Here are the 10 books every real estate professional must read to improve their personal and professional life, according to Inman readers.

In today’s virtual, work-from-home environment, agents are seeking training and coaching in entirely new ways. In August, we’re laser-focused on what defines good coaching today and how to get the most out of it.

Although the coronavirus has halted in-person training and coaching sessions and conferences, that doesn’t mean learning has to stop. In addition to virtual meetings, agents have been digging into their favorite real estate sales books to keep their skills fresh and help them pivot in a quickly changing market.

Here are the 10 best books to read for the first time or revisit, according to Inman’s Coast to Coast Facebook Group:

Ninja Selling by Larry Kendall

Since its debut in 2017, Ninja Selling has become a crowd-favorite amongst real estate agents who want to depart from traditional sales methods. Kendall says most salespeople try to be samurais — forceful, powerful and ego-driven. Instead, Kendall asks entrepreneurs to become ninjas — quiet, unassuming and results-driven.

Ninjas are more focused on their customers than themselves. They don’t seem to be salespeople,” Kendall explained in the preface. “They sell without selling. Their mission is to offer world-class results from down-to-earth people.”

Available in print on Kendall’s website, and in audio and digital versions on Amazon.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Eighty-four years after the first edition, How to Win Friends and Influence People is still a must-have for anyone aiming to expand their business and professional networks. Carnegie’s book teaches burgeoning and experienced professionals how to deal with people, how to make a great first impression, the art of negotiation and persuasion and how to be a leader that garners admiration and respect.

“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife, architect or engineer,” Carnegie said in 1932. “[Academic] investigations revealed that even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering — to personality and the ability to lead people.”

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals by Michael J. Maher

Getting referrals is a common pain point for agents looking to build their sphere of influence and business. Told from the perspective of a fictional real estate agent who’s down on his luck, Maher lays out a framework that challenges agents to shift from ego-based mindset to a generosity mindset. With that shift, Maher said, agents will create a professional and personal life with rich relationships — no asking for referrals needed.

“This heartwarming tale of Rick’s trials and triumphs describes the exact strategies that helped him evolve from the Ego Era to the Generosity Generation,” Maher said in a synopsis of his book. “This book is about so much more than referrals. This is about building a business that not only feeds your family but also feeds your soul.”

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

Negotiating is one of the toughest things to do for professionals, whether they’re ruling from the boardroom or charting their path from a cubicle to a corner office. In his book Never Split the Difference, former Federal Bureau of Investigation hostage negotiator Chris Voss shares nine keys to negotiating things such as high-stakes deals, big-ticket purchases, life-changing raises or relationship-shifting decisions.

Just like in his online masterclass, Voss teaches readers how to use emotional intelligence, intuition and psychology to create solutions where everyone walks away feeling like they’ve won.

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

For author Spencer Johnson, life is a maze where people are just trying to find their cheese, which could be snagging a dream job, building a happy family or finally losing those last 15 pounds. However, unlike mice who spend most of their lives traipsing through the same mazes, humans have to deal with an ever-changing pattern that doesn’t guarantee results.

Since we have no control over the maze, Johnson tells his readers to focus on cultivating a resilient attitude that accepts, welcomes and thrives during moments of uncertainty.

“…When it comes to living in a rapidly changing world, what matters most is your attitude,” he said.

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: The Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries by Terri Morrison

Technology has made the world smaller, meaning real estate professionals now more than ever must learn how to successfully conduct business with people in other countries. This requires business smarts, emotional intelligence and sensitivity to cultural dynamics — hence the title, Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands. 

Morrison starts the 600-page book with a cultural IQ quiz and then provides primers on more than 60 countries, including Argentina, Belarus, China, Ireland and South Africa. Each section includes a brief historical background of the country, information about business protocols, business etiquette, societal values, and cultural dos and dont’s.

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

Since its launch 36 years ago, TED Talks have become a cultural mainstay as experts in education, business, science, tech and creativity await their chance to grace the TED stage. Meanwhile, many everyday viewers imagine what it would be like to captivate a live audience of hundreds and a digital audience of millions with their words.

For this book, public speaking maestro and Harvard professor Carmine Gallo watched countless hours of TED Talks presentations and identified nine keys to developing and delivering a dazzling presentation. Gallo helps readers identify their value, craft a concise story and connect with audiences on a mental and emotional level.

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

Alongside a pandemic, 2020 has been filled with social unrest and difficult conversations about race and racism in the United States. The real estate industry has had a reckoning of its own, sparked by groundbreaking investigative journalism that revealed discrimination against buyers and homeowners of color.

Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law provides context for our modern issues by delving into the history of redlining — the federally sanctioned use of local zoning and public housing laws to segregate neighborhoods and prevent marginalized communities from building wealth through real estate.

“Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods,” read a synopsis of the book.

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg

Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving,” begins Bob Burg’s book. “Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.”

Much like The Seven Levels of Communication, The Go-Giver provides invaluable, real-world advice through the story of a fictional character. The star of this book is Joe, a young man who hustles day in and day out with little to show for. Desperate for answers, Joe reaches out to “the Chairman,” a successful businessman who shows Joe the key to sucess lies in giving, not getting.

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan and Dave Jenks

Last, but not least, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent remains a perennial favorite, thanks to Keller, Papasan and Jenks’s straightforward advice about increasing productivity and creating economic, organizational and lead generation models that yield consistent results.

The trio addresses myths that prevent agents from reaching their potential, how to develop a millionaire mindset, the nuts and bolts of creating a successful business, and how to maintain longterm success — a goal for every agent from the newbie to the veteran.

Available in print, audio and digital versions on Amazon.

Honorable mentions

Here are the other books Inman readers had on their must-read list:

Email Marian McPherson

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