‘The Millionaire Next Door’ and ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’: Double Book Review


After finishing two personal finance books back to back, I decided that I’d review them together since many of the ideas are similar. Plus I can only write about finance for so long….

Book 1

The Millionaire Next Door cover

Title & Authors: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
Genre: Finance, Business, Nonfiction
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The incredible national bestseller that is changing people’s lives — and increasing their net worth!

Who are the rich in this country?
What do they do?
Where do they shop?
What do they drive?
How do they invest?
Where did their ancestors come from?
How did they get rich?
Can I ever become one of them?

Get the answers in ‘The Millionaire Next Door’, the never-before-told story about wealth in America. You’ll be surprised at what you find out….

Book 2

Rich Dad, Poor Dad cover

Title & Author: Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money — That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Genre: Finance, Business, Nonfiction
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Personal finance author and lecturer Robert T. Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective from two very different influences – his two fathers. One father (Robert’s real father) was a highly educated man but fiscally poor. The other father was the father of Robert’s best friend – that Dad was an eighth-grade drop-out who became a self-made multi-millionaire. The lifelong monetary problems experienced by his poor dad pounded home the counterpoint communicated by his rich dad. Taking that message to heart, Kiyosaki was able to retire at 47.

So if I’m not a big fan of personal finance books, you may wonder why I read these two back to back. Well, my husband has been really into increasing his financial knowledge recently and kept bugging me suggesting that I read them. He’d learned a lot from listening to the audiobooks and I figured that gaining more wisdom in this area couldn’t hurt.

While I’m sure there are much newer versions of both of these books, the ones I read were from the Los Angeles Public Library (yay for libraries!) and were from around the mid-nineties, maybe? I mean, that cover art…yuck. My point in sharing the estimated publication date is that some of the more specific pieces of advice may be a bit out of date but you can still learn a lot from the themes as a whole.

The Millionaire Next Door goes into great detail about the habits of individuals who are wealthy. The authors did a lot of research with millionaires and were able to draw a number of conclusions. Some of these may seem obvious but some were a bit of a surprise:

  • The very wealthy as a whole don’t feel compelled to buy expensive things just for show (cost is not equal to quality).
  • People who have a lot of very expensive “luxury” items are often just trying to look wealthy, or feel that they have to live up to a certain standard based on their occupation.
  • There are more millionaire entrepreneurs than any other job classification, possibly because the entrepreneurs have to hustle to make their money.
  • Having a high-paying job (doctor, for example) does not equal high net worth.
  • Frugality and delaying gratification are some of the keys to growing wealth

It was also interesting to learn that of the individual’s studied by the authors, most had adult children who were self-sufficient and the parents never provided large cash gifts. By not providing large cash gifts, the parents continue to grow their wealth and the children have to learn to think for themselves/be self-reliant. [They didn’t study my parents though so probably more research needs to be done in that area….]

While some of the advice was outdated, and I definitely noticed a right-leaning political philosophy as the book went on, I think a good amount of the theories are probably still valid. It was interesting to read, at any rate. Plus the pseudonyms they gave people highly amusing: Mr. Friend, Dr. North, etc.

On to Rich Dad, Poor Dad. While I knew this book was about money, I thought the author actually had two fathers. (I guess that would have been a bit progressive for the ’90s.) Lo and behold, the author is actually referring to his real father and his best friend’s father, who he has claimed as a second dad.

Kiyosaki’s real father has tons of degrees, a well-paid job as a teacher, is respected in the community, and is basically pretty poor. In comparison, his best friend’s father doesn’t have the degrees, works for himself and is rich. At a young age Kiyosaki wanted to learn about money, so he gets advice and training from the best friend’s father.

What I like most about this book is that it made me think about additional things I could do to earn money. It changed my mindset to a “What if…” where before I just didn’t think about it much at all. But much of the advice isn’t applicable to me at this point in time. The author talks a lot about buying property (apartments, homes, etc.) that’s in a more depressed area and then turning it around when that area improves. That’s great but I don’t have the money to buy property in southern California, regardless of how “depressed” the area may be. It’s also not something I know much about so it might not be the best area for me. But he keeps recommending real estate and it’s like, “Ok, I get it.”

Kiyosaki talks a lot about the stock market as well, which is another area I’d have to learn about before really diving in. There’s nothing to stop me from doing so but I don’t know about it right now. So like I said, the main thing I gleaned from this book is to view money in a different way: is there anything I can set up that will make money for me while I do other things? So far I haven’t found that thing but you never know.

Verdict: Both books were kind of interesting in their own ways. They represent somewhat different viewpoints on accumulating wealth–TMND is more about what not to do while RDPD is more about what to do. That said, the information in the versions I read is a bit outdated and I tend to be a bit skeptical about finance people writing books about how to increase your wealth. While they have some good information, they’re also making money off the book. I don’t think that anyone is going to present the whole picture so keep that in mind.

Recommend for: anyone who wants to dip their toe into some basic financial books that may be outdated.

Price: The Millionaire Next Door is about $8.56 (paperback) to $16.59 (hardcover) on Amazon. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is about $4.83 on Amazon in paperback.

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