2021’s Top Commercial Real Estate Books for Investors and Brokers

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This Year’s Best Commercial Real Estate Books for Brokers and Investors

Top real estate booksTo be a successful investor or commercial real estate agent in Houston or anywhere else, you should know the ins-and-outs of the industry and stay on top of current trends. In some cases, learning commercial real estate is as simple as reading a book. Here are the top books for CRE investors and prospective investors in 2021.

These books will help you gain knowledge and hone your skills, giving you the advantage in commercial real estate investing.

1. Long-Distance Real Estate Investing by David Greene

Top real estate BooksOne of the top real estate books on the market, Long-Distance Real Estate helps commercial investors find, purchase, and manage properties outside their local area. With all that’s happening in the world right now, your local market might be sluggish. Greene’s book shows you how to identify properties in other cities and states and make those properties work hard for you.

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

The Real Estate Game PoorvuAre 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 to get you learning commercial real estate tricks and tactics quickly.

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.

3. Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leasing by Martin I. Zankel

Negotiating Commercial Real Estate LeasingUnlike other books on leasing, Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leasing goes far beyond simply drafting a lease. It’s a comprehensive guide for owners, investors, and property managers, as well as tenants. 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 the tenants’ and landlords’ perspectives.

For newer investors who are learning commercial real estate, this book shines a 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 information. It’s one of the best commercial real estate books for helping both investors and property managers understand the inner workings of the industry.

4. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence PeoplePublished in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book is a mainstay for influencers, entrepreneurs, and public figures. It is also one of the top real estate 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. Carnegie focuses intently on making friends quickly and increasing your popularity. 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 best books about real estate and business as a whole for leaders and commercial real estate investors. Whether you’re new to the game or have been investing in CRE for decades, this book will give you a new perspective on business.

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

A Master Guide to Income Property Brokerage

If you want to learn about commercial real estate investing from someone who knows the business well, this practical guide is a must. 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 commercial real estate investors and agents. You’ll learn 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.

6. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller

The Millionaire Real Estate AgentIf 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 5th largest real estate company in North America and one of the nation’s fastest-growing agencies.

In one of the best books about real estate you can read, 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. The author focuses on driving production based on the models high-achievers follow to build their businesses. This book is an absolute must for top commercial real estate agents nationwide.

7. SHIFT Commercial by Buddy Norman

SHIFT CommercialAs 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 commercial real estate 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.

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

The 4-Hour WorkweekIf the concept of working smarter, not harder appeals to you (and let’s be honest: who doesn’t want that?), you’ll want to read Ferriss’s book. 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. The idea is simple: make more money, in less time, and enjoy all that life has to offer NOW.

Building on his personal experience, Ferriss outlines how he went from working 80 hours per week for $40,000 a year to only working four 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.

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

The Second Machine AgeNo one can refute the idea that digital technology has already changed life as we know it, including how you do business. During the pandemic, we have witnessed more than ever how technology impacts our ability to work, connect, and communicate with others.

In this New York Times bestseller, two MIT thinkers chronicle the ways in which the digital age impacts 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 or real estate broker

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

Value AddedNo matter where you are in your commercial real estate investment career, there’s always room for improvement. Value Added 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 suggests, he dives into successful strategies for listing and selling almost every type of property.

Value Added regularly tops the list of top real estate books for brokers and investors, and with good reason.

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

Brokers Who Dominate: 8 Traits of Top Producers 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, his book relates the stories of some of North America’s most successful commercial real estate brokers. In Brokers Who Dominate, Santomassimo shares lessons from each of his colleague’s careers, giving investors and agents ideas for boosting sales and business. 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.

12. Good to Great by Jim Collins

Good to GreatResearcher and instructor Jim Collins has sold more than 10 million copies of this book worldwide. It’s regularly mentioned and recommended by top business leaders like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, venture capitalist John Doerr, and Dropbox founder and CEO Drew Huston.

While Good to Great isn’t specifically targeted to the commercial real estate industry, its lessons certainly apply to any CRE investor or broker.

Based on his personal curiosity about what makes a successful company, Collins 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 practices which produce success. As a result, this book is valuable for investors wishing to work with top commercial real estate companies in Houston or anywhere in the world.

13. Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done 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’s book and method for productivity give new insights into how we work, when we work, and why we work.

It’s all about efficiency and effectiveness – about working better, not longer. In his book, Allen asserts that anxiety isn’t necessarily a byproduct of having too much to do, but comes instead from not having the resources and framework to get work done efficiently.

Allen also proposes great truisms. For example, he asserts that dwelling on something without making progress 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, including the often stress-inducing commercial real estate industry.

14. The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie

The Art of Public SpeakingWithout a doubt, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People, mentioned above, 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. It’s a great read for real estate investors or business owners who want to polish their public persona and speak with greater clarity, ease, and authority.

15. Attitude 101 by John Maxwell

Attitude 101As a commercial real estate investor, why does your attitude matter? If you lead and manage other people, is a good attitude important? Absolutely, says Maxwell, and 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.

16. The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton

The Carrot PrincipleFirst 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, companies have boosted both performance and outputs thanks to the groundbreaking concepts.

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.

As leaders in the CRE industry, we think The Carrot Principle is one of the top real estate books. Even though it wasn’t written specifically for our industry, the lessons within change team dynamics and create a more profitable and enjoyable workplace for everyone.

17. Delivering Happiness at Zappos by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness at ZapposPart autobiography and part business manual, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh offers lessons from his own business ventures and his life. First, Hsieh shows corporate culture plays a significant role 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 and brokers can learn from Hsieh and establish enjoyable corporate cultures in their offices. Whether one of the top commercial real estate companies in Houston or a smaller subsidiary elsewhere in the world, a culture of happiness will lead to success.

18. The DipThe 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.

19. Failing Forward by John Maxwell

Failing Forward 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. Maxwell wrote this book to help people fail well and to “look the prospect of failure in the eye and move forward anyway”. Failing Forward offers practical tips for dealing with problems and how we can come out the other side stronger and ready to succeed.

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

Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on ScheduleAuthor, salesman, and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar wrote 30 books in his lifetime. 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 short- and long-term goals. The book draws on anecdotes of athletes, business people, politicians, and other leaders, helping you to learn why goals are important. 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.

21. How Successful People Think by John Maxwell

How Successful People ThinkDue 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. 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.

22. Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker

Managing OneselfWithout a doubt, self-examination is the key to success. In this book, Drucker probes into the depths of who you are and why you do what you do.

Drucker, an Austrian-born businessman sometimes referred to as the founder of modern management, is one of the most influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory. 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.

This book is instrumental in helping real estate professionals understand themselves, their place in the world, and the role they play in their business’s success.

23. Mentoring 101Mentoring 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 challenges how success is defined about what values guide our decisions.

By examining and refining our mentoring abilities, we can use Maxwell’s guidance to become a more effective mentor. In the end, Maxwell’s advice will contribute directly to your success in real estate investment or real estate management. In addition, you’ll learn how to contribute to the success of everyone under you. If you’re at the beginning of your investment career, Mentoring 101 can help you identify a mentor to help you learn the business.

24. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon HillThink and Grow Rich

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 Rich 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.”

25. Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason

The Richest Man in BabylonIf 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 and beyond.

Whether you’re just learning commercial real estate or have been in the CRE industry for decades, there are lessons to be gleaned from Clason’s timeless book.

26. The Book on Investing In Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down by Brandon Turner

Book cover Brandon TurnerProof that commercial real estate investing isn’t just for the ultra-wealthy, Turner’s practical book gives potential investors the tools to get started. Turner, the host of the popular Bigger Pockets podcast, offers insight into the world of commercial real estate investing. Specifically, this book identifies ways to finance CRE investment, no matter your net worth. A must-read for those who are new to CRE investments.

Completely revised and updated version for 2021.

27. Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing by Michael Blank

Financial Freedom book coverThe 2021 best selling book in real estate investing on Amazon, Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing helps investors leave their 9-5 jobs and build wealth through commercial real estate. Author Michael Blank is a leading expert in apartment building investment in the United States. Through this practical guide, Blank outlines his process for identifying great deals, taking calculated risks, and generating income through CRE investments. You’ll gain valuable insight into finding great deals and securing financing – even if you’re new to the apartment building investment game.

28. Placemakers by Herb Auerbach and Ira Nadel

Placemakers book coverFor something completely different, try Placemakers, a comprehensive history of real estate developers throughout the ages, including Alexander the Great and Napolean III. These real estate pioneers created developments large and small, and some changed the world’s landscape along the way. Auerbach and Nadel examine the motivations, policies, and decisions behind these extraordinary movers and shakers. It’s a fascinating look at commercial real estate before the time of medical offices and apartment complexes.

29. Raising the Bar: The Life and Work of Gerald D. Hines by Mark Seal

Raising the Bar book coverOn the list of Houston’s most influential commercial real estate developers, Gerald D. Hines stands at the top. His unlikely story from child of the Depression to the man behind a global organization gives insights to investors from all backgrounds. Learn about Hines’s incredible story, which ultimately would change Houston’s landscape and start a commercial real estate revolution in the Lone Star State. Filled with history, knowledge, and advice on building a CRE empire, Raising the Bar is a great read for new and established investors alike.

30. More Than Cashflow by Julie Broad

More Than Cashflow book coverCelebrated real estate author Julie Broad gives CRE investors a detailed roadmap to making wise investments. Complete with real stories from real investors, More Than Cashflow examines both the successes and failures of real estate professionals just like you. This book is ideal for the new or prospective investor, providing tips on how to find the best deals, fund the most projects, and avoid making costly mistakes.

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

Honing your real estate investment expertise doesn’t need to expensive. However, learning about commercial real estate does require you to invest your time and energy. While meetings, seminars, and in-person communication can help you become a successful real estate broker or investor, reading some or all of these top real estate books can help you become an even better real estate professional. From history to practical guides about deal-making and investment strategy, these books give readers valuable information to help them succeed.

Reach Your Full Potential

Best commercial real estate booksIf 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 commercial real estate investor? Or do you have a large portfolio of commercial assets? CXRE is one of the top commercial real estate companies in Houston. We offer brokerage and management services in Houston and beyond. Our knowledgeable staff provides efficient service and innovative business modeling to do things the right way. And we give our commercial owners the very best: 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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