Surefire riches await those who dare to seize them, argues this brash debut primer on real-estate investing.
Harden, who owns rental properties and is involved with the music, publishing and restaurant industries, subscribes to the theory of cash-flow propounded by investment guru Robert Kiyosaki in his Rich Dad, Poor Dad motivational book series—the idea that wealth comes from owning assets that generate “passive income” without much labor or risk. Harden says he spends just one hour a day managing his holdings and insists that readers can “take any idea and turn it into a cash cow for yourself.” In this book, he focuses on his own version of Kiyosaki’s real-estate doctrine. His lucid, engaging outline covers the basics of finding and buying properties that will generate a positive net rent after expenses, tax breaks and appreciation; assembling a team to manage the properties; leveraging equity in one property into a down payment for the next; and vacationing in Tahiti while the income rolls in. The author provides useful insights about vetting and overseeing rental properties, along with examples that lay out the financials. He also throws in miscellaneous money advice—for example, to pay off high-rate credit cards first—as well as nebulous management theory. (The ideal executive team, he writes, should include an “integrator” who “develops an organic consciousness by affirming core values and establishing a shared sense of purpose.”) Unfortunately, Harden’s treatment is simply too cursory to convey the nuts and bolts of the complex, risky real-estate plays he envisions. Glib allusions to “creative” financing with “other people’s money” and tax-dispelling “phantom depreciation expenses” may make some readers nervous. Neophytes may consider the author’s 12-week schedule for business incorporation and closing on properties to be impossibly ambitious, and his injunctions to avoid “analysis paralysis” and “never let [lack of] money stop you from acquiring an asset” more reckless than reassuring. Indeed, Harden devotes much of the book to strident motivational speeches that demand that readers get over their anxieties, embrace exotic business opportunities, tune out naysayers and practice “mind-training exercises.” He even asks readers to recite a mantra, “I am empowered with financial freedom in all areas of my life,” 10 times before reading the book. Although Harden’s entrepreneurial ebullience feels inspiring, readers may wonder what devils lurk in the details.
A starry-eyed but not entirely convincing guide to real-estate deal-making.