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.

2 comments on “Book Reviews: Wealth and Democracy; Rich Dad/Poor Dad
  • Hey Ben,

    Did I send you my summary of Rich Dad, Poor Dad?

    There are some nuggets of wisdom, but he loads it up with lots of bad advice and hyperbole to appeal to the “get rich quick without a lot of effort” audience.

    I think it would work better as a 1-page article!

  • I understand how you might feel that way about Rich Dad. But personally, it was one of the two most important books I’ve ever read. It changed my philosophy and my life. Sure, it’s written in a way to get people excited and it doesn’t really tell you how to do anything at all. But the basic philosophy that runs throughout the book is important, IMHO.

    The main point for me: Set up systems that take care of themselves and make you money even when you’re not working.

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