The Real Deal New York

What they're reading now

Real estate pros share picks for books on the history of mankind, reciprocity and shipping goods
By Angely Mercado | June 01, 2017 10:00AM

Douglas Steiner
President, Steiner Equities Group

What are you reading right now, or what did you finish most recently? I’m reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari.

What spurred you to read that book? It was recommended to me by my son Neil. He was turned on to it by one of his studio art teachers, who occasionally read it aloud to his students.

Has anything you read in it stuck with you? It basically explains everything in life, from the highest possible view over the longest period of time, and it’s mind-blowing. But it’s pretty difficult to describe. For instance, Harari makes a compelling argument that in the history of mankind, people have not become more intelligent over time. He uses storytelling rather than arguments; it’s quite readable, and not dry or long-winded. It’s definitely one of the most brilliant books I’ve ever read. And oddly, not available in paperback.

Adam Hess
Partner, TerraCRG

What are you reading right now? I am reading “Give and Take” by Adam Grant.

What spurred you to read it? I read an article in the New York Times about a baseball executive named Derek Falvey who is trying to effect organizational change for the Minnesota Twins, a franchise that has fallen on hard times recently, and he was following the principles of “Give and Take.”

Has anything you read in it stuck with you? The basic theme of the book is about how being a “giver” without experiencing quid pro quo is a hallmark of some of the most successful business leaders. One of the parts that stuck with me is Grant’s “five-minute rule.” You should do a favor, whether it be making a connection or helping someone in the workplace or in their career regardless of relationship.

Would you recommend this book to someone? I would absolutely recommend it. In some, ways it’s a modern adjunct to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” In real estate, we are all so consumed with the daily grind of purely transactional work, so I found that this book reminded me to redistribute some of my energy to help those around me get ahead.

David Blatt
CEO, CapStack Partners

What are you reading?  “Door to Door” by Edward Humes.

What spurred you to read the book? The book discusses how the distribution of goods works in the U.S., as well as the network for that delivery — ports, rails, roads, hence the name. With the continued growth of e-commerce and talk of how to solve the last-mile delivery puzzle, it felt very timely and relevant to the different types of real estate markets being impacted, particularly New York City — the city that wants what it wants when it wants it.

Has anything you read in it stuck with you? Yes, particularly how strained our logistics infrastructure is in this country. We have container ships waiting weeks offshore for their turn to dock and offload goods because our ports, warehouses, trucks and trains are unable to handle the volume.

Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend it to any real estate entrepreneur who wants to understand what makes a strong distribution market and port city, so they can better identify investment opportunities.