If you pick up a personal finance book and only get a nugget or two out of it, it’s a fair trade. If you are extremely fortunate, you’ll buy a “PF” book that speaks to you in a way no other has before. This can be a life-changing event for you and your family. I know it has been in my case.
Often, the messages are similar, but the way writers deliver the message varies. So if one particular book connects with you, go for it. I’m a fan. What I’m not a fan of, however, is when an author becomes a cult figure and sells his/her schlock to you non-stop. Pardon me. Does anyone have to write the same book 47 times?
Even if the 47th title does have some nugget that the 46 titles before it didn’t have, there comes a point for readers to stop learning and start doing. The 47th title might be OK, but it can be a distraction that keeps you from executing your entrepreneurial ideas.
That’s why it bothers me when authors rewrite the same book over and over again. I see this constant barrage of publications as dangerous to your financial health. The distraction cost worries me far more than the price of the book.
The people who write these books know this. But it doesn’t stop some of them from churning out anything they think you’ll buy. My conclusion is that they just want your cash. I know I’m naïve, but this really ticks me off. This behavior is simply unethical.
Here they are writing about how to save you money when all they want to do is separate you from it and put it in their own pocket.
The best (maybe worst) example is Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Inc. As you probably know, Robert Kiyosaki is the man who started this organization with his first book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. His message is that you are better off financially as a business owner than an employee and that you are better off as an owner than as a lender. He also helps readers learn how to make a small business successful.
(This message might be true for some people, but not for everyone. Some people actually get into big trouble because they try to be business owners when they don’t have the skills to do it. So if you read his book and “drink the Kool Aid,” you might end up in a world of pain.)
Don’t get me wrong, I respect Mr. Kiyosaki on many levels. First, he’s a great business person, writer and entrepreneur. He’s also encouraged folks and helped some. I’ll be the first to admit that his first book helped me.
But Bobby, you should have stopped while you were ahead.
OK, OK…maybe the Cash Flow game was cool too…but that’s it. Who needs 50 titles – a full four pages on Amazon – of Rich Bla Poor Bla????
If you do an Amazon search on Kiyosaki, here’s a partial list of the products you’ll find:
1. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money
2. Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing
3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens
4. Cash Flow Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom
5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
6. Rich Dad Advisors
7. Rich Dad’s Retire Young, Retire Rich
8. Rich Dad’s Increase Your Financial IQ
9. Rich Dad, Poor Dad 2: Cash Flow Quadrant
10. Own Your Own Corporation
11. Rich Dad Poor Dad Classics
12. Rich Dad’s Before You Quit Your Job
13. Rick Dad’s Rich Kid, Smart Kid
14. Rich Dad’s Prophecy
15. Rich Dad’s Real Estate Advantages
16. Rich Dad’s Advisors – Guide to Investing In Gold
17. Rich Dad’s Guide to Becoming Rich
18. Padre Rico, Padre Pobre
19. Rich Dad’s Advisors – The ABC’s of Writing Winning Business Plans
20. Rich Dad’s Advisors – The Advanced Guide to Real Estate
21. The Real Book of Real Estate
22. Rich Dad’s Advisors – Other People’s Money
23. Rich Brother, Rich Sister
24. Why We Want You To Be Rich
25. Rich Dad’s Conspiracy
26. It’s Easy to be Rich
27. You Can Choose To Be Rich
28. Discussion Guide – Rich Dad Poor Dad
Am I the only one who thinks this is ridiculous? If you want to be in business for yourself, you’re going to need practical ideas — not useless regurgitated ideas.
Does anyone on this planet think that the materials are all that different? That the ideas are new? Don’t you think Mr. Kiyosaki could have reduced this to maybe four different books and have covered everything?
When I see a list like this it completely discredits the author in my mind, so I don’t even take his or her work seriously. That’s probably another character flaw of mine (add it to the list), but I’ll bet I’m not the only one who operates this way.
Other authors come to mind who have made an industry out of their names and, for the most part, I don’t respect what they do either. There is of course, the exception.
He also has a large number of items for sale on Amazon. But he only has a handful of books for sale. Also, since he released the “Total Money Makeover” he hasn’t released any new books. Dave probably thinks he’s said what he needs to say and now it’s up to us to “get ‘er done.” If that’s so, it’s really refreshing.
Maybe I’m wrong but it feels like Dave is all about taking action and not selling more crap. That’s just the feeling I get anyway. I could be wrong, but I get the sense that Dave would be the first one to tell you to implement everything from his course or book and you won’t need to buy anything else.
Also, everywhere you turn you see people who report on miraculous changes as a result of going through his materials. You can’t argue with those kinds of results.
How can my rant on personal finance books be useful to you?
Before you buy another personal finance book, ask yourself if your problem is lack of knowledge or lack of action. If you need more knowledge, by all means, study the table of contents. If the book looks like it’s going to fill in that gap, buy it. Let’s say you want to get a good FICO score. One or two bright ideas could really help you.
But if after you search your heart, you realize that your problem is lack of action, put the book back on the shelf and get to work. Forget about the person who wrote the book. Think about the principles behind the book and only buy it if you need that message explained.
So after writing a 1,000 word rant on authors, how can I have the nerve to create products to sell to you?
Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I’m in denial.
You be the judge.
I have one book out and another on the way. I’ll be writing e-books on very specific topics (to sell) and I offer coaching too.
So am I the biggest hypocrite you ever met? Should you start calling me “Rich Pilgrim, Poor Pilgrim”?
I obviously hope not. But is there really any difference? Do you have the same reaction I have to authors who pump out book after book in the personal finance realm?