Well, perhaps not exactly instant success … but, hey, you clicked!

I was asked to share the books that have meant the most to my success in real estate. It’s not the usual list of books. They’re not all directly related to real estate — because real estate is not a tunnel-vision industry that operates outside of real life.

Succeeding in real estate is about more than houses. It’s about knowing who you are and with whom you best relate. It’s compassion and strength rolled up into one package. Being incredibly organized yet also relatable to people.

Oh sure, some people in our industry might be assholes and succeed for a while, but the folks who build a real business that grows and expands over time, who serve repeat clients that love and trust them — those are multidimensional, relatable, awesome-sauce people.

There is no question that books can make you better. Enjoy the ones that you haven’t read, or read great ones again. Grow, embrace, learn. And add your favorites in the comments; I’d love some fresh ideas!

  • Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand
    Many Realtors claim to be anti-political creatures, but philosophical reads like this one can be game changers with your attitude.
  • Start with Why,” Simon Sinek
    Seriously one of the best books I’ve ever read. Going deeper into your personal why can change client interactions and your outlook on everything.
  • The Ultimate Sales Machine,” Chet Holmes
    Best sales book of all time. And no, it’s not specific to real estate, but that isn’t necessary. The methods in this book will give you something to do when your discipline is dragging and when you are unsure about what to do next.
  • You Are the Product,” Lester Anderson (out of print, but worth hunting down!!)
    This book was my touchstone when I got started as a stockbroker and then again my touchstone when I became a Realtor. We sometimes forget that we’re selling more than houses. We have to market ourselves — and it matters what that end product looks like. Good luck finding it — it’s totally worthwhile.
  • The 80% Approach,” Dan Sullivan
    Sullivan’s entrepreneurial coaching program, Strategic Coach, changed my life in more ways than one. This book in particular helped me empower my team and helped me find a way to live a less stressful life. It was our team advanced reading material this year, and my team will vouch for its power.
  • Raving Fans,” Ken Blanchard
    I’m pretty sure you have all read this, but read it again. Amid all the talk of online reviews, this is a back-to-basics on making clients more than happy.
  • Outliers: The Story of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell
    I could have listed almost any or all of Gladwell’s books — they’re a great collection of wisdom! This one appeals to me because as one Realtor among over a million, it’s critical to think outside the norm and not be afraid to be the outlier.
  • Shift: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times,” Gary Keller
    And no, I don’t drink the red Kool-Aid, but I can still recognize the power of Gary Keller’s books. This book gave me focus during the downturn, and I’m finding new nuggets as I reread in an improving market.
  • The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” Gary Keller
    If you haven’t read this one, get on it. The tips and guidance will save you years and thousands of dollars.
  • The Thank You Economy,” Gary Vaynerchuk
    I’ve read all of Vaynerchuk’s books, but this is my favorite because it’s the way I want the world to run— and I can change my corner right now, as can you.
  • Amplified Leadership: 5 Practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime,” Dan Reiland
    Whether you volunteer within the industry or out, or not at all, you are still perceived as a leader in some way. (Perhaps even by the clients you speak with; they are counting on your ability to put forth professional opinions.) This is an excellent book for reaching within and without to grow those around you.
  • Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior,” Ori Brafman
    Challenge your thinking by reading this one. Oh, and you might just find a way to connect with a whole different set of consumers.
  • A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” Donald Miller
    Another life-changer for me. When you read this, you’ll be on the journey with the author and you’ll view your own life’s filmstrip. Oh, read this one, please!
  • The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness,” Dave Ramsey
    I have taken the Financial Peace University class and recommend this book to tons of clients who need to find or regain their money focus. My husband and I rebuilt our finances in large part due to this book.
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” Patrick Lencioni
    If you are running a team, or you want to, read this. Most real estate organizations are nothing more than a bunch of agents under the same name. But a real team? That’s a culture and a shared purpose.
  • The Traveler’s Gift,” Andy Andrews
    This is not the usual “self-help” book. It’s a great perspective builder and a book that can deepen your personal bonds as well as what you create in your business. I love hearing Andrews present and listen to him every chance I get.
  • The Compound Effect,” Darren Hardy
    I first heard Hardy speak at the Re/Max R4 conference in 2014, and … wow. Every time I want to skip a workout or make one less call, I remember his speech and this book.
  • Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill
    Classic in so many ways. Just read it. Don’t be intimidated by it.
  • Facing Your Giants: God Still Does the Impossible,” Max Lucado
    We all have giants to face — whether it’s competitors or enemies or just our own demons at work. Lucado is a great devotional writer who reminds me how to face and overcome whatever is dragging me down.

Leigh Brown is a broker/owner at Re/Max Executive Realty. She has sold liquor, stocks and chainsaws, but for the past 14 years she has been dedicated to building relationships with her clients in real estate, both current and past.

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