Top 10 Real Estate Business Books

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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. Home Buying Kit For Dummies by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown (Mar 6, 2012)
  4. Buy It, Rent It, Profit!: Make Money as a Landlord in ANY Real Estate Market by Bryan M. Chavis (Apr 14, 2009)
  5. Real Estate License Exams For Dummies by Drei John A. Yoegel (Jan 28, 2005)
  6. What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow… And 36 Other Key Financial Measures by Frank Gallinelli (Sep 8, 2008)
  7. Real Estate Investing For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Eric Tyson and Robert S. Griswold (Mar 3, 2009)
  8. Every Landlord’s Tax Deduction Guide by Stephen Fishman J.D. (Dec 28, 2012)
  9. Property Management Kit For Dummies by Robert S. Griswold (Feb 18, 2013)
  10. How to Buy Real Estate Overseas by Kathleen Peddicord (Apr 8, 2013)

In particular, I’m surprised at the fact that there are four books from the “For Dummies” empire here. Then again, we are looking at a list of popularity, not necessarily “brightest insight” or “best-in-class.”

What do you think about these and the other books that managed to get on this list? Or maybe you’ve recently picked up a book that you’d like to see on Amazon’s top ten. Let me know in the comment space below.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]

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  1. Wow, “….for dummies” books putting 4 titles in the top ten. That being said, they are good at breaking down the basics.

  2. Leslie Howard-Redweik

    So, then where are lists for informative, insightful, practical, and ‘best in class’ real estate agent books? I’d really like an all time best of best list that are judged based on their content after reading, not just sales numbers! Please!

  3. Leslie, have you been reading the Book Scan? 😉

    That’s pretty much my mission here: to review insightful, practical, “best in class” real estate agent books and let you know what I think of them. I don’t have a list, per se, because I believe some books are better for certain situations/readers/etc.

    If you want a running list, subscribe to our RSS ( and you’ll get a weekly dose!

  4. Seems to me other then the Millionaire Agent book, I would be looking at other sources outside of the realm of real estate.

    Start with Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    Power Negotiating, Roger Dawson
    I’m OK Your OK, Thomas Harris
    Crucial Conversations, Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Patterson, Kerry etal
    How To Speak and Write Correctly, Devlin
    The Apple Experience, Gallo

    And a subscription to the Harvard Business Review as well.

    These are what I have read.

  5. Leslie,
    I have been, by anyone’s standards, a highly successful real estate producer and managing broker. I have more than 20 years’ experience in leading, teaching, training, and coaching real estate agents. Here is what I have found. There are not 10 top real estate books. But there are three, and they all have something in common. They were written By Gray Keller and Jay Papasan. On two of the books, Dave Jenks was also significantly involved. All of these books were incredibly researched. However, even these best of the best books have some drawbacks.
    First, here are the three:
    The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (The real title of the book is the subtitle)
    The Millionaire Real Estate Investor
    The One Thing
    The One Thing is also the newest, and perhaps the best. I should admit that I have some bias because I have met and attended meetings with all of the authors. I believe they are all very smart men, who truly know and understand real estate, and how to help real estate agents be successful. Gary Keller is, without a doubt, one of the smartest men I have ever met.
    I have also met and attended some meetings with Mike Ferry and Craig Procter. Neither has a vision that is anything nearly as well rounded, in my opinion. Both of these guys are successful pitch men who make a lot of money selling what turns out to be pop fluff to most people. Those agents who can truly follow their “systems” completely do well. Mike Ferry’s approach is heartless and cares nothing for the agent’s client. It is take a listing and move on. Somebody will sell it. Craig Procter’s system is to spend a lot of money, a LOT of money on attending multiple seminars, buying into multiple programs, and advertise your way to success. It can make you rich if you don’t go broker first. Most go broke first. Of course, all of the above is simply my opinion.
    The big problem with all real estate books is that, at best, and the best are identified above, they can tell you what to do. What you need to know is how to do it. That takes education, training, and coaching. There are a lot of national trainers and coaches that will take a lot of money to have someone read to you what the script says on their monitor as they coach you by phone.
    My advice: Read the books above. Read “The One Thing” first, and then the Millionaire Real Estate Agent. Time and opportunities will tell you when to move up to the Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
    Find a really good real estate office where bigger producers will actually help you. Find a good broker who really knows his stuff, and is willing to not only “teach you the business”, which is a nice claim. You need someone who will not only teach, which is what to do; but train, which is how to do it; and coach, which is holding you accountable to reach your goals.
    Two last things, I took the time to right this because your question seemed sincere. While I did manage and lead a Keller Williams office, I am not affiliated with Keller Williams in any way now. There is no benefit for me in saying anything nice about Gary or the other authors or Keller management. I believe that Keller Williams International is a great company with great vision and programs. I believe, in many cases, once the vision and programs leave corporate, they are often distorted at best and corrupted at worst. The high ethical standards and the “Belief System” promulgated by KW International is totally lost, in some cases, in the hands of franchise owners, operating principals, and team leaders. Again, all of this is only opinion, and may not be factual. That, in real estate, is called a “Disclaimer”.
    Best wishes for your success.

  6. Thank you, Meg, for compiling “the list”. And I can tell that you know these are practical books that so many new Realtors purchase when beginning. And, no, they are obviously just the surface as exposed by Larry Houston as well as yourself. (And I am not a salesperson, my husband is, but I will absolutely subscribe to the RSS feed to pick up some intelligence from yourself and, in these posts, from your readers also.)

    I want to thank Larry Houston also. I have no idea where he’s located and to what capacity he is working now. But he sounds to me, like the kind of person he says is a valuable connection when finding your place in this big profession. I am not overly-involved in my husband’s career (because he commutes half the week to work with his mom at the office she is affiliated with), but I have already picked up on the agents who seem especially helpful and those who help in real opportune times (for you but also for them to be seen) and then those who aren’t going to give you the time of day (but at least these people are honest about that).

    Back on point, Larry I think takes the extra time to give advice … sort of like a sage. 🙂 I hope my husband finds one of “you” to be a guide in this business and that he in turn, pays back that invaluable service one day by starting the cycle once again and taking someone under his wing.

  7. I love the convo here! Thanks so much for your insightful comments, all.

  8. Justin

    I would say the “For dummies” franchise is actually pretty good now at relaying basic fundamentals and chock full of useful information. I think we too often judge a book by its cover and in this case, we get the impression that it isn’t professional enough for us with a cartoon on the cover and its remedial implication. Sure, you could find all the information online and spend hours indexing articles together, but the tangible nature and congruency of ideas about a particular topic works well for these “For dummies” books.

  9. Does not surprise me to see these titles that are on the top ten. A lot of people are looking at real estate investing and getting back into real estate sales. The Dummies brand is enduing and has a number of titles in the real estate field. Being an author for Dummies and having written Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies, Successful Time Management for Dummies and Telephone Sales for Dummies to name a few. The public knows that the brand has quality, how to’s and solid information for people who are starting a career or are in need of a refresher of the fundamental. Today’s market is a fundamental market where the core skills will dominate.

  10. This list excites me…on many levels. 😉

  11. Meg, I would like to thank you for compiling this list and have enjoyed the comments by everyone.
    I am definitely subscribed now with the RSS feed.

  12. Mike McDonough

    What is (are) the best book(s) out there for buildIng/increasing referrals from your real estate business? Any help would be greatly appreciated.