OPINION: ONE of the things I consider as being necessary to succeed is a positive attitude. Of course, a positive attitude alone doesn’t mean you’ll succeed, but it sure does help when things don’t turn out so well.
Consuming positive content that resonates with you helps shift your mindset. I think the goal should be to reprogram your mind and shift your beliefs, resulting in new habits that produce lasting benefits in your life.
As such, I recommend the clients find a source that resonates with them and, when they do, to go deep. So, when you find an author you like, find more content from them – immerse yourself in their material, thereby continually reminding your mind about why what they espouse is important.
Put another way, don’t force yourself to read an author or a particular book just because someone told you to. If there’s a book you’re finding boring, put it down and move on until you find something else that is effortless to consume.
That being said, you don’t have to be a reader. By understanding your preferred learning modality and consuming content in that format – visual, auditory or learning by doing – you will make learning more effective, efficient and enjoyable.
So, if you don’t like reading, consider audio books, podcasts and video content. When authors release books, it is common nowadays for the promotional tour to include a lot of podcast interviews, YouTube clips and, of course, traditional media like TV, thereby providing several formats for consuming their core messages.
With that in mind, here are five authors for people in commercial real estate (CRE) who are looking to improve their performance – I have included what I think is their best book, the best concept they teach which is applicable to CRE, and, if you’re not much of a reader, other ways to consume their content.
Best book: ‘Discover Your True North’
Best concept: An early advocate of “Authentic Leadership”, this sometimes-overused concept is brought into focus by Bill George in his later writings. In addition, the concept of crucibles, which are the tough times we all deal with and need to overcome, and the opportunity to reframe those hardships to create focus and purpose, is a great perspective.
Non-reading modalities: Bill is active on LinkedIn, with nearly 200,000 followers. He also has a series of videos on YouTube which summarise the key concepts from ‘Discover Your True North’, and numerous interviews and talks.
Best book: Take your pick! I’ve read many of his books, and Brian Tracy was the first “self-help guru” that got me in to the genre about a decade ago. I think ‘Eat That Frog’ and ‘No Excuses – The Power of Self-Discipline’ are a couple of his best.
Best concept: I learned a lot about personal responsibility from Brian Tracy. When you accept responsibility for everything that happens in your life, and stop blaming others, you are ready to achieve whatever you want to – because you understand that success is truly in your hands.
Non-reading modalities: Brian is one of the world’s original influencers, before social media was a thing. A seemingly never-ending library of video content from Brian Tracy exists on YouTube.
Best book: ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ is his timeless masterpiece. ‘The Leader in You’, which is similar, but focused on leadership, is another book I found really useful.
Best concept: I couldn’t possibly pick just one. Pretty much every single chapter of both of the books I’ve mentioned are gold. With that being said, here are my top three: being genuinely interested in other people, a person’s name being the most important sound (to them) in any language, and admitting when you’re wrong quickly.
Non-reading modalities: Dale is no longer with us, but his most-famous book is a timeless classic that is available as an audiobook, and Dale Carnegie also has a training institution that lives on in his name.
Best book: I think ‘Book Yourself Solid’ is his best book, and his most successful to date, but ‘Steal the Show’ is also great for client-facing and revenue-generating CRE professionals.
Best concept: One of the first things he talks about in ‘Book Yourself Solid’ is the red velvet rope policy, which makes that point that when you only work with clients you love, you’ll truly enjoy the work you’re doing, allowing you to serve others at your peak. In ‘Steal the Show’, he says that you should aim for a standing ovation from all the performances in your life.
Non-reading modalities: Michael Port is a great voice-actor (fun fact: he guest-starred on ‘Sex and the City’), and I have enjoyed hearing him as a guest on many podcasts. He also reads his own audiobooks, which was a pleasure to listen to.
Best book: ‘The Power of Consistency’.
Best concept: The idea of your “box” (i.e. your mind), which is what is programmed in your head, often from when you were young, and therefore contributes to your beliefs, and influences what is possible in terms of results, as told in ‘The Power of Consistency’, is the best one. “The sales corridor” from another book of his, ‘Consistency Selling’, is a sales process that can be applied to any industry.
Non-reading modalities: You can get ‘The Power of Consistency’ as an audio book.
A few final tips
Consider taking notes when you read books, or at least underlining key passages that you consider important. You can do this with physical books, and also with digital copies (take a couple of minutes to learn how to highlight passages within the app you’re using to read books). I like to copy and paste parts of digital copies of books into a notepad app like OneNote.
If you’re not reading, you can still take notes, or perhaps record some voice notes of whatever resonates. I find reviewing the summaries of books I’ve read, and the parts I’ve underlined, to be a great way to refresh my memory – it takes me back to realisations I had when I read it, reinforcing its relevance and importance.
There is also a good case for rereading books (or relistening to podcasts, etc.) – you will take in more of the material on subsequent reads. The nature of the benefits that accrue will also evolve, based on your professional and personal development progress at the time.
Finally, the list in this article is not meant to be exhaustive. There are many more authors that could be added to the list, and I take you back to my earlier point: if an author doesn’t resonate with you, just move on to another one. Hopefully this article is enough to help you find sources that feed your mind with positive content, helping your own professional and personal development.
By Darren Krakowiak.
Krakowiak is the founder of www.cresuccess.co which provides coaching, consulting, mentoring and training to the commercial real estate industry. He was previously country head at CBRE Korea, and held various leadership positions at JLL in Asia Pacific. He is the host of CRE Success: The Podcast, and his eBook, The 5 Ps of Commercial Real Estate Success, is available to download for free here: https://www.cresuccess.co/ebook