Book Reviews: Wealth and Democracy; Rich Dad/Poor Dad

Two books about money. The first, by recommendation, was Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich by Kevin Phillips. It has received critical acclaim for its broad treatment of history – starting at the very beginning – to the current administration. Phillips examines how the wealthy stay wealthy (and not by promoting less government, instead by exerting tremendous influence over the government) and the effects of the American rich on democracy. A number of compelling tidbits but the constant switching back and forth between history and present day (especially when all those historical details aren’t of great interest to me) makes me question whether it was worth the 350 page effort.

Second was Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not. I gave this to my Dad for father’s day and gave it a quick read when he was done. It’s been a NYT best seller for months and months so I had high expectations. Unfortunately the author comes across as a greedy son of a bitch who’s life starts and ends with making money. I say unfortunate because he makes a number of good points: take risks and live an entrepreneurial life, become financially literate, etc. But he forgets another important point: after taking care of basic needs, there’s no correlation between money and happiness.

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