Brittany Ryan

And here we are. It's almost a new year.

So how did it go? Did you hit your number? If yes, congrats! 

If not, don’t sweat it. Now is the perfect time to harness that reflective year-end energy into game-changing power plays for your real estate business. But with so many tips, tactics and strategies competing for your attention, how do you know which ones actually work?

We turned to our network of leading brokers and real estate coaches to tell us about the one book that made the biggest practical impact in their business so you can narrow down your reading list and get a jumpstart on the New Year. 

No matter where you’re at in your real estate journey, we’ll help you find your next great read!

In this list you’ll find:

  • The best real estate agent books for beginners
  • The best books for growing your real estate business
  • The best books for building and leading your team
  • The best books to sharpen your mindset

The best real estate agent books for beginners

Just getting ramped up in your real estate career or want to share a book with a new agent? This is where you want to start. 

These books are beloved real estate classics for a reason. But you don’t have to be a beginner to get something out of them — experienced agents come back to these titles again and again to get reacquainted with the fundamentals. 

1. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan

You can’t create a best Realtor books list without MREA. Many agents consider it the bible of real estate — so if you haven’t read it before, now’s the time! 

Recommended by: John Selby, Team Leader, The Selby Team

“I listened to it back in 2015, took a lot from it, put a ton of stuff in place. And I feel like I’m at a spot where listening to it again will really help. I’ve already taken a ton of great nuggets from there that are going to be implemented for maybe the next 5 years.”

For more on how John brings these lessons to life, check out our interview — Engineering Hands-Off Real Estate Processes: 3 Steps to a System You Don’t Have to Think About

Reader reviews:

“The blueprint for real estate agent success” - HWT

“This book, unlike other fluff content by other authors, is literally the blueprint for automating success in real estate.”

“Many people go into real estate with the same lack of business and entrepreneurship skills they have always had. Even if they see success, they lock themselves into a hard work trap that requires more and more and more of them. I have met and talked to a local seller doing $50M in transactions a year with NO IDEA about entrepreneurship and business systems. Yes, she was taking home $40k-$60k per month... but she was on call, working 60+ hours a week, and had NO TEAM. She's a super high paid worker, not a business owner. … I feel like this book should be a mandatory read in real estate school for that exact reason!!” 

About the author:

Gary Keller is an American entrepreneur and best-selling author. He is the founder of Keller Williams, which is the largest real estate company in the world by agent count, closed sales volume, and units sold. Keller founded Keller Williams on training and education and later brought his teachings to print.

2. Exactly What To Say by Phil M. Jones

Recommended by: Chris Smith, co-founder, Curaytor

Exactly What To Say by Phil M. Jones is a must read/listen for every agent. It is a quick, tactical take on sales scripts that can easily be applied to a real estate transaction. If you are open minded to a better way of selling this book is amazing.”

About the author:

The author of five international best-selling books, and the youngest ever winner of the coveted “British Excellence in Sales and Marketing Award”, Phil is currently one of the most in-demand assets to companies worldwide.

3. Reverse Selling: How Real Estate Agents Can Turn Cold Calls Into Clients by Brandon Mulrenin

Reader reviews:

"Best sales book I’ve ever read - especially for Real Estate” - Addison Fischer

“I’ve read virtually every single sales book available on the market. And most real estate books I can get my hands on. When I got done with the first chapter of this book alone, it completely shifted my perspective on what it means to ‘sell’. Reverse Selling and the wisdom imparted in this book from a 7 figure agent who’s been in the trenches actually doing this stuff for years, will change the way you look at and run your business! Don’t learn from fake gurus who’ve never sold a house…. Pick up this book and set more appointments in the next week than you have your whole career. (That’s what happened to me)”

About the author:

Brandon Mulrenin is a former #1 listing agent for Keller Williams Premier who later launched his own independent brokerage firm in Detroit, MI and turned it into ​​one of the fastest growing real estate companies in the state. Now, he is the founder and CEO of reverseselling.com, as well as managing CEO of three other entities: Brookstone Realtors, National Mortgage Funding, and Maximus Title Agency. 

4. The HyperLocal HyperFast Real Estate Agent: How to Dominate Your Real Estate Market in Under a Year – I Did it and so Can You! by Daniel James Lesniak

Reader reviews:

“Leadership by (compelling!) example” - Advanced Persistent Fret

“Dan's story demonstrates that committed implementation of solid fundamentals can put you on top, every time. His rookie success would be unbelievable in a work of fiction, but as a factual narrative, backed up by verifiable stats, it's truly inspiring. Lots of people advocate common sense, resolute ethics and hard work; hardly anyone offers such a detailed picture of how that can all come together. This is enormously valuable for anyone working in real estate. I'd also recommend it for anyone interested in business, or anyone with plans to buy or sell a home.”

About the author:

After successful careers as both a Naval Submarine Officer and Defense Contractor, Dan Lesniak took to real estate in 2012. He went on to do over $22 million in sales his first year — and it’s all thanks to the hyperlocal strategies he lays down in this book. 

The best books for growing your real estate business

5. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

Recommended by: Jared James, Founder, Jared James Enterprises

About the author:

Michael E. Gerber is an American author and founder of Michael E. Gerber Companies, a business skills training company based in Carlsbad, California. Inc. Magazine called him “the World’s #1 Small Business Guru.”

6. SOLD: Every Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Building a Profitable Business by David M. Greene

Reader reviews:

“A Must Read for Everyone – Not Just Agents” - Melissa Roybal

“This book is amazing. David gives such great, actionable steps to take as a new or seasoned agent. This book is invaluable for anyone who is taking their real estate career seriously, and wants to run it as a true business. Even those who are not in real estate as an agent should read this book. It has useful information for real estate investors as well. David provides a framework for implementing systems to help agents succeed in their business. There is no other book like this on the market for agents. David is speaking to today's agent. He gives information that is applicable to today's technological world that we live in combined with the tried and true methods for lead generation and follow up that has remained true throughout time.”

About the author:

David Greene is a real estate investor, top-producing agent, and nationally-recognized authority on real estate and co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast. His other real estate books — Long-Distance Real Estate Investing and Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat (BRRRR) — have sold more than 160,000 copies.

7. Wealth Can’t Wait by David Osborne

Recommended by: Nick Baldwin, Team Leader, KW Premier, COO, Lab Coat Agents and CEO, Nick Baldwin & Associates

“Passive income in a shift is extremely important. It always was important. However, with home sales slowing there may be more deals to be had which will increase the ability to invest in real estate. Wealth Can’t Wait by David Osborne and Paul Morris would be my go-to for any agent right now looking to explore those opportunities.”

About the authors:

David Osborn has built one of the top real estate brokerages in the world with more than 4,500 agents and annual sales volume exceeding $10 billion per year.

Paul Morris is a prolific and award-winning entrepreneur, trainer, author, and business consultant.

8. The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz

Recommended by: Cindy Greenya, Team Leader, Talbot Greenya Group

The Pumpkin Plan is a great book about the power of making a system that is excellent and replicable and growing that and being really specific about what you want your business to be. Knowing your niche and really leaning into that. You're much better off to specialize in what you do well than doing a thousand things that you don't do well.”

Check out our interview with Cindy Greenya — “The One Mistake that Turned this Real Estate Team Leader into a Firm Believer in Follow Up.”

About the author:

Mike Michalowicz knows how to build a business. In fact, Simon Sinek deemed him a “top contender for the patron saint of entrepreneurs.” With deep experience creating and leading multi-million-dollar ventures, he’s also devoted his life to researching impactful entrepreneurial strategies. 

9. Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish

Recommended by: Beth Nordaune, CEO and Founder, The Enclave Team

Scaling Up by Verne Harnish — I always say that is one of the best books if you're thinking about doing a team that you should check out.”

Check out our interview with Beth Nordaune — “How This Second Generation Realtor Scaled Her Way from a 5-Person Operation to a Multi-Location Team.”

About the author:

Verne Harnish is the founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). His book, Scaling Up, has won eight major international book awards, including the prestigious International Book Award for Best General Business book. 

The best books for building and leading your team

Whether you’re just starting a team or looking to take your agents to the next level, check out these great reads for real estate brokers and team leaders!

10. The Traction Library by Gino Wickman et al. 

Recommended by: Steven Rovithis, Broker/Owner, ROVI Homes

“I'm really digging in hard on the EOS stuff. So they've got a six book series. We've hired an integrator or implementer to come out and help us integrate that into our system because we were getting to a size where the org chart was not in a good place. And we've really been working hard to make sure our meetings run efficiently, that the structure is right, and everybody understands their roles and responsibilities. It really opened up my eyes to how an organization can successfully run. We were definitely winging it.”

About the author:

Gino Wickman is the creator of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a practical method for helping companies achieve greatness. There are over 130k companies using the EOS tools worldwide. The first book in the series, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, has sold over 1 million copies, and the other five books in the Traction Library have sold almost 2 million copies. 

11. Dare to Lead by Dr. Brené Brown

Recommended by: Lisa Archer, Chief Opportunity Officer, Live Love Homes

“I love to read, the most recent was Brene Brown, Dare to Lead.

About the author:

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.

12. The High-Performing Real Estate Team: 5 Keys to Dramatically Increasing Sales and Commissions by Brian Icenhower

Reader review: “The MREA for Teams” - Jason Jenkins

“I can tell you as someone who has put in a tremendous amount of work as a Realtor, taking the time to learn the nuances and other different disciplines that go into being successful as a Realtor, that this book is without question the foundation for all things Teams related in Real Estate. This book teaches you not only how to have a team but also how to run it like a business. For anyone who has ever run a business, they can verify that they know exactly what I mean. … [As] someone who has read dozens upon dozens of books about business and the different fields in Real Estate[,] this is a must have for the shelf. You'll thank me for recommending this to you.”

About the author:

Brian Icenhower is the CEO and Founder of Icenhower Coaching & Consulting (ICC) — one of the largest real estate coaching companies in the world, supporting many of the highest producing agents, teams, and brokerage owners. ICC also produces podcasts, online courses, video modules, training materials, and more. 

13. What You Do Is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz

Recommended by: Emily Smith, COO, Wemert Group Realty

"It's all about creating culture in an office space. It was passed to me by a vendor partner of ours that said 'Oh you're my culture girl. You need to read this book.' And I read it and I couldn't put it down. It was really good."

Check out our interview with Emily Smith — “Not a Brokerage: How to Reach $265 Million with 40% Repeat Referrals Using a Team-First Approach.”

About the author:

Ben Horowitz, a leading venture capitalist, modern management expert, and New York Times bestselling author, combines lessons both from history and from modern organizational practice with practical and often surprising advice to help executives build cultures that can weather both good and bad times.

14. Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

Recommended by: Ryan Rodenbeck, Broker/Owner, Spyglass Realty

“I think I would tell five-year-ago me to read The Culture Code. And I would focus more on it.”

Check out our interview with Ryan Rodenbeck — “How to Build a 20-Agent Dream Team and Hit $96 Million Per Year.”

About the author:

Daniel Coyle is the author of the New York Times bestseller Lance Armstrong’s War and Hardball: A Season in the Projects, and is a contributing editor for Outside magazine.

15. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink 

Recommended by: Steven Rovithis, Broker/Owner, ROVI Homes

“I promise you, you have people in your organization right now that are better off in a different seat. And that book, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, is spot on with full responsibility. At this point, I've really got to take extreme measures, down to the point of if an employee isn't working out, I probably had something to do with the hiring process, right? So I've got to take responsibility for how we’ve failed them. Maybe we should have never hired them in the first place or something. Really trying to take ownership of everything is hard to swallow sometimes, but if you take that attitude and don't expect anything from anybody, you can fall in love with the process, right? 'Cause it's a daily grind for sure.”

About the author

Jocko Willink is a decorated retired Navy SEAL officer. In 2010, he launched Echelon Front, where he teaches leadership principles he learned on the battlefield to help others lead and win. 

The best books to sharpen your mindset

Sometimes you don’t need tactics, but you do need help getting in the right mindset for success. These books will help you do just that!

16. Shift: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times by Gary Keller

(Yes, another Gary Keller book… he’s that good!)

Recommended by: Donna Stott, Broker/Coach, Your Coaching Matters

Shift is a great book because it shows you how to look at how to get from where you are to where you want to be. There are 3 parts they use metaphors for: the Rider, the Elephant, and the Path.”

“The Rider is the intellect. The plan maker. The system generator. This Rider gets on the Elephant, which represents the motivation and actions taken…or just standing still. It can be easy to have a great plan, but if you don’t have the motivation and take action, the elephant just stands there. You don’t go anywhere. The third part, however, relates to the short synopsis above. The PATH is how you get there. Is it with ease? Or are there boulders in the way? What about pebbles? Twists and turns? How well the elephant moves is determined by the path you choose.”

“Choosing Bought Leads over Generating Leads is one of those paths that can lead to a myriad of problems.”

Check out our interview with Donna & Mike Stott — “How to Triple Your Real Estate Business by Shrinking Your Database.”

17. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

Recommended by: Ron Howard, Owner, Ron Howard & Associates of RE/MAX Preferred

“I’d recommend The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. It was recommended to me by Verl Workman and it’s just brilliant.”

“It’s influenced by many ancient philosophies including lessons from the Bible and others. For example, one is ‘I will form good habits and become their slave.’ Things like, ‘Start each day with love in your heart. I will persist until I succeed.’  It’s got a lot of the same ideas you might find in other books but the way it’s written and presented is brilliant.”

Check out our interview with Ron Howard — “Winning in Real Estate Without ‘Selling’.”

About the author:

Og Mandino is the most widely read inspirational and self-help author in the world. Former president of Success Unlimited magazine, Mandino was the first recipient of the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal for literary achievement. Og Mandino was a member of the International Speakers Hall of Fame and honored with the Masters of Influence by the National Speakers Association. Og Mandino passed away in 1996.

18. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Recommended by: Joshua Smith, Real Estate Coach & Host of GSD Mode

Influence by Robert Cialdini… We are in the ‘Human Connection’ business and we need to be extremely effective with the Human Connection and building great long term relationships. The Real Estate Industry is transitioning from a ‘Relationship Business’ to a ‘Transactional Business’ and if our Industry becomes transactional based, it will weaken the role of the Real Estate Agent and continue to drive down Real Estate Agent Compensation. As Real Estate Agents, the real battle we are facing is making sure our industry does not turn transactional and as technology expands, yes we must learn and master how to use technology as effectively as possible, but we need to use technology to allow us to develop stronger relationships and we need to be extremely careful to not allow it to replace the relationship.”

About the author:

Dr. Robert Cialdini has spent his entire career researching the science of influence earning him an international reputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, and negotiation. Influence has been listed on the “New York Times Business Best Seller List.” Fortune Magazine lists Influence in their “75 Smartest Business Books.” CEO Read lists Influence in their “100 Best Business Books of All Time.”

19. The Maxwell Daily Reader by John C. Maxwell

Recommended by: Dr. Lee Davenport, Founder, LEARN WITH LEE: Real Estate Coaching & Consulting

“I love this because it is truly ‘365 days of insight to develop the leader within you’.  Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample that directly relates to the market transformation happening as we enter the new year:

Great leaders are seldom blindsided. They realize that the punch that knocks them out is seldom the hard one — it’s the one they didn’t see coming. Therefore, they are always looking for signs and indicators that will give them insight into the problem ahead and their odds of fixing it… Pay attention to your intuition and follow up when something strikes you.

“See what I mean? You may have a gut feeling to take a course of action as the new year approaches. Hopefully, this excerpt gives you the courage to follow your instincts.”

About the author:

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author who has sold over 19 million books. He is the founder of EQUIP and the John Maxwell Company. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books which have each sold more than one million copies.

20. Principles by Ray Dalio

Recommended by: Taylor Hack, Owner and Team Leader, HACK&Co.

“A book I’ve read in the past and I’m gonna return to is Principles by Ray Dalio, and specifically the sections where he’s talking about the people around you in your business being a multiplier of your hours. He’s the best I’ve ever seen on resonating communication in teams. Like he talks about how your team needs a cascading message seven times before it will start to resonate.”

Check out our interview with Taylor Hack — “The Path from Car Salesperson to Real Estate Sales Force.”

About the author:

Ray Dalio is the founder and co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, the largest and best performing hedge fund in the world. Dalio has appeared on the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world. Principles is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a #1 Amazon Business Book of the Year. 

Best Books for Real Estate Agents: Before you choose, take stock

Intel is great but learning itself can become overwhelming if you don’t go about it with the right intentions. This is the time to fill your forecasts, build your pipeline and really reflect on who your customers are and what they need from you. 

Take an inventory of your business strengths and improvement areas. Are they aligned with your biggest personal goals? What about your goals for the year?

You are too busy to spend time learning about an aspect of the business that’s better off in someone else’s hands. Focus on getting the right people and lead management systems in place so that you can place your best energy where it matters most.

Because at the end of the day, books are filled with great ideas, but information is only power when applied.

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