I’m often asked how I know so much about real estate investing. People know I don’t have formal training or a degree in anything real estate related, so I understand being curious. Usually the person asking is considering getting started themselves—wholesaling, rehabbing, renting or something in between.
The answer often surprises them: I got here by absorbing everything around me. I listened to my mentors and coaches. I took lessons from every single deal I closed, and every property I flipped. I asked questions and focused hard on the answers, always striving to get a little bit better. And I read a lot. I still read anything I can get my hands on, from trade publications and blogs to newspapers, business journals and, of course, books.
So many books.
So there it is. If you want to know how I got where I am today—how I became a seven-figure investor—my advice is simple: work hard, focus on your process, have a real estate investor mindset and take it all in, starting with these five must-reads:
1. Lean Startup by Eric Ries
This is the book for entrepreneurs, especially startups and scalable businesses like yours. Eric Ries’ approach is super focused and teaches a “validated learning” technique—experiment with what works, move on fast if it doesn’t and, when you do hit, scale like crazy, adapting and adjusting along the way. It’s a great way to think about starting and growing your real estate investing business. It also gives entrepreneurs the clearance to fail without feeling like they’ve failed. And we could all use a reminder every now and then, right?
2. Startupland by Mikkel Svane
Sometimes I felt like Startupland was written just for me. Mikkel Svane takes a decidedly human approach to entrepreneurship, which is incredibly refreshing in this age of Silicon Valley lore and the fact that high profile startups are dominating headlines around the world.
But this book is different. Svane’s argument is simple and echoes much of what I teach at NVREA: if you work hard, push yourself harder and are relentless in your pursuit of success, you can be a powerhouse entrepreneur, too. You don’t need the fancy pedigree or multi-million dollar seed money. You just need to work hard and never give up. But, that said, you don’t need to sacrifice yourself, your family or your life to come out on top. I couldn’t agree more.
3. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
FUBU founder and Shark Tank investor Daymond John calls this book life-changing and, again, I totally agree. Written more than 100 years ago, Napoleon Hill was tapped by legendary entrepreneur and business titan Andrew Carnegie to interview hundreds of wealthy people. These interviews focused on one thing: success.
Though more than a century old, these business leaders’ responses still ring loud and clear today, and much of the content ultimately became the foundation for Think and Grow Rich, now an essential guide for entrepreneurs. With more than 15 million copies sold, it’s hard to find a successful entrepreneur or business leader who hasn’t read this one, regardless of their experience level or industry.
Think and Grow Rich focuses heavily on goal setting, which is huge for entrepreneurs and real estate investors. It’s an essential piece of the Real Estate Investor Mindset, which I talk about a lot—see it, believe it, map it and execute it. It also introduces the now-famous Carnegie formula for money making, a 13-step approach that has helped business leaders and the entrepreneurial elite identify and achieve success for more than a century.
4. The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneur by David Kidder
If you want lots of perspectives on entrepreneurship, read this. David Kidder has pulled together tips, tricks and insights from more than 40 founders, representing diverse industries and backgrounds. The end result—The Startup Playbook—covers it all, giving you a glimpse into some of the greatest entrepreneurial minds ever, including some in the industry and many out.
There’s a real value to diversity of perspectives and experiences, which this book really emphasizes. Believe me, you’ll find at least a few nuggets in this easy read that can be readily applied to your real estate investing business. I actually go back to this book often. I feel like, depending on where I am with my business, I can find something fresh in Kidder’s work.
5. Rework by Jason Fried
I love what Mark Cuban says about Rework: “If given a choice between investing in someone who has read Rework or has an MBA, I’m investing in Rework every time. This is a must-read for every entrepreneur.”
I think Cuban’s words say it all—this book is amazing. The focus is just that—focus—and aims to overcome some common challenges in entrepreneurship and business as a whole, including multi-tasking (guilty…). While some of the tactics and strategies won’t apply to you as a real estate investor—for example, Jason Fried is anti third-party investors, which isn’t the best approach in our industry—the majority of the content will be incredibly relevant to you during your journey to success, happiness and financial freedom. It’s been huge for me.
The takeaway here? Anyone can be a success in real estate investing. It doesn’t take a big degree from a fancy university, special skillsets or some hidden investor code tucked away in a cave somewhere. It takes hard work, determination and a desire to excel—a desire to improve yourself and your business every single step of the way. All of these traits ring true in these books. Beyond that, though, I hope this list reminds you how important it is to put your head down and keep learning, keep questioning and keep reading even if you feel like you’ve mastered it all. And if you’re feeling stuck, enroll at the Nick Vertucci Real Estate Academy and sharpen your skills for a few days. Or see when we’ll be in your area next, and sign up for an upcoming workshop or seminar. Whether you’re just starting out or are well-versed in real estate investing, there’s plenty to be gained. But no matter what, be sure you’re always learning, always growing and always expanding your knowledge, starting with this book list. When you’re done, tell me what you thought, either in the comments or on social media. I’m all ears.