If You Want to be Rich and Happy: Don’t Go to School

In his book, Robert T. Kiyosaki (1993)
has woven together compelling arguments and inspiring personal anecdotes about the destructive quality of the education system.

The education system’s inherent promise of helping young people grow up to become adults who can realize the American Dream turns out to be an illusion.

In a world that is characterized by rapid technological and global changes, the education system has become an archaic institution that continues to cling to obsolete practices.

Concomitantly, students are compelled to perform rote tasks of memorization and conform to classroom routines. Regardless of their academic performance, most of these students emerge as dependent adults who are incapable of thinking for themselves and adapting to our changing times.

According to Kiyosaki (1993), the current education system is fraught with many problems. First, educators undermine the development of creative and independent thinking in students with their emphasis on the right answer. Essentially, students are discouraged from exploring complex issues when their journey for knowledge is abruptly terminated with their discovery of the one right answer. Consequently, the students who thrive in the school system are typically skilled in rote memorization. However, they are ill-equipped to deal with the dynamic and complex realities of our society. Instead of preparing our young people to apply their thinking to changing situations, the education system has essentially produced graduates who are dependent on their superiors and limited by their lack of creativity.
Second, the education system is a competitive institution that punishes students for their failure to excel in their academic subjects. The comparison between students and the categorization of students into average and above average groups create a negative psychosocial environment. Students who are weak in particular subjects are identified and mocked by their peers, thus undermining their self-esteem. At the same time, the other students lose their sense of compassion and ethics as they are rewarded and celebrated for “winning” at all costs (Kiyosaki, 1993).

Third, schools do not teach students about money and business. Instead, educators project the prevailing perception that money is an inherently evil thing, even though the promise of education is to provide one with a good job and financial security. However, Kiyosaki (1993) contends that money in itself is not evil. Rather, it is the people’s lack of knowledge about money that has contributed to their use or pursuit of money in self-destructive ways.

People do not need a complex education in order to become rich. Rich people have acquired habits and followed principles, which have enabled them to succeed in life. In Kiyosaki’s (1993) opinion, even a seven-year-old can be taught these habits and principles. Herein lies the fallacy of the education system: Although highly specialized subjects such as medicine and astronomy require tremendous education, getting rich requires little education.

In this day and age, people need to
realize that financial security is not equivalent to possessing college degrees and well-paid jobs with solid benefits. Individuals who have thrived in the school system by complying with its rules are hampered by their dependence on external direction and fear in innovation.

Fundamentally, schools are destructive because they undermine the process of thinking and learning. Its rules and principles can only function in a static world. In reality, true security can only be realized when people possess the courage, independence and desire to explore new things and acquire knowledge on a daily basis (Kiyosaki, 1993).
Based on the above arguments, Kiyosaki

(1993) presents an alternative education system that will increase its relevance to the needs of our society today:

• Generalized principles: Students should acquire a set of generalized
principles that will allow them to apply them to diverse situations.

• Principles of money, business and finance: Students should learn
about these principles so that they can be prepared for the practical
realities of adult life.

• Freedom of choice: Students should be allowed to pursue their
interests in their work. The freedom of choice taps into the intrinsic passion
of learning within students.

• Life-long learning: Learning is a perpetual process that does not end
when people leave school. Instead of focusing on getting increased pay,
people should be concentrating on acquiring knowledge.

With this book, Kiyosaki has highlighted the key issues that affect
every aspect of life – education, work and financial security. Instead of preparing students for the realities of life, the education system has essentially sabotaged their natural ability to function in a world of change. Teaching students to conform and to search for the one right answer ultimately destroys their independence and their passion for learning and living. True learning does not end with graduation and a diploma. Only through the endless pursuit of knowledge in life will one achieve the promise of financial security.