Giveaway Alert: I have two copies of the book to give away at the end of this post.

How many of us get caught up in comparing our lives with that of our siblings? For me personally, I felt like I didn’t measure up to my sisters and brother when it came to money in my late twenties. I had spent five years moving from city to city because of my career. For awhile, I never lived anywhere long enough to make friends, let alone commit to buying a home. Then I quit my job to start a business and was just treading water. I wasn’t in debt, but at the age of thirty, I was broke.

By this time, each of my siblings owned his or her home and had purchased at least one rental property. It’s a little random that they all bought real estate at such a young age. Looking at their financial soundness, I suddenly feared ending up as the poor sister… after all, isn’t there always one kid in every family that’s a deadbeat or slacker.

I was neither. But I was a risk taker and yet, had a lot to learn about running a business. The funny thing is, I was the one always talking about wanting to be rich. So I wised up in my early thirties and got my career back on track. The income followed. But so did the expenses. I was finally able to buy a home though.

And that’s when I read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It was one of the first personal finance book that taught me how to build wealth. Like millions of others, I learned from Kiyosaki that:

You must know the difference between an asset and a liability, and buy assets. If you want to be rich, this is all you need to know. It is Rule No. 1. It is the only rule. This may sound absurdly simple, but most people have no idea how profound this rule is. Rich people acquire assets. The poor and middle class acquire liabilities, but they think they are assets.

Assets have the ability to generate passive income or portfolio income. Some people gravitate to what I call “real assets” or real estate and others to paper assets. All the kids in my family happen to like real estate. Fast forward several years and thanks to the influence of my siblings and Kiyosaki’s book, I now own plenty of positive cash flow properties. Real estate changed our lives.

While I’m a fan of the lessons in Rich Dad Poor Dad, I never got caught up in becoming a disciple of Kiyosaki. A lot of people do follow him by attending his motivational seminars and participating in his online community. I tried reading his other books but ended up gravitating to other financial writers… that happen to be, in my opinion, better writers. But I maintain a fondness for Kiyosaki and always tell people that Rich Dad Poor Dad changed my life.

So this review copy of Rich Brother Rich Sister was offered to me and I agreed to read and write about it since the twist with his sister sounded interesting. As noted at the beginning of this post, I come from a big family and find sibling dynamics to be fascinating. After all, a little rivalry is what finally got my financial butt kicked into gear.

The book is described by the publisher as:

Two lives, together, then apart, then together again, as a brother and a sister discover the riches of life. Rich Brother, Rich Sister combines the inspirational true life stories of Robert Kiyosaki and his sister Emi into one book that will reaffirm your belief in the power of purpose, the importance of action, and the ability to overcome all obstacles in a quest for wealth, both financial and spiritual.

As with most personal finance books, there are money lessons to be learned, but here’s what spoiled it for me. Emi had a pile of medical bills and needed money. Robert writes:

So rather than give my sister more money, I decided it might be better to assist her in learning to fish. That is one of the reasons we decided to write this book – for money. This book is a money-making project.

I got rich when I started thinking more about giving than receiving… One way for my sister to become a multimillionaire is for me to teach her how to give more of her gift.

But that’s not a very good reason to write a book and as another reviewer indicated, “Certainly not much of a reason to read one.”

The book wants to work since there’s nothing wrong with trying to make your personal financial statement look as good as your social one. But the flaw is in the storytelling. By alternating between Robert’s voice and Emi’s voice, a lot of details about their youth are repeated unnecessarily in the first half of the book. I think it was an attempt to show stark contrast and then how they arrived at a similar conclusion about money, spirituality and happiness.

I don’t know for sure because I haven’t finished it. And I’m not sure I will, but since Kiyosaki’s people keep emailing me about the review, I felt compelled to put something up. Just because I didn’t get through it, doesn’t mean others will lose interest before getting to the end. Here are two people that did read it completely and offered praise. Nora Dunn at Wise Bread writes:

I will say that the book helped me to better define my own place in the financial and spiritual spectrum; not as a result of their words or recommendations directly, but more as a function of simply reading somebody else’s definition of growth and journey through it. If you are a fan of Robert Kiyosaki and on a spiritual journey yourself, I imagine you will find Rich Brother Rich Sister to be a pleasurable read.

Sharon Michaels at BellaOnline writes:

Robert’s role as the older brother was to support Emi and her Buddhist beliefs while teaching her how to become more financially self-sufficient. Emi’s role was to help soften Robert’s rough edges and help open his heart to his own deep-seeded spirituality. As Robert put it, “I found more gentleness within myself while talking with my sister.”

Perhaps it should have been left as a private conversation between brother and sister instead of being forced into publication. But book sales mean money and I suspect Emi will make plenty from writing this one with her big brother.

So with that glowing review… I have two copies to give away. As I said, others might like it. If you want to give it a whirl than leave a comment about the sibling rivalry in your family and why you want to read this book. I’ll pick the best two comments by Friday and mail out their free copies.

Photo credit: Rich Dad Poor Dad.