After last week’s post underscored the longevity of Gary Keller’s The Millionaire Real Estate Agent as a favorite book for newer agents, I thought it was time to go back and take a look at the top ten business books on real estate again. We used to check in with Amazon more often, but the last time we brought you a best-seller list was back in 2011. For shame!
So, I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by item number one. But there are a few on this list of the ten most popular real estate business books on Amazon this week that I wasn’t expecting.
- The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About the Money…It’s About Being the Best You Can Be! by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan (Feb 11, 2004)
- Other People’s Money: Inside the Housing Crisis and the Demise of the Greatest Real Estate Deal Ever Made by Charles V. Bagli (Apr 4, 2013) Continue reading »
Last month, I had the opportunity to help document the cover shoot for the May/June issue of REALTOR® Magazine. Because the issue contains the profiles of our 30 Under 30 honorees, we thought we’d invite a few of the new recruits in for a photo shoot.
Interviewing these young practitioners as a writer for the magazine, I learned a great deal about how to shift from recession to recovery, the influence of technology on the industry, and what their local markets are like all across the country. But as administrator of the Weekly Book Scan, I only had one question: What’s your favorite real estate or business book?
More than half of the seven honorees named Gary Keller’s The Million Dollar Real Estate Agent (Rellek Publishing Partners, 2003) as a favorite. So if you haven’t read that one yet, I’d suggest you start there (or if you have, you may want to check out Keller’s latest work, The One Thing).
Here are the other books that these young professionals say influenced the way they see their business and the real estate industry as a whole. Continue reading »
Becki Saltzman has arranged a threesome. It involves you, your clients, and her wacky self, and it takes place in her new book, Arousing the Buy Curious: Real Estate Pillow Talk for Patrons and Professionals (Oomau Media, 2013).
While the book is peppered with what some may term naughty language and innuendo, perhaps the more shocking element is that she wrote a book that is aimed at practitioners as well as buyers and sellers. What? Didn’t someone tell her not to give up the secret codes?!
But after reading this compendium cover to cover, I can assure you that you can relax. In fact—once you read the client-focused chapter and the client tips scattered throughout the book—you’ll probably want to buy this for all your (not-so-uptight) buyers and sellers. Not only does Saltzman guide clients on how to pick good agents, but she teaches them a whole lot about how to be good customers as well.
OK, back to the naughty bits. This book is not for those easily offended by language. Still when Saltzman writes, “You might be appalled by some of what you read in this book, but I promise that the ideas my potty mouth spouts are valid,” she lives up to the promise. Indeed, her advice is novel as it is solid, and it spans everything from getting started in real estate, to transaction management (from both sides), to handling crazy market fluctuations with grace.
Arousing the Buy Curious, coming to bookshelves in September, is definitely useful. But it’s also hilarious. There are quite a few laugh-out-loud commentaries that I can’t print here. But here are a few that can sneak by: Continue reading »
Hi, Book Scan readers. I spent the first part of last week hanging out with community planners at the American Planning Association’s national conference. Though I haven’t read the book described below, I thought the author (who gave the closing keynote at the conference) had some beautiful thoughts on home ownership that real estate professionals would appreciate. Enjoy! —MW
Early Pearl has a great idea for dealing with an intractable problem. As a homeless 11-year old Chicagoan, she sees all of the sturdy housing stock that stands empty and abandoned in her south side neighborhood and decides to take action.
She gets some friends together and, with a few cameras, they snap pictures of these empty houses. They send the pictures—along with their imaginings of how the structures could be transformed into dream homes for kids without anywhere to live—to community leaders in an effort to spark a change in their unfortunate circumstances.
Early is only a character in Blue Balliett’s newest mystery novel, Hold Fast (Scholastic Press, 2013). But there are more than 30,000 kids in Chicago alone who are homeless just like she is, and some 16,000 vacant properties like the ones that Early dreams of inhabiting.
“Kids will easily share their dreams about a home,” Balliett said in her keynote speech at the American Planning Association’s national conference last week. “They never make small plans.”
Balliett, a bestselling author of young adult literature, told planners that she came up with the idea for Hold Fast during the housing downturn, when she noticed a dearth of news stories about the effect foreclosures were having on her target audience.
“The children were invisible,” she said. “I kept wondering about the kids: Who are they and what does it feel like to grow up without a front door?” Continue reading »
Dave Liniger, chairman and co-founder of RE/MAX, has a long list of accomplishments. He’s raced cars at Daytona and trained with NASA. He’s parachuted from airplanes and hunted big game in exotic locations around the world. He’s been a police officer and a soldier. How does a guy like that face the idea that he may never walk again?
In late January of last year, Liniger discovered he couldn’t move his legs. What he initially assumed was part of his chronic back pain turned out to be a staph infection that not only ran the entire length of his spine and into his brain stem, but it also spread to his blood, meaning he was septic and in real danger of dying for weeks on end. My Next Step: An Extraordinary Journey of Healing and Hope (Hay House Inc., 2013) is Liniger’s memoir of the next seven months of his life, from feverish hallucinations to drug-induced comas to the long recovery from multiple surgeries and partial paralysis. The book includes short vignettes from family, friends, and professionals who helped care for Liniger in the hospital and through physical therapy.
The book isn’t really about real estate, but the main character might be familiar to real estate pros, even if they’ve never been affiliated with RE/MAX. Liniger has that I’ll-sleep-when-I-die attitude that many successful real estate brokers display through long hours and an ever-present can-do spirit. That kind of determination might lead a person through a tough transaction or office merger, but can it lead a person back from the brink of death? Continue reading »
Real estate is as cutting edge as it is traditional, and the same thing goes for the English language. Just think: When you’re calling a prospect on your cell, you might “dial” in their number, just as you might also “hang up” when you’re finished. But is there a rotary dial on your phone or a cradle within which you can hang the mouthpiece of your telephone? Nope.
As a word nerd, I love these contradictions that flavor our everyday speech. In I Love it When You Talk Retro: Hoochie Coochie, Double Whammy, Drop a Dime, and the Forgotten Origins of American Speech (St. Martin’s Press, 2009), author Ralph Keyes calls these contradictions “retroterms,” or “verbal artifacts that hang around in our national conversation long after the topic they refer to has galloped into the sunset.”
I Love it When You Talk Retro is a fascinating book by all accounts, and worth a read just for fun. But for Book Scan readers, I pulled out a few of the more real estate-related items for which you might want to know the origins.
Ever encountered an actual skeleton in the closet of one of your listings? Probably not nowadays, but in nineteenth-century England you may have. In the beginning of the era of modern medicine, doctors found that dissecting corpses was a very good way to learn about the human body and disease. However, doing so was illegal. So doctors had to hide the results of such experiments in closets, for fear of punishment. Now, of course, a “skeleton in the closet” is more likely to refer to family secrets than any frightening open house surprises.
Some of the best deals are struck on the front porch. Yet, back when political candidates William McKinley, Benjamin Harrison, and Warren G. Harding used front porch campaigns to connect with fellow citizens, they were derided as lazy by opponents who crisscrossed the country for votes. It was not particularly impressive to give speeches from one’s own front porch, but effectiveness is another measure altogether. Though each front porch campaigner experienced success from their efforts, the phrase is still used as a way to describe lethargic efforts to win people over. Or maybe it’s just a soft sell technique? You decide.
Next time you’re showing off the backyard of an early 20th-century home, don’t offer to take house hunters on a trip to the woodshed. Continue reading »
Being accountable for one’s actions is indisputably a good thing. But what about your boss’ inability to properly communicate, or a flat tire? Are you responsible for the ramifications of your own bad luck?
Local readers may think my headline is in response to the painfully prolonged winter Chicago is experiencing, well into meteorological spring. Actually, this piece comes from two books I happened to read in succession that have two different answers to the accountability question.
In Success Under Stress (which I reviewed a few weeks back), Sharon Melnick argues that holding yourself accountable for things that are out of your control is just going to stress you out and make you less productive:
Every challenge can be divided into two categories—the 50 percent of factors we can control and the 50 percent we can’t. Factors we can’t control include macrolevel forces, such as market trends, technology developments, senior leadership decisions, reorganizations, traffic… Additionally, there are a myriad of microlevel forces we can’t control, such as someone else’s tone of voice or what they write in an e-mail.
Things that are out of your control attract your attention like a magnet attracts metal. However, by focusing on factors outside of your control, you’re setting yourself up for stress.
In Where Winners Live, a new book by Dave Porter and Linda Galliano, the authors argue that if you “adopt a mindset of 100 percent accountability,” then “chances are good that it will work out in your favor.” They compare the days of Vince (who is 100 percent accountable) to that of Katherine (who only accepts accountability for 85 percent):
Occasionally, Katherine reasons, circumstances beyond her control cause her bad results. Take the weather, traffic, the occasional flat tire, or a restless night that left her without enough energy for her day…
Back to Vince. It rains on his way to work as often as it does during Katherine’s commute. But he leaves his house so early in the morning that he has plenty of leeway to deal with weather-delayed slow traffic and still arrives at work on time. He experiences few flat tires and car troubles because he knows a few minutes of preventive maintenance now will save him from losing up to an hour later… He plows through the days when he feels sluggish or has the sniffles, because he knows each day will end at 6pm and he needs to finish his work by then.
I was recently introduced to the music of an Australian rock band called The Beards. There’s a lot to like about them: Their tunes are catchy, they are talented musicians, and their lyrics are terribly witty. But what sets them apart from your average talented, hook-heavy folk-rock is their single-minded focus on subject matter. This band writes and performs songs exclusively about beards and the people who grow them.
Yep, you heard me right. Their third album (Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard) features such proto-hits as I Think Beards are Great, The Beard Accessory Store, and There’s Just Nothing Better Than a Beard. I think they’re pretty clear about where they stand on the subject.
The Beards have committed to doing one thing, and doing it extremely well. I think Gary Keller would approve. See, that single-mindedness is the focus of Keller’s new book, The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.
The best-selling author and Keller Williams International Realty co-founder teamed up with the VP of his company’s publishing arm to write The One Thing, which will be available starting April 1, 2013. Functionally, their suggestion is a good one to follow. It’s important to have a focus in your company, just as it’s important to know what the core of your value proposition is. Even if the whole purpose of your company is creating and selling songs about beards, you’d better be off on a world tour trumpeting your beard songs to the heavens if you want to achieve the kind of extraordinary success that Keller talks about (and, frankly, has experienced himself). Continue reading »
When change comes to town, it seems to divide people into two camps: victims and villains. Those who precipitated the change are often the bad guys of the situation. And everyone else seems to be warily looking for their name on the chopping block. Change has the same effect on businesses, which is why mergers and other structural shake-ups can be so damaging to morale and productivity.
But they don’t have to be. While reading Sharon Melnick’s new book, Success Under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure’s On, I came across her seemingly stellar exercise for people who are going through this kind of flux. It’s called “WIN at Change.” While it is intended for the individual, I think that brokers, managers and leaders of all kinds could benefit from it.
The exercise is predicated on Melnick’s theory that if you take responsibility for your 50 percent of any given situation, your stress level will decrease, as you’re holding up your end of the bargain with the understanding that you can’t do it all. I think that’s a key component to this exercise, and I think managers would do well to mention that ideal as an introduction to the exercise. As Melnick says, “It’s tempting to comment negatively on other peoples’ decision or to be fearful of the uncertainty, but the way to stay productive is by managing yourself” (emphasis hers). If nothing else, it should quiet detractors long enough to get through the exercise!
So, here’s what you do. Gather all the stakeholders and hand them two pieces of paper. The first one should be split into thirds, and the second one blank. Here’s your script: Continue reading »