The Real Deal New York

What they’re reading now

Insight from the bookshelves of Ofer Cohen, Phyllis Pezenik and Dan Marrello
By Brendan O’Connor | February 02, 2015 07:00AM
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From left: “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith

Where do you look for insight and inspiration? To find out, The Real Deal asks leaders in the industry what they’re reading.

Ofer Cohen
Founder and president, TerraCRG

Ofer Cohen

Ofer Cohen

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

I am currently reading “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” an amazing book written by leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith. The book is based on the idea that we have at least one bad habit which prevents us from growing professionally.

What spurred you to read that book?

It was given to me by my firm’s business consultant, Lisa Bing, who I work closely with to manage our growth and expansion.

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

The bad habit that really spoke to me is starting sentences with “no,” “but,” or “however.” After learning this, I found myself listening closely to typical conversations in meetings and was shocked to count the number of times people start sentences with one of these words. I agree with the author when he says that by starting with any of these words, you are making the other person feel like they are wrong. I have been working very hard to avoid doing this, and I highly recommend this book to any entrepreneur or executive.

Phyllis Pezenik
Principal broker, DJK Residential

Phyllis Pezenik

Phyllis Pezenik

What are you reading right now?

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” about President Abraham Lincoln and his ability to successfully reconcile conflicting personalities in dealing with the men who ran against him in the 1860 election. He appointed these men to his Cabinet as Attorney General, Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of State.

What spurred you to read that book?

Many times, we are confronted with personalities that require an approach that is more conducive to create the opposite of divide and conquer, but unite and strengthen your team.

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

I would highly recommend this book to others, especially in positions of leadership in any industry. Leaders lead by having people unite and work toward a common goal.

Dan Marrello
Leasing director, Town Flatiron

What are you reading right now? 

Right now, I am reading Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, “David and Goliath.”

Dan Marrello

Dan Marrello

What spurred you to read that book?

Gladwell is an author whose work I really enjoy. Aside from “David and Goliath,” I have read “The Tipping Point” and “Blink.” They all have the same intriguing concept, where he dissects real-life situations and moments to create a new meaning or figure out why they happened. What spurred me to read this particular book was my interest in the history of “David and Goliath” and how Gladwell would dissect the story of their fight — a book to challenge the reader’s thinking about obstacles, disadvantages, and how to cope with them. 

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

The one thing that stuck with me in this book is how at times many of us may feel like David in this story, while trying to compete as a real estate broker in New York City, figuring out what tools we need to use in order to be successful and overcome our obstacles. Yes, I would recommend it to others.