The Real Deal New York

What they’re reading now

Real estate pros share picks for books on the Holocaust, love and duty and the world of longshoremen
By Farah Halime | February 01, 2016 11:00AM

booksAdam Gordon
co-founder and developer, Madison Developments

What are you reading right now?

Neil Young’s “Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars.” I share an interest with Young in the sense of seeing cars as lenses into adventure and story. I also look forward to the quiet time at the end of the day when I can take an hour or two without technology.

What spurred you to read that book?

I tend to follow trails of breadcrumbs in virtually every aspect of my life. There’s certain themes that permeate the bookshelves, and one of those is cars. So when I see something about somebody who can talk about cars in a novel way, it’s intriguing to me. Also, Neil Young has a ranch in Northern California, and so do I, so I wanted to learn more.

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

When Young thinks about a car, it sparks a story about an album that he wrote or a friend he was with. I relate to that. It’s like how a certain wine reminds you of a place or smell. I would say it’s really for people who are inspired by cars or by Neil Young and that era.

Matt Spangler
head of design and marketing, Compass

What are you reading right now?

I just finished “The Wave,” which is a non-fiction adventure tale covering the global hunt for “rogue” giant waves that can be over 100 feet tall and swallow entire ships. They are one of the world’s most unexplained and unpredictable phenomena, and it tells their story through the people obsessed with chasing them — big-wave surfers, with a focus on the legendary Laird Hamilton.

What spurred you to read that book?

“The Wave” was recommended by another Compass agent, Marina Schindler. She knows I have a love for the ocean, boats, big-wave surfing and deep-sea exploration, so it was obvious this was a book I would enjoy.

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

It is a story of obsession and how small we really are in the grand scheme of even our own planet. Through the eyes of Laird, you learn what it takes to be absolutely great at something through dedication and hard work and to have great respect for forces around you that you cannot control. I would recommend it highly. It is great for anyone who is fascinated by the power of nature.

Luise Barrack
managing member, Rosenberg & Estis

What are you reading right now?

I just finished “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, a historical account of the United States rowing team’s victory at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin during Hitler’s rule, with a backdrop of the crew members’ experiences of growing up in the U.S. during the Depression era.

What spurred you to read that book?

I had heard a lot about growing up during the Depression from my father, although I had never read a historical account. My mother was born in Germany in 1930. This non-fiction book illuminated that incredibly challenging time in our nation’s history juxtaposed with what was transpiring in Nazi Germany, where Hitler was utilizing the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a propaganda opportunity. This team of working-class young men, by sheer determination and effort, and against all odds, beat privileged Ivy League crew teams in America, upper-echelon teams in England and, ultimately, Hitler’s German team.

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

There were so many incredible moments it is difficult to pick out just one. However, one was early on, when the team is in New York rowing up the Hudson River. They stop at FDR’s Hyde Park home, get out of their boat, knock on the door and are welcomed inside. I would highly recommend it. It’s really quite amazing.