columns, there’s nothing that would convince me to spend money on any of his books, seminars, or board games. I’ll give him one thing: he’s a good marketer. But he didn’t win me over.

Updated October 17, 2012 and originally published September 5, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Kira

Did you read the one where he says that being poor is your own fault, and that poor people are evil, wicked, and lazy? That’s pretty good. He also mis-interprets the parable of the talents – the correct interpretation is clearly spelled out, that you should use what God has given you and make more with it, not bury it – but Kiyosaki seems to think that those who are given less, and don’t make more with it, are inherently less worthy than those who are given more and make something with it.

I really hate this guy. He is a stuck up bigot who never made a honest dollar.

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avatar JR

I’m really glad Kiyosaki started writing a column for Yahoo, because the columns have exposed him. His last few in particular have been almost shockingly mean-spirited and silly. I don’t know why there are still people reading his “fictionalized” anecdotes and rants anymore.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,535 (Platinum)

I read the article you’re talking about. I began writing a post about his “alternative interpretation” of the Parable of the Talents but I went overboard and decided to scrap it.

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avatar MyFinanceForum.com

I have to say, Kyosaki inspired me to think differently about my personal finances. It was the first book on personal finances I read many years ago, but it lead me to read “Wealth Without Risk”, “One Up on Wall Street” and a slew of others that were more “mainstream”. If there’s one criticism you could certainly make about Robert, its that he’s perhaps oversimplified things – but then, some people need something simple to start with.

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avatar mapgirl

http://www.johntreed.com/Kiyosaki.html

That is a great link to site that denounces the man. I have an ad up for the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad on my site, but ever since I read John Reed’s website, I’ve thought of taking it down. I always felt slightly uneasy about Mr. Kiyosaki’s claims, and Mr. Reed points out what I could not quite articulate.

The book did make me think about money in a different way (buying an asset vs a liability) and I’m glad I read it, but in the pantheon of books out there, he doesn’t even begin to rate with other writings.

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avatar Steve Mertz

Good info Flexo-I’m not a Robert fan. He has done a good job about exposing the myth of net worth vs cash flow and I commend him for that. All the rest is marketing and BS.

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avatar Nneka

RK is a whack to the head. He said it himself with the whole political incorrectness being politically correct. I needed the whack. It lead me to do research of my own. Learn about sound financial practices and putting them in practice. I’m no where close to whaere I want to be, but at least I’m awake now.

Also, he is correct about taking responsibility for your financial situation and health. You can blame anyone you like, but in the end you are the one who has to change it.

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avatar Canadian Capitalist

I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad years ago and thought nothing of it. I bought it recently for $0.25 off the used books cart at our local library and I have to say that I wasted a quarter. His Yahoo! columns have become bizzare over time that I have stopped reading them altogether. Its a waste of time.

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avatar gr8face

When people become successful in an area, they get cocky and think they’re qualified to give advice on everything. He’s in danger of turning off his core audience if he keeps spouting garbage like that.

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avatar frugal

Flexo,
Never had a high opinion on RK. I give him credits on the simplification of E/B/S/I quadrants. He is a very good talker, but talk is really empty. I wonder how many real money-making tips he actually has given out, compared to ANY bloggers in the PF blogging community.
His words are “inspiring”, but I just can’t sift out any real substances.

Frugal

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avatar prlinkbiz

Whoa- I am amazed at how anything RK somehows turns into a bash fest about him. If you agree with his advice, great, if not, what gives you the right to talk about another person you don’t even know who did’t do anything to you? You should be ashamed of yourselves as people. If there is a problem with something financial in advice given, lets discuss that- but do not make this about a person. Do some research. Find out the truth. (By the way- John T Reed is not the truth) Grow up.

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avatar Tim

It wouldn’t surprise me if Kiyosaki’s stories were all lies. He’s a motivator not an investor. His books and material are not filled with actionable information it’s a continuous stream of pep-talks.

I agree with you 100% Flexo.

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avatar Richard Posner

I used to live in the quite affluent community of Great Neck, New York. My parents were struggling middle-class folks, but some uber-rich people live in surrounding communities. Some of them were my school friends. One of them was living in this extraordinarily beautiful house and I asked him where and how his father made his gazillions? “Coat hangers for cleaning shops and clothing manufacturers, ” he told me.

If you listen to a consummate marketer who knows how to accumulate wealth within the confines of the law, you will discover that each such person has a system and a core product/service.

You miss the point about learning from someone like Kawasaki because he’s supposedly a God and will impart information in a seminar or tape series that will instantly turn you into a Trump-in-the-making.

If you are looking for your coat hanger idea, then being around the Kiyosaki-type people and those who follow him will put you one step closer to that big house on the hill.

If, on the other hand, you want to put such people on a pedestal and then rip them apart when they don’t give you what YOU think you need, then get a job. Leaders piece together the puzzle pieces; they don’t expect the truth about life to drop in their lap simply because they paid $5000 for that “crappy, scammy” seminar.

One idea is probably all you need to turn your disappointing life around. hanging around with the eagles rather than the whiners is a first and very constructive step.

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avatar Melsky

I read his book (checked out of library) and thought he came off as a condensending jerk.

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avatar Investor

I have read a few of RK’s books and they are overrated with not much to offer.
It’s good to see him getting exposed. He never has anything practical to offer.
He is a good marketer; not a good teacher.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,535 (Platinum)

prlinkbiz — relax, we’re talking about his attitude and the information he provides, not his character (other than my inflated title to the post, which is a question, not a statement, anyway).

Here is the truth. RK has done a lot to get people interested in personal finance. RK has an attitude that a lot of people dislike. His advice relies on oversimplification of issues, and some of his theories have been proven wrong many times by many different people. He makes his money by selling himself. His Yahoo columns have caused controversy. He may have made up his stories about his life growing up that he purports to be actual history (but that may not matter if you believe all stories have varying degrees of fiction anyway).

None of those facts are undeniable.

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avatar knuckle_headed

Hmmm… if you are fat, unless you have a medical situation, it IS your fault. The fact that stomach stapling works proves that it’s an issue of will power. So fatboys and plumpchicks… STOP EATING SO DAMN MUCH.

Back to you, Flexo.

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avatar Fastrackgirl

I’ve read all of RK’s books, play the board games and, consequently, now own my own business, which I am about to expand into three additional major cities, and am currently launching a whole new concept. Thanks to RK I have a heck of a lot more income than I ever had working at my job, which is where I would still be had I not stumbled upon RK. So think what you like but I’ll keep following RK, it seems to be working quite well for me.

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avatar Richard

Well the real question would be if you did all that, because of the motivation you got from reading those books OR because of the “tips” ( which are not real tips actually)

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avatar traineeinvestor

The only good thing that can be said about Kiyosaki is that he has motivated a lot of people to improve their financial position. I read two of his books and found the advice in them a mixture of the simplistic, the muddled and the bad.

There has been a lot written about the inconsistencies in both his life story and his claimed track record as an investor (including the comments on John Reed’s website) which raise serious questions about his credibility. Personally, I stopped wasting my time on Kiyosaki’s writings a long time ago.

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avatar Bellum

Although I can say to be a very successful enterprenur when I first met this man in 1992.Some of the thing he spoke off have totally change the way I look at financial issue.I should give credit to this man that have sort of bring my life to where I will be 10-15years from than if I do not sit down and look at what will happen if I totally have no plan for the future but continue to do the same thing I am doing everyday.Today I am happily retired with an annual six figure passive income,instead of still working hard like most of my business associate are doing.

T.Bellum

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avatar Special Ed

One of the problems with RTK is that while he tells you he is an international business owner and real estate tycoon, we can find no evidence of this. How vast are his holdings and properties if we can locate none of them? He appears to be more of a salesman than anything else. I did read a couple of his books, including RMPM. I found them to be rambling and short on substance.

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avatar G

He’s a “Ra Ra” guy. His words are basically meaningless and most of the time he doesnt make sense. I started reading his first book, but had to stop when I realized just how pointless his stories were. The only way this guy has ever made money has been to sell his books and other junk. He has no real help for those wishing to learn personal finance.

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avatar Barings

I absolutely hate RK. What I wouldn’t give to smack the smug smile off his byline picture at Yahoo.

http://finance.yahoo.com/columnist/article/richricher/1329

If anyone was stupid to follow the strategy (leveraging real estate) he explains above, they would be on the verge of bankruptcy now the way house prices have tanked.

http://finance.yahoo.com/columnist/article/richricher/1649

In this article, Warren Buffet is quoted and endorsing diversification and then he explicitly comes out against it. His commentary always has a “belittling” tone: “Do you want to become a professional investor or remain an amateur? If you choose to remain an amateur — a passive investor — then, by all means, diversify.” This is complete nonsense, implying the amateurs are stupid and professionals are “in the know.”

Lately, he’s been on a commodities kick (gold, silver, oil), but spends more time bragging about how he’s achieving great returns. I can’t wait for him to point out the next trend he successfully spotted after it’s over.

Suze Orman may be touchy-feely and Ben Stein may sound like a monotonous fuddy-duddy but at least they make sense in their columns.

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avatar Moister

Ppl,

RK makes perfect sense. He says alot of ugly things but it’s mostly truthful, brutal but real. It all comes down to taking responsibilities for yourself, your health and finances, etc.
Get a grip coz as Jack N says :”YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”!!.

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avatar Mike Gowen

RK’s books are best sellers because of all his Amway lackey’s out there buying them to “build” their pyramid-based businesses. If this guy didn’t have those organizations buying his books the by truckload, he wouldn’t be anymore well known then myself.

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avatar TOM

Guys, maybe you are so lazy or comfortable that you don’t want to face the truth, RK is right.

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avatar Richard

I’m pretty sure We are just smart enough to realize that we don’t want to contribute to his pyramid-based associates

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avatar Adventures In Money Making

Thanks to RK, i realized i’d be trapped in my rat-race job for the rest of my life unless i did something about it.

His books are great at motivation but low on actual ideas.

I’m battling weight-gain myself. I eat less than a lot of people I know but I’m fatter than them. That still makes it my fault. I accept it and go to the gym more often. 95% of fat people are fat because they eat more calories than they expend. I’m one of them!
most fat people may not be lazy, but they sure do eat too much and have different priorities than other folks.

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avatar Mrs. Micah

Exactly, Special Ed.

Two strikes against him.

First, there’s really not any proof that he made lots of money before he started selling books on how to make money.

Second, there’s been some good questions raised about whether “Rich Dad” even exists. “He died” or “He’s alive but in a nursing home”…both from RK–in that order. RK also compared him to Harry Potter in a Feb 2003 smart money issue.

So, if “rich dad” may not have existed (and thus was not rich) and if RK didn’t make money until he started writing….then why should we believe him when he tells us how to make money?

It’s not like he can say “Oh, here’s some proven examples.”

I read the book and didn’t find it worth my time. I also didn’t like what he said about his dad…I thought his dad didn’t do bad at all. Middle to upper-middle class…sometimes life’s about more than being really rich, having enough and being happy is good too.

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avatar Ty

try finding the truth behind who his rich dad was? he mentions him being some high government official who ran and lost in a political arena in Hawaii. I live in Hawaii, and there has never been any truth to any of it. he’s pretty fictional at best

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avatar Dana

What’s with all the fat-bashing here? First off it’s not particularly relevant to the subject matter, even if being overweight was mentioned in the original post. Secondly, people get fat for all kinds of reasons, and if the medical establishment really understood obesity enough, they’d be able to cure it with something besides stomach stapling by now. And by the way, the poor-bashing is not cool either. As with being overweight, poverty happens for all kinds of reasons and the only “cause” of poverty that people can really control is how much money they spend. Absolutely nothing else is completely within the realm of a person’s control, not even how much money we make. So for all of you who are smug about being thin and well-off, enjoy it while it lasts. And it might last–and then again, you might wind up poor and fat tomorrow by causes that are no fault of your own, and then what will you smirk about?

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avatar vikingboy

gotta love haters, everything i heard from the haters makes no sense. you may be overly sensitive because your fat. obviously off track anyways.. why hate even if there are twists of the truth. he has opened up my mind to actually owning a business as opposed to being self employed and not understanding the difference. have youread anything from;michael gerber,alvin toffler,or richard poe, not to mention trump. you are all losers if you want to sit on the fence against all these great great ingenious minds. and to the guy who said he would like to smack rk,s face; try it in front of me……..

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avatar John

Really, Flexo? Robert Kiyosaki has been proven WRONG by ‘financial experts’? Maybe he has been wrong some of the time, and if he has been proven wrong, who has he been proven wrong by? If you have read Rich Dad’s Prophecy (written in 2002, which you haven’t read, but it’s ok) you would have read him stating that the stock market would be crashing down around 2009-2010. Also in 2005, he mentioned real estate crumbling down in value. In 2008, he also predicted silver going up in value steadily. So you can’t say he has been proven wrong on those accounts.

Oh, and all those John T Reed nuthuggers make me laugh. His simple “These guys are wrong, I’m always right” marketing strategy really does appeal to numskulls.

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avatar jimmyB

[Insult removed by editor -- be civil.] Dude just wake up, this guy only writes crappy motivational speeches based on fake examples (things that never happened actually, or at least he is not even able to show a proof that such things happened) to get people’s attention, later you read his “hollow tips” to become rich, and because u succeed , you believe its thanks to this liar. come on wake up, u can’t be that fool, can you ?

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avatar James Shaw

Just listened to a recent Kyosaki CD interview with Singer. It goes like this:
“Millions of people are going to lose their jobs…he he he he”
“I just borrowed $62m…..he he he”
“Disney land was awful because of all the fat people…he he he”
“I own gold courses now….he he he”

A bit unfair. I learnt that knowledge is the new money and the power of good debt but his attitude and language is crass and uncouth.

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avatar Augustine Machino

guys lets face the truth, Kiyosaki’s principles are great, It makes lots of sense if someone tells u to learn to buy assets rather than liabilities and to take control of your life. In fact what he write in his books is the real lifestyle of most rich people.

Kiyosaki’s great if you want to really be happy, u may need to have less financial and other social worries…. as the good book says in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 KJV “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” Its that simple, mind your own business.

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avatar JR

“but people who grew up in a household culture that was based around sugar and therefore obesity have more to blame than just their own actions and decisions.”

Are you serious?? If I grow up with murderers, can I slaughter a few people and get off because I was raised poorly????

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