What real estate pros are reading

Industry leaders share their picks of books for business and fun

Oct.October 01, 2014 07:00 AM

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Where do you look for inspiration and insight? This month, The Real Deal polled leaders in the industry to find out what they’re reading, how the book was recommended to them and what they’ve found most compelling about it.

Mary Ann Tighe

Chief executive officer, CBRE New York Tri-State Region

What are you reading right now and what did you finish most recently?

Right now — a new customer recently referenced it — I am reading “Let My People Go Surfing,” by Yvon Chouinard, who founded Patagonia. And I just started Richard Florida’s latest, “The Great Reset.” I recently finished “Infidel,” which [CBRE Vice Chairman] Howard Fiddle recommended, and that was so powerful. Soon I’ll dive into Daniel Silva’s latest Gabriel Allon mystery, “The Heist.” If you don’t know Gabriel, you need to meet one of the great characters.

What spurred you to read those books?

My basic way of selecting a book is a) I need to read it because it relates to my work — for example, I was reading “The Trust” when we were working on the New York Times strategic plan; b) a colleague, customer or friend recommends something; c) I read lots about architecture, urban planning, the history of New York City development, and on business trends in general; and d) I read for fun.

Anything in recent books stuck with you?

In “The Great Reset,” Richard Florida hypothesizes that we are in the midst of a fundamental transformation of the economic and social order, which will realign how we live and work.

Larry Silverstein

Chairman, Silverstein Properties

What are you reading right now or what did you finish most recently?

I just started reading “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” by Michael Lewis, immediately after finishing “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” by Robert Gates.

What spurred you to read those books?

I found “Duty” very powerful. I read a review of it in the book review section of the New York Times and decided it’d be worth reading. I am reading “Flash Boys” because the guys in the book are tenants of mine at 7 World Trade Center. They operate an alternative trading system dedicated to building a fair and balanced market. It’s fascinating stuff!

Has anything you read stuck with you?

“Duty” offered terrific insight into the world of the Secretary of Defense, into his feelings for his servicemen and servicewomen, and for the enormous responsibility he felt when he sent them into harm’s way. The documentation was suburb, especially with regard to his relationships with the president, with military leaders, and with senators and members of the House.

I would recommend it because it goes beyond the headlines — it provided me with a vastly superior insight that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, from just reading the papers. The book gives you an understanding of what really goes on inside the Pentagon and the White House under extremely difficult and pressure-packed conditions.

Daun Paris

President, Eastern Consolidated

What are you reading right now?

I’ve just started reading “Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind” by Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter.

What spurred you to read that book?

My son, Phil, actually inspired me to read this. He is the co-founder of Yo, a new app that the Wall Street Journal recently said … might turn out to be even bigger than Twitter! So of course I wanted to learn more about Twitter in particular. But even beyond Phil’s involvement with Yo, Twitter is a critical component of our social media efforts at Eastern Consolidated.

From what I’ve read so far, and what others have told me about “Little Bird,” the book’s focus is on creative, collaborative environments, which is the cornerstone of our business approach. It’s also important that we better understand what the future may hold for the Twitter platform, so that we can makes decisions accordingly. We always strive to stay ahead of the curve, and that includes listening to others — like my son Phil! — who have expertise in areas not necessarily specific to real estate. Some of our best ideas come from outside our comfort zone.

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