What is the Business of the 21st Century?

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A Message from Robert

The economy is in tatters; your job is in trouble—if you still have a job. And you know what? I’ve been saying it for years.

It took a global financial meltdown for most to hear it. But this book isn’t about how or why everything has gone to hell in a hand basket. It’s about why this bad news turns out to be very good news—if you know what to do about it.

I learned about business from two people: my father, who was a very well-educated, highly placed government employee, and my best friend’s father, who was an eighth-grade dropout and self-made millionaire. My real father suffered financial problems his entire life and died with little to show for all the long years of hard work; my best friend’s dad became one of the richest men in Hawaii.

I thought of these two men as my “poor dad” and my “rich dad.” I loved and admired my real dad very much, and vowed that I would help as many people as possible avoid suffering the kinds of indignities and failures that plagued his path.

After I left home I had all kinds of experiences. I served in the Marines as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. I went to work for Xerox, starting out as their worst salesperson and leaving four years later as their best. After leaving Xerox, I developed several multimillion-dollar international businesses and was able to retire at the age of 47 to pursue my passion—to teach others how to build wealth and live the lives they dream of living, instead of settling for mediocrity and sullen resignation.

In 1997 I wrote about my experiences in a little book. I must have touched a chord with at least a few readers: Rich Dad Poor Dad shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list and stayed there for more than four years, and has been described as “the best-selling business book of all time.”

Since then, I’ve put out a whole series of Rich Dad books, and although each one has a slightly different focus, they all deliver the exact same message as that first book, and it’s the message at the heart of this book you now hold in your hands:

Take responsibility for your finances—or get used to taking orders for the rest of your life.
You’re either a master of money or a slave to it. Your choice.

I was incredibly fortunate in my life to have experiences and mentors that showed me how to build genuine wealth. As a result, I was able to retire completely from any need to work ever again. Up until that time, I was working to build my family’s future. Since then, I’ve been working to help build yours.

For the past ten years I have devoted my life to finding the most effective and practical ways to help people transform their lives in the 21st century by learning how to build genuine wealth. Through our Rich Dad books, my partners and I have written about many different types and forms of enterprise and investment. But during these years of intensive research, I have come across one business model in particular that I believe holds the greatest promise for the largest number of people to get control of their financial lives, their futures, and their destinies.

One more thing. When I say genuine wealth, I’m not talking about money alone. Money is part of it, but it’s not the whole. Building genuine wealth is as much about the builder as it is about the built.

In The Business of the 21st Century, I’m going to show you why you need to build your own business, and exactly what kind of business. But this isn’t just about changing the type of business you’re working with; it’s also about changing you. I can show you how to find what you need to grow the perfect business for you, but for your business to grow, you will have to grow as well.

Welcome to the Business of the 21st Century.
—Robert T. Kiyosaki