2019’s Best 24 Books For Commercial Real Estate Investors

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Great Book Ideas for Commercial Real Estate Brokers and Investors

To be a successful commercial real estate investor in Houston, you should know the ins-and-outs of the industry and stay on top of trends. In some cases, furthering your investor expertise is as simple as reading a book. So if you are a commercial real estate investor or a prospective investor who wants to hone their knowledge, we recommend these 24 top real estate books.

1. The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decision Making and Investment, by William J. Poorvu and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

Are you looking for tips to boost your commercial real estate investment game? Poorvu has plenty. Drawing from 40 years of experience in commercial real estate combined with 30 years as a Harvard Business School professor, Poorvu offers an inside scoop on developing, owning, and managing commercial properties. In The Real Estate Game, he introduces several techniques and tools that teach you how to get into ‘the game’. Throughout this book, he utilizes case studies that will help you evaluate, develop, and operate all types of real estate investments. Additionally, Poorvu offers various viewpoints and addresses everyone in the commercial real estate process.

2. Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leasing, by Martin I. Zankel

Unlike other books on leasing, this one does way more than offer advice on drafting leases and give a few samples. Zankel’s book goes deeper and outlines specific issues that lay beneath various lease components and clauses. And he does this from both sides of the transaction, showing both tenants’ and landlords’ perspectives. For newer investors who want to learn commercial real estate, this book shines light on issues like differences between standard landlord and tenant leases, the critical issues addressed by each lease clause, specific negotiating strategies for different commercial real estate sectors, and other valuable issues.

3. How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

Published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book is a mainstay for influencers, entrepreneurs, and public figures. It is also one of the best-selling books of all time (over 15 million copies have been sold worldwide). In 2011, Time Magazine ranked it 19th on its list of the 100 most influential books. Making friends quickly and easily and increasing your popularity are two of Carnegie’s main topics. However, this book also instructs readers on things like becoming a better salesman, handling complaints, developing into a better speaker, and becoming a more entertaining conversationalist. Overall, this is definitely one of the top real estate books for business leaders and commercial real estate investors.

4. A Master Guide to Income Property Brokerage: Boost Your Income By Selling Commercial and Income Properties, by John M. Peckham III

This practical guide is a must for investors because it offers you the chance to learn from a man who knows what he’s talking about. As CEO of Peckham Boston Advisors, John Peckham has been personally involved in the sale of over $1 billion in real estate throughout his career. Within this book, he offers practical step-by-step strategies for investors. You’ll learn things like the fine points of selling income properties, how to increase commissions, and how to begin selling income properties. Peckham covers nuts-and-bolts topics like turning leads into listings that sell, pricing properties to sell quickly, advertising income property, and tips for showing income properties for quick sales.

5. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, by Gary Keller

If the name ‘Keller’ sounds familiar, it’s because the author is none other than Gary Keller, Keller Williams Realty International’s Founder and Chairman of the Board. Currently, KWI is the nation’s largest privately held real estate agency and one of the nation’s fastest-growing agencies. In this book, Keller explains several key concepts to help investors and brokers think like Millionaire Real Estate Agents. With step-by-step, how-to instructions, Keller describes how you can net a million annually. He does this by encouraging agents and investors to be the best that they can be. In this book, Keller offers keys for driving production based on the models on which high-achievers build their businesses.

6. SHIFT Commercial, by Buddy Norman

As one of NAREE’s 2012 winners of the Robert Bruss Real Estate Book Awards, SHIFT Commercial is widely recognized as one of the best commercial real estate books for top investors and brokers alike. Another Keller Williams man, Buddy Norman is a Founder and former President of KW Commercial. Norman understands what it takes for investors and agents to thrive in a changing market. As the title suggests, this book deals with market shifts, their inevitability, and how to deal with them. Inside, Norman offers strategies, tactics, and insights based on proven models for staying nimble and taking advantage of investment opportunities. Specifically, he covers topics like finding motivated leads, getting them to the table, Internet lead conversion, and other powerful strategies. As such, it is one of the best books about real estate.

7. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss

If the concept of working smarter, not harder appeals to you, this book is for you. In it, the author questions the standards of work, productivity, retirement, and ‘the deferred-life plan’. While The 4-Hour Workweek doesn’t specifically teach about commercial real estate, these principles can be applied to any profession. Building on his personal experience, Ferriss outlines how he went from working 80 hours per week for $40,000 a year to only working 4 hours per week for the same amount of money. In the latest expanded version, he offers over 50 practical tips based on case studies from people who benefited from the original edition.

8. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

No one can refute the idea that digital technology has already changed life as we know it, including how you do business. In this New York Times bestseller, two MIT thinkers chronicle the ways in which the digital age impacts on our lives. Like The 4-Hour Workweek, The Second Machine Age isn’t specifically about learning commercial real estate. Yet every investor can benefit from the ‘adapt or die’ worldview that Brynjolfsson and McAfee present. Far from being a negative critique, this book offers strategies like revamping education and adopting new policies that fit our new digital world. Consequently, this is an interesting read for any real estate investor.

9. Value Added: Successful Strategies for Listing & Selling Investment Real Estate, by Brad Umansky

No matter where you are in your commercial real estate investment career, there’s always room for improvement. Overall, this is a book written by an expert that even the most seasoned agents, brokers, and investors can learn from. Umansky, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, has been in commercial real estate since 1992. Throughout his career, he has been involved with over 600 commercial real estate transactions. As the title Value Added suggests, he dives into successful strategies for listing and selling almost every type of property.

10. Brokers Who Dominate: 8 Traits of Top Producers, by Rod Santomassimo

Author Rod Santomassimo has over 30 years of real estate experience. He’s also the founder of The Massimo Group, a commercial real estate coaching and consulting firm. Based on his three decades of industry experience, he relates the stories of some of North America’s most successful commercial real estate brokers. In Brokers Who Dominate, Santomassimo pulls lessons from each of their careers and presents ideas for boosting your own investment career. He also introduces the idea that dominant brokers and top producers aren’t only the old-guard found in the top tiers or commercial real estate. Instead, he shows that anyone can dominate in commercial real estate, regardless of their level of experience.

11. Good to Great, by Jim Collins

Researcher and instructor Jim Collins has sold more than 10 million books worldwide. Based on his personal curiosity about what makes a successful company, he based this book on years of research. Using side-by-side comparisons over the course of five years, Collins and his team analyzed twenty-eight companies. In the process, they discovered keys to each company’s success. In this Good to Great, Collins reveals some common management strategies and practice which produce success. As a result, this book is extremely for investors wishing to work with top commercial real estate companies in Houston.

12. Getting Things Done, by David Allen

What does it mean to ‘get things done’? What’s an accurate definition of ‘done’? Who determines when a task is done? Although it all sounds heady and philosophical at first, Allen provides a practical framework for examining why and how you do what you do. For example, he talks about mastering your workflow. He says that anxiety and guilt aren’t caused by having too much to do. Instead, they come from ‘breaking agreements with yourself.’ Allen also proposes great truisms. For example, he says that continuing to dwell on something you’re not making progress on is a waste of time. With Getting Things Done, you can learn to be more productive while also reducing your stress. What’s more, these principles can be applied to any profession or job.

13. The Art of Public Speaking, by Dale Carnegie

Without a doubt, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People, established him as one of the 20th century’s great influencers. However, two decades prior to that book, he wrote The Art of Public Speaking. This straightforward work teaches you how to speak effectively to people and have confidence while doing it. The main idea of this book is simple: to become a great public speaker, you need to practice, not be afraid, have a positive attitude, and do it repeatedly. In summary, commercial real estate investors or business owners who want to polish their public persona and speak with greater clarity, ease, and authority should read this book.

14. Attitude 101, by John Maxwell

As a commercial real estate investors, why does your attitude matter? If you lead manage other people, why does having a good attitude matter? Maxwell says that attitude is contagious. As he says, “Good attitudes on a team do not guarantee its success, but bad attitudes guarantee its ruin.” This axiom is the cornerstone of Maxwell’s guidebook about having a good attitude. Within this book, you learn a number of great lessons like how attitude impacts performance, how to change a bad attitude, and how adopting a great attitude helps a leader level up and keep progressing. Attitude 101 is a practical guide that helps you identify common attitude problems that undermine your team. On top of that, Maxwell helps you create new definitions of success and failure to improve performance, both yours and your team’s.

15. The Carrot Principle, by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton

First published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller offers a fresh paradigm on management. After reading this book, many managers have been able to energize their teams. As a result, their companies have boosted their outputs. By using case studies on companies like Disney, DHL, and Pepsi Bottling Group, the authors show that recognition is key to good management. The main idea is simple — recognition in the form of praise and rewards produces immediate results. Thus, these managers lead with carrots, not sticks. Another practical guide in our list of top real estate books, The Carrot Principle walks managers through concrete steps for improving their leadership skills.

16. Delivering Happiness at Zappos, by Tony Hsieh

Part autobiography and part business manual, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh offers lessons from his own business ventures and his life. First of all, Hsieh shows how large of a role corporate culture plays in achieving results. In Hsieh’s case, he created a company culture that values happiness. And as the title says, Hsieh focuses on passing that happiness on to employees, vendors, and customers. To boil it down to the basics, Delivering Happiness emphasizes his main point — if the corporate culture is right, everything else falls in line. In the end, investors who are looking to work with one of the top commercial real estate companies in Houston can learn from the Zappos story what kind of firm they need.

17. The Dip, by Seth Godin

Are winners really the best quitters? That’s what Seth Godin would have you believe. The subtitle of this book reveals a lot about its contents — A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). This New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller encourages the average investor and commercial real estate agent Houston to know when to keep going and when to stop. So what is the Dip? Regardless of what you do, there is always a point where things get hard. According to Godin, that point is ‘the Dip’. He says that those who successfully pass this point are the real achievers and standouts of the world. Because of this perspective, The Dip is one of our top real estate books for investors and business leaders.

18. Failing Forward, by John Maxwell

There is a common misconception that some people are destined to succeed. If this is true, then the opposite is true as well — some people are destined to fail. Is the former group simply blessed? Do they have better opportunities? Or are they just lucky? John Maxwell argues that Achievers achieve because of their response to failure. In fact, he says that most people are totally unprepared for failure. As a result, when they fail, they have no idea how to respond. Consequently, Maxwell wrote this book to help people, like commercial real estate investors, to “look the prospect of failure in the eye and move forward anyway”. Failing Forward offers practical tips for dealing with problems and coming out on the other side triumphant.

19. Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on Schedule, by Zig Ziglar

Author, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar wrote over 30 books. In his own life, Ziglar was familiar with success and failure. For example, his first book See You At The Top was published in 1975, but only after publishers rejected it 39 times. In his classic book Goals, Ziglar offers seven steps for making and reaching your current goals and long-term goals. The book teaches through stories of business people, athletes, and scientists. In general, making and reaching goals is crucial to growth for a commercial real estate investor. This book can help you to set specific goals, understand why you made them, collect the resources necessary for success, and create an actionable plan to maximize your investments.

20. How Successful People Think, by John Maxwell

Due to the way they view the world, innovators frequently set themselves apart from everyone else. When compared to the rest of us, successful people seem to live in a drastically different world. Yet innovators tend to be people who are more creative and who question the status quo and popular viewpoints. This Wall Street Journal bestseller is fairly self-explanatory. As a widely-renowned expert on leadership, Maxwell offers even more priceless insight into what you need to be a successful commercial real estate investor. As he examines how certain people think, Maxwell teaches you how to explore your creative potential, develop ideas, and learn lessons from the past in order to anticipate the future.

21. Managing Oneself, by Peter F. Drucker

Without a doubt, self-examination is key to success. In this book, Drucker probes into the depths of who you are and why you do what you do. Some people refer to the Austrian-born Drucker as the founder of modern management. On the subject of management theory, he is one of the most influential thinkers and writers. His assumption is this: the average company doesn’t manage their employee’s careers. As a result, Drucker believed each person is responsible for their own career growth and development. He explains how modern professionals create their own place in the world and must recognize when they need to change direction. What’s more, Drucker encourages readers to understand themselves and to identify their best strengths and worst weaknesses. Overall, Managing Oneself probes your inner life and forces you to ask hard questions about yourself and your career.

22. Mentoring 101, by John Maxwell

This very practical guide emphasizes the connection between mentoring and success. If you are in a management position in commercial real estate and want the people under you to succeed, this is a quick primer on being a mentor. In this guide, Maxwell asks questions like ‘how do you define success’ and ‘what values guide your decision’. By examining and refining your mentoring abilities, you can use Maxwell’s guidance to become a more effective mentor. In the end, you will contribute directly to your success in real estate investment. On top of that, you’ll learn how to contribute to the success of everyone under you. Additionally, if you’re at the beginning of your investment career, Mentoring 101 can help you identify a mentor to help you learn the business.

23. Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill

Inspired to write this book by famed business magnate Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill published this classic during the Great Depression. Written in 1937, this personal development and self-improvement book has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. Although Think and Grow Rick mainly focuses on increasing your income, Hill believed that anyone could succeed in any endeavor by following the book’s advice. In this philosophy, Hill introduces 13 practical principles to follow. We recommend this book as one of the best commercial real estate books because it exposes investors to Hill’s ‘Philosophy of Achievement’.

24. Richest Man in Babylon, by George Samuel Clason

If you love stories and parables, this book is for you. Clason relates his book’s lessons as a collection of ancient Babylon parables. Through them, he introduces a number of characters who manage their businesses and households. As the characters move through the stories, they learn simple yet valuable financial lessons. First published in 1926, Richest Man in Babylon offers timeless advice for investors working with the top commercial real estate companies in Houston.

To Become a Top Investor, Read the Top Real Estate Books

Undoubtedly, honing your real estate investment expertise doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive. At the same time, learning about commercial real estate does require you to invest your time and energy. So on top of everything you’re already doing to become a savvy commercial real estate investor, read a handful of these 24 best commercial real estate books.

Reach Your Full Potential

If you’re a commercial real estate investor, you definitely want to maximize your investments. There are numerous ways to do this. You can improve existing properties to raise their value. Or you can fix and flip older properties and bring them into the 21st century. However, a simple yet effective way to maximize your investments is by growing your knowledge.

With these books, you can learn from dozens of experts with proven track records. And along the way, you can increase your knowledge and become a more sophisticated investor. After all, if you’re going to do something, shouldn’t you strive to reach your full potential?

Ready to Invest? Contact CXRE Today!

Are you a new investor? Or do you have a large portfolio of commercial assets? CXRE offers both brokerage and management services throughout Houston. On top of that, we use efficient service and innovative business modeling to do things the right way. And we provide the things that commercial owners care about: deal speed, talent, and a tenant-centric mindset.

Do you need a broker to lead you through buying your first property? Do you already own properties and need an experienced property management company to handle your assets? No matter what commercial real estate needs you might have, CXRE’s professional team of experienced brokers can help. Contact us today!

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