Jon Altschuler: Read These Books This Year

Jon Altschuler
Jon Altschuler

When I was 22, my father challenged me to be a voracious reader and read a book a week. I haven’t met that standard, but I did clip through 16 books last year.

If you want to read a good business-related book, I would suggest one of the following.

1. Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy. Best business book I have ever read. Don’t be thrown by the title—the book’s about all business, not just advertising.

2. Higher by Neal Bascomb. Fascinating depiction of the contest to build the tallest skyscraper in the world; 1920’s New York City as backdrop.

3. The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb. Wonderful story about the power of self-expectations, told through the lens of the race to break the four-minute mile.

4. How to be Successful in Commercial Real Estate by John Bowman. Most “how to” books put me to sleep. If you’re new to the industry, this one’s worth the time.

I like two books on sales:

5. Soft Selling in a Hard World by Jerry Vass. Starting my career at Trammell Crow Co., we took Vass training, too. When I glance through this book now, I’m reminded of the great questions Tony Long and Mike McVean ask in the sales process.

6. Strategic Selling by Robert Miller. My key takeaways from this book are to know where you are in the sales process, map out the relationship chessboard on every sale, and learn all you can about your key relationships.

If you like fiction, so do I:

7. The Financier by Theodore Dreiser. Frank Copperwood is the greatest business protagonist I have encountered, and I read the entire Trioligy of Desire in 2015 (Financier, Titan, Stoic). It covers his life and career from an 1870’s commodities trader in Philadelphia to a turn-of-the-century developer of the London Underground. Great fiction.

8. A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe. Wolfe seems to write a book of contemporary fiction every decade, and this one followed his Bonfire of the Vanities best-seller. Man in Full is based in Atlanta, and Charlie Croker is the main character who tries to save his empire and work through a personal guaranty on a failed massive office development built just a little too far out.

Feel free to weigh in below with your favorites.

Jon Altschuler is the founder of Altschuler + Co. Contact him at [email protected]

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