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Literature / Rich Dad, Poor Dad

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A bestselling book by Robert Kiyosaki, which according to him, contains all secrets of the success of rich people. First (self-)published in 1997.

The title comes from Robert's (supposedly authentic) childhood experiences, and how he had two dads (no, not that kind): A "poor dad", who was his biological father note , a teacher who broke his back working his whole life and died poor, and a "rich dad", who was his best friend's father and a shrewd businessman who owned several stores, a construction company and restaurants in addition of teaching him everything he knows about how to become rich.


This book provides examples of:

  • An Aesop: Robert makes some legitimate comments about getting yourself educated on how to be an investor, and the pressures that come with investing.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The book repeats the assertion that "since increasing one's income makes you pay more to the government in taxes, then it's a bad idea to increase your taxable income". (If this is to be interpreted as anything but a philosophical anti-government attitude, it is based on a common misconception about how progressive tax rates work - if you earn enough for your income tax rate to increase from 30% to 40%, say, the new 40% rate is applied only to the amount you earn above the threshold. The amount you earn below the threshold will still only be taxed at 30%.)
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: See Very Loosely Based on a True Story.
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  • Both Sides Have a Point: Robert's opinion of both dads' political views. However, he noted that when it came to financial matters, at least in the US context, Rich Dad's observations made more sense.
  • Dan Browned: In the book, Robert claims to be a very successful real estate broker, yet many experts in the field have pointed out that the cases presented are either very unlikely, impossible to happen in Real Life or even outright illegal. There's even a page dedicated to debunk his cases.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Although he didn't write it down explicitly, the reader gets the impression that Robert had this at the back of his mind when his father announced his decision to run against his boss in an election. note 
    • For that matter, Robert thinks that many, if not most, of his father's decisions in financial matters amount to this.
  • Exact Words: At first, when young Robert and his best friend, Mike, try get into the task of "making money", they first make an elaborate plan for manufacturing (counterfeit) coins. Fortunately they get straighten out by both the "rich" and "poor" dads.
    • In a more subtle way, once Rich Dad's identity is known, the sentence "They (both dads) sort of looked alike, though not of the same ethnic makeup." becomes this. note 
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    • Again on Rich Dad, once you know his identity, Robert's description of what he does also becomes this. Stores, a construction company and restaurants are all legitimate sidelines to a hotelier.
  • Good Fortune from God: This is a twist to this trope: the source of Bob Kiyosaki's wealth is never positively identified.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: His own accounts of what he did and when he did them are contradictory if not mysterious.
  • School Is for Losers: Probably not the intended message of the book, but it downplays education like in the introduction where it mentions the names of several billionaires who were school dropouts, it mentions that higher education is becoming more and more expensive and that is much better to buy investments to get an income.
  • Self-Made Man: Robert describes both himself and his "rich dad" as this.
  • Trickster Mentor: The "rich dad", when after Robert and Mike ask him about how to make money, he hires them as helpers in his shop and makes them work long hours while paying them a pittance. When Robert and Mike get fed up with this and tell him that he is wasting their time, the "rich dad" congratulates them for the first lesson learned.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Robert has never revealed the identity of his "rich dad", other than saying that he was his childhood's best friend's father, which is odd considering how prominently he features in the book; He has zigzagged between saying that he is a real person, a composite of several people and "Is Harry Potter real?"
    • With the passage of time, the trope eventually evolved into Roman à Clef. In May 2016, 19 years after the book was published, Robert finally revealed the identities of both "Rich Dad" and "Mike": Richard Wassman Kimi, a Hawaiian hotelier note  and his son, Alan. Alan explained that his father had requested that Robert keep his identity confidential (to the point of signing a confidentiality agreement). Robert also recalled an anecdote whereby some of Richard's staff (2 managers) actually quit after reading his book, which obviously annoyed Richard.note 
  • Young Entrepreneur: Robert and Mike start a comic book rental business after learning the first lesson of the "rich dad".


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