Entrepreneurship, Finance, Motivation

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Is the Book as Life-Changing as People Claim?

Robert Kiyosaki’s 1997 bestseller Rich Dad, Poor Dad seems to be a cult-classic in the world of financial literacy. As I was learning the basics of finance, this book popped up everywhere. Every blog, YouTube video, and Google search kept pulling up Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

So I conceded and bought the book. (It’s only $6.69 on Amazon!) In the spirit of the book reviews I’ve done on this blog previously of classic book, I thought I’d review this one as well. Turns out, I think these recommendations were warranted. Was it life-changing? Yes… but

Kiyosaki explains his basic financial principles in short stories. As a child, he grew up with a PhD-educated government-employee father who made just enough money to survive. He spent quite a bit of time at his best friend’s house where his father was a dropout-with-financial-intuition business owner. He juxtaposes their advice to show what we all can learn about financial literacy.

Before I continue, Kiyosaki poses this us versus them sort of mentality when it comes describing the “rich” and the “poor.” While I know these terms are for shock factor, they’re most certainly stereotypes. What he really means when he says “poor” is “a person who isn’t good with their finances” and when he says “rich” is “a person who is good with their finances.” Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s get into the meat and potatoes.

Kiyosaki divides his book up into lessons which are useful in getting you to think critically about your financial position. He focuses on basic principles like accumulating more assets than liabilities and learning to look for financial opportunities. He sprinkles in anecdotes (that may or may not be true) to make the book read like a story.

Love him or hate him, Kiyosaki is a good storyteller. He weaves the words of the rich dad with the poor dad to create a cohesive narrative that learning to have your money work for you, rather than working for someone else is the key to amassing riches.

And quite frankly, he’s not wrong. If you’re capable of it (and most of us are), accumulating wealth is learning to have your dollars be your employees. However, is there any real advice for how to start that? Not really.

This book is nothing short of a gateway drug. It’s not meant to teach you how to get rich, it’s meant to teach you to be money-minded. As long as you keep your notepad at the door, this book can be life-changing.

Have any of you read this book before? And for those that haven’t would you pick it up?

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Entrepreneurship, Start-Ups

My Entrepreneurship History

In the spirit of switching my blog over to new content, I suppose I should with begin with explaining why I’m so interested in entrepreneurship and finance.

It was only a few years ago when I was introduced to the idea that I could create my own career. As a good student, I grew up under the assumption that I would get good grades, get a good job, and climb the company ladder. The only problem? I didn’t want to do it at all.

The First Idea

During my second year of undergrad, I was studying chemical engineering. I knew I didn’t want to be an engineer, but I was getting my degree so I could go to law school. I told myself I’d change my major if I could come up with a better idea. I never did.

One day, for my Thermodynamics II class, we had to go to an oil and energy event. It was a panel with a few speakers from the oil industry talking about their careers. Since it was mandatory, I went alone, sat in the very back, and didn’t speak to anyone. I didn’t want to be there, I had lost my entire evening on this event that I wasn’t even interested in.

Event, Auditorium, Conference, International Conference

While they we talking, it became crystal clear: I didn’t want to do this. The audience seemed engaged with these speakers, enamored by the way these three were changing the world. I saw them as what they were: people who were overworked. In a fit of frustration, I turned the page in the notebook I was taking notes in and drew a line right down the middle. On the left side, I made a list of the classes I had taken that I enjoyed and on the right, I made a list of my hobbies.

Desperate, I stared at the words I had scribbled down and tried to connect the dots. I was so focused on coming up with an idea of how to escape the rat race. I felt certain it was the only way out of the reality I had set up for myself. After thinking and thinking, I came up with my first idea.

It was a foreign language learning program. I’ll spare you the details, but it had me firing on all cylinders. Alongside my chemical engineering, I studied international studies. I was passionate about different cultures and languages. As an engineer, I loved algorithms. Putting the two together made sense. For months, I carried around a separate notebook where I planned out the idea.

Meeting the Sharks (and the Bait)

Having my idea just felt like a little secret that I was carrying around. I fantasized about the code on the backend and sketched logos in my spare time. I became obsessed.

A few months later, a friend that I had told my idea to came up to me with a strange proposition. She was working for an economics professor and they were doing a shark tank event for start-ups to get funding from investors in the city. She asked if I wanted to help out. Of course, I agreed.

As a volunteer at this event, I was in the room with the sharks timing people as they pitched. I heard bad pitches about good businesses and good pitches about bad businesses. I watched the sharks tear some people apart and some praise and give offers. I have never learned so much in an afternoon. I was caught under the spell of entrepreneurship. I wanted to learn everything I could.

Work, Office, Team, Company, Internet, Business

Inserting Myself in Places I Didn’t Belong

After the shark tank event, I felt my passion in my bones. I didn’t have money (or the ability to code a website), so all I could do was make lessons for the foreign language program. I kept working, but I knew something would have to change to get it off the ground. I got my opportunity, but not exactly in the way I had imagined.

Over the holidays, I went home to visit some old friends. While catching up, one of my friends mentioned a mutual friend of ours who had a start-up. Something about a phone app. Something about social media. Amidst my slightly tipsy evening, I focused all my energy in getting more information about the status of his company.

I called him the next day and asked him if I could help out. He immediately said yes. All of a sudden, I had a start-up I could be a part of. He told me that if I helped him with his idea, he’d help me with mine. And just like that, I was in business.

Paper, Business, Finance, Document, Office, Analysis

This was during the final semester of my senior year. My law school applications had already been sent in – school didn’t matter now. I shifted all of my energy to launching his app. The app had already been made, so it was all-hands-on-deck to get this thing to the public. I met with local bars, came up with a crazy marketing strategy, brought a few friends with a few targeted skills to help, and things were looking great. My house had become the unofficial HQ. Some days, I was working more than eight hours.

With the help of the team I had put together, we had opportunities networking with some pretty serious and established people. I was getting to know that economics professor who did the shark tank events (I brought on the friend who worked for him). We found ourselves building a reputation as people who had marketing intuition.

However, the longer I worked on this business, the more I started to realize that something wasn’t right. There were investors behind the scenes. Every time I asked about them, I didn’t get much information. A few months later, I discovered that they owned most of the company and had some strong opinions about things.

Without getting into it all, I had to leave the business. I was able to spare my relationships with my friends, but I walked away with such a gift. I now had actual experience working on a start-up.

Weaseling My Way In Further

I landed a job with the economics professor, largely due in part to my friend. I had two roles with him: to plan events on campus with investors and to consult start-ups that he had invested in at his firm.

Office, Business, Colleagues, Meeting, Computers

I won’t get into the details since these are real companies and real investors. But I was able to now see the other side of the business: what a start-up looks like to an investor. I only worked with him for a few months – law school had just begun and I was crumbling under the workload. However, these positions indicated that there was a spot for me in this community if I wanted it.

My Path Forward

If you’ve been here since the early days of my blog, you know what happened next. I started this blog. I wanted something I could call my own and wasn’t intertwined with personal relationships. Something where I had all of the control.

Now here we are.

I’m excited for this journey forward. I look forward to writing about entrepreneurship and finance and learning more myself. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for being a part of that experience.

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