When someone asks me, ” What is 1 book that has changed your life” – the first book that comes to mind (besides the Bible) is Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I have read this book at least 5 times. The first time I read it, I was a young 17 year old high school student curious about personal finance and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with me life.
To give you a quick overview, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a story about Robert Kiyosaki growing up with two “dads”–and two very different perspectives on money, finance and investing. His biological father – who he refers to as his poor dad, was a super-intendent of education in Hawaii. He was a hardworking, educated man, who tried playing it safe, but ultimately died broke because of it. He taught Robert that the key to success was to get a good education, find a good job that provided good benefits, work 45 years, and then let the government take care of you during retirement.
At the same time, Robert was being influenced on the opposite spectrum by his best friend’s father — who he referred to as his “Rich Dad.” This man was not formally educated, but possessed the entrepreneurial spirit, and became one of the richest men in Hawaii. He taught Robert to think differently and challenge conventional wisdom. He emphasized valuing freedom over security and wouldn’t let the boys say “I can’t do it” – but rather “How can I do it?”
The book explores a variety of themes and is bonded together through a great narrative. It reads very fast – and I didn’t want to put it down. I’m pretty sure I first discovered the book at Barnes and Noble one night – and then came back the next day and found a comfy chair inside the store and read the whole book straight.
So, how did this book change my life?
While writing this post, I decided to read through the book again. It was interesting reading the book at this point in my life – around 10 years after I read the book for the first time. The concepts are still solid and are ultimately what laid the foundation for a good portion of my financial literacy.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad began my journey into learning more about how life really works. In today’s world, it is common for people to spend at least 40-60 hours a week for 45 years working. This book combined with Cashflow Quandrant (a must read) really challenged the conventional wisdom that is quoted by everyone, “Get a good education, find a good secure job with good benefits, and work for 45 years etc…” Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I wasn’t blinded by this conventional wisdom, but at the same time I never completely questioned it. This book caused me to really question taking the “safe route.”
This book really helped change my perspective on what is “Safe” and “Secure”… I now value my freedom and time much more than security and “safe” options.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying if I hadn’t read this book, I would be an employee working for some corporation, but I can definitely say – I would not have learned the pivotal lessons from this book at such a young age. This book taught me to question the status quo, really investigate what path makes the most sense, and value freedom over security.
To really get the most out of the book, and to get more in depth on the themes discusses, I would highly suggest reading through this book first and then following it up with other books in the series — Cashflow Quandrant is another favorite, as well as Retire Young, Retire Rich.
There are some great lessons and concepts in Cashflow Quandrant that I would say had a equal if not greater impact on my life. But, both of the books are a quick read and flow seamlessly together, so it is recommended to read them back to back for maximum impact.