WSO's Best Real Estate Books

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People ask about the best real estate books to read on this forum almost daily and we're happy to toss Linneman and Bowman their way, as well as all of the terrific ULI books, but @Whats the Comp" today asked specifically about non-textbook reads and it got me thinking that we should build a list of our favorites. Here are mine, in no particular order:

I definitely want to get some new reads for fall though, so please recommend your own.

Comments (46)

Best Response
Aug 9, 2016

Good idea. I've read several of those, but I don't think I realized that someone had written a book on Charlie Fraser, he was a good dude.

Now for some additions:

Trammell Crow, Master Builder: The Story of America's Largest Real Estate Empire - (
Poorvu's The Real Estate Game (I'm sure people are tired of being recommended this one but just read the damn thing) - (
The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti - quick, entertaining read on why some MSAs are succeeding and others not so much. Not necessarily real estate related, but relevant. - (
Similar to the above, Triumph of the City is a good read - (
Less real estate, but great literature, A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe - (
Non-real estate, but Howard Marks' The Most Important Thing has been a great framework for thinking about markets - (

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Dec 8, 2016

Just purchased Poorvu's book. Looking forward to it.

Aug 9, 2016

I'm reading The Real Estate Game ( per somebody's recommendation on this forum (not the above post, which I didn't see when I wrote this), but I couldn't find the actual thread.

It's a very easy read, and doesn't require prior real estate knowledge. It's very high level, and shares what's proven to be a very effective approach to small-time commercial real estate investing. I'd recommend for sure.

Aug 9, 2016

good info, thanks for posting

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Aug 9, 2016

Immensely helpful. I and the rest of the WSO community I'm sure appreciate this. Never know what to believe on the internet when you Google "Best books to learn about real estate investing"

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Aug 9, 2016

Fantastic, I've been hoping for a thread like this!

Aug 9, 2016

Poorvu's book (BOE method) is how I invest. I check it with a model but it's pretty amazing after a while you'll pretty much know what the IRR will be without doing shit in excel. It is also the reason for my username. Highly recommended.

Sep 3, 2016

which book?

Sep 4, 2016

The Real Estate Game. It's very cheap too (like 20 bucks or less). It's a def buy.

Sep 8, 2016

Just breezed through it this past week. Really is an excellent book. My favorite aspect was all of the detailed example questions he throws out when discussing the deals - really opens up your mind to the qualitative aspects that are truly important to each deal. No matter how good the numbers look, if you don't ask the right questions, you will end up making poor investments.

Aug 9, 2016

Powerhouse Principles - Jorge Perez. The cover is very infomercial-ish but the content is a good read.

Aug 10, 2016

These links have really served good. Thanks for sharing!!

Aug 10, 2016

Jane Jacobs - Death and Life of Great American Cities
- even if you don't agree with her conclusions, her first principles/bottom up approach to urban planning is useful for evaluating the physical real estate
- the intro has a very quick but useful history of city planning (with more reading suggestions)

Edge City by Joel Garreau
- very good insight into the formation of 'edge cities' and the developers who created them
- "The Words" and "The Laws" are great as well


Aug 10, 2016

bookmarked, thanks for sharing

Aug 10, 2016

"The Liar's Ball: : The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World's Toughest Tycoons" by Vicky Ward. New York real estate focused. Rumor has it the movie is coming soon.

Jan 19, 2018


Aug 11, 2016

Bookmarked and listed on my Reading List

Aug 12, 2016

I've heard "Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City" by Neal Bascomb and "Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West" by William Cronan are great reads, but have yet to read either. Reviews look great for both - I'll probably start with the latter as it got rave reviews.


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Aug 12, 2016

The book that opened my eyes to the possibilities of real estate and got my feet wet was "Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur" by James
A Randall. He tells you about the deals he's done in detail and gives you the numbers. Out of my 20+ RE books in my library, this is #1.

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Aug 15, 2016

Added to my list. Thanks.

Aug 15, 2016

I just finished reading "Brokers Who Dominate" by Rod Santomassimo, CCIM

Great insight on top brokers, their stories, interview questions and advice from each of them

Aug 19, 2016

Great thread. Thanks!

Aug 20, 2016

"Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur" -
I enjoyed this book a lot. He really goes into detail about a few of his deals and also touches on being ahead of the crowd. E.g. outlet malls and self-storage etc.

Sep 5, 2016

Great thread. I will add to my list. Thank you!

Sep 8, 2016

awesome recommendations, thank you

Oct 4, 2016

It's a great idea! Make more lists like this one. The description of "King of Capital" got me interested. I'm definitely gonna read it. Thanks one more time.

Oct 5, 2016

Make more lists like this one.

Suggest some topics

Jan 22, 2018

I just finished King of capital a few weeks's great read I'll probably re-read it in a few months b/c there's a lot of good details I know I didn't appreciate the first time

Feb 18, 2017

Great post, thanks for the list!

"You adapt, evolve, compete, or die." -Paul Tudor Jones

Mar 20, 2017

Another great book so far is High Rise by Jerry Adler about Ian Bruce Eichner and his NY office project that lost $200M. I'm only a third of the way through it but anyone that has ever asked 'what's the day-to-day like for a real estate developer?,' especially for high-rise urban infill, should read this book. It flows like a novel but the developer gave fairly unprecedented access and detail into the issues that came up and how they were resolved.

Mar 9, 2018

Really good book! Highly recommended. Lost my original copy - pretty cheap on amazon.

Aug 14, 2017


Mar 9, 2018

The Art of the Deal

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Mar 9, 2018

The Real Estate Game by William Poorvu is probably the best one I've ever read

Mar 9, 2018

I like "What every real estate investor needs to know about cash flow...and 36 other key financial measures" by Frank Galinelli.

Annoying book title, but well worth the read. It covers the major real estate financial concepts in an easy-to-understand manner with plenty of examples.

Aug 14, 2017

Bob Potter's "Selling Real Estate Services" is worth a read. It's a short book but gives a good perspective on selling any professional service.

Nov 13, 2017

How readable is the Linneman book? I loved The Real Estate Game and Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur since they read like a series of stories / case studies. I'd like to read something more technical to brush up on some more advanced financial analysis but would prefer to avoid a dry textbook (if its even possible for a more technical book to not be dry).

Nov 27, 2017


Oct 21, 2018

Kind of late to this. But it is very readable for being a textbook. I would say it is the most readable textbook I have read, but does not read like a RE novel.

Mar 9, 2018

Only somewhat related - I really enjoyed "The Art of the Deal" anecdotes of the deals trump has been involved with were really cool. Finding a signed copy in a house i bought and was tearing down for redevelopment may have added to my enjoyment.

Does anyone have any good suggestions related specifically to CRE debt? Would like to read any stories about successes in the RE debt fund space.

Oct 21, 2018
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Oct 21, 2018