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[BUSINESS] Good?, Bad? or Ugly? - in Giving Financial Guidelines

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  • madchinaman
    Robert Kiyosaki Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, is an investor, entrepreneur, and educator whose perspectives on money and investing fly in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 8, 2006
      Robert Kiyosaki
      Robert Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad Poor Dad," is an investor,
      entrepreneur, and educator whose perspectives on money and investing
      fly in the face of conventional wisdom.


      As a personal comment, it is my opinion that Robert's initial letter
      still stands up on its own merits. I find the review on Mr. Reed's
      site odd because while Robert Kiyosaki is fond of real estate
      investing, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" is not a real estate book, nor has
      Robert ever claimed to be a "real estate guru". Mr. Reed has
      obviously decided to do a "review" out of context regardless of
      these 2 facts.
      Born and raised in Hawaii, Robert Kiyosaki is a fourth-generation
      Japanese-American. After graduating from college in New York, he
      joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam as an officer and
      helicopter gunship pilot. Following the war he went to work in sales
      for the Xerox Corporation and, in 1977, started a company that
      brought the first nylon and Velcro "surfer wallets" to market. He
      founded an international education company in 1985 that taught
      business and investing to tens of thousands of students throughout
      the world. He sold his business in 1994 and, through his
      investments, was able to retire at the age of 47.


      In arguing that "old" advice -- get a good job, work hard, save
      money, get out of debt, and invest for the long term -- is obsolete
      and flawed, he has earned a reputation for straight talk,
      irreverence, and courage.

      "Rich Dad Poor Dad" is the longest-running bestseller on all four of
      the lists that report to Publisher's Weekly magazine: The New York
      Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and BusinessWeek. It has
      held a top spot on The New York Times list bestseller list for
      nearly five years and was USA Today's #1 money book for 2004.

      Translated into 44 languages and available in 80 countries,
      the "Rich Dad" series has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and
      has dominated bestseller lists across Asia, Australia, South
      America, Mexico, and Europe. In 2005, Robert was inducted into the
      Amazon.com Hall of Fame as one of the bookseller's Top 25 Authors.
      There are currently 12 books in the "Rich Dad" series.

      Prior to writing "Rich Dad Poor Dad," Robert created the educational
      board game CASHFLOW 101 to teach individuals the financial and
      investment strategies that his rich dad spent years teaching him.
      Hundreds of "CASHFLOW Clubs" -- game groups independent of the Rich
      Dad Company -- have sprung up throughout the world.

      Born and raised in Hawaii, Robert Kiyosaki is a fourth-generation
      Japanese-American. After graduating from college in New York, he
      joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam as an officer and
      helicopter gunship pilot. Following the war he went to work in sales
      for the Xerox Corporation and, in 1977, started a company that
      brought the first nylon and Velcro "surfer wallets" to market. He
      founded an international education company in 1985 that taught
      business and investing to tens of thousands of students throughout
      the world. He sold his business in 1994 and, through his
      investments, was able to retire at the age of 47.


      Robert Toru Kiyosaki, born April 8, 1947) is an investor,
      businessman, and self-help author. He was born and raised in Hilo,
      Hawaii, attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and served in the
      Marine Corps as a helicopter gunship pilot during the Vietnam War.
      After leaving the Marine Corps, he worked as a copier salesman for
      Xerox before embarking on a career of investing and teaching. He is
      married to Kim Kiyosaki.

      Kiyosaki's books and seminars have been a successful venture for him.

      Kiyosaki is best-known for his books on investing, most of which are
      extensions of his first book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. A partial list of
      his books is included below, with many of the same concepts covered
      in his commercial audio books and a PBS television special, Rich
      Dad's Guide to Wealth with Robert Kiyosaki.

      Originally self-published before being picked up commercially to
      become a best seller, the central concept of the book is an
      anecdotal comparison of his "two fathers." His "poor dad" was his
      biological father, who became Superintendent of the Hawaii State
      Department of Education but had very little real net worth.
      Contrasted with this is his (arguably fictitious, see below) "rich
      dad," his best friend's father who became "the richest man in
      Hawaii" by investing his smaller income into income-producing
      investments. Its main purpose as a self-help book is to help people
      rethink their idea of money and especially their concept of
      themselves as employees, who will gain financial rewards from
      conformity and education.

      Kiyosaki uses the "rich dad, poor dad" comparison to illustrate his
      view that the majority of people are stuck in what he refers to
      as "the rat race"—living paycheck to paycheck and spending all of
      their time working to pay bills. In his books, Kiyosaki advocates
      tax-advantaged investment vehicles, such as real estate or
      businesses, rather than ownership of securities. This idea is
      further developed in his later books and "rich dad" became
      Kiyosaki's personal brand for various publishing ventures.

      Cashflow Quadrant (2000) is a personal finance and investing book
      written with Sharon Lechter, C.P.A. as the sequel to Rich Dad, Poor
      Dad. In it, Kiyosaki discusses what he calls the cashflow quadrant:
      a grid consisting of the letters E, S, B, and I. The cashflow
      quadrant itself is just an illustrative tool to show the difference
      between Employees, Small business owner/operators, Business owners
      (not directly involved in the day-to-day operation of the company),
      and Investors. Kiyosaki discusses the differences between concepts
      and ideas characteristic of each quadrant, particularly as they
      relate to passive income and tax advantages. Again, as a self-help
      author, he invites readers to consider their own ideas about money.

      Rich Kid, Smart Kid (2001) is a comprehensive retelling of
      Kiyosaki's views, condensed and clarified to help parents better
      understand and teach their children key financial concepts. It
      includes a series of activities that a parent can do with their
      child to make them aware of property, finance and the various ways
      and places businesses make money.

      Didactic games
      Kiyosaki repeatedly stresses the value of games (particularly
      Monopoly as a tool for learning basic financial strategies such
      as "trade four green houses for one red hotel"). Kiyosaki has
      created several games to reinforce the points in his books. His
      first game, Cashflow 101, teaches players how to get out of the "rat
      race" by acquiring assets that produce passive income in excess of
      expenses and maintaining "score cards" in the form of financial
      statements. Cashflow 202 is a more advanced game designed to help
      players learn about more sophisticated investing strategies, such as
      stock options. Kiyosaki also targets adolescents with the game
      Cashflow for Kids and his 2001 book Rich Kid, Smart Kid. Kiyosaki's
      games have been criticized, however, for costing appreciably more
      (USD $200 for the most expensive Cashflow 101) than a copy of
      Monopoly (approximately $15).

      Assets vs. liabilities
      One of the basic points Kiyosaki writes and talks about is to think
      of an asset as something that puts money in your pocket, and a
      liability as something that takes money out of it.

      A home is a liability under this thinking, and only an asset for the
      bank, since the mortgage payments take money from your pocket and
      puts it in the bank's. Even after the mortgage is paid off, the home
      is still a liability because of rates and maintenance. Whether an
      investment property is a liability or an asset depends only on
      whether rental income exceeds the costs of interest, rates and

      Kiyosaki's books have been criticized for having lots of anecdotal
      lessons but almost no concrete advice. Many readers find his work
      highly motivational, but then lacking information to put it to use.
      It is also difficult to discern fact from fiction and anecdote in
      many of his works.

      Some advice he gives is thought to be poor or even dangerous by
      other investors. For example, he advocates focusing on a few "good
      investments" rather than diversifying as well as "going for broke".
      He also downplays the importance of (traditional/tertiary)
      education, and claims that there is no correlation between increased
      education and increased income. This assertion is contradicted by
      various academic studies. Nonetheless, he absolutely stresses the
      need for financial education.

      Some have questioned Kiyosaki's status as a successful investor and
      businessman prior to the formation of his present venture, CASHFLOW
      Technologies, Inc. They claim that his wealth has come only as a
      result of selling books and audio presentations about topics he has
      not personally succeeded in and that he is probably worth far less
      than the $50 to $100 million USD he claimed in an interview. They
      note he has claimed to be bankrupt as recently as 1985, a high
      school dropout and a deserter from the Navy. Some of these items do
      not agree with records and may have been stated for "dramatic
      effect". In several of his books he makes claims about his
      accomplishments which appear to be exaggerations, fabrications or

      People have speculated on the identity of his "rich dad" and whether
      this individual even existed, reasoning that such a man, whom
      Kiyosaki describes as "one of the richest men in the Islands", and
      his family who carry on his tradition, would have been very well
      known in as small a state as Hawaii. In the February 2003 issue of
      SmartMoney magazine, Kiyosaki backed off his claim that his "rich
      dad" was a real person, instead stating "Is Harry Potter real? Why
      don't you let Rich Dad be a myth, like Harry Potter?" An anonymous
      person on a message board once alleged that "Rich Dad" was actually
      Richard Kimi, of the Sand & Seaside Hotels in Hawaii.


      Robert Kiyosaki

      Robert Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad Poor Dad," is an investor,
      entrepreneur, and educator whose perspectives on money and investing
      fly in the face of conventional wisdom.

      In arguing that "old" advice -- get a good job, work hard, save
      money, get out of debt, and invest for the long term -- is obsolete
      and flawed, he has earned a reputation for straight talk,
      irreverence, and courage.

      "Rich Dad Poor Dad" is the longest-running bestseller on all four of
      the lists that report to Publisher's Weekly magazine: The New York
      Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and BusinessWeek. It has
      held a top spot on The New York Times list bestseller list for
      nearly five years and was USA Today's #1 money book for 2004.

      Translated into 44 languages and available in 80 countries,
      the "Rich Dad" series has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and
      has dominated bestseller lists across Asia, Australia, South
      America, Mexico, and Europe. In 2005, Robert was inducted into the
      Amazon.com Hall of Fame as one of the bookseller's Top 25 Authors.
      There are currently 12 books in the "Rich Dad" series.

      Prior to writing "Rich Dad Poor Dad," Robert created the educational
      board game CASHFLOW 101 to teach individuals the financial and
      investment strategies that his rich dad spent years teaching him.
      Hundreds of "CASHFLOW Clubs" -- game groups independent of the Rich
      Dad Company -- have sprung up throughout the world.

      Born and raised in Hawaii, Robert Kiyosaki is a fourth-generation
      Japanese-American. After graduating from college in New York, he
      joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam as an officer and
      helicopter gunship pilot. Following the war he went to work in sales
      for the Xerox Corporation and, in 1977, started a company that
      brought the first nylon and Velcro "surfer wallets" to market. He
      founded an international education company in 1985 that taught
      business and investing to tens of thousands of students throughout
      the world. He sold his business in 1994 and, through his
      investments, was able to retire at the age of 47.


      John T. Reed's analysis of Robert T. Kiyosaki's book Rich Dad, Poor

      A number of people have asked me about Robert T. Kiyosaki and his
      book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. When I said I didn't think he was a real-
      estate guru, a number of people insisted he was. Several told me I
      would like him, that he preaches a message like mine. Eager to find
      such a guru, I bought his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad in a bookstore.

      I was unpleasantly surprised. I do not like his book at all. Over
      time, I have received numerous reports that Kiyosaki is primarily a
      creature of Amway and other multi-level marketing organizations.
      Reportedly, his books were not selling until he allied himself with
      that crowd. Then the volume of sales to those MLM guys made him
      a "best-selling author," which caused normal non-MLM people to think
      the book must be good. Click here for an email I received along
      those lines. There is an unauthorized Web site about Amway at

      Last updated 3/3/06 Selected emails from visitors to this page

      Now admits `fictionalizing'
      On 8/15/01, a reader told me Kiyosaki now has the words "Although
      based on a true story, certain events in this book have been
      fictionalized for educational content and impact," in the fine print
      on the copyright page of Rich Kid Poor Kid. I had not previously
      been aware that "educational content and impact" justified lying.
      Also, I am now confused as to why Kiyosaki's books are on the
      nonfiction best seller list if they are fictionalized.

      `Poor dad'
      The idea behind Kiyosaki's title is that his real father was upper
      middle class. He graduated from Stanford, Chicago, and Northwestern
      Universities, all on full scholarship, ultimately earning a Ph.D. He
      pursued a career in education and became the head of the education
      department of the State of Hawaii. He owned the home in which the
      Kiyosaki family lived. Kiyosaki calls him his "poor dad."

      `Rich dad'
      One day, he asked his father how to make money. His father said he
      had not made much money and did not know how to make it. He
      suggested that Robert ask the father of his next-door playmate,
      Mike. That boy's father was a successful local businessman. He was
      also an eighth-grade dropout and ultimately a multimillionaire with
      a bunch of small businesses like construction, restaurants, and
      convenience stores. Kiyosaki developed a father-son relationship
      with the neighbor. That is who he is referring to when he uses the
      phrase "rich dad."

      One visitor to this site asked me if I was sure "Rich Dad" really
      exists. No, I'm not. In fact, I now lean to believing that there
      never was a "Rich Dad," that Kiyosaki made the whole thing up. If I
      had written such a book, I would have named him in the book, if only
      out of gratitude. It is noteworthy that Kiyosaki refuses to
      identify "Rich Dad" and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin was unable to
      figure out who it was in spite of the rather obvious "next-door
      neighbor Mike whose father owns convenience stores, restaurants, and
      a construction company" clues. The man was purportedly around 30 to
      45 years old in 1955. So he would be 75 to 90 now. How many people
      on that one street in Honolulu could possibly fit that description?

      As I recall, the first convenience store was 7-11 and I believe they
      became widespread around the 1960s. It's possible Kiyosaki is using
      the phrase "convenience store" loosely and really means corner
      groceries, which did exist in the 1950's.

      But I also find the mix of business unlikely. The guy
      owns "convenience stores, restaurants, and a construction company."
      I guess I can imagine a guy who owns convenience stores and a
      construction company. It's odd, but not impossible. However, I
      cannot imagine a restaurateur who also owns a construction company.
      For one thing, the restaurant business is extremely management-
      intensive. At good restaurants, the owner is usually there almost
      all of the time. Same is true of construction. Plus restaurateurs
      that I've known are very different kinds of people from construction

      A reader sent me an email saying, "One thing I did notice in a first
      cursory look this morning was this information from the Rich Dad
      trademark application:

      > Other Data: The mark "Rich Dad" does not identify a living

      So as of the filing date (March 23, 1999) Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad" was

      Actually, the phrase "does not identify a living individual" could
      either mean that the individual is deceased or that he never existed
      to begin with. Or maybe not. Here's an email I got on 2/12/05:

      Just noticed on your site the following:

      "One thing I did notice in a first cursory look this morning was
      this information from the Rich Dad trademark application:
      Other Data: The mark "Rich Dad" does not identify a living

      So as of the filing date (March 23, 1999) Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad" was
      Actually, the phrase "does not identify a living individual" could
      either mean that the individual is deceased or that he never existed
      to begin with."

      I'm a lawyer. The phrase "does not identify a living individual" in
      a trademark application simply means that the trademark "Rich Dad"
      does not refer to someone named "Rich Dad" (i.e., first name "Rich",
      surname "Dad"). So that bit of reasoning doesn't quite work.
      But love your site anyway.

      Kiyosaki's real father ("Poor Dad") was named Ralph Kiyosaki. I
      encourage readers in Hawaii to try to research Ralph's home
      ownership when Kiyosaki was nine years old (1955) and try to figure
      out which adjacent or nearby homeowner might have been "Rich Dad."
      If we can find a person who fits the description, and he is either a
      public person or dead, I will publish the identity.

      A bunch of people have told me "Rich Dad" was a now-dead guy named
      Kim or Kimi. Fine. Get Kiyosaki to say that. Or get Kim's surviving
      relatives to say it. A bunch of yahoos on the Internet saying it
      don't mean nothing. People on the Internet see Elvis at their 7-11.

      1992 book versus 1997
      In 1992, Kiyosaki wrote a book called If You Want to Be Rich and
      Happy, Don't Go To School? It is "dedicated to Ralph H. Kiyosaki,
      former Superintendant of Education, State of Hawaii, the best
      teacher I ever had." This would be "Poor Dad." But Rich Dad Poor
      Dad, which came out in 1997, says quite emphatically that Rich Dad
      was the best teacher he ever had.

      So maybe "Rich Dad" was the second best teacher he ever had. No.
      Actually, the 1992 book also identifies the second best teacher
      Kiyosaki ever had: F. Marshall Thurber.

      OK. So maybe "Rich Dad" was third. No. Kiyosaki's 1992 book has an
      unusually long acknowledgment section. It lists 111 people, none of
      whom appears to be "Rich Dad." That is, none are singled out except
      for his "Poor Dad" parents, in-laws, business partner, and editors.

      Mind you, according to the 1997 book Rich Dad Poor Dad, "Rich Dad"
      supposedly became central to Kiyosaki's life starting in 1955 when
      he was nine. So where was "Rich Dad" in 1992 when Kiyosaki was so
      diligent at identifying the people who had been important in his

      `Couldn't put my finger on it…'
      I have received numerous emails about this analysis. There have been
      several recurring themes in those emails. One is people saying that
      they liked Kiyosaki's book, but that it caused them some discomfort
      or second thoughts or unease. They often say they could not put
      their finger on what was bothering them—or words to that effect—
      until they read this analysis.

      `Made me think about my finances'
      The most common favorable comment I get about Kiyosaki from those
      who generally agree with my analysis is that "He got me to think
      about my finances." That's pretty lame.

      The IRS makes you think about your finances every April 15th. You
      have to think about your finances whenever you fill out a loan or
      credit-card application. I also think about my finances frequently
      when I pay bills or receive income. People who are unhappy with
      their financial lives—which is probably the typical Kiyosaki fan—
      probably think about their finances every time they get into their
      shabby car or return to their unsatisfactory home (e.g., living with
      parents, bad neighborhood, too small, etc.).

      I think these "made me think about finances" comments are
      inarticulate at best and dishonest at worst. What is really going on
      is a lot of people are schlepping along doing a half-ass job of
      managing the financial aspects of their lives. Rich Dad Poor Dad
      slaps them up side the head and tells them to clean up their acts.
      That's good, but the book goes on to deliver a pack of lies that
      make getting rich seem much easier than it really is and make
      education sound much less valuable than it really is. Basically,
      people want to get rich quick without effort or risk. Kiyosaki is
      just the latest in a long line of con men who pander to that fantasy.

      Can the ordinary person get rich? Yes
      Is it as easy as Kiyosaki makes it sound? Not even close.
      Can it be done as fast as Kiyosaki says? Nope.
      Is education as worthless as Kiyosaki says? Every pertinent study
      has shown that the more education you have, the higher your net
      worth and income. Also, educated people live longer, have fewer
      divorces, better health, and so forth.

      On the other hand, the public-school system is an easy target for
      criticism. It is generally run by union bureaucrats who graduated at
      the bottom of their college classes. Colleges are also subject to
      criticism for letting students spend five or more years getting low-
      income educations in subjects like philosophy and social work.
      Wisely-chosen education—defined broadly as reading books, talking to
      successful people in the field you are interested in, attending
      courses, and subscribing to trade publications is generally the
      highest return you can earn on your money and time.

      Kiyosaki is just telling lazy and/or stupid students a line of bull
      that lets them avoid responsibility for their poor academic
      performance and gives them a convenient scapegoat to blame for their
      lousy financial situations. There is also more value to education
      than just its financial rewards. If you like philosophy and are
      willing to take a vow of poverty, you ought to study philosophy. Not
      everyone suffers from Kiyosaki's need to impress people with how
      much money he has made (or claims to have made from sources other
      than selling books to Amway distributors).

      `Missing the point'
      Since I posted this analysis, a number of Kiyosaki "cult members"
      have contacted me to denounce me for "missing the point" of
      Kiyosaki's book. "OK," I responded, "Please tell me the point." The
      odd thing is that each person has a different version of what the
      point of Kiyosaki's book is—and it is never something I recall
      reading in the book. In fact, if a book has a point, multiple
      readers ought to come up with the same answer when asked what that
      point is. If they come up with different answers, it is either
      because the author was incompetent at communicating his point, or
      because the book has no point, or because the author deliberately
      obfuscated the point.

      From now on, if you think I missed the point, don't paraphrase
      Kiyosaki's point to me. Give me an exact quote and the page number
      in Rich Dad, Poor Dad where it appears. I suspect everyone who is
      tempted to send me the point of Rich Dad will be unable to find in
      the book any of the wonderful advice they imagined was in there.

      The only time different people look at the same thing and come up
      with different answers as to what it is they are looking at is when
      the thing they are looking at is amorphous, like a cloud or a
      Rorschach inkblot—or a politician. Politicians try to be all things
      to all people. That requires them to say nothing (amorphousness),
      but to sound like they are saying something ("the point"). They toss
      in a little spin to try to get all those people with those different
      views to see in the politician things that they like. Kiyosaki
      slogans like "Don't work for money. Make money work for you," are
      amorphous in their actual meaning, but have the effect of "spinning"
      the reader into thinking he has just gotten good advice.

      Here's a pertinent passage from Temple University professor John
      Allen Poulos's book A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper.

      "A similar argument helps clarify why inane I Ching sayings or
      ambiguous horoscopes seem to many to be so apt. Their aptness is
      self-provided. In effect, their cryptic obscurity provides a random
      set of `answers' that the devotee fabricates into something
      seemingly appropriate and useful.…psychologists count on the
      amorphousness of Rorschach ink blots to elicit evidence of a
      person's core concerns."

      My own supporters occasionally commit the mistake of reading things
      into my writings. I once got an email complimenting me on my
      writings. The writer's favorite quote by me was, "When everyone is
      digging for gold, sell shovels." I thanked him for his compliments,
      but said, "I never said that." He then wrote back that he searched
      all over my Web site, but could not find it.

      What Kiyosaki is really doing is operating a cult of personality.
      Anna Quindlen had an excellent article about such cults in the
      8/14/00 Newsweek. She was talking about politicians and says they
      seek to elicit the words, "I don't know why. I just like the guy."
      Politicians want to be judged by their personalities, not their
      character or policies. To members of Kiyosaki's cult, it matters not
      how many false or probably-false statements I find in Kiyosaki's
      writings. They just like the guy. Personality is an appropriate
      criterion for selecting someone to hang around with. But it is a
      highly inappropriate criterion for evaluating Kiyosaki's advice,
      because he's not going to let you hang around with him and your
      family's finances are serious business.

      I am not a politician. When I write something, I want to make sure
      everyone gets the point—the same point. Here is the point of this

      Rich Dad, Poor Dad contains much wrong advice, much bad advice, some
      dangerous advice, and virtually no good advice.

      The 48 Laws of Power
      Here's an interesting letter I got from a reader:

      "I'm glad I found your website on Kiyosaki, and all the other snake
      oil salesmen. I was deluding myself into believing him, even though
      I had that little voice in the back of my mind sending me warning
      signals (not to mention my wife)... Anyway, thanks for the info.
      Every once in a while, I do a search on Google and come up with a
      gem like your website. This is living proof that the Internet can be
      used for good purposes by people who are TRULY generous. Once again
      thanks for your work.

      A few years ago I read a book by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers
      called "The 48 Laws of Power" (Viking, 1998). It is a "Machiavellian
      approach to the systematic study of power. Basically, it is written
      as a how-to book. It gives the cynical lowdown on increasing and
      maintaining one's power over others. It is truly an interesting and
      thought-provoking study in human nature. I thought you might be
      interested in the following quote, which I feel is particularly apt
      in describing the power strategy that gurus like Kiyosaki like to

      FOLLOWING. Judgment - People have an overwhelming desire to believe
      in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them
      a cause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of
      promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking.
      Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make
      sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and
      grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power."
      (p. 215)

      Keep up the good work,"

      Another reader said Law 32 is pertinent too.

      Law 32

      Play to People's Fantasies

      "The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant. Never
      appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger
      that comes for disenchantment. Life is so harsh and distressing that
      people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like
      oases in the desert: Everyone flocks to them. There is great power
      in tapping into the fantasies of the masses."

      You can see all the laws at

      Short on specifics
      About every third email I get about this analysis me that they agree
      with me that Kiyosaki is short on specifics about how to get rich.

      I never said Kiyosaki was short on specifics!

      Not only does Kiyosaki's hypnotic effect on many people result in
      their seeing things in his book that are not there, now they are
      seeing things in my analysis that are not here. Amazing! No wonder
      the guy can sell 11 million copies of nothing.

      I would say that Rich Dad covers an overly broad array of financial
      subjects—real estate investment, stock market investment, note
      investment, and going into business for yourself. No one could
      adequately cover all those areas in such a short book. On the other
      hand, Rich Dad has a lot of specifics—as you will see below in this
      analysis. The problem is not that he is short on specifics, it is
      that the book is a bunch of bull, including when he gets specific.
      To say that the only fault of the book is that it lacks specifics is
      ridiculous. The book commits far more sins than that.

      Since I posted this item with huge letterrs saying I did not say he
      was short on specifics, the quantity of emails I get "agreeing" with
      me that he was short on specifics is unabated. Have these people all
      had lobotomies?

      Money is all that matters
      On page 14 he approvingly quotes "rich dad" as saying "Money is
      power." [Since I wrote this analysis, Kiyosaki has changed the
      layout of the book making these page numbers wrong for subsequent
      editions. They are correct for my edition, which says published by
      TechPress, Inc. and has 1997 and 1998 copyrights.] On page 92, he
      tells of his "rich dad" keeping him waiting for long periods—when he
      was nine years old!! "He was ignoring me on purpose. He wanted me to
      recognize his power and desire to have that power for myself one
      day." On page 172, he says, "I have found the principles of finding
      value are the same regardless if it's real estate, stocks,...or a
      new spouse..."

      On page 154, Kiyosaki says "the reason you want to have rich
      friends" is to get inside stock market information that you can make
      low-risk profits. He ends that discussion with the sentence, "That
      is what friends are for." That is the narrowest, most mercenary
      definition of friendship I have ever seen. I doubt Kiyosaki is the
      only person who feels this way about his friends, but he may be the
      only one dumb enough to say it in a book.

      Although his family was not rich, he attended a predominantly
      wealthy elementary school because of an anomaly in the school-
      district boundaries. The wealthy kids had newer toys and refused to
      invite Kiyosaki and his friend to parties, telling Kiyosaki it was
      because they were "poor kids." Sounds like he was scarred deeply by
      that humiliation and has lived his whole life since trying to prove
      to some rude nine-year olds from the 1950s that he now has the money
      to be worthy of their party invitations. He told Meet the Street
      that he has never been back to Hawaii. I suspect such a visit would
      help him get rid of the demons from his childhood.

      How much money does Kiyosaki have?
      A number of people have accused me of being jealous of Kiyosaki—I
      guess because they think he has more money than I have. Others have
      said they are going to follow him because he is fabulously wealthy
      and that's what they want to be.

      How do we know this?

      I know approximately what my net worth is. But I have no idea of
      what Robert Kiyosaki's net worth is. Neither does anyone else.

      He implies he has money. He has had four books about how to get rich
      on the business best seller list. He brags about owning a Porsche,
      Mercedes, Rolex watch, $400 golf club. The Honolulu Star Bulletin—
      the newspaper where Kiyosaki grew up—wrote a puff piece about him.
      You can see it at
      http://starbulletin.com/2000/07/10/features/story1.html. In it,
      Kiyosaki says a number of things that imply he is rich. For example,

      "I'm free to do exactly what I want, when I want, where I want. I
      can stop working if I want to. Money buys me freedom."

      The article says "Kiyosaki's got his…" and that he lives in a $3.5
      million dollar home in Phoenix.

      A real-estate broker visitor to this site ran a computer search on
      Kiyosaki and said Kiyosaki owned two properties in Maricopa County,
      AZ (Phoenix). The assessor's records
      ID=164-14-005) showed a purchase price (10/6/99) of $1.2 million and
      a "full cash value" of $980,000 on his residence, 62 Biltmore
      Estates Circle, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Neither value is any slouch, but
      it ain't $3.5 million. A visitor to this Web site who lives in
      Phoenix said Kiyosaki spent a lot of money on improvements finishing
      around April, 2002. A caller in July of 2003 said the house was
      worth about $2.5 to $3 million then. The other property (a five-room
      house built in 1979, 2,300 square feet, 1809 East Lane Avenue,
      Phoenix, AZ 85020) had a current "full cash value" of $171,500. He
      purchased that 8/8/91. It was the house he moved out of when he
      bought the Biltmore Estates house.

      A visit to the Maricopa County Recorders Web site
      L+ETAL&set=250&cde=GRNT%2BDEED&lnk=1&Pages=2 shows that he bought
      the Biltmore home from an odd home seller—the National Model
      Railroad Association. You can see at the Web site that the down
      payment was originally $23,000, but that was crossed out and
      $300,000 was written in. The recording number from the assessor's
      records is 990929308 10/6/99.

      My search of the Maricopa County recorders office by Internet found
      a bunch of documents related to Kiyosaki. You can see that list at

      Below are some deeds to Kiyosaki. I do not know Phoenix real estate
      so I would be interested in hearing from anyone who is familiar with
      these properties who can interpret whether they support or refute
      the notion that Kiyosaki is a big success.


      I once investigated best-selling real-estate author Robert Allen who
      wrote Nothing Down. At first, he claimed to own his home. But when I
      checked the address which appeared on IRS liens filed against him,
      it was nonexistent—no house at that address. When I again asked
      where he owned his home, he admitted, "I rent." I have the
      conversation on tape.

      One of my MBA classmates, Paul Bilzerian, became a very successful
      corporate raider for a time. He stood silent while others claimed he
      was a wiz who had made $150 million in Florida real estate before
      age 30. I called him up to ask if that were true. He said I should
      read the article in the Wall Street Journal carefully. Indeed, it
      said he was "reported" to have made that much and all Paul would say
      in the article was, "That's a good guess." In other words, Paul was
      pointing out to me that it was not he who said he had made all that
      money. Paul subsequently was the subject of a Forbes story. They
      said they investigated his purported Florida real-estate profits and
      could not find a "trace" of him in Florida real estate. He later got
      into trouble with the law and was the subject of a 60 Minutes
      segment about his mansion in Florida that creditors could not get to
      after he declared bankruptcy.

      According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, "Kiyosaki won't say how
      much he is worth or in what he's invested." Kiyosaki claims, "I own
      companies. I'm a major shareholder in oil and mining companies, plus
      real estate companies. I have intellectual property companies." But
      he won't identify any of them. Why? As you will read below, one of
      my readers checked Kiyosaki's claim that he was a major shareholder
      out in a securities industry data base and found not a trace of him
      in spite of the fact that major shareholders are required by law to
      be identified. If he is a "major" shareholder, it is in minor
      corporations so small that their shares are not traded publicly.

      Mr. Privacy
      Kiyosaki says, "I keep my holdings private. You know why that is?
      Lawsuits. If you have money, you get sued."

      Let me get this straight. Kiyosaki says he is rich, that he "makes
      millions of dollars," and is about as high profile about his wealth
      as you can get about it—best-selling how-to-get-rich books,
      appearances on TV shows like Oprah, interviews to daily papers and
      national magazines. Yet he won't disclose any details because he
      doesn't want people to know he has money.


      Not only is the guy a B.S. artist, he insults our intelligence.

      Somebody needs to give Kiyosaki a book on how to be low profile. I'm
      sure it has a chapter that says going on Oprah to discuss your best-
      selling book on getting rich is not a good way to prevent would-be
      litigants from knowing you have money. Kiyosaki is, in fact,
      shouting from the rooftops that he has money. He just refuses to
      prove it. Or to let us investigate how he got it if he does have it.

      I have always felt that implying you have money was worse than
      revealing your net worth. When I was in grad school, I took a labor
      relations course where actual union leaders were in every other seat
      with us MBAs. One said that one of the things they love about
      employers is when they keep earnings secret. That allows the union
      to tell the employees that the company is "getting rich on their
      backs." That, in turn, causes the employees to vote for the union.
      Kiyosaki's implying he is wealthy, but refusing to disclose how
      wealthy, will almost certainly cause would-be litigants and others
      to overestimate his net worth, thereby increasing the chances of his
      being sued over what they would be if he were more forthcoming.

      Many small businesspeople adopt grandiose company names, like
      Pritchco Interplanetary, that make them sound much larger than they
      really are. I tell my readers not to do that because such names
      encourage lawsuits. I encourage small real-estate investors to use
      their own name, because people are more inclined to sue big-sounding
      corporations than an individual.

      I suspect the real reason Kiyosaki refuses to disclose any evidence
      of his purported wealth is either

      • It is much smaller than his followers imagine
      • He did not get it the way he implies—for example, his wealth may
      come almost entirely from telling people how to get wealthy and he
      may not have been wealthy himself until he told people how to get
      • He achieved wealth in an unethical or illegal way
      • All of the above

      For the record, I created another page to address the jealousy
      issue. Click here to see it.

      On 1/14/02, a reader told me Kiyosaki was more forthcoming about his
      wealth at
      http://www.thestreet.com/funds/meetthestreet/10006507.html. Indeed,
      in an interview at that Web site, he says his net worth is "between
      $50,000,000 and $100,000,000 depending on the day." (I don't believe
      that. He also says he was bankrupt and homeless in 1985. More about
      that later.) So which is it—Kiyosaki will not talk about his wealth
      because he doesn't want to be sued or he will give figures,
      locations of his properties, and the nature of his corporations as
      he does in the Meet the Street interview? What happened to the
      lawsuit threat?

      There were a number of points in that Meet the Street interview that
      deserve a response Kiyosaki said Reed comment
      avoid mutual funds and 401(k)s because they are too risky Mutual
      funds vary in their risk. Some are very low risk. 401(k)s have tax
      benefits that are hard to ignore. Also, you can invest them in
      almost anything you want in many cases.
      Bogus gurus like to give extremely simple rules. Ignorant readers
      love them. That's fine when the subject permits. But this is an
      extremely simple rule that is not valid because of the complexity of
      the subject.

      says his net worth is "$50 million to $100 million depending on the
      day" I don't believe that. He was bankrupt and homeless in 1985 by
      his own admission. Although a lawyer who searched the federal case
      management system on line says he could find no bankruptcy filing
      for Kiyosaki. He claims to have sold 13 million books. I don't know
      if I believe that either. The highly successful book What Color is
      Your Parachute? has only sold seven million copies since it first
      came out in 1970. But even if you accept the 11 million figure,
      Kiyosaki's co-author royalty would appear to be about 72¢—not enough
      to get you anywhere near $50 million even if you had no living
      expenses. He claims to make money in other businesses, but will not
      disclose enough detail that anyone can check that.

      Also, what's this "depending on the day" nonsense? I presume that's
      a shameless effort to impress people who are really ignorant about
      the world of finance. What he is saying is that his net worth
      doubles or halves within 24 hours. He implies that causes him not
      the least bit concern. Gimme a break! If my net worth dropped in
      half in one day, I would be pretty upset about it.

      What must he be invested in to enable his net worth to double or
      halve in 24 hours? Pork belly futures? No one in his right mind
      would invest his entire net worth in an investment vehicle that
      could double or halve in 24 hours.

      In the 2/03 Smart Money magazine article, he said his net worth was
      $35 million. Must have been a really bad day in pork belly futures.
      Actually, his book selling success notwithstanding, I would guess
      his net worth is more like $3 million, virtually all of it from book
      and related sales.

      the investments of the wealthy are managed well Laymen think that. I
      don't. The main thing in managing an investment is stock picking.

      That is impossible to do well on purpose. It's a crap shoot. If
      anybody ever figured it out, he would not need to work—for the
      wealthy or anyone else. There have been numerous studies proving
      this, most notably the classic book, a Random Walk Down Wall Street
      by Burton G. Malkiel. The wealthy do get good advice on legal
      implications of their portfolios, but not on how to earn a high
      return. The notion that anyone gets good advice on how to earn a
      high return in securities is a laymen's myth.

      says he was able to retire at 47 So why didn't he? He hustling his
      butt off to sell stuff.

      there are three different types of income: earned, portfolio, and
      passive This is primarily an income-tax-rate distinction as Kiyosaki
      explains it. He says these types of income are taxed at 50%, 20%,
      and 0% respectively.
      The phrases "passive income" and "portfolio income" do appear in the
      Internal Revenue Code. I have used "earned income" to describe money
      you make from your salary or business.

      In fact, Kiyosaki is spouting nonsense. The federal income tax rates
      on earned income, passive income, and portfolio income are the same—
      not 50%—but your overall rate can get to that level when you add
      state income taxes. The distinction between the different types of
      income involves whether the losses from one category can be deducted
      from income of another category.

      The 20% tax rate of which Kiyosaki speaks only applies to long-term
      capital gains. Those come from selling assets at a profit after
      holding them for a specified number of months. You can have such
      20% -tax-rate gains in both the passive and portfolio categories.

      The only income that is taxed at a 0% rate are special things like
      municipal bonds and gains of less than $250,000 per person from the
      sale of certain personal residences.

      It is possible to do transactions where there is no tax due at
      present, like IRC §1031 exchanges, but the tax-free nature of such
      transactions stems from the fact that you received no income. Rather
      you put the proceeds from the sale of one property into the purchase
      of another. If and when you eventually take out your profit, you
      will be taxed on the gain that you had when you exchanged.

      I own 10 rental buildings in Miami, Austin, and Phoenix. Most
      investors use more specific terminology like "apartment complex"
      or "office building" or "shopping center." Investors usually use the
      phrase "rental building" to hide the fact that their properties are
      mere rental houses.

      You should not own rental property in three states unless you have a
      specific reason for doing so. Why not own all ten rental properties
      in Phoenix, where he lives? With Kiyosaki, I suspect he thinks
      having property in three states makes him sound like more of a
      tycoon. To experienced investors, it makes him sound like more of a
      dilettante. You want the property in the same region—preferably
      where you live—so you can use the same people to work on all the
      properties and save on air fares, hotels, and so forth.

      One reader said investing in three different regions gives you
      diversification benefits. Only against regional economic downturns
      and possibly rent control if the buildings are bigger than one
      family. But rent-control risk is better dealt with by staying out of
      multifamily and states that do not have a rent-control pre-emption.
      The risk of regional economic downturns is not great enough to
      overcome the disadvantages of spreading yourself that thin in terms
      of travel, personnel, need to learn different laws and markets, etc.

      If the advice of "Rich Dad" back in 1955 was so great, how come
      Kiyosaki says he was homeless and bankrupt 30 years later? What kind
      of financial genius does it take to be homeless and bankrupt when
      you are a college graduate who had no student loans and were trained
      as a helicopter pilot by the military. With all those advantages,
      and "Rich Dad's" brilliant financial advice, the guy still ends up
      homeless at age 38? And if "Rich Dad's" advice wasn't good enough to
      keep Kiyosaki from becoming homeless in 1985, how did it suddenly
      become something the rest of us should be following in 1997?

      I suspect Kiyosaki has done well from his books with the help of
      Oprah and Amway et al. A reader who refused to let me use his name
      said he attended an Amway meeting where Kiyosaki spoke and that
      Kiyosaki said his book was unknown until an Amway "Diamond
      Distributor" started buying it in quantity. He further staid that
      Kiyosaki urged the audience to focus on their Amway distribution
      business, not on buying duplexes and such. If anyone who will let me
      quote them can confirm this, I would like to hear from them.

      I further suspect that his secrecy has nothing to do with avoiding
      attracting lawsuits and everything to do with preventing the public
      from finding out how much he really made and how he made it.

      Clever life plan?
      Kiyosaki would have us believe that he followed a coherent life plan
      laid out with the help of "rich dad."

      He says he went to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy because he
      wanted to learn international business. People who want to learn
      international business while in college should go overseas to
      school, like to the London School of Economics or to a U.S. college
      with a strong international business or international relations
      department. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is a grueling ordeal
      that prepares its students to operate oceangoing ships. Going there
      to study international business is like studying construction and
      building maintenance to become a school teacher because teachers
      work in buildings.

      Upon reading that Kiyosaki went to the Merchant Marine Academy, I
      figured his real reason was probably the same as many other Merchant
      Marine Academy graduates—he applied to a major service academy and
      got rejected. After all, the major service academies are more
      prestigious and students pay no tuition and actually receive a
      salary to attend. You have to pay for a small percentage of your
      expenses at the Merchant Marine Academy. A 1986 Merchant Marine
      Academy graduate tells me that about half of the students there were
      rejected by Annapolis or another major service academy. He said the
      other half wanted careers on oceangoing ships.

      U.S. Naval Academy
      I did not put my suspicion that Kiyosaki was rejected by a major
      service academy in this analysis originally because I had no
      evidence of it. Now I do. A reporter for People magazine interviewed
      me about Kiyosaki. In the course of the interview, he mentioned that
      Kiyosaki admitted to him that he had applied to the U.S. Naval
      Academy at Annapolis, but was rejected for academic reasons. So if
      he went to the Merchant Marine Academy to learn international
      business, why did he apply to the Naval Academy? Let me guess. To
      study oceanography? And I guess if we are to believe that he went to
      the Merchant Marine Academy to study international business, he must
      have deliberately flunked admission to the Naval Academy because
      going there would have interfered with his plan to learn
      international business. What international-business purpose was
      served by applying to the Naval Academy is a part of Kiyosaki's
      tangled web that I have no clue about.

      In his 1993 book …Don't Go To School?, he said, "In 1964, I received
      two nominations: one to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings
      Point, NY, another to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. I
      accepted the Kings Point nomination."

      I am a West Point graduate, so I am familiar with the terminology
      and procedure associated with admission to service academies.
      Kiyosaki says he received two "nominations." Admission to the U.S.
      Naval Academy, like admission to my alma mater, the U.S. Military
      Academy at West Point, is a multi-step process.

      The first step is to obtain a nomination from a Congressman or
      Senator. A nomination is not an admission. Rather it just lets you
      begin the rest of the application process. Furthermore, there are
      two kinds of nomination: principal and alternate. I got a principal
      nomination from Congressman William T. Cahill. That meant that I
      would be admitted if I passed the three categories of criteria.
      Those who receive alternate nominations, which are ranked first,
      second, third, fourth, and so forth, only get admitted if the
      principal and alternates above them fail to gain admission. The
      detailed facts about Kiyosaki's nominations, if any, were almost
      certainly listed in his hometown newspaper in late 1964.

      During the post-nomination application process, you undergo an
      extensive physical exam more demanding than to enlist in the
      military—and a physical aptitude test of your athletic ability. I
      had to go to Fort Dix, NJ for those two tests. Simultaneously, you
      send your high school transcript and test scores to the service
      academy and they decide whether you meet their standards
      academically. If you pass all three tests, and you were the
      principal nominee, you get an appointment from the President of the
      United States. That means you are admitted.

      Kiyosaki seems to imply that he was admitted to the Naval Academy,
      but turned it down. However, the use of the word "nomination" and
      the admission to People seem to indicate that he was, in fact, never
      accepted by the Naval Academy and therefore could not have chosen
      the Merchant Marine Academy over the Naval Academy.

      A midshipman at Kiyosaki's alma mater said that in Kiyosaki's 5th
      book, he does not mention the Merchant Marine Academy by name.
      Rather he says only that he went to "the military academy in New
      York." You gotta be kidding me! To 99% of the people, "the military
      academy in New York" is West Point. If his book Rich Dad Poor Dad is
      any indication, Kiyosaki would have lasted about two weeks at West
      Point before they threw him out for violating the cadet honor code.
      For chrissake, he's even lying about having lived by the West Point
      honor code for four years.

      Taking an indirect and barely relevant route to an educational goal
      is a recurring theme in Kiyosaki's book. He seems to have a
      fascination with extremely roundabout, "reverse psychology" methods
      of teaching or learning. Kiyosaki states that he became a U.S.
      Marine Corps helicopter pilot so he could learn how to lead men.
      Pilots fly helicopters. A pilot may lead his copilot and door
      gunner, but no one else. Furthermore, the actions of a copilot and
      door gunner are largely standard operating procedure. They do not
      need to be led much. And if they did, the pilot would be in a poor
      position to lead them because flying a helicopter is a task that
      consumes 100% of your attention. Only if he stayed in the service
      for many years would a pilot be put in charge of a group of
      helicopters and then be a leadership position. Kiyosaki did not stay
      in the military. If you want to lead men in the military, you become
      a platoon leader and company commander.

      A Marine pilot wrote to tell me that pilots do lead. I surmise that
      he meant when they were on the ground. That is probably correct. I
      rode in a lot of helicopters in Vietnam. I never saw the pilots
      lead. They had their hands full with the flying. I never had any
      contact with them on the ground.

      Also, in the 1993 book, he says, "…I…became a fighter pilot and went
      to Vietnam…and probably enjoyed combat more than most pilots ever
      do." A Marine fighter is a fixed-wing jet aircraft that generally
      operates off an aircraft carrier. Helicopters sometimes operate off
      carriers, too, but no military person would call a helicopter a
      fighter. Then there is the question of why Kiyosaki's flight
      training and pilot's wings do not show up on his military records.
      The consensus among knowledgeable people seems to be that Kiyosaki
      was probably a pilot, although some find the omission of flight
      training from his military records a bit odd.

      A reader tells me a Marine helicopter friend of his met Kiyosaki. He
      tried to talk pilot stuff but Kiyosaki was unable to talk like a

      `Once a Marine…'
      Kiyosaki makes much of his Marine background—at least when he's not
      claiming to be an anti-war protestor. The Marine Corps, to their
      discredit, bragged about him on their official Web site, apparently
      without checking out what he told them.

      How do you get to be a Marine? On cable TV, I learned that you have
      to go through Marine Corps boot camp culminating in a multi-day test
      called "The Crucible." If you successfully complete it, you are
      awarded the right to wear the coveted "eagle, globe, and anchor"
      badge of the Marine Corps.

      Did Kiyosaki go through Marine boot camp? Nope.

      He did go through the U.S, Merchant Marine Academy plebe year which
      is arguably harder and longer. But that makes you a Merchant Marine
      Academy cadet, not a Marine.

      Marine officers generally do not go through boot camp. That's for
      enlisted men. Officers typically graduate from the U.S. Naval
      Academy—the one that rejected Kiyosaki for not being smart enough.
      Or they graduate from a college ROTC program. The Merchant Marine
      Academy proboably had that. But even then, I believe you have to go
      through something called Marine Platoon Leader School after college.
      I would expect that they may not wear the "eagle, globe, and anchor"
      badge until they successfully complete that Marine training.

      Did Kiyosaki go through Marine Platoon Leader School? Nope.

      So how did he get to be a Marine?

      He was a Navy officer in helicopter school. The Vietnam war was
      winding down, so the Navy decided they had too many pilots and
      decided to stop training Kiyosaki and his fight-school classmates to
      save money. The Marines, on the other hand, still wanted more
      helicopter pilots. By letting Kiyosaki and his helicopter classmates
      make a lateral transfer to the Marine Corps, the Marines could save
      the amount of money the Navy had already spent training them. In
      other words, to the Marine Corps, Kiyosaki and his helicopter
      classmates were pilot trainees that were "on sale" for half price or
      as "overstock" or some such.

      In World War II, officers who graduated from Officer Candidate
      School were called "90-day wonders." By that standard, Kiyosaki is
      a "zero-day wonder" in terms of Marine training—an instant Marine.
      He passed no "crucible" or its predecessor tests. He just filled out
      some paperwork and made a wardobe change.

      Did he serve in the Marine Corps? Yes.

      I have no problem with him claiming he served in the Marine Corps.
      But in his interview on the Marine Corps Web site and elsewhere, he
      has laid on the "Marine Corps made me what I am today" stuff pretty
      thick for a guy who came through the Marine Corps' "back door,"
      skipping the notoriously difficult training that the vast majority
      of other Marines had to complete successfully before they could "…
      claim the title of United States Marines." (line from the U.S. Corps
      Marine Corps Hymn)

      If any military training made Kiyosaki what he is today, it is the
      Merchant Marine Academy, not the Marine Corps. And the U.S. Marine
      Corps should be eager to make sure that the Merchant Marine Academy,
      not the Marines get that "credit."

      `…never returned to my ship'
      The 1993 book contains a very strange discussion. He says that he
      found a "little boy in my helicopter one day and "had the right, if
      not the duty, to shoot and kill him on the spot. This was the code
      of war we were taught as military officers."

      I am aware of no such right, duty, or "Code of War." The Geneva
      Convention, to which the U.S. is a signatory, prohibits shooting a
      surrendering enemy soldier, as does the U.S. Uniform Code of
      Military Justice. Furthermore, a child would generally not be
      considered a soldier at all. To be sure, in Vietnam, children
      sometimes attacked U.S. soldiers with deadly weapons like mines,
      grenades, or guns. They brazenly stole from our moving vehicles—
      engineer stakes and gas cans—when we were in convoy, because they
      knew we would not harm them. I suspect a Vietnamese child in a
      helicopter would be trying to steal something—although he could be
      just fascinated by the aircraft like any kid.

      Kiyosaki then melodramatically describes that after aiming and
      starting to pull the trigger, that he "put my gun away that day
      forever. I committed myself to finding new ways of doing things,
      instead of simply responding to what I'd been told to do by a person
      who supposedly had more authority than I."

      In the absence of an immediate threat from the boy—and he mentions
      no such threat—shooting the boy would be murder, not obedience to
      any U.S. military authority. Indeed, it would be gross disobedience.

      The "supposedly had more authority" line is rather weird for a U.S.
      Marine officer. A member of the U.S. military is required to carry
      out all lawful orders of his superiors and there is no ambiguity
      about authority in the military.

      He then says that three weeks later, when his aircraft carrier was
      in Hong Kong harbor, they were ordered to return to Vietnam. "We
      were about to engage in a large military operation near the DMZ…" It
      would be unlikely that the details of an operation would be revealed
      to military personnel who were ashore in Hong Kong. For secrecy,
      such details are usually only revealed once the ship leaves the

      "I never returned to my ship. To this day, that was one of the
      hardest decisions I had to make. I trembled for hours as I walked
      the streets with my mind screaming. I was called a coward and a
      traitor by some of the other pilots. I realized it was not the most
      honorable way to handle my refusal to fight any more. But I also
      knew I could not fight and kill simply because I had been ordered to
      do so. What the other pilots never understood was that for me to fly
      and kill again would have been the coward's way out."

      Well! Now that's a heck of a passage! Not returning to your ship
      when ordered to do so is desertion. One of my readers said Kiyosaki
      appeared to be trying to claim that he was a "conscientious
      deserter"—a new phrase.

      I hesitate to say that he is confessing to that. It is one of the
      most serious crimes in the military. But it is hard to find any
      other explanation in this passage. The fact that his peers called
      him a coward and a traitor suggests that explanation or possibly
      turning into a conscientious objector while on the streets of Hong
      Kong. I requested his military records from the National Archives.

      Kiyosaki military records
      Robert Toru Kiyosaki was a US Naval Reserve officer from 6/4/69 to
      10/3/70 reaching the rank of lieutenant j.g. Then he switched to the
      Marine Corps from 10/4/70 to 6/30/74 and was honorably discharged as
      a first lieutenant.

      He was awarded an air medal for "courage and devotion to duty in the
      face of hazardous flying conditions" during combat support missions
      in Vietnam from 6/16/72 to 10/19/72, as well as several other medals
      which appear to be merely for being in the military or being in
      Vietnam. I have several such medals myself. For example, you get the
      Vietnam Service Medal for setting foot in the country. Kiyosaki has
      that with 2 Bronze Battle Stars. Bronze battle stars are for being
      in country during certain campaign time periods.

      Also, civilians should know that all military medals have criteria
      and citations that make them sound very heroic. In fact, the vast
      majority of medals with subjective criteria are probably awarded to
      guys who did little more than serve at a particular place and time.
      For example, in 1965, when I was a West Point cadet, I and everyone
      else in the military at the time was suddenly awarded the National
      Defense Service medal. We called it the "I was alive in '65" medal.
      We also had a joke about its colors: "The red is for the blood we
      never shed. The blue is for the oceans we never crossed and the
      yellow is the reason why."

      A Vietnam-era Marine fighter pilot told me an air medal means twenty
      missions (flights) in a combat area (like the entire country of
      Vietnam and environs) Really!? Then I think the Army owes me an air
      medal or two. My jobs in Vietnam required me to travel around to
      widely scattered bases—which I did in Hueys, Loches, Chinooks, and C-
      130's. It never occurred to me that I should get a medal for it and
      I will not be trying to get any now.

      The "military education" portion of his record lists only "Fwd. Air
      Control Airborne Course, Officer Fam. Course, and Leadership
      Training." None of those sound like pilot school, but he had to have
      been in the air in some capacity to get an air medal (any crew
      member of an aircraft can get an Air Medal). The air medal citation
      describes him as a "Naval Aviator with Marine Medium Helicopter
      Squadron 164." "Naval Aviator" means he was a pilot according to a
      Marine major who is a pilot. However, it seems odd for a person to
      graduate from military pilot training, which takes multiple, lengthy
      courses and for their military record not to show that training.

      Also, if Kiyosaki was a pilot, his list of awards and decorations
      should include an "Aviator's Badge," commonly known as a pilot's
      wings. His list does not include any wings.

      The air medal citation says "The Numeral `1' to represent One
      Strike/Flight Award is authorized." The meaning of this varied from
      unit to unit and time to time. In some units, it could be merely for
      a guy taking a ride in an aircraft with minimal duties, especially
      in 1972. Almost all U.S. military personnel were removed from
      Vietnam on 3/28/73. The last major combat units left in the summer
      of 1972. Kiyosaki's Air Medal was for the period June to October,
      1972. The Air Medal Citation was signed by Louis H. Wilson,
      Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commanding General, Fleet
      Marine Force, Pacific. Perhaps he or a member of his staff at that
      time could clarify what this medal really involved.

      His place of separation was "Kaneone Bay, HI." I think they mean

      I need some help understanding his chronological record of duty
      assignments—too many cryptic abbreviations. Perhaps veterans of the
      Navy or Marines can help translate this or tell me where to find an
      explanation of the abbreviations. Her<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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