“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” — Oscar Wilde
As the BiggerPockets Blog editor, it’s a common (and heartening) occurrence to hear from both new and experienced investors that the real estate content here has helped them to learn, to grow, to understand, to find the answers they were seeking and the questions they didn’t know to ask.
That’s why I wanted to start this series of roundup articles, where I ask our writers a real estate or business-related question, and we see what they have to say.
The question this week was: What single business/finance/inspirational book would you say is “required reading” for any investor? Why?
Without further ado, pull out a pen and paper, read on — and don’t forget to let me know what you think with a comment.
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“Outlines the basic premise of successful start-up real estate investing. The basic concepts are as true today as they were then.”
Related: 7 Absolute Must-Read Real Estate Books for Beginning Investors
“Everyone should read How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie. It’s a life-changing book, and you can apply the principles to your business, job, and even everyday life. I first read it about six years
ago, and I re-read it every year.
The most transformative principle I learned was to take the blame if a mistake is your fault (and sometimes even if it isn’t). Doing so will take the wind out of the sails of whoever is berating you. Who wants to continue blaming someone who is saying, ‘You’re right, it was 100 percent my fault, and it shouldn’t have happened. A careless mistake. How can I rectify this for you?’
The sooner you fess up to a mistake and take the blame, the sooner you can get on with productive conversations and growing your business.
This principle alone has allowed me to develop excellent relations with bosses, subordinates, and now clients. They all know at the end of the day that I’m not going to beat around the bush and make excuses. I’ll take the blame, criticize myself, and then steer the conversation into positive territory. Clients love that, whether they realize it or not.”
“Every major author writing on the use of the mind, including Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, and Zig Ziglar, to name just three, have founded their systems standing on Maltz’s shoulders. The ability to program our minds effectively is priceless.”
“Although it is not intended specifically for investors, a lot of the concepts from the book are very applicable to the investor world. Some items I think are especially helpful are the concepts of focusing on creating systems and outsourcing tasks for efficiency as well as identifying the highest and best use of your time as an investor.
A book that I highly recommend to all investors, especially for those who may still be working a full time job.”
“I read this book shortly after I started investing in real estate, and it completely changed my mindset on how ‘the wealthy’ live their life. I realized that what I was doing in the younger years of my life was crucially affecting my chances to become a millionaire. I was buying nice luxury cars, fine expensive clothes, and lavish vacations, which all was just an attempt for me to ‘look rich.’ I was acting like I was wealthy when I was really broke.
I learned that the true millionaire is just the guy living next to you. You wouldn’t even know he was a millionaire because he doesn’t really show it. He just lives a normal life, drives a normal car, lives in a modest home, and creates his wealth mostly on the defensive side. He is frugal, he saves, he buys used automobiles, drinks cheap beer, and he builds his wealth over time. He knows how to use compound interest to his advantage.
I loved this book because it’s not ‘sexy,’ but it’s true. We all love the ‘overnight success story,’ where someone goes from broke to millionaire in one year, but most of the time that story is a fable. The true millionaire is outlined differently in this book, and it helped me to understand how I should live my life to become a true ‘millionaire next door.'”
“The One Thing by Gary Keller has made a profound impact on how I allocate my time. Too many of us operate our businesses from a reactive posture rather than a proactive one.
Carving out dedicated time on a daily basis to work on the most important aspect of your business is the key to true growth and change.”
Related: 5 Powerful Books That Changed the Direction of My Life
“First choice would be the book titled The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Why? Because this will show the readers that once you find what you truly want to be in life that the universe will conspire to get you there.
Ultimately, we are the creators of our destiny, and we as human beings have full control over where our lives and careers go.”
“The greatest regrets at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. You will look back longingly on risk not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued.
Stop running away from what scares you most, and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.
This book is inspired by one of the most obscured yet courageous acts in scripture, a blessed and audacious act that left no regrets.
Unleash the lion chaser within.”
This book provides an effective framework to help one maximize their time and really take it to the next level in goal achievement. Not only that, but implementing some of the steps in the book helps you to grow beyond your comfort zone and helps eliminate procrastination.
It’s a great book with lots of actionable tips. I highly recommend it.”
“One of my favorites is Leading an Inspired Life by Jim Rohn because a good philosophy about life is the foundation for true success.”
“I think that all of us carry around ideas and understandings of money with them from our past. These may or may not serve us as real estate investors moving forward and need to be examined. The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ecker calls this our “money blueprint” and challenges the reader to examine and change this blueprint to something that will serve us moving forward.
I think back to when Liz and I read this book and did their Millionaire Mind Intensive and see that point as a major point of change in our lives. It has created dramatic growth in our success and confidence in ourselves as entrepreneurs and caused us to change our language and thoughts around money.”
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & David Mann
“The book illustrates perfectly for readers that to be successful at anything in life, you must take the steps and put the work in first. The success follows the work. You build a fire to get heat, but the heat follows building the fire and putting the logs on the fire and tending to the fire to get it stoked. Same in business and real estate. If you help enough other people get what they want in life, you can have anything you want. Give first!”
The Sell by Fredrik Eklund
“Mine would be The Sell
by Fredrik Eklund. It’s like having one of the top real estate brokers in the country be in your corner, whispering in your ear on how to build a business.
In it, he discusses personal branding, holding onto your authenticity, knowing how to generate buzz, use social media to your advantage, and much more. Even though Fredrik is a real estate broker, this book can really apply to anyone in business. To me, it’s like Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends (which is fantastic on its own) meets the 21st century.”
“I would have to say one of the most powerful books I have ever read has been As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. It is one of the books I re-read on a yearly basis. It was written in 1908 as a literary essay that has an inspirational and spiritual context.
Although it is incredibly simple and a quick read, the ideas in this book (if used and implemented, of course) have the ability to transform people’s lives. In an nutshell, the book explains that “you are what you think.” Each individual has the ability to improve their life by improving their thoughts. Again, simple and ‘common sense’ some would say, but not always easy to do for real estate investors and entrepreneurs!”
“It allowed me to start focusing on working ON my business rather than IN it. We also now have a clear understanding of our core values/core focus, and every new hire must posses them before we proceed.
The book gives your business a better structure and accountability for everyone involved.”
“My choice would be an oldie-but-goodie called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
There are so many important techniques and strategies in real estate and business, but none of them work unless you have good personal habits. The seven habits in this book are REALLY clear and practical. They’ll help you with thinking more optimistically, getting a clear vision, managing your time better, communicating better, and working effectively with others. After reading the book 13 years ago, I find myself still using the habits every single day.”
“To sum it up: Small changes today multiply over the years to create tremendous results. We are too caught up with ‘everything must happen today.’ I need to get rich to day. I need to lose 100 pounds today. In all reality what you need to do is take a small step towards getting rich today. You need to take a small step towards losing that weight today. Then do the same thing tomorrow.
In time, you’ll have exactly what you want by taking these small steps. I believe Brandon talks about it pretty frequently. If you analyze three deals every day this year, you’ll have analyzed 1,000 deals this year. These small steps build over time, and that is all you need to commit — one small step each day.”
“I’m going to go with The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I truly feel that if anyone were to follow each principle outlined in this book, that person can have or do or accomplish whatever they want. Granted, Jack explains 64 principles in the book that all need to be working fairly congruently with each other, so it does take a little bit of time and practice to really incorporate them into your life, but you will start seeing results even before you’ve nailed out all 64.
These principles can help you succeed not only in real estate investing, but also in your personal and professional life as well, and he writes them out so simply that anyone can adopt them. I think this is a must-read for anyone wanting to obtain true success and happiness.”
“Mr. Tanzer wrote a very easy to understand book that explained all of the numbers behind real estate investing. From cash flow to taxes to depreciation, Mr. Tanzer covered it all. And this geography major really needed a good source on how the numbers work. His book helped me develop tools to analyze the investments I was considering, and he has likely saved me tens of thousands of dollars and prevented countless headaches and sleepless nights by learning to avoid bad deals.
A great book for newbies and for experienced investors. I still refer to it from time to time.”
“Robert Kiyosaki wrote this book; for those who do not know, he is the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. Well, in this book, Robert talks about how he was able to retire earlier than his colleagues due to the action he took in real estate to start establishing cash flow.
At the time, I was working for a prestigious company in banking, and I was considering staying in school to complete my MBA. The book said that it made no sense to get a second job or go back to school to get a better job when you can start your own business. It also gave an example of the Wright brothers, who were from Ohio but came to Kitty Hawk, NC to test out their plane idea. Well, they chose Kitty Hawk because it had soft ground, and they knew if they fell out the plane, it would not hurt as much.
The author then recommended you start small, get OK with not making money the first few month, focus, and grow from that point. After reading that book, I dropped out of grad school, and five years later, I run a six-figure real estate business, took my father to the Super Bowl, and even got a few stamps in my passport. Meanwhile, my former colleagues are making salaries that give just enough to live life.”
Raving Fans by Kenneth Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles
“A short but thoughtful book on how doing the little things can turn your customers into loyal clients that advocate for you. Also talks about a “plus one mentality” of continuous incremental improvement.”
“While not a business book per se, I don’t think you can find a better book on human psychology. It really helped illuminate my own biases and the irrational way I approached various business decisions, as well as tips on negotiating and analysis.”
- What book would YOU add to this list?
- What do you think of this series?
- What burning questions would you like answered next?
I’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below.