Posted over 3 years ago

23 Inspiring Quotes from Sam Zell’s “Am I Being Too Subtle?”

Sam Zell, the self-made real estate billionaire and chairman of Equity Group Investments, has made a fortune by having a contrarian mindset and defying conventional wisdom. For nearly five decades, Zell has identified and applied fundamental principles that transcend industries, geographies and economies. A true role model for any real estate investor or entrepreneur, Zell exemplifies leadership, a strong moral compass, and a complete disregard to the made-up rules of social convention. From wearing blue jeans when making million dollar deals to touring exotic countries with his motorcycle gang, Zell’s authentic personality is more than intriguing.

In his new book, “Am I Being Too Subtle?”, he describes his life story, his love of deal-making, and all the sacrifices that led to his successes.

Take a look at some of Sam Zell’s quotes here:

1. “I am very focused on understanding the downside”

2. “If everyone is going left, look right”

3. “There is tremendous value in being a good listener”

4. “I run my company as a meritocracy with a moral compass”

5. “In any negotiation I believe in leaving a little bit on the table. And in any relationship I believe in sharing the stakes.”

6. “Reputation is your most important asset. Everything you do, everything you say, is part of the permanent record. Your name reflects your character”

7. “You don’t go wheeling and dealing for the money, you do it for the fun. Moneys just a way of keeping score”

8. “I simply don’t buy into many of the made-up rules of social convention”

9. “The bottom line is if you’re really good at what you do, you have the freedom to be who you really are”

10. “All the opportunity in the world means nothing if you don’t actually pull the trigger”

11. “I grew up believing that anything is possible. And when you’re not aware there are any limitations, nothing stops your from trying”

12. “Where there is scarcity, price is no object. This basic tenet of supply and demand would later become a governing principle of my investment principle”

13. “I learned I was a leader. Instead of being part of the crowd, subject to directions I didn’t care for, I could set the course. And I could get others to follow me”

14. “It just never occurred to me that I couldn’t do it. If you’re not aware that you’re not supposed to be able to do something, the barriers to doing it are dramatically lessened”

15. “That desire to take a risk, to test my limits, to ask “Why not?” was part of my DNA, and I don’t think I’ve changed that much since.”

16. “It never crossed my mind that I might be too young to start an investment business or that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t know any better, but was able to sell the banks on my ability to get it done”

17. “Real estate isn’t just about buildings as inanimate objects. It often reflects the pulse of the nation.”

18. “I never allow my personal feelings to interfere with my duty to the shareholders, or even with my own private investments.”

19. “Taking risks is really the only way to consistently achieve above-average returns.”

20. “I’m highly judicious about where I put my time- in terms of the opportunity cost of other deals I didn’t do, and because time is my most valuable resource.”

21.” Seeing potential opportunities is one thing; knowing how to take advantage of them is another.”

22. “I’ve always believed in buying into in-place demand rather than trying to create it.”

23. “The environment you spend most of your waking hours in reflects who you are and the type of people you want working with you and for you.”

What’s your favorite Sam Sell quote? 



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