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John T. Reed's analysis of Robert T. Kiyosaki's book Rich Dad, Poor Dad Part 4

Posted by John Reed on

Real-estate commissions equivalent to restaurant tips?

Kiyosaki says he finds it “funny” that “so many poor and middle-class people insist on tipping restaurant help 15 to 20 percent even for bad service and complain about paying a broker 3 to 7 percent.”

I can help him understand that. Restaurant meals generally run about $10 to $40. The 15% tip, therefore, runs only about $1.50 to $6. Furthermore, the wages of waiters are deliberately depressed below comparable non-restaurant wages because waiters receive their income partly in the form of tips. In other words, they count on that money and it has the effect of raising their hourly income to a normal wage level.

Real-estate prices, however range from about $50,000 up to millions of dollars. But the work required to sell a listing is about the same regardless of the price of the property. I am a former agent and I figure it takes about twenty man hours to sell a home, maybe thirty or forty man hours to sell a commercial property. The appropriate hourly compensation level is about $25 an hour given the training and experience levels of the average agent. Therefore, commissions ought to be about $500 for a house and about $800 for a commercial property. Add another $1,000 per deal for the broker's overhead.

Six percent of, say $100,000, is $6,000, which is a lot more than $1,500. Sensible people think it’s dumb to pay that much. If they can sell it without an agent, they save thousands and only have to do 20 hours work. The problem with the real-estate-brokerage business is that there are too many agents. You can confirm that by opening any Yellow Pages. The real-estate agent section is the biggest of all, even though the average homeowner only needs a real-estate agent about every ten years or so. Real-estate agents are the only “profession” that will give you free pumpkins or mow your lawn or whatever to get your business.

Hustling for listings

Individual agents do not make extraordinary amounts personally because they have to spend so much time hustling for listings, even though that effort contributes absolutely nothing to helping sell your property. The root of all this evil is widespread refusal to cut commissions and refusal to cooperate with agents who do. If and when commissions become truly competitive, houses will be sold for a flat commission of about $1,500 to $2,000 and commercial property will sell for a flat commission of about $3,000 to $5,000. Institutional deals involving platoons of lawyers and such will cost a lot more, but the commission will still not be a percentage of the sale price. If and when breaking the agents’ 6%-commission cartel happens, there will be far fewer agents, but the ones who remain will make a nice living and they will no longer give you free pumpkins in the hopes of getting a listing. Until that happens, anyone who does not try to avoid paying a 3% to 7% commission when he sells needs his head examined.

Smart real-estate investors generally do not try to avoid commissions when they buy. Rather they judge the price alone. If it's a good deal, they buy. If not, they don't. If there is an agent, they support his right to the commission to encourage that agent and others to bring them deals in the future.

Taken companies public?

A visitor to this site sent me the following email:

“...when I read that Kiyosaki had taken companies public, I searched the SEC files online for his name and found no hits. That means he does not own 5% or more of any public company in the USA. If he did, he’d have to be listed as a beneficial owner with the SEC and on quarterly statements.”

‘My money’

In his Meet The Street interview, Kiyosaki says, “…I was able to retire at age 47, after just nine years of putting my money to work in business, real estate and options, all without owning a single share of a stock or a mutual fund.”

I’m getting confused by his inability to keep his story straight. He says he makes money off inside information on stocks, but never owned a single share of stock. What did he do with the inside information? Stand on the corner near the stock exchange saying, “Pssst! Wanna hot tip?”

And what money did he put into business, real estate and options starting nine years before he was 47? That would be 1985, the year he was bankrupt (or was he?) and homeless.

Main speaker at Jon Richards’ note convention

Jon Richards invited me to speak at his 2000 convention. I declined on the grounds that I do not know the note-brokering business. I later learned that one of the other speakers at that convention was Robert Kiyosaki. Jeez!! Jon needs to raise his standards, both in terms of making sure the speakers have note expertise and in terms of not headlining B.S. artists—best-selling author or not.

[Here’s an email I got from Richards after he read the above.]

“Wow! You could not have been more correct. The guy was extremely arrogant, and gave us no information about Real Estate or notes or how he made his money. He seems to have come up with one idea about investing in assets and is riding that pony to lots of best sellers. I have never been so appalled at a speaker’s ability to talk for over an hour and share no substantial knowledge. How in the world could he have 3 best sellers? It’s frightening. In fact, I think if you look at the Wall Street Journal’s list of best selling business books you will find primarily a list of simple minded garbage. (e.g. Who Moved the Cheese?)”

Best seller status

One Kiyosaki supporter (they call him “RK”), said Kiyosaki has several best-selling books, but he’s never heard of me, therefore Kiyosaki obviously knows what he’s talking about and I don’t. (Click here to read that email and others) The list of best-selling books on real estate and related topics includes two excellent ones: William Nickerson’s How I Turned $1,000 in $5,000,000 in Real Estate in My Spare Time and Al Lowry’s How to Become Financially Independent by Investing in Real Estate. But it also includes real-estate/financial authors who later went bankrupt or got locked up for their real estate-related activities like Robert Allen, Wade Cook, Sonny Bloch, Charles Givens, and Bill “Tycoon” Greene. For the most part, the list of best-selling financial authors is a rogue’s gallery. There have also been best-selling books that recommended quack cures, unhealthy diets, and nutty conspiracy theories.

Click here to see a list of best-selling real estate authors and the various troubles almost all got into.


All I know about Robert Kiyosaki is what I read in his book (and from other sources noted above). Based on what I read and what I know about the subject matter in question, I am extremely skeptical as to whether he has done or seen many of the investment things he claims to have done or seen. He claims to be an experienced, millionaire, real-estate investor, yet the book is full of statements that I would expect only from a rather ignorant, not very bright, novice, investor wannabe.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of the dumbest financial advice books I have ever read. It contains many factual errors and numerous extremely unlikely accounts of events that supposedly occurred.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad triggers the following items on my Real Estate B.S. Artist Detection Checklist:
1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 20, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 38, 39, 46, 49.


I understand Kiyosaki appeared on Oprah and was recommended by her. That was after this Web page was posted. Either she and her staff did virtually no checking to make sure Kiyosaki was giving good advice or they found this page and totally disregarded the factual allegations it contains.

I have been on a number of TV shows like 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, and Larry King Live. I have also been in various magazines and newspapers like Money and the Wall Street Journal. They vary considerably in their quality control. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine is the best. They fact check every word you write for them. The worst I experienced was Good Morning America. They were clearly more interested in ratings than whether they were broadcasting accurate financial advice. 60 Minutes was excellent at getting it right. In the case of personal-finance information, Oprah would appear to be interested only in the ratings a guest produces, not the value of his information. Best-selling authors will produce more ratings than non-best-selling authors. If Oprah was interested in good information, she would have someone like Jane Bryant Quinn on.

I once watched an Oprah show about youth sports, a subject about which I also write. During the show, she said a man was trying to get his kids Ivy League athletic scholarships for ice hockey. They also put up a screen graphic saying that, which means it was not just a slip of the tongue. My son was an Ivy League football player. There are no athletic scholarships whatsoever in the Ivy League. They are prohibited by league rules. If the Oprah staff had done even the most minimal homework, they would have learned that.

So what does it mean that Kiyosaki was recommended by Oprah? About as much as it means when she talks about Ivy League athletic scholarships. Oprah, like Kiyosaki, is running a cult of personality. Neither one of them knows what they are talking about—or cares.

The Jim Frey/A Million Little Pieces incident with Oprah

On January 12, 2006, another best-selling “non-fiction” author whom Oprah highly recommended admitted his book contained a number of lies. That would be James Frey and the book is A Million Little Pieces.

Oprah’s response? She said she will continue to recommend it in spite of the fact that, “…some of the facts have been questioned.” “Some of the facts have been questioned!?” The author admitted he lied, Oprah. It has gone way beyond “questioning of facts.”

So you can see where Oprah’s coming from when the truth of “non-fiction” books is discussed. And you can see how willing she is to admit to a mistake. The one thing Kiyosaki, Frey, and Oprah share is high ratings—and apparently that’s all that matters to the three of them.


My 1/27/06 San Francisco Chronicle says that Oprah reversed herself on Frey, that she had him and his publisher Nan Talese of Doubleday on for an hour and ripped them a new one on live TV. She did this because she was criticized by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen and New York Times columnist Frank Rich and others who ripped Oprah for not caring about the truth. She had those two guys on the same show.

Oprah apologized and said, “To everyone who has challenged me on this issue of truth, you are absolutely right.” Well, I would be one of those. You’re welcome, Oprah.

Frey was exposed by the Web site ( That led to the various columns and editorials condemning Oprah.

I am glad to see that Oprah has belatedly decided the truth is important with regard to James Frey. But what about Kiyosaki? He sold about ten times as many books as Frey in large part because of Oprah’s help. Is she really interested in integrity? Or is she only interested in integrity when the Washington Post and New York Times shine their spotlight?

There is no spotlight on Kiyosaki’s lies other than this Web page and an old Smart Money article. Now we will find out whether Oprah has integrity in general, or just when the spotlight is on. If she has integrity in general, she will have Kiyosaki on her show again and rip him a new one for lying to her and her audience and to his readers. I will not be holding my breath. Furthermore, I do not believe there is a snowball’s chance in La Jolla that he or his publisher will show if she schedules such a show.

Character has been defined by many as, “What you do when no one is looking.” Compared to the Washington Post and New York Times, I’m no one. Now let’s see what Oprah does when no one is looking at her endorsement of Robert Kiyosaki.

I wrote an article about the Frey incident at


Recently, I have read a number of articles that discussed sociopaths. A famous one said Bill Clinton was a sociopath. Both Clinton and Kiyosaki are politicians. The more I read about sociopaths, many, but not all, of the characteristics, sound like many of my comments about the various bad gurus. I draw your attention, however, to the portion of the article that gives the definition of “antisocial personality disorder,” which is the scientific name for sociopath behavior, from the American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-IV) fourth edition, 1994. I would provide that definition here, but it is copyrighted.

Both articles say that 3% of all males and 1% of all females are sociopaths. 2% of the U.S. population is 5.6 million people—more than enough to get a sociopathic book onto the business best seller list. (In 2006, I was told these links no longer work. Try or some other Web site that lets you see no longer available Web pages.)

I hasten to add that this definition contains many behaviors that I have no reason to believe Kiyosaki or any other guru have engaged in—particularly those relating to private, family, or childhood behavior. What is noteworthy is the number of public behaviors that are on the list. It should also be noted that I never saw this definition until 4/4/01, long after I first posted this analysis of Kiyosaki.

Why I spend so much time on this page

A number of people have commented that I spent too much time creating this page. Probably true, but you might be interested in how that came to pass. Initially, I bought Rich Dad Poor Dad and read it. Whenever I read a book, I underline it thoroughly and make marginal notes. So the vast majority of the work was done while I was reading the book. Once I did that work, it was simple to just carry it forward to this Web page.

I bought and read it in order to write a review of Rich Dad Poor Dad in my Real Estate Investor’s Monthly newsletter. The review was only 1/3 of a page long. Space is at a premium in my newsletter. However, on the Internet, space is roughly infinite and free so I saw this page as away to get some use out of more of the work I did reading Rich Dad Poor Dad to begin with.

Initially, this analysis was not anywhere near as long as it is now. I added to it as I received comments from readers and as I came across pertinent stuff in the normal course of my life. Much of it was provided by readers who sent helpful passages and links. In that sense, it is somewhat Wikipedia-ish. I did not create it. My readers and I did.

Kiyosaki is hurting people

This man is doing damage. I got an email from a surgeon. Her 17-year-old son read Rich Dad Poor Dad and now does not want to study or go to college. He just wants to get rich and believes Kiyosaki’s pitch that education is a waste of time. He now puts down and criticizes his mom for not being richer. I never knew a surgeon who was fighting the pigeons for something to eat. And this particular surgeon says she finds her profession extremely rewarding in non-monetary ways as well.

Another guy wrote from Israel. He got so pumped by Kiyosaki’s books that he told his boss off and quit his job. Now he is unemployed and hurting and wrote to thank me for this page, but to lament that he did not read it until it was too late.

If I do not try to set the record straight, who will? Almost everyone but me is either unqualified or unwilling to say anything. See Why I created and maintain this Web page for some comments on why I am unwilling to sin by silence when I should protest.

Australia and New Zealand

At one point, I suddenly started getting emails and a phone call from Australia and New Zealand about my real-estate stuff. Why? Apparently Robert Kiyosaki and a guy named John Burley went to Australia and made speeches about getting rich in real estate. Some Australians type Kiyosaki’s name into an Internet search engine and find this page.

There is an old saying that an expert is someone who carries a briefcase and is at least 50 miles from home. By that standard, Kiyosaki and Burley must be absolute geniuses in Australia. Australians who are considering following Messrs. Kiyosaki and Burley might want to contact real-estate people in their home area of Phoenix and ask how highly regarded they are among the people who actually would see them do real-estate and other business deals, if, in fact, they do any.

Here is an email I got from an Australian:

Dear John,

I am writing to you after reading your article on Robert Kiyosaki.

You may be interested to know that Mr. Kiyosaki has not always been so well regarded in Australia. He has been involved with various money making enterprises especially in the motivational/self help industry. Of particular note is a seminar he was conducting over five years ago called "Money and You". This seminar ran over a couple of days and subjected the participant to an almost "brainwashing" type of personal and financial rhetoric from Kiyosaki. After numerous participants and their families complained, a television current affairs programme called Four Corners (the most respected current affairs programme in this country) investigated the seminar and detailed Kiyosaki's dubious credentials and advice. Probably the most tragic side of this seminar was that people who attended left and made terrible decisions which they later regretted deeply. This was the main thrust of the programme which sought to show how people could be manipulated and be given bad advice.

What is of interest with the seminar is the same point as you raise.......... that is the cult of personality and the amorphous advice/statements. When questioned Kiyosaki was both vague and ambiguous in his responses.
This I believe points to a man who has such a low self image and sense of self that he believes he can only be realized and accepted by obtaining wealth. I also believe that such a man only seeks to exploit others in order to do so.

Having listened to some tapes of RK given to me by friends. I find gross generalizations, mercenary attitudes and a high degree of perhaps "self loathing".

Anyway thank you for your article and let us hope there are many more who see RK and his kind for what they truly represent. T. Fraser

I do not know anything about Australian real estate. It is likely that Kiyosaki and I share that characteristic, although he no doubt learned a little during his speaking visit. My only visit to Australia was when I was on R&R from Vietnam in 1970 and I wasn’t looking for real estate.

Unlike Kiyosaki, I have no territorial ambitions. But my wife does and after she retired on 1/1/07, we began shipping to foreign addresses

The act of selling a real-estate book to Australia or Canada implies that it is valid there. I do not know what validity, if any, my books have in foreign countries, so I refuse to even imply that they have any validity there. I also refuse to research what validity they have there because the market is too small and it is almost certain that special editions would have to be developed and continuously updated to prevent Australian and New Zealand readers from getting into trouble following U.S.-oriented advice.

I am not interested in speaking in person in Australia. It’s unbelievably far away. My jet from San Francisco to Vietnam had to stop for refueling in Hawaii and Guam. Then my jet from Vietnam to Sydney had to stop for refueling in Darwin. I understand they now have non-stop flights, but I think flights that long violate the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.”

If you are in Australia or New Zealand and really want one of my U.S. books, order them. My late mother used to say, when my brothers and I were little kids and running around, “If you break your leg, don’t come running to me.” Similarly, if you buy my book and it doesn’t apply to Australia, don’t come running to me. I never said it did.

As a substitute for my books in Australia, I recommend Australian visitors to this Web site also visit my Real Estate B. S. Artist Detection Checklist. It should apply universally.

An Australian reader says that all the multi-level marketing (MLM) salespeople like Amway distributors are pushing Kiyosaki’s books because of his encouragement to go into business for yourself. The MLM distributors then say that they are a way to do that. He further says that the Kiyosaki discussion groups on the Net are overrun with MLM people trying to get you to become one of their distributors. I would not be surprised. The adoption of Kiyosaki’s book by MLM companies could be the primary reason it is a best seller. MLM cults are sort of a human equivalent of a computer virus, replicating themselves all over the place.

Smart Money story

The 2/03 Smart Money magazine did a story about Kiyosaki. They turned up a few details I had not dug up.

Kiyosaki is chameleon-like, changing his speech radically to pander to each audience. I said he was a financial demagogue. That would be what a demagogue would do. To a religious audience, he’s a preacher. To entrepreneurs, he’s a Marine drill sergeant and combat veteran. To Amway distributors he’s an MLM guy, and so forth. It’s called telling people what they want to hear.

Component depreciation

At the end of a seminar to a religious group, he says he recently did a real estate deal where he got a 17% cash-on-cash return and that “there’s 24% component depreciation on the property.” Really? Gee, and I thought component depreciation was explicitly outlawed by the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. Actually, I’m sure of it. It’s right there in Section 168(f)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Smart Money cannot find his deal

Kiyosaki claims to have done many highly profitable real estate deals. But Smart Money could not find them in the Maricopa County (Phoenix) records. He claimed to have bought one property for $20,000 and sold it immediately for $60,000. Smart Money could find no purchase for which he paid less than $40,000 (one had no price) and no property which he sold in less than 20 months. When asked about the discrepancy, Kiyosaki said, “I don’t pay attention to those things.”


This may explain why Kiyosaki does not seem fond of going to court. Give an answer like that in a court room and the judge will say, “Answer the question, Mr. Kiyosaki. The court is not interested in what you pay attention to. Nor are you going to get away with evading answering a question by giving an unresponsive answer like that.”

Kiyosaki tried to claim the deal in question was done in a partnership. Smart Money could find no evidence of such a partnership. Kiyosaki refused to provide the information or documents that would prove his claim.

Took Yamana Resources public?

Kiyosaki claims he has taken a number of businesses public. When asked to name them, he could only cite Yamana Resources, a Toronto Stock Exchange corporation. The CEO and founder of that corporation, Victor Bradley, told Smart Money that Kiyosaki’s only connection with Yamana is that he owned some shares of Platero Resources, a privately held corporation that Yamana acquired in 2001—six years after Yamana went public.


The melodramatic incident Kiyosaki relates about refusing to return to ship as a Marine officer in Hong Kong changes in Smart Money. Now he says he was one of 480 guys who got left behind when the ship left early. In his first book, described above, he seems to nominate himself for the Nobel Peace Prize as an active-duty, Marine officer, anti-war protestor. Now, we learn that he just missed the boat.

Wanted—dead or alive?

As to the whereabouts of Rich Dad—at one point, Kiyosaki tells Smart Money that he died in 1992. Poor man.

Later, he says Rich Dad is still alive, but a reclusive invalid. Uh huh.

Later, he tells Smart Money that Rich Dad was a composite of several persons.

Finally, he gets angry at Smart Money. “Is Harry Potter real? Why don’t you let Rich Dad be a myth, like Harry Potter?”

That would be fine, Robert, just as soon as you remove Rich Dad from the non-fiction best seller list and go over and compete with Harry Potter on the fiction best-seller list.

So I guess the final word is that Rich Dad is as real as Harry Potter. I suppose that, in turn, means that the way to become financially independent is to get a magic wand—or to write book about fictional characters who did.

One reader of this page and of Rich Dad Poor Dad says “Rich Dad” is really Ayn Rand. He says he is quite familiar with Ayn Rand’s books and that Kiyosaki appears to have copied much of “Rich Dad’s” advice from Rand. In particular, he cited “Rich Dad’s’” Robin Hood story as a Rand story. Interesting.

Kiyosaki was a seminar instructor

Almost all of the bad real estate gurus got their real start as pitchmen or instructors for other bad gurus. Kiyosaki was an instructor for attorney and real estate investor Marshall Thurber for nine years. I know nothing about Thurber other than that Kiyosaki loved him when he wrote his first book and failed to mention him at all when he wrote his second.

Kiyosaki on PBS

I have heard that Kiyosaki was doing pledge breaks on PBS TV in 2005 and 2006. PBS TV never tires of telling us how intellectually and morally superior they are compared to the for-profit networks and cable channels. But there is a lot more to intellectual and moral superiority than merely restricting the length of the commercials you air. When it comes to hustling a buck by using a charlatan like Kiyosaki, PBS bears more resemblance to the late-night get-rich-quick infomercials than they do to NBC, CBS, and ABC.

The fact that Kiyosaki was one of the more successful recent pledge break offerings also reveals that the PBS audience is nowhere near as bright as PBS would have us believe. Most people know that when something sounds too good to be true, it’s not true. Apparently, a significant percentage of PBS viewers are not smart enough to know that. And that situation sure as heck is not improved by PBS recommending Kiyosaki for their financial education.

They used to recommend people like Wall Street Week’s Lewis Rukeyser and Newsweek’s Jane Bryant Quinn for financial advice. They did not switch to Kiyosaki because he gives better financial advice—or even because he gives decent financial advice. They switched to Kiyosaki because he inspires PBS viewers to part with more pledge bucks than Rukeyser and Quinn did. Like the bad get-rich-quick gurus, the people who decided to put Kiyosaki on PBS are more interested in helping themselves to your money than helping you with your money.

‘But they have Sesame Street’

Some readers have also told me, essentially, that PBS can do no wrong because it has Sesame Street and The Jim Lehrer News Hour, etc.. As long as PBS put on only shows that met those standards, my wife and I supported them. Now that they have decided to go sleazy, if only in part, we are done supporting them.

Now, every PBS employee’s paycheck includes an amount that PBS derived from foisting Kiyosaki off on its viewers. They should be ashamed of themselves. Actions speak louder than words. PBS has sold its viewers out.

KQED response

A reader complained to KQED, the San Francisco PBS station.

The reader directed KQED to the above review of Rich Dad Poor Dad. In it I say that Kiyosaki is a liar and a charlatan and a danger to his readers. Seems to me that KQED has a responsibility to check whether I am right. After all, the above discussion is full of quotes, links to laws, and other facts that PBS could check on their own or by consulting experts.

So did they? No. They just sent the reader an empty-suit, spin letter that referred him to Kiyosaki’s “rebuttal” of the above comments on Rich Dad Poor Dad which is out on the Web somewhere. He calls it “response to Reed.” You can probably find it with a Google search. PBS does not know which of us is telling the truth, or so they imply. But it is quite clear that they also have no interest in finding out. PBS’s policy with regard to whether their pledge break stars are frauds is “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.”

Simple math: running Kiyosaki get-rich-quick infomercials makes money for PBS. Worrying about whether Kiyosaki is a fraud does not. Thus does PBS reveal who they really have become and what they are now really about.

I read Kiyosaki’s “rebuttal” of this Web page and was amazed at how lame it was. One of Kiyosaki’s biggest fans was on his side after he read both Rich Dad Poor Dad and my above review of it. Then he came across Kiyosaki’s “response to Reed” and thought it was so inadequate that he concluded my review must be accurate after all.

Here’s an idea. Some programs on PBS actually still claim to be interested in truth, like the Jim Lehrer News Hour. How’s about writing to them and ask them to look into Kiyosaki?

One email I got said PBS is more than just Sesame Street and Lehrer. It’s also

History Detectives
Ken Burns documentaries
Charlie Rose

Fine. Ask them to look into Kiyosaki, too. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the empty suits at PBS to approve their having anything critical to say about Kiyosaki.

Where have you gone Education TV?

I live in the San Francisco area. I appeared on KQED radio a number of times back in the 1980s. I once debated Nothing Down author Robert Allen there. Back in that era, when KQED still had integrity, they also produced a series of personal-finance programs hosted by Newsweek Personal Finance Columnist Jane Bryant Quinn.

PBS likes literary. Here is a literary quote they might want to consider before they promote the likes of Kiyosaki: “A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity.” Baltasar Gracian, Spanish philosopher and writer 1601-1658

It is painfully ironic that PBS, which used to be called the Education Television Network, is now touting Robert Kiyosaki whose first book was titled If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don’t Go To School. It is a betrayal of its charter and principles that the Education Television Network is now promoting a man whose book Rich Dad Poor Dad makes a hero of an anti-education, 8th-grade dropout—“Rich Dad.” It is astonishing that PBS, which is the favorite TV network of teachers and professors, is promoting a book that trashes Ralph Kiyosaki (“Poor Dad”), Robert Kiyosaki’s biological father, for wasting his time getting degrees from Stanford, Chicago, and Northwestern Universities, all on full scholarship, ultimately earning a Ph.D and rising to head the State of Hawaii’s Department of Education.

The former Education network has turned into the “whatever it takes to make a buck” network. I thought NOT being that was their whole reason for existence.

PBS ombudsman comments on Kiyosaki

PBS has an ombudsman and he felt compelled to comment on complaints he received about Kiyosaki pledge breaks. You can read what he and the complainers said at He strikes me as a pretty wimpy ombudsman. For example, like a politician or other person whose main goal is to not offend anyone, he characterizes some of Kiyosaki’s advice as “controversial.” Controversial?! How about dead wrong? Like Kiyosaki advising readers to befriend executives of publicly-traded corporations so they can get advance information about stuff that will change the price of the stock, then use that information to profit on trading the stock. That’s not controversial. It’s illegal. For details, see my discussion of that elsewhere on this page.

A reader told me he was not surprised that PBS airs Kiyosaki because they had already been airing “medical quacks and New Age idiots” for several years before Kiyosaki. I once wrote that book stores ought to have a button under the counter. When a person tries to check out with a New Age book, the clerk pushes the button and men in white coats come and take the customer away.

Kiyosaki gets Yahoo! financial column

Yahoo! made Kiyosaki one of its financial columnists. In view of the fact that he is a liar and a charlatan, that tells us much about Yahoo! Finance and nothing about Kiyosaki. Here is one reader’s email about Kiyosaki’s Yahoo! Finance column babblings.

Mr. Reed,

Thank you for thoroughly shredding this deluded huckster.

I probably never would have known who Robert Kiyosaki was if Yahoo Finance wasn't my start page. Several months ago I started noticing his far fetched ramblings on how "cash is trash" and how we are now on the cusp of the biggest oil crisis in history.

Due to my mistake of assuming that all content on Yahoo Finance was fairly credible, I actually read some of Kiyosaki's articles. I came away with the impression that this guy was either the most forward thinking finance expert on the planet or a crack smoker who simply placed his hands on the keyboard, attached electric stimuli to his genitalia, flipped the switch and started typing.

It's downright scary that Yahoo allows his absurd pontification on their finance gateway. Many people consider the site to contain legit financial information, which is why I felt the need to google and (thankfully) find your pants-down ass whipping. Guess I'll be changing my start page.

Here's some advice for Kiyosaki's advocates that I offer free of charge: Instead of downloading the 48th ring tone on your Razr or fellating the great Dr. Phil while he dispenses the "common sense" that you already have, take the time to form an original thought just for once.

Don Jones
College Station, Texas

Kiyosaki teams up with Russ Whitney

Kiyosaki and Russ Whitney are reportedly involved in a joint venture that sells information on financial matters. See my Web pages on Whitney.

Kiyosaki teams up with Donald Trump to write book reviewed by Wall Street Journal

There is a review of a book that contains portions written by Kiyosaki and portions written by Trump. It’s called Why We Want You to Be Rich. The Wall Street Journal reviewed it at They did not care for it.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance also reviewed it at They did not like it either.

Click here to read a review of the book by one of my readers.

G.K. Chesterton review

A visitor to this Web site pointed out to me that G.K.Chesterton reviewed Kiyosaki’s book, in effect, in 1909. Pretty amazing. You can read that review at

Email exchange about Kiyosaki’s financial column

Here is an email I received about Kiyosaki’s financial advice column on and my response to the email writer.

Dear Mr. Reed,

Like some other people mentioned on your debunking site, I began reading Robert Kiyosaki's columns on Yahoo Finance because I thought he must be at least a semi-credible financial advisor.  But I found so many egregious distortions and logical non sequiturs in his writing that RK has gradually become a source of humorous entertainment for me rather than a source of knowledge or advice.

In his most recent Yahoo column, as of January 24, 2007, RK claims that you would have needed $100,000 in 2006 to have the same purchasing power as $50,000 in 1996.  That implies an annual inflation rate of 7%, but of course the US inflation rate was more like 2-3% over the decade in question.  How could anyone take him seriously after one or two mistakes like this?

In an earlier column, RK claimed that the US dollar had declined in value against other currencies because it was de-linked from gold in the 1970s.  But all other developed-country currencies are also floating freely and have no link to gold, so the lack of a gold link explains nothing about why one’s value has declined relative to others.

In yet another column, RK contradicts extensive research about human happiness, which says wealth beyond a certain point contributes very little to happiness, and says with a wink and a nudge that we (he and his readers, I guess) know better.  Yet surveys show that Filipinos and Nigerians are among the happiest people in the world, while the Japanese and Hong Kong Chinese are among the unhappiest.  I think RK is failing to distinguish between a lack of financial worries and happiness, which are two very different things.  The fact that he’s too obtuse to recognize the difference makes me wonder what happened to distort his vision.

Your Web site on RK is a wonderful public service. Keep up the good work.

Greg Brockelbank
Kanagawa-ken, Japan

[Reed answer]

There is a CPI calculator at I plugged in 1996 and $50,000. It has $64,276.61 in 2006 purchasing power, not $100,000.

Kiyosaki is childlike in his lying, that is, he lies about things that are easily disproved. A Time magazine cover story of a few years ago was called “The Science of Happiness” and confirms what you say and disproves what Kiyosaki says.

May I quote your excellent email?

John T. Reed

Email from a private investigator

Mr. Reed:

I am a Private Investigator here in NY. Yesterday, my firm was hired to become involved in a civil matter SDNY in which Robert Kiyosaki will appear as a witness. I read many of your posts with regard to Mr. Kiyosaki. It sounds like you may have done some research on him and I was wondering if you found out anything factual that supports Kiyosaki is a fraud and if so would be willing to share it with me. Thanks for your time. My contact information is listed below if you have the time to talk. Thank you.

These are some of the things about Kiyosaki's background that strike me as questionable:

1) that he was a marine pilot in Vietnam
2) he claims to have been shot down 3 times while in Vietnam

3) he claims to have "flown behind enemy lines in 1873 in order to go buy gold" and that he made a "fortune" doing this

4) claims to have owned hundreds of apartments in Phoenix and to have made millions in real estate

5) claims his father was the head of education for the state of Hawaii

6) claims to have started a "velcro" wallet business in his 20's which made him a millionaire and which got him featured in Playboy and GC

7) claims to have done business with Duran Duran, Iron Maiden, Van Halen and other major bands in the wallet business

8) claims he is "not affiliated" with a company named Reef Securities which he promotes



Joseph P. Dwyer
Chief Investigator & Director of Operations
Investigative Resource Group, INC
PO BOX 873 Shoreham, NY
Telefax/ 631-821-7105
Cell 917-495-1872

From: John Reed []
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 8:03 PM
To: Joseph P.Dwyer
Subject: Re: Robert Kiyosaki

I already did. It's at my Web site. I continue to get more stuff regularly but it just buttresses what I said.
5 is true

Fom: Joseph P. Dwyer

Thanks for your response. I'm talking about factual evidence either from documents or persons you may have spoken to. Respectfully, your opinion about Kiyosaki's books or misrepresentations he may have made about himself are not something I can use. If you have any documents or interviewed any persons that I can contact who factually can dispute some of Kiyosaki's claims that I previously listed, please let me know. Thanks again for your time.


Joseph P. Dwyer
Chief Investigator & Director of Operations
Investigative Resource Group, INC
PO BOX 873 Shoreham, NY
Telefax/ 631-821-7105
Cell 917-495-1872

from: John Reed <>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011 17:31:44 -0700
To: Joseph P. Dwyer<>
Subject: Re: Robert Kiyosaki

Respectfully, read my article again, more carefully. I am an investigative journalist. I have been sued, unsuccessfully, for libel by a guy like Kiyosaki, indeed, his erstwhile partner. I cited chapter and verse of the documents in my article.
Your question about his father would not suggest you ever set foot in an investigative role of any kind.

From Joseph Dwyer:

We got this case yesterday. You are a fool to question my experience and I don't appreciate your sarcasm. I'm retired from a special narcotics enforcement unit with NYPD and have run a PI firm that specializes in RICO death eligible cases. Since 1995 I have been the lead investigator in over 2 thousand federal cases in both the EDNY and SDNY. Look for me on Dateline this August. My response to you was indeed respectful. Your response to me shows your an egotistical, sensitive, jerk!!! Bye now.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

From John T. Reed

And I was on 60 Minutes 25 years ago. Fact is you did not read my article before alleging it was all opinion. I doubt there is any opinion in it. Look for this email exchange on my web site.

[Reed supplement to the email exchange]

I’m guessing this guy will now not use my article. That would mean he has to reinvent about a thousand wheels. Do PI’s charge by the hour?

Kiyosaki and Whitney's old company sued

Robert Crewe sued Rich Dad Education LLC, Rich Global LLC, Rich Dad Operating Co. LLC, Cashflow Technologies Inc. Tigrent Inc; Tigrent Learning Inc., Tigrent Brands Inc., and Robert Kiyosaki. Tigrent is the new name of Whitney Information Network (WIN). Real estate investment guru Russ Whitney sued me from 2002 to 2005 when the suit was settled on confidential terms. Whitney was subsequently forced out of the company he founded which also changed its name to Tigrent and changed its stock symbol from RUSS.
Crewe seeks costs and damages for breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trading Practices Act, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud.
Crewe's complaint alleges almost exactly what my web site comments on Kiyosaki and Whitney allege. Rich Dad Poor Dad author allied with Whitney around the time Whitney settled the suit against me. I always suspected they got together because they each had me as their main critic. National Association of Real Estate Investment Gurus Criticized by John T. Reed?
The suit is in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Too bad it's not in Florida. Whitney sued me in U.S. District Courts in Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. His lawyer was Scott Rothstein, the "Bernie Madoff of Fort Lauderdale "we later learned and is now serving a 50-year federal prison sentence. Unless there has been a lot of personnel turnover in the Florida federal Courts, they remember Whitney/Rothstein.
The allegations are that Kiyosaki et al.:
use their "free classes" and $199 seminars about financial success as a come-on in a high-pressure "sales scam" to sell worthless courses for tens of thousands of dollars
Defendants did not provide any training or education at the workshop
not provide attendees with any financial education that leads to financial success or independence
defendants' training instructors who hold themselves out as experts in their investment field but have no discernible investing expertise or successful track record.

I wonder if there is some legal theory the defendants could escape liability on the grounds that each and every one of the allegations in question was described in great detail on my web site since the early 2000s. In other words, had Mr. Crewe made any effort, like a Google search that led him to my web site, he would have had thorough notice in the form of about 50 pages on Kiyosaki and 500 pages, literally, on WIN/Tigrent.

 Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 by John T. Reed

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  • Mr. John Reed,
    Wow! When I first clicked on this search result of Robert kiyosaki’s book, I didn’t expect such a comprehensive and exhaustive list of the conflicting and misleading information he gives in that bestseller. I do remember when I first read it in the 1990s that I did not like the tone of it, coming across as condescending to anyone who did not already understand the concepts that he pretended to know about becoming rich and belittle those who didn’t understand how to think like a rich person. Also, I had very little money and thus could not fund any real estate purchase, let alone invest in stock market or in bonds.
    I’m glad to see someone such as you who has a through knowledge of real estate and investing take down this fraud of a man who has perpetrated lies and profited handsomely from it. Thank you very much for this excellent review of his book and his life of lies. It’s crystal clear to me now that he is only a player, an actor, a charlatan who is desperately wanting to mingle among the wealthy and be perceived as the source of great investment advice. He is one of those people who would adore being idolized and celebrated like Paris Hilton is celebrated just for showing up at a party for an hour, spinning some records, then leaving with a $400,000 paycheck.

    Ronnie Wright on

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