The Real Deal New York

What they're reading now

Real estate pros share picks for books on the pursuit of courage, 19th-century Brooklyn and time management
By Marynia Kruk | December 01, 2016 01:00PM

books-decemberKaren Bellantoni
Vice chairman, RKF

What are you reading right now?

“Finding Inner Courage” by Mark Nepo. The book defines courage as standing by one’s core, one’s essence. Nepo invites us to practice living from our core with authenticity and in accordance with our best selves. In our hyperconnected world, it is immensely valuable to stop for a minute and become truly aware of our thoughts and feelings.

What spurred you to read this book?

One of my favorite yoga teachers referred to the book, and this inspired me to get it. I spend a great deal of time focusing on mindfulness and compassion.

Has anything you read in it stuck with you?

Nepo includes profiles of people who’ve stood by the courage of their convictions. I find these inspiring and helpful as I encounter the challenges that are part of the fast-paced and complex decisions in retail real estate.

Joanne Witty
Vice chairperson, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation

What are you reading right now?

“The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher” by Debby Applegate. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

What spurred you to read that book?

Much more than a biography of the charismatic abolitionist preacher of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights, it is about the political, cultural and religious currents leading up to and after the Civil War. I have been working on a large public project adjacent to Brooklyn Heights that has involved extensive community participation and some controversy. I thought it would be interesting to read a history about the issues that preoccupied Brooklyn Heights during Beecher’s time and how its residents responded.

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

Yes, I would recommend this book. It presents a complex and nuanced picture of an individual and his times, and tells us about Brooklyn Heights then and now. Beecher was a magnetic and persuasive figure on the right side of history. Human nature got in the way. His personal behavior led to scandal, and the scandal ultimately distracted attention from and obscured the merits of his great causes, especially women’s suffrage. The story resonates to this day.

Jakub Nowak
Associate broker, Marcus & Millichap

What are you reading right now?

David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.”

What spurred you to read that book?

I’m actually re-reading this book. I had originally picked it up a few years back while traveling and experienced immediate advances in my time management and personal productivity. A broker’s most precious resource is his or her time. Growth in this line of work requires the ability to consistently squeeze more out of the finite hours of the day while managing one’s ongoing engagements and dealing with a relentless barrage of new surprises.

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

My main takeaway was that we waste a remarkable amount of time and mental energy trying to remind ourselves about what it is that we should be doing and stressing out about things that might need to get done but which we might have already forgotten. I highly recommend “Getting Things Done” to anyone interested in lowering stress, creating a better work-life balance and taking their personal productivity to the next level.