What they’re reading now

Insights from the desks of Jacky Teplitzky, Jerry Swartz and Erik Serras

Oct.October 01, 2015 07:00 AM


Jacky Teplitzky
Associate real estate broker, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

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

I am reading “Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. The book provides insight into why Israel is one of the most innovative countries, with one of the largest number of startups in the world.

What spurred you to read the book?

I’m passionate about entrepreneurial initiatives and enjoy thinking outside the box. The book allows me to break away from typical strategic thinking.

Has anything you read in it stuck with you? Would you recommend it to others?

The book emphasizes my beliefs: Never give up on an idea; always listen to your gut and not the people around you; and the best partnerships are created under stressful circumstances. In Israel, most startups were created by people who served in the army together. Since I served as a sergeant in the Israeli Army, I can relate.

Jerry Swartz
Co-Founder, CityFunders

What are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading “The Liar’s Ball: The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World’s Toughest Tycoons” by Vicky Ward.

What spurred you to read the book?

Obviously all of us in CRE are familiar with Harry Macklowe and his real estate, but it was great to have all the facts put in perspective. Having spent more than 45 years in the industry, I know many of the people portrayed therein.

I was very close to one of the bankers who lost a sizable loan on the GM Building to one of his competitors by two basis points after his loan was verbally accepted. What broker, buyer, seller or banker hasn’t experienced this at one time or another?

Has anything you read in it stuck with you?

The book personifies our business, and while all transactions don’t have the same convoluted history, everyone in real estate has a story they can relate to in the book. I would recommend it, and in fact have.

There are many anecdotes in the book that can easily make a reader cringe, laugh or experience any number of other emotions. Deals can be made in any venue. It just takes two willing, or in some cases, even one unwilling participant, to consummate a transaction. Golf, poker, meals, weddings; the list is endless. What’s true is nothing stands in the way of completing “the deal.”

Erik Serras
Principal Broker, Ideal Properties Group

What are you reading right now?

Every now and then, there are chapters I enjoy revisiting in Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions.”

What spurred you to read the book?

I have always been intrigued by the seeping of behavioral theories into our industry, but also by how our industry in turn often supplies excellent examples to scientists who study our behavior as humans and consumers. Real estate being so closely linked to the psychology of the consumer culture, this is one of the reads I periodically go back to, each time with restored interest.

Would you recommend it to others?

I would recommend it primarily to sales professionals looking for insight into the effects of emotions on our decision-making. Ariely writes in contrast to the standard economic assumptions: that we are rational, and that if we have all the pertinent information, we can calculate the value of the different options, which would naturally result in us making a logical and sensible decision. Ariely’s experiments, common experiences and observations seem to prove otherwise and to validate behavioral economics, that is, economics based on how people actually behave, rather than how they should behave.

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