Every year, British magazine Financial Times (along with Goldman Sachs) puts together a panel of judges to select the number one financial book of the year. The winner gets a £30,000 prize for providing “the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.” But the problem with talking about “modern business issues” today is that the financial crisis still looms large over most books that are being published now.
Interestingly, FT writer Andrew Hill noted in a recent blog post that several books “tested the panel’s resolve not to overload the shortlist with books about the financial crisis.” In the end, two of the six books on the shortlist announced last week deal directly with the economic woes of the last few years: Iain Martin’s Making It Happen (about Royal Bank of Scotland) and Neil Irwin’s The Alchemists (on central bankers).
This concerted effort on the part of these judges to avoid such books was intriguing to me. Are we already finished thinking deeply about how the financial crisis affected today’s business? Continue reading »
“REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”
—Article 12 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
Do you remember Mario Jannatpour? Check out this interview we did with him back in 2011. We also did a profile on him last year about his training system and all the rookies he’s helped get started in the industry. It’s a good read.
Now Jannatpour has a pretty good read on his hands as well. I just took a look through the new edition of his second book, The Honest Real Estate Agent: A Training Guide For a Successful First Year and Beyond as a Real Estate Agent, and I really liked it. In its purest form, the book focuses in on the basic questions. You know, “How do I get started? Should I spend marketing dollars on a website or direct mail?” That sort of thing.
But what sets this book apart from all the other getting-started-in-real-estate handbooks is Jannatpour’s focus on honesty. He makes the point that it’s easy to say you’ll be honest. But when you know a huge amount about a property, how do you decide what is a need-to-know fact and what is just info-clutter?
Jannatpour says that the internal conflict over honesty “happens so fast that most times you are not even aware of it.” But there’s one very simple way to head it off at the pass: Continue reading »
Full disclosure: I used to read the dictionary as a kid. For fun. That said, I recently received the eighth edition of Barron’s Real Estate Handbook, and I’ve been paging through it whenever I get the chance.
It’s basically a real estate dictionary on steroids. Not only does it have some unconventional definitions and explanations of how each term relates to real estate (i.e.: Baby Boomers, etc.), but most of their more complex definitions include concrete examples explaining how a real estate term works in real life. They include helpful hints for running one’s business, such as the typical fees for a management agreement. And the index is filled with practical mathematical tables that can help you figure out depreciation, monthly mortgage payments by annual interest rate percentage, and many other common real estate equations. Finally, the worksheets and forms at the end are very helpful, with certain forms offering a URL where you can find a printable version of the form online.
But as a word nerd, my favorite thing to do with this book was to challenge my real estate vocabulary with some of the more esoteric terms out there. So, I thought I’d put together a quick quiz for those of you who want to do the same. Continue reading »
Say what you will about online shopping behemoth Amazon.com. In my humble opinion, the best thing about the whole site is the reviews. Sometimes they actually help me decide whether or not to purchase a product that I can’t see with my own eyes. Other times, they are less educational and more absurdist.
It’s easy to laugh at the amount of time and extreme passion people pour into reviewing some ultimately meaningless products. But then again, I could spend hours reading what these same people have to say, so who’s the real chump here?
Some reviews (both joke memes and serious-though-hilarious) have made it big in social media. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, stop reading this now and read just a couple of the thousands of reviews for the infamous Hutzler-571 Banana Slicer. Or check in on the ongoing debate over whether or not employees of the Transportation Security Administration deserve to be children’s role models.
All jokes aside, the power of crowdsourcing a purchase is not lost on anyone these days. Often here on the Book Scan Blog, we’ll check in to see what real estate books are popular according to Amazon’s unknowable algorithms. But what about the top-reviewed real estate business books?
Well here are the top five, along with some review excerpts that I found helpful.
“Michael provides an easy to follow, step by step system to create long lasting relationships with our clients and vendors that result in an endless supply of referrals.”
“This book was just what I was looking for. Simple, do-able and personal.”
—Jo and Darin Bloomington IL
Is a real estate career just a series of transactions strung together over a lifetime? Or is it a series of interpersonal relationships that form, dissolve and then reform again?
I came to this question reading the Negotiation (Amacom, 2013) book in The Brian Tracy Success Library. It’s basically just a pocket guide to one subsection of sales techniques, so I was combing through it for a review. That’s when I came to a subhead titled “The Chinese Contract.” This piqued the interest of my internal anthropologist. I could imagine that contracts would be envisioned differently in China than they are in the U.S. for a variety of reasons. But in what way would they be different?
I was somewhat surprised when I read Tracy’s explanation that Chinese contracts are more flexible, thorough, and durable than American ones:
In the Chinese mentality, everything that can be thought of or anticipated is written down. But there is a clear understanding that, as the arrangement goes forward, new information will emerge and new situations will arise. This new information and these new situations will necessitate revising the contract so that it is still fair and equitable for both parties. Continue reading »
Sometimes it’s nice to get a little incentive to do what you know you probably should be doing anyway. Starting today, the National Association of REALTORS®’ library is offering a special deal to any member who downloads a free book from them through the Member Value Plus Program. Get this: In exchange for you checking out a free e-book from their collection, they are going to give you your own copy of NAR’s Social Media for REALTORS®: Your Website guide.
The offer runs until July 31, but the library is an awesome member benefit even without the incentive. In fact, I’ve been meaning to write about Info Central’s e-book program for quite some time, because I think it has a lot to offer and isn’t widely known among members. They offer more than 3,500 digital books, audiobooks, and videos that can be downloaded to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The topics tend to be business-oriented, though there are some really interesting options outside of real estate. Continue reading »
I read a lot of press releases. Whether it’s from a brokerage boasting about a great second quarter, a tech company angling to get their new doodad into our Cool Tools section, or an author pitching their latest book, most of them fail on a really basic level: They’re not telling me a story.
Author Nicolas Boillot aims to help you fix that problem when it comes to marketing your business. His newest book (and first foray into the business section), I Killed a Rabid Fox With a Croquet Mallet: Making Your Business Stories Compelling and Memorable (HB Books, 2013), breaks down the elements of a good story into their simplest components. He then explains the relationships between these components. For example, you can spout the values of your business all day long. And you can tell me all you want about how amazing your fourth quarter results are. But can you connect the two? If so, you’re on your way to starting to tell a story.
But that’s just the beginning. Here are some of Boillot’s key points to telling a great story about your business:
Know your audience. It may seem like an obvious point, but that’s just because you remember it from grade school. Things are different now: You’re trying to tell a company’s story. And yet they’re also the same, because you’re trying to tell the story to people. News flash: People don’t want to hear about companies; they want to hear about people. The good news is that your company is full of fascinating people that will tell your company’s story better than it, as an organization, can.
Don’t always follow the leader. Even if it’s you. Boillot reminds readers that while leaders often have a compelling story to tell, “sometimes they have enormous egos, want their stories told, and no one around them has the courage to suggest it’s a bad idea.” Boillot then talks about how he diplomatically helped a CEO see that a video all about how awesome he is would not make for a compelling story, and how he helped the guy introduce some conflict (and other characters) into the tale.