July 7 2009|11.40 AM UTC

Jonathan Rivers

Hall of Shame: 12 of the Worst Financial Gurus

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Specialists plays an important role in society, disseminating expert knowledge to those without time or inclination to become the same. There are gurus in all areas of life, from fitness to real estate to finance. Unfortunately, the predictions and advice of authorities in this last category have a less than stellar track record. Looking into the future with rose-colored glasses, finance gurus have led their followers into trouble time and time again – especially in the years preceding our current recession. Others didn’t exactly court disaster but rather, they emphatically gave dubious or downright wrong advice. Should anyone establish a financial guru “hall of shame”, these are our 12 inductees.

Jim Cramer


The exuberant host of CNBC’s Mad Money had his role in the current stock market meltdown illuminated in a March 2009 interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Abandoning his jokes for an uncharacteristically serious interview, Stewart skewered Cramer from pillar to post, chiefly for recommending that Americans invest their 401(k) and pension funds in firms like AIG and Bear Stearns that were known to be in serious financial trouble. Cramer justified it by claiming the CEOs lied to him, while Stewart countered that taking those lies at face value and reporting them as rock-solid investment wisdom was irresponsible. The Huffington Post has the entire three part interview up for easy viewing on its website.

Bernard Madoff


While not a “guru” in the televised or published author sense, Bernard Madoff nevertheless assumed that role to all of the many individuals and corporations he persuaded to invest with him. In terms of bare, crass deception, Madoff stands tall above everyone on this list. The disgraced ex-businessman orchestrated what Reuters calls, “…Wall Street’s biggest and most brazen investment fraud”, that resulted in the swindling at least $50 billion from numerous investors The most chilling aspect was that the biggest victim turned out to be New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, a childhood friend of Madoff’s. In Madoff’s scam, Wilpon is estimated to have lost as much as $300 million according to the New York Daily News.

Robert Kiyosaki


Harvard MBA John T. Reed sums up the case against Kiyosaki in the first paragraph of his book review:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of the dumbest financial advice books I have ever read. It contains many factual errors and numerous extremely unlikely accounts of events that supposedly occurred. Rich Dad, Poor Dad contains much wrong advice, much bad advice, some dangerous advice, and virtually no good advice. [emphasis original]

Reed goes on to reveal many illogical and harmful notions promulgated by Kiyosaki, including, “…if you’re gonna go broke, go broke big” (the correct advice is “don’t go broke”) and that, “…the reason you want to have rich friends” is to become privy to inside stock information (felony violation of insider trading laws.) Other gems of wisdom include using “weasel clauses” in your contracts by naming your cat is a silent partner and attempting to write off health club expenses on your tax return (tax fraud). Reed quotes a reader e-mail stating that the reader’s 17 year old son has decided, based on Kiyosaki’s bashing of education, not to attend college or study anymore. Interestingly, Kiyosaki was unknown in the financial community, and did not begin selling books in any serious quantity until Amway distributors picked up his book.

Wade Cook

Financial experts are rightly expected to be on the up and up regarding their own money before dispensing advice and suggestions to others. So it was quite alarming when Wade Cook was indicted and later sentenced in 2007 to 88 months in prison for tax evasion and obstructing a tax investigation between 1998-1999. He was also ordered to pay $3.5 million in unreported taxes. But Wade’s misconduct appears to stretch back even further. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Cook’s sentencing took into account, “…pre-sentencing reports that in 1990, Cook was indicted in Arizona on 18 charges of fraudulently selling unregistered securities and conducting illegal enterprises.” Specifically, the FTC had taken action against Cook in 14 states for, “…improperly taking money from investors” and imposed penalties totaling $2.7 million. At the height of its success, Wade Cook Financial Corp. raked in over $100 million in annual revenue selling seminars and home-study courses on investment and tax topics, employing 550 people.

Donald Trump


No one can deny the massive success Donald Trump has enjoyed personally. But The Donald” has not been of much help to the average Joe. One of Trump’s most recent books Why We Want You To Be Rich (co-authored with Robert Kiyosaki) pitches, of all things, multi-level marketing as the way to learn business skills and achieve financial independence. (Maybe they should ask Bernie Madoff’s victims their opinion on MLM.) This is dubious advice at best, as MLM’s 90%+ failure rate is widely documented. TheMLMFile.com elaborates with some frightening conclusions:

It is true that something like four out of five small businesses (about 80%) fail in the first five years of operation. It is also true that somewhere around 99.5% of MLM-ers fail in the first two years. Distributor failure rate for MLM is generally around 60% per annum, meaning that the “best” MLM companies lose their entire distributor base in something under every two years.”[emphasis original]

The Wall Street Journal panned the book in a review entitled “Rich Men, Poor Advice: Their Book is Hot, But Their Financial Tips Aren’t.” And let’s not forget Trump’s repeated run-ins with bankruptcy, including one in 1992 that forced him to give up 49% of the Trump Plaza Hotel to five different lenders, according to the New York Times. Perhaps we should hesitate to take financial advice from a man apparently dumb (or devious) enough to partner with Robert Kiyosaki and is more experienced with bankruptcy than the most Americans.

James Glassman


While all the current media coverage centers on the 2009 recession, past downturns had their share of misguided finance gurus, too. One of them is James Glassman, who in 1999 (a year before the dot come bubble burst) famously said “We’re going to reach a point where stocks are correctly priced, and we think that’s 36,000 … It’s not a bubble. Far from it. The stock market is undervalued.” As USNews states, the typical price to earnings ratio of dot coms were outrageous, sometimes over 40. Glassman also authored the book Dow 36,000 which falsely predicted that the stock market was undervalued and would triple within a few years.

Larry Kudlow


The last thing investors should have been told in early 2000 was that the stock market was just fine. Nevertheless, Larry Kudlow assuaged investors’ fear by telling them that, “…this correction will run its course until the middle of the year. Then things will pick up again, because not even Greenspan can stop the Internet economy.” Anyone who invested based on this advice took part in the $5 trillion bath Wall Street took on tech stocks from March to October of that same year, according to TechRepublic. How Kudlow could have made such a prediction with a straight face is beyond us.

Suze Orman


Some would be puzzled by Orman’s inclusion on this list. As a financial authority with her own TV show and a legion of best-selling books, it may seem odd to criticize her. But she is far from blameless when it comes to gurus with false predictions and questionable advice. BadMoneyAdvice.com lambasted Orman for using her celebrity to, “…bring her vast audience fairly mediocre and amateurish advice.” Specifically, the author takes Orman to task for breathlessly telling us all how great of an idea it was to get adjustable-rate mortgages in the years preceding the sub-prime crises. TheBigMoney.com notes that Orman also holds most of her own money in municipal bonds while advising readers to stash theirs in stocks. Finally, USNews remembers Orman’s infamous Janurary 2001 statement that QQQ was “a buy” so long as you invested using month by month dollar cost averaging when, in fact, the stock’s value dropped over 60% by October 2002.

Myron Kandel


Anyone willing to cut Larry Kudlow some slack for making his Pollyanna-esque prediction so early in 2000 will have a tough time excusing CNN‘s Myron Kandel, who was so inexplicably optimistic about the market that he said, “…the bottom line is, before the end of the year, the Nasdaq and Dow will be at new record highs” in April, according to MarketWatch. As late as September of the same year, Kandel apparently also predicted the market would rally to 12,000 before Election Day. Needless to say, both of these prognostications were so far off the mark as to make one fear for Kandel’s sanity.

Lou Dobbs


Some analysts take a cautious tone with their predictions, being careful to couch them in vague language so critics have difficulty sticking it to them if the prediction is a bust. Not Lou Dobbs – he came right out in August 2001 and said (according to MarketWatch “Let me make it very clear. I’m a bull, on the market, on the economy. And let me repeat, I am a bull.” Unfortunately for him and anyone who invested on the wave of his giddiness, the Dow and Nasdaq both remained in the tank for another year.

Alan Greenspan


While generally a respected and well-intentioned man, there can be no denying Alan Greenspan’s misread of the economy during the 2000′s. ABC News remembers his words in December 2000, prior to the housing boom and bust:

“…the three- to five-year average earnings projections of more than a thousand analysts, though exhibiting some signs of diminishing in recent months, have generally held firm at a very high level. Such expectations, should they persist, bode well for continued strength in capital accumulation and sustained elevated growth of structural productivity over the longer term.”

This speech took on new significance when in October 2008, Greenspan admitted that he had “found a flaw” in his economic philosophy and was “partially wrong” in his management of the Fed, according to the UK newspaper Guardian.

Jeffrey Applegate


Now that Lehman Brothers’ central role in the 2008/2009 market debacle is clear, Lehman strategist Jeffrey Applegate’s 2000 statement that, “…the bulk of the correction is behind us, so now is the time to be offensive, not defensive” does indeed appear to indicate, as USNews opines, that the recovery from the dotcom bust was “a sucker’s rally.” With the kind of fraud that was going down at Lehman Brothers day in and day out, hindsight makes it very obvious why they were so bullish back then.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe July 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm

So what are the GOOD sources of financial info? Now that we’ve torn down everyone famous, lol.


Stuart Hannig July 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm

I want to add John Chow to the list of (johnchow com).

He has made a vast fortune giving people false advice and perpetrating himself as king of MLM. The guy offers little useful advice and went from initially giving bits of generic advice from when he first started, into just talking about products he’s paid to endorse and products that he refers people to and mostly writes about boasting how much he makes and what he buys (frivolous spending).

He much like Trump has built a following telling people fake business and marketting information.


momingle July 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm

They are all fuctards. No one should listen to them.


Steve July 7, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Joe, the stock market is simple. Unless you have the time and expertise to evaluate both a company’s technology and financials, you should assume that you cannot consistently beat the market. Therefore, if you’re investing for the long run, simply invest in the market. In other words, throw your investment into the S&P500 (an index fund like the Vanguard 500) and let it grow for the 30 years you have until retirement.


BillShrink Guy July 7, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Joe: Off the top of my head, one of my favorite is Jonathan Clements, who use to be a a personal finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Clements writes the weekly series “Getting Going.” Unfortunately he’s no longer writing from the Journal, but he has a few simple-to-digest books that you can easily find on Amazon or your local library. Liz Pulliam Weston, a personal finance columnist for MSN Money is also a great personal finance “guru.”


MasaConfusa July 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Kiyosaki does not belong on the list. Rich Dad is not one of the dumbest financial advice books. I dont believe the reason why Kiyosaki wants you to have rich friends is so you can get inside stock information. The reason is so you can think big and surround yourself with successful people. Greenspan should definately be on the list. He manipulated the interest rates by lowering it starting in the early 2000′s when the market was supposed to correct itself and now we are in this mess today because of him.


Josh July 7, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Read “A Million Bucks by 30.” It’s the best financial advice I’ve ever read. And it’s funny as s**t. Rather than tell people how to get rich, he shows you by telling his story. Just be prepared to be frugal. I guarantee if you follow his blueprint, you’ll be wealthier next year than you are this year.


Josh July 7, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Oh, the author of “A Million Bucks by 30″ is Alan Corey.


bill July 7, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Mises.org ftw


Joe July 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm

What an awful list. How can you lump together con artists with uneducated authors, business specialists, talk show hosts and policy makers?


BillShrink Guy July 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm

We do agree that the list may have been flexed a bit. Lou Dobbs probably shouldn’t be in this list since he’s just an anchor for CNN.


Truth July 7, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Kiyosaki is rightfully on here! Anyone bashing education for a quick buck could suck my left toe! The is a good list but definitely some are more deserving to be on this list than the ones listed…Ken Lay anyone? The Only person shouldn’t be on this list is Alan Greenspan. Comon’ ppl, using a 83 years old as a scape goat for your own epic failures??? The sadest moment in American Capitalism history: The ‘fuctards’ (who took part in causing this once in a life time market panic and are still in office) grilling an 83 years old gramps for 4 eff’in hours until he senilely cratered and the public (brainless as always) took the bait and blaming everything on this old man with a hearing-aid! WTF?!


HI July 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm

A bit harsh on MLM without giving all the facts.

They neglect to mention that the 80% of businesses that fail in the first five years are generally out Tens and Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Whereas someone who gives a half-hearted attempt or even a strong attempt at an MLM and gives up after a year or two is only out what, $250-$500? This also may be a reason for such the high attrition rate in many MLMs. If you have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in a business you probably stick it out a lot longer trying to make it work or get your money back; however, a couple hundred bucks is easily let go after a short time.

Just a thought.


Brian July 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm

And every time I argued with each of these idiots while I was at Schwab nobody believed me. Who’s laughing now?


Zero July 7, 2009 at 3:18 pm

This is just a list to bash anyone the author doesn’t like. Jim Crammer is to investing what Hooters is to fine dining and the fact that people who don’t know shit about investing like to point the finger at him shows exactly how little they know(having a TV show doesn’t make you a genius at your craft, it means you’re entertaining).

Kiyosaki deserves to be bashed every chance he gets for being a fraud, a liar, and an closet Amway salesman.

Lou Dobbs shouldn’t be on this list because I wouldn’t even call him a financial anything.

Suze Orman is what she is. Her advice is simplistic because her audience is made up of normal people, not MBA’s, or people who masquerade as them on the internet. Even though not everything she says is perfect (can any financial guru’s agree on perfect?) If people followed her big points they would be better off financially. Write a will, contribute to retirement accounts, pay off your mortgage, don’t go into credit card debt. Don’t bash her for not spouting off debt and p/e ratios because most people have a hard enough time with the basics, much less whatever more they expect from her.

By the way I like Ric Edelman. If you wants hard core financial information that is still somewhat readable pick up “The Truth About Money” (not his other fluff books). But even he say’s things that other financial professionals would disagree with (don’t pay off your mortgage)so just take what you can from each.


Ted July 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm

The more I see happen, the more I realize my grandfather and my father were right:

Work hard
Save some of your money in case you need it later
Spend your money wisely

Much of the financial advise that was flying about just before the recession started flew directly in the face of these common sense ideas.

Always have a little extra cash on hand, and the more wiggle room in your budget the better. Those may not be the most popular ideas, but the lessened stress allows for a much better night’s sleep.


Julie July 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm
John July 7, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Kiyosaki should top the list. In my opinion his books caused the economy bust, because lots of people took mortgages after reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, believing they’ll get rich.


Greg Z July 7, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I agree with Josh, I loved “A Million Bucks by 30″ by Alan Corey too – funny and smart. Put him on the best of list.


Ashlee July 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Someone above mentioned that Greenspam shouldn’t be on the list. How uninformed people can be about the evil agency called Federal Reserve and people behind it. Go look up about Fed. They are owned by private banks JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and foreign banks whose only goal is to steal from American public first by inflation and then by deflation.

“[The] Bank of the United States… is one of the most deadly hostility existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution… An institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war! It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile?” –Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1803. ME 10:437



Mark July 8, 2009 at 6:18 am

Add Martin Weiss – his newsletter is TERRIBLE.


riff July 8, 2009 at 6:20 am

Greenspan made some mistakes…but look at the presidents..Clinton, Bush and Obama now…they are not people who know how to run a business..professional politicians. Look at the leadership…pelosi,Dodd, fag Barney, Kennedy, etc. They are buffons, liars, cheaters…professional politicians who know nothing. They lead Amerika to this position of Fascism, and we share that blame, cause we put them there and have not ousted them!!


Neil Campbell July 8, 2009 at 6:29 am

Kudlow & Kneale (his new protege) should be 1 & 1.5 on the list. Spouting continuously about “green shoots” of poison ivy!

Cramer is #2 – Said a few weeks ago to sell Kraft – last night said to buy Kraft? Talk about whisp saw? I can do that on my own!


Jeff July 8, 2009 at 6:32 am

I heart someone calling others uninformed about the Federal Reserve and then going on to call it:

1) evil
2) “owned by private banks JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs”
3) a criminal enterprise

Seriously, Ashlee, and I know we knew this just by the way you spell your name, but you are an idiot whose viewpoints can be safely discounted from jump. I would tell you to do your own research on the Fed, but you’d just end up hurting yourself and/or others nearby.


Marty July 8, 2009 at 6:47 am

I would add Loral Langmeier. She says she makes millionaires but her workshops are made of advertising for her own products and those of her students.


Christoph July 8, 2009 at 6:56 am

What about Dennis Kneale? His 8pm show is the most ridiculous shit blathering I have ever heard in my life, and it has gotten a whole lot worse recently because now he paces back and forth in front of the camera at the beginning of each show trying to outdo his previous episode in terms of the emphasis and surety with which he makes his claims, chief among them stated 2 weeks ago that the recession has ended. He pretends like he knows what he is talking about when showing charts using economic statistics that he has no idea as to what their meaning is. He varies between being wholly inaccurate and just throwing terms out that CNBC producers want him to. It takes CNBC stock market cheerleading to a whole new level, except now you have someone not only that doesnt know what they are talking about but also is wholly convinced that he DOES know what he is talking about telling you about the economy.


J. Robert July 8, 2009 at 7:12 am

Want a financial incompetent? Try Bumbling Barack, aka the next Jimmy Carter


Dinesh July 8, 2009 at 7:41 am

I recommend Marc Faber,Jim Rogers,Martin Weiss,Bill Gross.
But do keep a very sharp eye on all the reckless advisers you have listed PLUS the Fed(especially under Greenspan and Bernanke),Treasury Secretary Geitner (as he wilfully backs Paulson and Bernanke policies),Goldman Sachs (spreading its tentacles dispensing greed & fear to the detriment of others),and media like CNBC (except Rick Santelli!).Finally also watch Larry Summers ,Clintons ,Fox News etc for potential trouble fermenters?


MiseMan July 8, 2009 at 8:46 am

The US economy has been transformed from the productive use of capital (investment capitalism) into a giant gambling casino (speculation). Do not be surprised that creeps like these rise to the bait & offer ‘advice’ to the public on getting rich by simply making a bet.


doder July 8, 2009 at 9:00 am

Hindsight is 20/20. I think this article was a little too critical at times. A lot of these people are sh*tbags, and deserve the criticism, but not all. Maddoff’s Ponzi scheme was obviously wrong, but when people were confused by the ‘new economy’, it was, to some point(many passed that point, but then its more or less marginalized extremism, or something), understandable to think that new technologies would keep things progressing at an ever-fastening rate (which is still kind of true, technology does change quite often, a few years ago the idea of youtube and internet video seemed almost improbable).


Bill July 8, 2009 at 9:03 am

To add to Ashlee’s excerpt of Tom Jeff’s 1803 letter to Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin is this gem from Tom to Al just a year earlier:

“I believe banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless…”

Are we there yet?


Denis Kotewall July 8, 2009 at 9:32 am

Abby Joseph Cohen, the front-woman for Goldman Sachs, should be on the list


Bill2 July 8, 2009 at 9:38 am

p.s. My financial advice to my kids and anyone interested:

1. Learn to enjoy living — and living simply. Consume to meet your needs but avoid doing so for wants. Stay healthy, to avoid wealth-draining illness.

2. Buy 4-10 acres of fertile land in a temperate zone with its own watershed and all rights to the watershed (so a mining company can’t poison it); also ensure that its mineral rights are intact (so a mining company can’t strip it).

3. Build a sturdy, well-insulated home with sufficient space, including a basement if possible and install off-grid systems for power and waste management. Avoid mortgaging the land and home, if possible. (Getting “the largest mortgage you can afford” for tax deductions is stupid financial advice.)

4. Get a cow for milk, etc; chickens/turkey, for eggs/meat; and raise a garden, hydroponic is best. Learn to make yogurt, cheese, etc., and to can your own food.

5. Build a compounding investment portfolio (tax-deferred in the US) that’s 50% dividend-paying equities (DRIPs, when available) of global market dominators, bonds and 20% gold.

6. Invest time back into the community helping others.

Goal is to minimize your reliance on the economy at large, so you can also minimize the effect on your well-being of whatever Wall St’s greed-heads or D.C.’s clowns do. All the economic news then becomes noise. Much of this can be done in an (sub)urban environment as well.


Toeser July 8, 2009 at 10:40 am

I really like Dr. Bart DiLiddo and his service VectorVest. He is the real deal and rarely gives bad advice. No one is right all the time, but year after year his model portfolio beats the crap out of the market. It’s up over 100% this year.


Trevor July 8, 2009 at 10:58 am

Dave Ramsey comes to mind as someone who gives out sensible advice that if followed would make us all betteroff financially (pay off debts, live within your means, etc). While this list is interesting the current recession should fall on those who thought any home they bought could be flipped in 1-3 years for 20%-40% profit. If I sign an interest only loan to get a house I couldn’t afford otherwise who is the dummy? If I get an ARM that adjusts and I’m gambling I can sell the house for a profit before it adjusts then who’s at fault when I’m stuck with payments I can’t make anymore? Personal Responisbility would fix a lot. Punish the crooks on Wall Street and at mortgage companies who broke the law but people need to get honest with themselves as well. No one made me get my Visa card.


SageNot July 8, 2009 at 11:00 am

Of course Suzy Orman belongs on this list, you’ve left out that she’s being sued for mortgage fraud, look it up.

Donald Trump is a shill for himself, NEVER invest in his crap, how many times has his Corps gone BK, a 100 times?

Lou Dobbs has/had a huge following, so any investment advice he gives that is totally wrong hurts 1,000′s of his viewers that take his dumb advice

Twice in this century even Warren Buffett has been terribly wrong, twice mind you. Billionaires can afford to lose their own money, but pity the BRK holders who now need their money in this serious recession & are what, 35% down still?

The problem with this list is how SHORT it is, trust me, BillShrink hasn’t scratched the surface, but I give him high marks for getting on those CNBC liberals + the idiot who created the Kudlow Creed. That creed is worse than having Lenny Dykstra as an advisor!


Alfred July 8, 2009 at 2:09 pm

I have to stand up for Kiyosaki. John T. Reed is very wrong. Anyone familiar with his teachings wouldn’t have made these criticisms (that is not his viewpoint about education). RK is an author offering a philosophy and viewpoints. I have read lots of financial oriented books/authors. I’ve read most all of his books and am financially better off for it. He has presented so many more good ideas than bad ones. One must have judgement and be able to read an author and “take the best, and leave the rest”. Everyone has something to offer except for criminals or people filled with false data.


odograph July 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I don’t watch/follow any of them, but I think the other commentator is correct that Suze is doing a service for her audience. If someone with no savings and $30K in student loans is asking if it’s ok to buy a $1k Klingon Sword, he needs to be told “no, get saving.” Complaining about fixed vs ajustable mortgages just pales.

Oh, and if YOU had your investment chops you’d know that “I’m single, around 50, with $10M+ new worth, how should I allocate?” gets a different answer (muni bonds) than “I’m married, 25, with $3k to start my portfolio, how should I allocate?” (75% equities, 25% bonds)


Tyler DD July 8, 2009 at 3:14 pm


what about Barry Ritholtz ??!?!?!?!?!?!?



manaconda July 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm

What? No Peter Schiff? For a guy that made one good call, he sure failed at giving good advise as to what to do if it came true.


Bill July 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Anyone who read Martin Weiss would not now be crying a river over what happened to their retirement accounts.


Luis July 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I agree with Alfred

I have read several of Robert Kiyosaki’s books, and NOT ONE of the ideas mentioned above is in any of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I see failings in those books (poorly written, provide more a “bird’s eye view” than actual actionable advice), but it’s like everything else…you have to discard the chaff while keeping the wheat.

He could be part of a “more salesman than guru” list, but shouldn’t be on this one.


Linda July 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Re: Kiyosaki. He should be off this list. What most don’t know is that his first 6 books were originally one book. His editor convinced him to break it down into 6. If you don’t read those first six plus listen to some of his lectures you’ll never get his full message. His critics are isolating and criticizing points that are erroneous and/or out of context. His critics are totally missing the boat. He’s also probably over the average person’s head.

Any critic who had the courage and intelligence to put their bias and false info aside, and read the author’s complete works, would I’m sure have a completely different and positive viewpoint about Kiyosaki’s contribution.


Aristotle July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Where in the world in Lenny Dykstra, he should be on there instead of Lou Dobbs?


Kevin July 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Kinda like shooting ducks on a pond, but nevertheless, a beautiful list. Stories….

Cramer – I used to work as an analyst, Cramer is a bigger ahole in person than he is on TV, as hard as that may be to believe.

Kudlow – I was at a conference at a NYC hotel in about Feb of 2007. I’m on an elevator with about 6-8 other people. Kudlow gets on, looks us up and down and says in his most pompous voice, “What say you gentlemen, bull or bear?” And then proceeds to tell us exactly why there was huge upside in the market. Oh well.

Greenspan – I have a copy of a paper he wrote for the savings and loan association back in the early 80s (not sure exactly), explaining why allowing S&Ls to invest in new asset classes and expand concentrations in non-traditional assets would lower risk and increase profits.


12jc July 8, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Where is Abby Cohen? She definitely should have made the cut.


The North Coast Curmudgeon July 8, 2009 at 10:30 pm

So can we all agree that Cramer really doesn’t belong on this list because they lied to him?


wildingp July 9, 2009 at 4:57 am

I disagree with this almost completely.

Many of the quotes in this article are taken way
out of context. Also, the statistics about MLM
(the 90%+ failure rate) is inconsequential. Almost
every business imaginable has the same rate of failure.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to take a few
small examples and use these as a basis for a
much larger argument. It’s been done for years
and is very clever shortcut to seem convincing.
However, a much more well rounded argument
is required generally.

It seems like Bill Shrink just looked for the
most high profile critic of each of these ‘gurus’,
quoted them (even though the original quotes
were already meaningless) and reproduced it here.

Alan Greenspan has had many years of undeniable
success and accuracy. Robert Kiyosaki has transformed
literally millions of peoples lives (mine included).
Donald Trump not only created a vast fortune in the 80′s
but, after going bankrupt, did it again. This is at least
some evidence of his will and character in business.

But, having said that, nobody’s perfect, so let’s not expect
these people to be either. Take their advice the same way
you would anybody else’s. Think about it, process it, mix
in your experiences and then act.

Anybody who just takes advice blindly is headed for a tough time.

And finally, how’s this title? Very tabloid of you Bill:

Now I’ll admit I’m not too familiar with the tone
of this blog, but I issue a challenge to you Bill:

- From today, try offering your reader’s REAL,
fundamental, long term value. Dig deep.

I know you can do it.


Johnson July 9, 2009 at 7:46 am

Of course Cramer belongs on the list!

And, of course, the list is just a start.

To answer others, I have found Eric Tyson’s advice (Personal Finance for Dummies) to be excellent (and he has a website – http://www.erictyson.com which is handy).

Suze Orman’s so bad she should have been on the list twice!


Anon July 9, 2009 at 8:31 am

I agree with many of these, but especially Cramer, Kudlow, and Orman. Their advice is useless at best and dangerous at worst. The fact they present themselves as gurus on financial television, on stations that are supposed to be respected, makes them even more dangerous to the general public. It has made me realize that the majority of content on the financial networks is noise – I’m guilty of being slow to this realization.

Orman has annoyed me for years. Her advice is overly simplistic and superficial to be useful. I would lump her with Dave Ramsey.

Kudlow is always a bull and always positive on the market, doesn’t matter what’s going on in the market. Always positive is great for a drinking buddy, but not for financial advice.

Cramer. I think Jon Stewart summed this up best.

Just scanning the comments on this page:

A reporters job is to dig deeper, not just accept what they are told by one source. If you’re not going to do the work, don’t pretend to have the answer and broadcast it to millions of people.

When it comes to financial advice, there is no easy answer. The search for an easy answer is what raises the status of these folks to guru in the first place. You have to learn some of this stuff yourself, at least to the extent you can evaluate the source of advice. Just like finding a good auto mechanic, lawyer, electrician, etc.

The good financial resources saw something coming, it may have been worse than they expected, but they at least knew enough to notice that market risk was increasing and suggested reducing exposure.

That felt good.


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