The best real estate books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about real estate and why they recommend each book.

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The Science of Influence

By Kevin Hogan,

Book cover of The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say "yes" in 8 Minutes or Less!

How do you feel about being a salesperson and influencer? Because if you’re going to be a real estate investor you must have basic sales and marketing skills. You’ll need them to raise capital, negotiate with buyers and sellers, and even to lease your properties if you’re a landlord. In Kevin Hogan’s book you’ll discover how people think and make their decisions. He writes, “once we know our prospects’ needs, wants, and desires are, we can use this information to prepare a message that firmly impresses on the mind how we can help them.”


Who am I?

I built a 7-figure business buying foreclosures in multiple states and with my book you’ll discover how to duplicate my success and drastically reduce your learning curve.  I've flipped hundreds of houses buying directly from homeowners in foreclosure and at auctions in Arizona, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I was guest #1 on the popular BiggerPockets podcast as well as a featured contributor to the website. I've also been featured in numerous real estate articles for USA Today, Reuters, and the Arizona Republic. And I'm the founder of FixandFlipHub.com, a real estate education company that has helped hundreds of real estate entrepreneurs start and scale their businesses.


I wrote...

Foreclosure Secrets: How I Built a 7-Figure Business Flipping Houses Most Investors Are Too Afraid to Buy

By Marty Boardman,

Book cover of Foreclosure Secrets: How I Built a 7-Figure Business Flipping Houses Most Investors Are Too Afraid to Buy

What is my book about?

Many believe that buying foreclosures is a mysterious and risky enterprise that requires cash and inside sources with banks and lenders. They think only investors with deep pockets and specialized experience can take advantage of these opportunities.

In this book you’ll learn how it’s possible for anyone to buy houses from homeowners in foreclosure (even on the day of the auction)… How to buy at trustee’s sales or sheriff’s sales (depending on where you live)… And how to buy bank-owned homes… Without any special skills, tools, expensive software, or a lot of your own cash. Foreclosure Secrets is your blueprint for how to start and scale a foreclosure buying business in your hometown, or from long distance in another real estate market without making costly mistakes.

Killer Transaction

By Catherine Bruns,

Book cover of Killer Transaction

Catherine Bruns’ first book in her new series features a refreshingly new kind of sleuth. Cindy York is an ordinary woman in her 40s with a supportive husband, twin sons, and a typical teenage daughter. There are several wonderful laugh-aloud moments. The violence is off-page, the plot is well done with the reason for murder revealed at the right time. I loved the animals in the story.


Who am I?

As a former school psychologist and author of over 45 books, I love reading about characters that are likable, plots that are believable, and settings that I want to visit. My years as a psychologist make it easy to spot poorly written characters that don’t ring true. It is also my years as a psychologist that makes me enjoy a light, humorous read with a guaranteed happy ending.


I wrote...

Murder of a Smart Cookie

By Denise Swanson,

Book cover of Murder of a Smart Cookie

What is my book about?

Yard sales bring out the worst in people. Nobody knows this better than Scumble River school psychologist Skye Denison, organizer of the First Annual Route 66 Yard Sale. Neighborly folk gets downright nasty fighting over plastic knickknacks. But the worst is yet to come... Skye's former summer-job boss, Cookie Caldwell, has just been found murdered - and the sheriff suspects Skye.

Professional Real Estate Development

By Richard B. Peiser, David Hamilton,

Book cover of Professional Real Estate Development: The Uli Guide to the Business

This is an Urban Land Institute publication by lead author Rick Peiser—a longtime Harvard University Graduate School of Design faculty member—and a large group of additional contributors. PRED is especially useful for those taking management or developmental roles in the commercial real estate industry. It’s systematic, comprehensive, and logically organized. It’s also expensive, but then again, it’s 400 pages long. Spring for the hardcover edition—easier to work with, and well worth the investment. 


Who am I?

Bill Poorvu is a successful real estate investor and developer who for 35 years headed the real estate program at Harvard Business School, where he taught several generations of students, many of whom went on to become industry leaders. He is also one of the founders of the Baupost Group, a Boston-based investment firm that is considered one of the savviest hedge funds in the world, with some $30 billion in assets under management.


I wrote...

The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decisionmaking and Investment

By William J. Poorvu, Jeffrey L. Cruikshank,

Book cover of The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decisionmaking and Investment

What is my book about?

My book offers an insider’s perspective on how to make smart decisions about real estate. The “game” involves interactions among four variables: players, properties, capital markets, and the external environment. How does a real estate professional participate in this game and win? I walk the reader through the key “periods of play” in the real estate game—concept, commitment, development, operation, reward, and reinvestment.

Let me surprise you by saying this book is not for everybody. It focuses on commercial real estate, and on deals above a certain threshold scale, so small-scale residential developers and house flippers may be disappointed. I offer real-world war stories and some very practical advice to the thoughtful investor, including a powerful “back of the envelope” technique for analyzing the financial implications of a potential deal. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People

By Dale Carnegie,

Book cover of How to Win Friends and Influence People

This book has been around longer than I have, which makes it borderline ancient. And yet, it is not—and probably never will be—outdated. The advice is so sage, so useful, and so well-written that I still recommend this book to students who want to develop essential communication skills. These skills, when appropriately applied, will make you a more effective persuader and, in my view, a better person too!


Who am I?

As an undergraduate in college, I worked selling men’s clothing. There was a rack of suits that, for whatever reason, would not sell, so my boss phoned a coworker and told her to cut the price of the suits by 50 percent. Misunderstanding him, she doubled the price instead. By the time our boss returned from vacation, nearly all those suits had been sold! It made no sense to me…until I read Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. From there, I not only sold plenty of suits, I earned a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, and eventually was named a Distinguished Professor at Utah State University.


I wrote...

Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining

By Robert H. Gass, John S. Seiter,

Book cover of Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining

What is my book about?

The newest edition of this field-leading book provides a highly readable, often entertaining, yet astute, presentation of major approaches to persuasion. Using real-life examples, often involving the authors’ own persuasive mishaps, the book encourages readers to develop and apply conclusions about persuasion in real-world settings. Along the way, readers are also introduced to major theories of persuasion as they apply to the practice of social influence in an array of contexts (e.g., advertising, marketing, politics, interpersonal relationships, social media, groups) and across a variety of topics (e.g., credibility, personality, deception, motivational appeals, visual persuasion). Finally, the book not only emphasizes the goal of effective persuasion, but also the importance of being ethical in one’s attempts to influence others.

The Millionaire Real Estate Investor

By Gary Keller, Dave Jenks, Jay Papasan

Book cover of The Millionaire Real Estate Investor

I needed to find a book that got down to the process of becoming an investor. Gary does an excellent job of breaking down the components of becoming a good real estate investor. In addition to the blocking and tackling Gary included a bonus section that I simple loved because I was hungry for stories of success. At the end of Gary’s book, Gary included a list of investors who successfully completed the journey. Those pages kept me engaged as the first few years of real estate investing are slow and those stories got me through.


Who am I?

Leaving the Rat Race behind was not easy and it took 15 years but it is so worth it. Unfortunately, many people are just like me in that they don’t even know they are trapped in the Rat Race running faster and faster. I want to highlight the Rat Race and What it takes to get out as life is so much better when you are not trapped.


I wrote...

One Rental at a Time: The Journey to Financial Independence Through Real Estate

By Michael Zuber,

Book cover of One Rental at a Time: The Journey to Financial Independence Through Real Estate

What is my book about?

One Rental at a Time is simply the story of a busy couple who starts investing in real estate after suffering huge stock market losses. We share the good and the bad of our 15-year journey that rides the wave up and the epic crash called the Great Recession. We include our keys to success and lessons learned to help others get started and avoid our errors.

Margin of Safety

By Seth A. Klarman,

Book cover of Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor

If you are now in a position to invest your money broadly. Margin of Safety presents legendary investor Seth's Klarman's views on risk-adjusted investments in several asset classes, including real estate. He focuses on understanding the underlying values of a specific opportunity, and his consistent emphasis on taking the longer-term view is especially relevant to the property world. Now I will frustrate you by reporting that MOS is long out of print, and the used copies that are available online are...very, very expensive. If you can’t find it or afford it, look for Seth’s interviews on YouTube, and a short but interesting New Yorker interview.


Who am I?

Bill Poorvu is a successful real estate investor and developer who for 35 years headed the real estate program at Harvard Business School, where he taught several generations of students, many of whom went on to become industry leaders. He is also one of the founders of the Baupost Group, a Boston-based investment firm that is considered one of the savviest hedge funds in the world, with some $30 billion in assets under management.


I wrote...

The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decisionmaking and Investment

By William J. Poorvu, Jeffrey L. Cruikshank,

Book cover of The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decisionmaking and Investment

What is my book about?

My book offers an insider’s perspective on how to make smart decisions about real estate. The “game” involves interactions among four variables: players, properties, capital markets, and the external environment. How does a real estate professional participate in this game and win? I walk the reader through the key “periods of play” in the real estate game—concept, commitment, development, operation, reward, and reinvestment.

Let me surprise you by saying this book is not for everybody. It focuses on commercial real estate, and on deals above a certain threshold scale, so small-scale residential developers and house flippers may be disappointed. I offer real-world war stories and some very practical advice to the thoughtful investor, including a powerful “back of the envelope” technique for analyzing the financial implications of a potential deal. 

Creating and Growing Real Estate Wealth

By William J. Poorvu,

Book cover of Creating and Growing Real Estate Wealth: The 4 Stages to a Lifetime of Success

Out of sheer modesty, I almost didn’t include my other trade-oriented real estate book, but I haven’t come across any other books that talk about building real estate wealth over a lifetime, and over generations. I write about the four stages that successful real estate investors and developers typically go through—starting out, scaling up, hedging your bets, and taking stock—and also focus on building wealth over generations, in the context of a family enterprise. As with my book, I try to ground my prescriptions in real-world stories, presented in user-friendly language.


Who am I?

Bill Poorvu is a successful real estate investor and developer who for 35 years headed the real estate program at Harvard Business School, where he taught several generations of students, many of whom went on to become industry leaders. He is also one of the founders of the Baupost Group, a Boston-based investment firm that is considered one of the savviest hedge funds in the world, with some $30 billion in assets under management.


I wrote...

The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decisionmaking and Investment

By William J. Poorvu, Jeffrey L. Cruikshank,

Book cover of The Real Estate Game: The Intelligent Guide to Decisionmaking and Investment

What is my book about?

My book offers an insider’s perspective on how to make smart decisions about real estate. The “game” involves interactions among four variables: players, properties, capital markets, and the external environment. How does a real estate professional participate in this game and win? I walk the reader through the key “periods of play” in the real estate game—concept, commitment, development, operation, reward, and reinvestment.

Let me surprise you by saying this book is not for everybody. It focuses on commercial real estate, and on deals above a certain threshold scale, so small-scale residential developers and house flippers may be disappointed. I offer real-world war stories and some very practical advice to the thoughtful investor, including a powerful “back of the envelope” technique for analyzing the financial implications of a potential deal. 

Irrational Exuberance

By Robert J. Shiller,

Book cover of Irrational Exuberance

The term “irrational exuberance” which forms the title of this book, entered the public lexicon in 1996, days after the book’s author, Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, gave a presentation about stock market bubbles to the Federal Reserve. Alan Greenspan, who was Fed chair at the time, used the term in a public speech; and the rest is history. The book Irrational Exuberance provides an account of how psychological forces generate asset pricing bubbles. The book was published during the dotcom bubble, and proved to be prophetic in the way it anticipated the subsequent housing pricing bubble which preceded the global financial crisis and associated great recession. Readers will find amazing insights in this book, especially about the way that history repeats itself when it comes to asset pricing bubbles.


Who am I?

I became a behavioral economist in the 1970s, at the time modern behavioral economics came into existence. Much of my work has focused on the way in which the combination of emotions and deliberative thinking impact the way people make decisions about their economic lives. For over four decades, I have been identifying the fascinating ways in which this two system psychological approach influences the important questions of our day.


I wrote...

Ending the Management Illusion: How to Drive Business Results Using the Principles of Behavioral Finance

By Hersh Shefrin,

Book cover of Ending the Management Illusion: How to Drive Business Results Using the Principles of Behavioral Finance

What is my book about?

Psychologically smart companies manage both the pluses and minuses of human psychology through well-structured systems and processes. In Ending the Management Illusion, behavioral finance pioneer Hersh Shefrin addresses the biases that can take you or your organization off course and shows how to run psychologically smart businesses-specifically as it affects your bottom line.

Shefrin explores the psychological barriers you experience, and delivers concrete nudge-based debiasing techniques for breaking through these barriers. This allows you to integrate your processes for accounting, planning, incentives, and information sharing-the main elements for optimizing corporate value. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The companies his book discusses which chose to employ these techniques performed favorably in the period following publication, while the companies that chose not to employ these techniques performed poorly, and in some cases disastrously.

Paper Profits

By Joshua N. Andrews,

Book cover of Paper Profits: How to Buy and Profit from Notes

If you like investing and making money in real estate, then you will love learning how to make money being a “lienlord” instead of a landlord. Paper Profits gives you everything you need to know to purchases performing and non-performing mortgage back notes and profiting from them. Most people I talk to don’t understand that most banks don’t want to deal with defaulted mortgage notes. They would rather sell them at a discount, take the tax write-off, and move on. This is an awesome opportunity for the small investor. Josh Andrews shows you how you can get started in this unique investment class with a small amount of money. In my opinion, discounted mortgage notes are the best way to elevate your income outside of your job or business. At the same time, if you really love this investment/income niche, you can make it your full-time income endeavor as the…


Who am I?

As a 15-year-old, Peter started his first business remodeling houses. He hired help older than him so they could drive him to the job sites. Peter used this first business to help finance his college education. After graduating from the University of Kansas, Peter started his career working in the Space Shuttle Mission Control Center at NASA's Johnson Space Center in the Houston, TX metro, and in the evenings, Peter received his M.B.A. from the University of Houston. It was through his initial career experiences, that Peter discovered he wanted to help businesses become the best that they could be in pursuit of their vision.


I wrote...

Free Enterprise

By Peter Lange,

Book cover of Free Enterprise

What is my book about?

Free Enterprise is the culmination of a life's work in successful sales and marketing. In this definitive guide, bestselling author Bronson introduces many of the most innovative marketing strategies and tactics into their clearest and most applicable form to date. The aim is to assist anyone in the world with a small to mid-sized business take advantage of all the mostly-free social and general media access. The goal is to assist these individuals on a worldwide basis for the purpose of inspiring free trade at the most elementary level. The more this level of commerce is encouraged, free trade is encouraged, the greater the opportunities for world peace. It's friendship and world peace through commerce, one small vendor at a time.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

By Robert T. Kiyosaki,

Book cover of Rich Dad Poor Dad

A friend recommended this book to me. At the time I was looking to expand my thinking about business and also started delving into the world of financial education.

Rich Dad Poor Dad aims to help the reader to consider their thoughts and actions and the path which they are on and offers an alternative to what the "herd" is doing, with a move towards very strategic activities when it comes to lifestyle, money and how you think about and use it. Reading this book led me to discover Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Quadrant.

The idea is to move beyond the left side of the quadrant which includes being an Employee (E), or Self-employed (S) across to the right side of the quadrant, towards being a Business Owner (B) and Investor, (I) for greater freedom and control over life through more focus on activities which can be game changers!


Who am I?

I’m the founder of Purposeful Group, an author, and a multi-award-winning entrepreneur who has started multiple businesses from scratch. I believe that when you have the right mindset, positive things will flow from this. As the designer of programmes for entrepreneurs and digital learners, I have recommended books that I hope will give readers a great foundation to build on to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. From a personal perspective, they have kept me on track, and helped me build a framework of “success behaviours.”


I wrote...

Don't Hire a Software Developer Until You Read this Book

By K.N. Kukoyi,

Book cover of Don't Hire a Software Developer Until You Read this Book

What is my book about?

Do you have an idea for a web, or mobile app? If you do, but you’re not sure how to transform your business idea into a technical product, then this practical “software survival guide” is for you!

This is the second of 5 books that I've published for entrepreneurs, designed to show you how to build your software application the smart way! I mentor entrepreneurs and tech startups from around the world, and as a qualified tech professional and software delivery specialist, I explain the do’s and don’ts involved in getting your startup business off the ground step-by-step, so you can avoid the common mistakes, pitfalls and challenges experienced by aspiring tech entrepreneurs. Having led and worked in teams creating multi-million-pound digital products from scratch.

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