43 pages 1 hour read

Robert Kiyosaki, Sharon Lechter

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1997

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Summary and Study Guide


Published in 1997, Rich Dad Poor Dad is a financial self-help book written by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. Kiyosaki’s aim in writing the book was to impart financial lessons and insights to the masses, drawing from his own life experiences and the starkly contrasting financial philosophies of his two “dads.” Upon its release, the book quickly became a bestseller and remains a classic in the personal finance genre.

Kiyosaki structures the book as a series of lessons, each elucidating the differences in mindset and approach to money between Kiyosaki’s “poor dad,” his biological father, and his “rich dad,” the father of his best friend Mike. Poor dad, a highly educated academic and government official, believed in the traditional path of academic success leading to a secure job, while rich dad, who lacked formal education beyond the eighth grade, emphasized financial education, entrepreneurship, and investing as the keys to wealth. Throughout the book, Kiyosaki shares advice on how individuals can escape the cycle of working for money and instead make money work for them, highlighting the importance of assets, passive income, and financial literacy. In addition, Kiyosaki encourages readers to challenge conventional financial wisdom, thereby taking control of their financial future.

Rich Dad Poor Dad has been a long-term commercial success and has been translated into numerous languages, selling millions of copies worldwide. It has also spawned a series of follow-up books, educational games, and seminars, as Kiyosaki has become a well-known speaker in the personal finance space. However, the book has also faced criticism for its oversimplification of complex financial concepts and for not providing investment advice that is specific enough to readers.


Rich Dad Poor Dad recounts Robert Kiyosaki’s early financial lessons, initiated the author was nine years old. The book’s title alludes to Kiyosaki’s two father figures: his own “poor dad” who, despite his high income, struggled financially, and his friend’s father, the “rich dad,” an uneducated entrepreneur who became wealthy by applying a series of specific financial concepts. Ultimately, Kiyosaki sought to comprehend both perspectives, but he found his rich dad’s financial wisdom invaluable in his own path to financial success.

Kiyosaki provides simplified explanations of financial concepts such as cash flow, balance sheets, income statements, assets, and liabilities. Kiyosaki often accompanies his explanations with illustrations and real-life examples from his own experiences and those of his family and friends. Kiyosaki laments the lack of financial education in childhood, expressing his belief that it should be a fundamental part of early learning. Additionally, Rich Dad Poor Dad underscores the importance of distinguishing between assets and liabilities, emphasizing the importance of investing in assets as a foundational “rule.” The first six chapters of the book, comprising the majority of its content, delve into the six fundamental lessons Kiyosaki gleaned from rich dad’s financial wisdom, while the final three chapters provide further thoughts and analysis on the lessons.

In the Introduction, Kiyosaki shares his life’s financial lessons and introduces his two father figures. The Introduction lays the thematic foundation for the book as Kiyosaki explores their divergent philosophies. Through Kiyosaki’s own perspective, readers gain insights into his preferred wealth-building strategies and the importance of financial education.

In Chapter 1, Kiyosaki explains that the rich don’t work for money, in contrast to the poor and middle-class who rely on paychecks to survive. He highlights how the fear of taking risks, combined with the desire for job security, often keeps people trapped in their comfort zones, which leads to missing out on opportunities recognized and seized by the rich.

In Chapter 2, Kiyosaki highlights the importance of financial literacy, as he argues for the importance of understanding the distinction between assets and liabilities. Moreover, he emphasizes that even the rich can face financial ruin without financial education, citing cases of celebrities who made poor financial decisions. He provides a diagram to differentiate assets and liabilities, stressing that true wealth is not solely about income but about prudent financial management.

In Chapter 3, Kiyosaki advises readers to focus on their own business and not their employer’s. Thus, he encourages individuals to become their own bosses by building assets that will generate cash flow, even if they do not start their own businesses. He includes examples of such assets, such as stocks, bonds, income-producing real estate, mutual funds, royalties, and notes.

Kiyosaki shifts the focus in Chapter 4 to contrast how the poor and middle class are manipulated by big corporations, while the rich use corporations to protect and grow their wealth. He explains that the rich employ corporations to earn and spend and that they are taxed only on what remains. He argues that developing financial IQ through knowledge of investing, accounting, law, and market understanding is crucial.

In Chapter 5, Kiyosaki contends that a person’s innate talents are often suppressed by fear and self-doubt, as financial success is not solely determined by intelligence but also by boldness and risk-taking. Waiting passively for opportunities is a common financial pitfall, even among those with substantial wealth.

In Chapter 6, Kiyosaki emphasizes skills that he argues are essential for financial success, using an example of a highly educated and talented individual whose resistance to learning sales and marketing stifles their economic opportunities. He underscores the significance of mastering cash flow management, people management, and system management, thus accentuating communication skills as an essential component for financial prosperity.

In Chapter 7, Kiyosaki identifies five personality traits that hinder individuals: fear, cynicism, laziness, bad habits, and arrogance. He emphasizes the importance of handling fear and recommends ignoring pessimists. Kiyosaki discusses the irony of people worrying about trivial tasks such as fixing toilets, instead of focusing on real estate opportunities. He encourages a level of self-interest, urging individuals to ask, “What’s in it for me?” when making financial decisions.

In Chapter 8, Kiyosaki provides tips for building personal wealth, one of which is the advice to seek a motivation greater than reality to awaken the financial genius within oneself. He emphasizes feeding the mind to gain the power of choice, as well as the importance of selecting friends wisely, favoring those who discuss money and its lessons. Furthermore, Kiyosaki suggests studying a field and then venturing into a new one selectively. He also stresses the importance of generosity, while also recommending having heroes who inspire and make success seem attainable. Lastly, he promotes the idea that teaching and generosity can lead to receiving assistance from higher powers.

In Chapter 9, Kiyosaki supplements the previous chapter with additional tips for financial success, advising readers to cease unproductive endeavors by seeking new ideas from more experienced people. In terms of real estate investment, Kiyosaki suggests looking in the right places and offers ways to enter the market with minimal capital, suggesting the potential of making money without any initial investment.

Finally, in a brief Epilogue titled “Final Words,” Kiyosaki reiterates the book’s purpose: to promote financial intelligence. He discusses how this knowledge can solve common life problems by helping people break away from conventional approaches like working hard and excessive taxation. As Kiyosaki shares a real-life example of a friend’s financial transformation through real estate investment, he grounds in his own personal observations and experiences. Finally, he urges sharing this knowledge with children for a life of financial abundance and happiness.