Rich dad poor dad chapter 1 Summary (Lesson 1: The Rich Don’t Work for Money)

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Robert Kiyosaki’s bestselling personal finance book Rich Dad Poor Dad draws a sharp contrast between how the poor, middle class, and wealthy think about money.

In the first chapter, Kiyosaki lays the groundwork for the book’s philosophy by sharing lessons from his two father figures.

While his poor dad believes in working for a paycheck, his rich dad believes in acquiring income-generating assets.

This fundamental difference in mindset is the core of Rich Dad Poor Dad. Kiyosaki advocates developing financial literacy and building streams of passive income, rather than simply pursuing a high-paying job.

The first chapter introduces the unconventional money advice that makes Rich Dad Poor Dad a classic.

I’ll break down Rich dad poor dad chapter 1 Summary and some of the best lessons Kiyosaki shares to help you become more financially literate. So, let’s explore.

Rich dad poor dad chapter 1 Summary

Rich dad poor dad Summary Chapter 1 – Lesson 1: The Rich Don’t Work for Money

There once were two young boys, Robert and his best friend Mike, who grew up learning lessons about money from two very different fathers. 

Robert’s own father worked hard every day as an employee for 40 years. He was well-educated, held a stable prestigious job, and was very intelligent.

However, he struggled financially his whole life, living paycheck to paycheck. No matter how hard he worked, he never seemed able to get ahead or build any wealth. And leaving behind a lot of debt.

Robert’s best friend Mike’s father was nearly the opposite. He had dropped out of high school and didn’t have a fancy job or education.

But through guts, street smarts, and an entrepreneurial spirit, Mike’s father built several successful businesses and amassed quite a fortune.

He became one of the wealthiest and most successful men in Hawaii by the time he was in his 40s.

The chapter 1 begins with a 9 year old Kiyosaki asking his dad how to get rich, after feeling jealous that one of his wealthy friends Jimmy gets to go on nice vacations and he doesn’t.

His own dad, who Kiyosaki calls his “poor dad,” avoids the question and says “If you want to be rich, you have to learn to make money.”

So while Robert had his own biological father, he also came to view Mike’s father as a rich dad who could mentor him about money. When the boys were just nine years old, they approached Mike’s rich dad and asked him to teach them how to become rich and successful themselves one day.

Amused at their boldness, Mike’s rich dad offered the boys a job working at one of his convenience stores for 10 cents per week. 

This angers young Kiyosaki at first, who demands a raise. But the rich dad holds firm, emphasizing this lesson: “The poor and middle class work for money. The rich have money work for them.”


10 cents per week was a poverty wage, of course! But the boys took the job anyway as an opportunity to learn directly from a successful rich man.

While stocking shelves and sweeping floors for just pennies, Mike’s dad would pull the boys aside and teach them the secrets of wealth.

The most important secret they learned was that “the rich don’t work for money.” He explained that most people have to trade their time for money, working at a job for a paycheck.

They desperately cling to the security of a job and small benefits like vacation days.

But the rich focus on having their money work for them instead.

The rich use money to start businesses and make investments that generate more cash flow whether they are working or not.

Mike’s dad owned businesses that operated and made money while he slept. This freedom and cash flow allowed him to become rich.

This was an earth-shattering realization for the boys. They saw how Robert’s own father had worked his fingers to the bone trading time for money as an employee for 40 years.

He was always struggling, living paycheck to paycheck. The moment he stopped working, the money flow dried up as well.

Inspired to take control of their financial futures, the boys decided to put what Mike’s rich dad taught them into practice.

They gathered old comic books that people had thrown out and started a neighborhood comic book library business in Robert’s basement.

For just a dime, kids in the neighborhood could come and rent comic books for a whole day. The business took off and was an instant success!

Soon Robert and Mike were earning almost $10 per week in passive income from their library. They didn’t have to actively work to earn every dime like Robert’s poor dad did.

This simple childhood business gave the boys their first taste of earning money by making their money work for them. They reinvested part of their earnings back into the business too, helping it grow.

Meanwhile, Robert was afraid to tell his own father that he was now working for free for Mike’s rich dad.

Robert’s father didn’t understand why a successful man wasn’t paying the boys fair wages for their time.

But Mike’s rich dad saw it as a chance to invest knowledge in the boys instead – something far more valuable than a few dollars of pay.

The contrast between these two fathers shaped Robert’s and Mike’s view of money forever. 

Robert’s own father had a scarcity mentality, always saying “We’ll never be rich” and living in survival mode, afraid of never having enough.

Even when he earned more, he spent it right away trying to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Mike’s rich dad had an abundance mentality. Even when he was dead broke after a business failure, he still saw himself as a rich man who just happened to lack cash for the moment.

He knew money would circulate back to him as long as he kept learning and providing value.

He teaches them to think independently, ignore criticism, and break from the path of just getting a safe job that society recommends. 

Rich dad explains how the rat race keeps people trapped trading time for money.


“The average person uses fear and desire to motivate themselves to work harder for more income, but more money does not solve their problems or bring real happiness.”

rich dad poor dad quotes

Rich dad urges the boys to master money rather than become slaves to it.

He teaches them to detach from fear and greed, use money to acquire income-generating assets, and make their money work for them; rather than just working for money their whole lives.

The lessons from Mike’s rich dad put Robert and Mike firmly on the path to financial freedom. 

By teaching them that money can work for you rather than you always having to work for money, he gave them a priceless gift at an early age. Their lives were changed forever by this new mindset.

The chapter establishes the two contrasting mindsets Kiyosaki learned from his fathers:

Poor dad Says: “Play it safe, specialize, climb the corporate ladder, be an employee.”

Rich dad Says:Take risks, keep learning, make money work for you, be an owner.”


In the end, Kiyosaki chooses rich dad’s path after seeing how it leads to true wealth and freedom rather than just a stable paycheck.

The lessons empower him to escape fear-based decision making and eventually gain financial independence.

Lessons and rich dad poor dad quotes

Some of rich dad’s key lessons and quotes from rich dad and poor dad book:


“Seek work for what you will learn, more than what you will earn.” Choose to learn skills over just chasing short-term paychecks. 

Rich dad poor dad quotes

“Winners are not afraid of losing.” Don’t let fear of failure stop you. Use setbacks as learning experiences.

Rich dad poor dad quotes

“The real secret to money is having money work for you.” Acquire assets that generate cash flow whether you work or not.

Rich dad poor dad quotes

“You must know the difference between an asset and a liability.” Simply having more money does not make you rich if it’s not invested properly. 

Rich dad poor dad quotes

“Intelligence solves problems and produces money. Money without financial intelligence is money soon gone.” Educate yourself about money early.

Rich dad poor dad quotes

“It’s fear that keeps most people working at a job.” Break free from fear-motivated thinking.

Rich dad poor dad quotes

Related Read: Rich Dad Poor Dad Chapter 2 Summary (Lesson 2: Why Teach Financial Literacy?)

Rich dad poor dad lesson 1 (In Brief Summary, Important points and key takeaways)


Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a personal finance book that compares the advice the author received from his two father figures.

Chapter 1 introduces the two contrasting perspectives on money between the author’s “rich dad” and “poor dad.”

The chapter aims to explain why the rich view money differently than the poor and middle class. 

The rich dad poor dad lesson 1: “The poor and middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them.”

Main Points

1. The rich focus on having their money work for them instead of working for money. The poor and middle class work as employees their whole lives pursuing job security and pay raises thinking that will lead to wealth. 

Kiyosaki’s rich dad explains that relying on earned income from a job keeps most people trapped in a “Rat Race” of working harder for more money but never getting ahead. The rich focus on having their assets generate passive income.

2. Emotions of fear and greed control how most people think about money. Fear of not having enough money drives people to work at jobs they dislike. Greed and desire causes them to raise their lifestyle expectations as they earn more.

The rich view money more rationally and understand it is an illusion propped up by social agreement. They are not emotionally controlled by fear of losing money or greed for more.

3. Schools focus more on career skills than financial skills. Most people are financially illiterate and don’t understand how money works. They are trapped by lack of financial education.

Rich dad plans to teach the author and his friend that schools do not teach you about money and how it can work for you. This vital education is needed to get out of the “Rat Race.”

4. The rich take calculated risks and see opportunities where others see roadblocks. They understand the link between financial knowledge and wealth.

When the author and his friend start a comic book library business, rich dad is proud they take initiative to create their own assets instead of working for hourly wages.

5. Jobs are short-term solutions to long-term money issues. Instead of reacting to fears over income, ask if your solution matches the problem.

Rich dad advocates looking past immediate fears about income and questioning if your solution actually addresses the root problem or just temporarily relieves the symptom.

Key Evidence

  • The author shares a story of being rejected from playing with a rich friend to illustrate how the poor are trapped by lack of money and passive income.
  • Rich dad creates real-life scenarios like offering the boys pay increases for their labor and analyzing their emotional reactions. This puts them in touch with how fear and desire control most people’s financial decisions.
  • When the boys’ first business idea fails, rich dad uses the experience as a teaching moment about making money vs. counterfeiting it. He emphasizes expanding worldviews over memorizing dates or names.


Kiyosaki concludes that society promotes the rat race of working for money without understanding how the rich gain assets that provide passive income.

Schools reinforce professional skills over financial skills. Money and jobs are treated as an emotional issue instead of an intellectual study.

The key is to shift one’s mindset to see opportunities to create income without labor and to use financial intelligence to advance.

However, he notes that most people succumb to fear and greed and never escape the rat race. The book promises to share what the average person must learn to shift their financial reality.


Strengths: This chapter provides a strong contrast between conventional middle class advice of pursuing a stable career vs the rich mentality of assets and passive income. These opposing viewpoints set up the premise for the full book.

Weaknesses: The author’s stories are anecdotal. While they illustrate his arguments, readers may question if they represent universal truths. There is some selection bias based on his limited experiences.

Relevance: In an era of inflated housing prices, stagnant wages, and disappearing pensions, the concept of assets generating income vs jobs seems highly pertinent. It offers an alternative way to think about personal finances.


Chapter 1 of Rich Dad Poor Dad effectively establishes the dichotomy between how the rich and poor view money.

The rich focus on assets that provide passive income rather than working for a paycheck. 

The poor allow emotions like fear and greed to control their financial decisions. The book promises to teach how to shift one’s mindset to the rich philosophy of money working for you.


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