Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kiyosaki - bad, Tim Ferris - good. The 4-Hour Workweek

Self-help books, recently relabeled into the more euphemistic "self-development" category have been a secret vice of mine for quite a while. One book that stood out as particularly disappointing was Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". The basic concepts can be summarized on a single page. And yes, we know that it is better to have your money work for your instead of working for your money - gosh, who would have thought so? I just wish I already did have the money to do this. I can't wait to have my money work fr me instead of working for my money! My few thousand dollars of savings just do not seem to cut it when it comes to working for me! Well, I should invest? Sure, and then? Get $2,59 in return every month? You got to be kidding! And it was curious to have "asset" redefined as something that makes you money and "liability" as something that drains your account. And the "cash-flow quadrant" is certainly worth considering. This book actually seems to help you AFTER you made your money and then it is obsolete anyway.
But when you are done reading the book, boy, do you feeel confident that yes, you can be rich too. But then the trouble starts, you wake up and ask - how do I do it? Kiyosaki offers outstanding advice - after looking through the whole book looking for answers, I found the solution. I seems that our wise author finds it vital to form "your team" - consisting of a realtor, an attorney and a finacial advisor. Great! But...wait a minute, what I tell those poeple about what they are supposed to do? And "forming a team" is going to make me rich? Based on what the lawyer is cahrging me by the hour, the result will be quite the opposite.....
I probed further into the riches of Kiyosaki's adice, and finally, after a lot of leafing and leafing, I dug up a single sentence, truly one single sentence - no kidding - in the middle of another Kiyosaki book, here it comes, watch this, are you ready? "Turn your ideas into companies" - done, end of advice, finito, that's it, end of story, end of advice! And then he immediately proceeds to waffles on with the 5th, 6th and 7th repetition of the cash flow quadrant or another similar hot "economics 101 for 6 year olds" topic. Kiyosaki does not write "how to become rich". He simply writes motivational "feel-good" leaflets. Detailed advice that helps you in real life? Anything of practical use? None, zero, nada....
Yet, Kiyosaki mentiones an annoying amount of times how much he learned listenting to "Rich Dad" discuss business with his son during dinner - but, somehow he never gets around to sharing any of those pearls with us, the interested readers. What did he do with all that knowledge, with the accumulated wisdom of rich dad? Where is he hiding it? Why is Kiyosaki afraid of sharing it? Instead of sharing it, he repeats his basic concepts ad nauseam until you fall asleep or throw his books away or start writing bad reviews and bad blog posts about him. And here I am.
I did not fully realize just how pathetic Kiyosaki was until I read something that actually delivers the goods - the book by Tim Ferris titled "The 4-Hour Workweek".
Now here is a gem - fully packed with practical, usable information, and almost no fluff. Chock full of innovative ideas on how to come up with ideas, test ideas, create a product, how to test it, how to market it and how to outsource the whole manufacturing and advertising and administration and go traveling around the world with the money you make. Tremendous insights on how to work more efficiently and how to actually LIVE. An incredible amount of inspiration and information packed into one single book.
Ferris does not hold back, he does not ration his information nor his advice, because in the back of his mind, he is already planning to publish a whole series of similar books and does not want to share eveything at once - none of that. He freely tells you what he knows. Importantly - he mentions other books and people he learned from and gives you his sources. This is good, since you can read his sources and understand them better, learn more. I believe this to be the sign of a good author. You could almost call him charitable. He truly shares, he does not seem to sell. It is not one of those thin books with slightly larger print and wide margins that beats a single thought to death. He really lays it all out. Great! Great! Great!
Kiyosaki, you are a ...(can't print this here)!
If you, dear reader actually had the patience of finishing a Kiyosaki book, now is the time to throw it out, donate it to a Pre-Kindergarden program or give it to someone you don't like (great waste of her time).
Then read the real deal: The Four Hour Work Week. This is one of the few books with the potential to be life changing. Tim Ferris delivers what others only promise.

1 comment:

Alan said...

You don't post a heck of a lot, do you? Probably pretty busy with your medical practice.

Anyway, I've run across bunches of scam artists, since it's my job to shut them down. Almost everyone at some point was touting the Kiyosaki book. I've come to look at it as a red flag that the guy singing the praises of the book is involved in some scam or other.