The Real Deal New York

What they're reading now

Real estate pros share their picks for books on the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the next technological advances and more…
By Erin Hudson | April 01, 2018 01:00PM

Jordan Sachs
CEO and Co-founder, Bold New York

What are you currently reading or what have you finished most recently? “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America” by Erik Larson. It’s about the 1893 [Chicago] World’s Fair.

Why did you choose to read the book? I really enjoy murder mysteries and historical stories. I ultimately ended up becoming obsessed with the 1893 World’s Fair. The sheer mass and scale of what was built, along with the powerful architects and developers involved, definitely played an instrumental role in its creation. 

Has anything in the book stuck with you? The book does a wonderful job of painting a picture of a time when people were far more gracious, well-mannered and trusting of one another. With the chaos of today’s political and social landscape, it’s hard not to look back and ask how our society’s core value system has replaced mutual respect with divisiveness, closed-mindedness and even suspicion of others’ motivations and values.

Would you recommend it to others? Absolutely. It’s a great book with a thrilling storyline, which ended up being very educational.

Matthew Petrallia
Vice President of Research and Analytics, Terra Development Marketing

What are you reading right now? “The Industries of the Future” by Alec Ross. He was senior adviser for innovation under Secretary [of State] Clinton and traveled the world exploring the latest advances coming from each country.

What spurred you to read it? I’m interested in trying to think 15 minutes into the future, so I’m always fascinated by what anyone with first-hand knowledge of technological advances and societal change has to say.

Has anything stuck with you? Change is accelerating in every aspect of society at a pace that’s difficult to digest. The book illuminates in great detail how advances in industries — artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, big data, robotics and genomics — will shape and change global economics, commerce and how we live in the coming years.

Would you recommend it to others? If you are at all curious about the pace of change around you and where the puck is heading next, this is a must-read.

Stephen Rosenberg
Founder and CEO, Greystone

What are you reading? “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger.

What spurred you to read it? I actually first read this book years ago, but it made such a deep impression on me that I return to it occasionally. Set in rural Minnesota in the early 1960s, it follows a family’s cross-country search for a fugitive brother on the run. With the distinctive narrative voice of an 11-year-old boy, the story explores the power of family and belief in miracles juxtaposed with the harsh realities of life.

What about the book has stayed with you most? What I love about it is that the author uses simple language to convey some weighty concepts like love and faith, and he strings together commonly used words in uncommon ways. The author’s communication is so unique and effective — it’s striking.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I feel effective communication is a skill that not many people possess, and this book is an inspiring example of it.