5 Non-Real Estate Books for Real Estate Investors

by | BiggerPockets.com

I don’t think J.K. Rowling had 39 year-old men in mind when she wrote the Harry Potter novels.

Late last year, I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first of seven in the series.  Let’s just say I had a little trouble getting into the book.  Halfway through I found myself hoping either Hogwarts would slip into foreclosure because of the global economic crisis or get invaded by terrorists.  But I toughed it out and made through to the end, mostly because my daughter wanted to read it next.

I enjoy reading, as long as the theme involves business or Navy Seals.  Last week I started thinking about some of my favorite a books after receiving this from a Twitter follower:

The truth is I’ve never read a real estate investing book.

It’s not that I don’t think real estate investing books aren’t interesting or valuable.  I’m sure there are lots of great ones out there.  It’s just that I’ve found it more beneficial to learn how to invest in real estate directly from those in my real estate market.

However, there are lots of books out there that have helped me develop and expand my real estate investing business.  Here are my top 5:

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – a Bible of sorts for entrepreneurs, this classic helped me to understand that you become what you think about.
  2. The E-Myth by Michael Gerber – I learned the importance of systematizing my business.
  3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – This book inspired me to get out of the employee/self-employed quadrant and into the business owner/investor quadrant.
  4.  The Snowball:  Warren Buffett and the Business of Life – Buffett’s success was not preordained.  He didn’t roll out of bed and know how to invest in stocks.  Buffett had a mentor and spoke with him regularly.
  5. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell – some of the best and brightest in the business, music and sports industry spent 10,000 hours or more perfecting their craft.

Earl Nightingale defined success as the “progressive realization of a worthy goal.”  I believe part of that progression is learning as much as we can about our business or field.  Unfortunately, a bulk of the information we need to achieve our real estate goals can’t be found in real estate investment books.  We must find it in other places.

And let me tell you, Harry Potter books don’t have what you and I need.  The prodigal wizard may play a mean game of Quidditch but he knows nothing about real estate investing.

About Author

Marty (G+) is the Chief Financial Officer for Rising Sun Capital Group, LLC, a real estate investment firm based in Gilbert, AZ. His firm purchases homes at the courthouse steps and public REO auctions. They have two exit strategies, either fix and flip or seller financing.


  1. I got less than half way through Think and Grow Rich and just stopped reading it. Perhaps it’s to my own detriment, but I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I still have it sitting on my desk and have zero interest in picking it back up. Right now I’m reading How I Turned $1,000 into 3 million (couldn’t find a decent price for the 5 million version). It’s really more of an entertaining read seeing what it was like back in the 60s. $12/sq.ft. building costs and houses with pink ceilings and green walls. Nice. Maybe when I finish this one I’ll force myself to finish TGR. I know a lot of people recommend it, so there has to be something good in there…

    The E-Myth Revisited is absolutely a must read. That is the book I recommend the most to budding entrepreneurs. I even recommend it to owners that have been running their businesses for years. Actually, they probably get more out of it than new owners. I know as I was reading it (12 years after I started my first business), I kept thinking of ways to change my business so it would be more efficient (read: take less of my time, which will tie into my recommendation below) and allow for a better customer experience. If you only have time for one book from the list above, definitely pick this one.

    I would also recommend The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. While I don’t agree with everything in the book, there are a couple chapters in there that are worth their weight in gold. He has some excellent stuff on his blog as well.

  2. Travis — I’m with Marty on Hill’s book. It hasn’t lasted this long for no reason. What some don’t get is that it’s not Hill’s wisdom. It’s the collective wisdom of many, many self-made gazillionaires who gave up the principles they employed to make it happen. The first brokerage for which I worked, back in ’69, made newly hired agents agree in writing to read two books: Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz (a truly iconic book, timeless), and Think and Grow Rich.

    Good luck.

  3. Good article!
    I have read all on the list, except for “The Snowball”. I will have to add that one to the list.

    Kevin and Jeff – I love the Richest Man in Babylon. It was the first book that made me think of wealth creation in a different way. It is the first book I have my employees read before I start giving them financial counseling/education.

    I definitely agree that having the correct mindset is more important than the tools. The tools are necessary, but if you have the right mindset, the tools will come.

    Thanks for reinforcing how I think. It’s always great to find people that think the way I do. I don’t run into many people like that, except on BP of course.

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