|"Rich Dad, Poor Dad"- It's A Scandal
The latest best-selling Greed Bible is a sneak
attack on loving (but poor!) fathers. Shame on
the author--and anyone who buys the message.
by Paige Egan
Everybody's wealthy these days, right? Get Rich Quick books fly off the shelves and the diamond business has never been better. But the hottest bestseller is less a How To than a diatribe against fathers without fortunes. "Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money that the Poor and Middle Classes Don't" emasculates men with puny quarterly statements. Greed Guru and trillionaire Robert Kiyosaki says dump them fast before they infect the next generation with "a poor person's mind set." Kiyosaki's Cult of Cupidity rewrites the Ten Commandments, omitting Honor They Father and Do Not Covet.
Makes you wonder who's buying this deplorable book. Self-hating fathers? Man-hating wives? Patricidal progeny? Numbers don't lie. Millions seem seduced by the Greed Guru's Blame Game.
See, Kiyosaki faults his failure of a father. "All I heard was get a good education, work for a solid company, save for retirement," he rants. "My Poor Dad lived in chronic poverty." (Reality Check: Kiyosaki Sr. served as Chancellor of Education for the state of Hawaii.) Luckily, Rich Dad took young Robert under his wing at age 9. "He dropped out of school to start making money at 10," crows our mogul. "My Poor Dad has 3 PhDs and died a pauper." A ruthless, rapacious sweat-shop baron paying his workers $3.00 weekly, Rich Dad schooled his avid pupil in cheating, exploiting others, eluding taxes and pillaging the stock market.
One devoted Poor Dad worries about Kiyosaki's crusade against the family. "In periods of prosperity, in the mad rush to make money, all else is devalued," warns Marshall Berman, professor of political science at the City University of New York. "Self-help books play on our insecurities. Our heroes become those superior beings who can live on their investments. Wealth makes them right about everything." Rich men are more powerful than movie stars or sports heroes. "And the average father is uncomfortable. He feels scared by the drive to supply his children with riches and security." To soothe a man's anxiety, says Berman, there's nothing like the comfort of a quarterly financial statement.
How tragic, thinks Berman, that just when men are learning to love and be comfortable with their kids and generate the kinds of bonds that only women previously had, society sells success as a substitute for love. "It simply becomes easier with all the anxiety for many people to follow the seduction of money and acclaim." During the financial bonanza of the 1950s, says Berman, the bestseller was "The Man Nobody Knew," whose hero was Jesus Christ, an Investment Counselor. "The book preached money-making as the highest goal, quoting scripture, but skipping over St. Paul's doctrine of charity and helping the less fortunate." Sound familiar?
"Beware of feeling," preaches Kiyosaki, "When it comes to money, high emotions tend to lower financial intelligence." Don't be ruled by fear and desire like your poor dads who foolishly pay their bills and taxes instead of investing, declares Kiyosaki. Of course, the first step is to read "Rich Dad" and awaken your inner swine. Money is power, says he, "and absolute power is financial freedom." Quoting "Rich Dad", the President of Cashflow Technologies, Inc., and inventor of the Cashflow board games, says "Poor people are more greedy than rich people. As a boy I loved playing Monopoly, so I just kept playing it as an adult. That's how I became an entrepreneur." But he owes it all to Rich Dad. "He taught me that my dad was wrong. Money is not the root of all evil. Actually, the lack of money is the root of all evil."
What's the message here? Don't be afraid to dump your dad to get rich like Robert Kiyosaki, a man bold enough to stigmatize not only his own father, but all fathers. But who's the real villain? Money-mad capitalists or the sheep who buy his screed? Makes you wonder why there are no picket lines around the bookstores or the talks giving Robert Kiyosaki a forum. Maybe the lesson to learn from "Rich Dad Poor Dad" is the real difference between an asset and a liability.
Paige Egan lives in upstate New York and writes frequently about television and celebrities
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