Top Ten Favorite Books And Why
by Brad Bevers
One of the reasons that I wrote my latest book, The Mental Game of Real Estate, is because I know that most real estate agents don’t enjoy reading. My goal with that book was to condense and synthesize that best of what I learned from reading hundreds of books, and make the core lessons accessible to someone who would just read one book instead of the dozens that I used to write mine.
So, why should you listen to me about my favorite books? Here’s a few reasons why I think you will find this list valuable:
- I’m a top 2,000 Amazon reviewer and a Vine Voice reviewer. I have reviewed a lot of books.
- One of my annual goals is to read over 100 books a year. In 2019 I should finish over 140.
- I’m an entrepreneur, avid reader, and I started a local reading group that’s been going strong for two years. We do it a little differently . . . we meet once a month, but you can talk about any books you read that month and why you liked them. The only rule is that you read at least 25 books a year.
- I read in a lot of different genres, so I’ll include my top picks from a wide variety of genres and I promise there will be some you haven’t read on this list that you should check out.
So, without any further arguing that you should listen to me, here are ten of my favorite books, chosen from a mix of different genres.
- Influence by Robert Cialdini – Psychology. No matter who you are, if you have not read this book yet then you are missing out. Cialdini is the father of modern applied psychology and this book is the source for many of the newer books that continue to build on his work. He shares the six principles of influence in this book that will change the way you think about business, life, and everything else. I spend an entire chapter in my own book, The Mental Game of Real Estate, talking about each of his principles and how they can be applied to entrepreneurship and real estate.
- Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams – Western. I wanted to put at least one book that I read this year on the list, and this is one of my favorite fiction reads all time. This book was written in the 60’s, at the height of western expansion idealism and the popularity of John Wayne and Louis L’Amour. Williams crafts a book that is one of the best westerns you will ever read, but also tears down the genre and exposes it at the same time. In short, it’s the story of a young man who drops out of Harvard to seek his fortune hunting buffalo. Challenges ensue. An amazing book in the same vein of Cormac McCarthy, but written a couple of decades before his work.
- Strange Travelers: New Selected Short Stories by Gene Wolfe – Science Fiction. Gene Wolfe is my favorite science fiction writer and my favorite short story writer. He is famous for crafting stories with an unreliable narrator, and many of his stories have hidden meanings lurking below the surface. This collection is very good, but get any collection that you can find by him and you won’t be disappointed. My favorite story in this book is The Ziggurat, a story about a strange ship that crashes near a cabin in the woods . . . or maybe about something much more sinister. Genuinely creepy. Be warned: Gene Wolfe is a challenging read, once you are finished with one book, give your brain a break and read something easy.
- How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams – Self Help. It took a lot of convincing and ‘best of’ lists to convince me to read a book of advice from the creator of Dilbert, but in the spirit of convincing one or two more, I’m including it here. It’s gold. Adams has now become famous for being one of the only people early on to predict a Trump victory, but this was written quite a bit before that. Some of the best takeaways include: how to think in systems rather than goals, how to eat anything you want (or, how to change what you want), and how to quickly improve your value in any career. Adams covers a lot of topics here, but its well worth reading.
- Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss – Negotiation. I rarely read a book more than once. It has to be really, really good for me to read it more than twice. I have read this book four times already and plan to re-read it at least once a year. It is absolutely the best book on negotiation and applied psychology in negotiation situations. As a real estate broker and investor, I get to use these principle more often than most. Valuewise, this is the best book you can buy financially–it will save you thousands.
- No B.S. Wealth Attraction In The New Economy by Dan Kennedy – Marketing. Read this book first, but any of Kennedy’s books are worth picking up. This book will help you break the scripts in your mind about how the world and your customers look. Immensely valuable. Kennedy is one of my favorite authors, but also the one I recommend the least because I don’t want anyone else taking his advice, it’s that powerful.
- The Supper of Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon – Cookbook/Theology. I promise that unless you have this book on your shelves, you have not read anything like it. Capon was a gifted cook and also an Episcopal Priest, and he deftly uses both in this book to craft a unique work. This is a great book to read if you are discouraged about their being nothing to write about now . . . there are some truly unique combinations and ideas lurking out there. Some of the things I remember the most about this book include the advice on sharpening knives, how much wine each of your guests should drink at dinner if they are truly friends, why God’s grace is like the layers of an onion, and his Thanksgiving prayer by itself is worth the price of the book.
- The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath – Parenting. Technically, this book is not a parenting book, but its influenced my parenting as much as any other book. The Heath brothers make a compelling argument about how our lives are measured in moments, and we should think carefully about what memories we are creating with our kids, our families, our co-workers, and our clients. If you want to know how to create memorable moments, read this book and you will learn a lot. Bonus recommendation: the book Decisive by the same authors is the best book I’ve ever read on decision making.
- On The Shortness of Life: Life is Long if You Know How to Use It by Seneca – Philosophy. Another book that I frequently re-read each year, this one is both very short and a powerful read. A great reminder to live life fully, to not measure life by the amount of gray hairs that you have accumulate. If you have never been able to get into philosophy, this is a great book to start with.
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel – Fiction. I hope that most readers have already read this one, but let me encourage you to read it again. I just picked it up again almost ten years after I read it the first time and forgot just how good it was. Martel is a master at including complex subjects wrapped up in such a good story that its easy to miss. I love how he uses the book to argue for his position on story vs. fact, and the book itself becomes part of the same story he is telling. One of my all-time favorites.
Hope you find one or two on this list that you like! I would love to hear from you if you find one that you read and either loved or hated. If you want to join my monthly reading list where I send out a list of all the books I read for that month and what I thought of them, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Bradley Bevers and I’m a real estate broker in Chappell Hill, a small Texas town located midway between Houston and Austin. I’ve sold real estate full-time since I graduated from Texas A&M in 2004.
Despite starting off in the family business, I struggled in real estate for many years. It was hard to know exactly what to do and how to do it, and I did not get off to a fast start. I was able to sell almost three million dollars of real estate my first year, but then the market stalled, and I failed to sell even one million dollars for the next three years. Despite having a business degree and being a born entrepreneur, I made a lot of mistakes along the way and learned mostly through trial and error.