In the narrative that runs through Robert Kiyosaki's self-help books,
Rich Dad is the character who taught Kiyosaki the secrets of wealth
when he, Kiyosaki, was growing up in Honolulu in the 1950's. Rich Dad
is not Kiyosaki's biological father, but a father figure to whom
Kiyosaki feels he owes his money-making prowess. The biological father
is Poor Dad, a highly educated administrator who provides his family
with a comfortable home but not much more. When the boy Kiyosaki asks
his father for advice on how to make money, the reply is that he
doesn't know and never learned how. Instead, says Poor Dad, he should
go next door to his pal Mike's house, and pose the question to Mike's
father, a successful businessman. This neighbor, who takes Kiyosaki
under his wing, ends up earning the moniker Rich Dad from his
Robert Kiyosaki claims that this is a true story, but he is not
willing to divulge Rich Dad's real-life identity, nor has he revealed
enough information to enable others to track down Rich Dad. Indeed,
some of Kiyosaki's detractors argue that Rich Dad appears to be a
When Kiyosaki's hometown newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
published an admiring profile of the self-help guru on July 10, 2000,
the reporter mentioned Kiyosaki's taciturnity on the subject of Rich
"Who this man is he won't say.
"'I have an agreement with the family that I won't disclose who he is
... but it's a true story. In the book, he asked that I say he said he
died, but he's still alive.'"
Honolulu Star-Bulletin: "Think rich, get rich"
A book review in Slate magazine, dating to June 20, 2002, refers in
passing to this lack of biographical information.
"Then there was his buddy Mike's father: a shrewd entrepreneurial sort
who eventually built an 'empire' and became 'one of the richest men in
Hawaii' (no further details are offered) via his keen understanding of
Slate: "If I Were a Rich Dad"
The Motley Fool, an online investors' guide, makes further comment on
the shadowy history of Rich Dad in an article dated July 14, 2003.
This article cites an investigative report published in SmartMoney
magazine, in which Eleanor Laise attempts to identify Rich Dad.
"Laise's article details a great many reasons why anything that
Kiyosaki says should be highly scrutinized.
"If you're not particularly familiar with the basis for Kiyosaki's
book, consider this from the SmartMoney article:
"'At the heart of the Rich Dad phenomenon is an intriguing premise:
Growing up in Hawaii, Kiyosaki says he learned the wrong way to manage
money from his "Poor Dad," his own highly educated but financially
hapless father, and the right way from his adopted "Rich Dad," a
friend's entrepreneurial father who dropped out of school in the
eighth grade and became one of the wealthiest men in Hawaii.
"As Laise points out, 'it's a nice gimmick,' but unfortunately it
turns out to be false. When pressed about the details of his 'Rich
Dad' by Laise, Kiyosaki finally says, 'Is Harry Potter real? Why don't
you let Rich Dad be a myth, like Harry Potter?' Hmmm."
The Motley Fool: "'Rich Dad' Just a Fad
According to Eleanor Laise, then, Kiyosaki asked her to think of Rich
Dad as a myth.
So far, the most detailed deconstruction of the Rich Dad story has
been written by John T. Reed, an entrepreneurial author who publishes
his own line of books on real-estate management and other financial
"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?"
John T. Reed?s analysis of Robert T. Kiyosaki?s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Another nugget offered by Reed is that the Rich Dad trademark
application includes a note reading, "Other Data: The mark 'Rich Dad'
does not identify a living individual." This implies that either Rich
Dad is dead, or he never existed.
You are free to form your own conclusions, but I am inclined toward
the view that Rich Dad is a fictional character. Even if he does or
did exist, Kiyosaki has taken pains to keep his identity a secret.
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