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18 business books every Realtor should read – recommended by fellow agents

The importance of reading

We may be biased because the currency we deal in is reading and writing, but it is easy to get caught up in digital reading and forget the importance of tangible books. It is no simple theory that reading non-digital books is important- according to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, “There is a general decline in reading among teenage and adult Americans.Most alarming, both reading ability and the habit of regular reading have greatly declined among college graduates. These negative trends havemore than literary importance.” Further, the study claims that “the declines have demonstrable social, economic, cultural, and civic implications.”

We all know the famous Dr. Seuss line, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Even Confucius weighed in about reading, saying, “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” But reading is more than simply cramming your brain full, it is about becoming more than you already are. “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader,” said Margaret Fuller, which sums up what we are opining today. Read the news, read it diligently and read as many blogs and articles you can get your hands on, but don’t forget to buy a tangible book and step away from the computer screen from time to time.

18 recommendations from other agents

We asked our readers what books they believe every agent should read and which books have impacted their lives. Below are the covers of 18 of their recommendations (not listed in order of importance):

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  2. The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell
  3. Less Blah Blah More Ah Ha by Ken Brand (AGBeat columnist)
  4. The 7 Levels of Communication by Michael J. Maher
  5. We’re All Weird by Seth Godin
  6. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  7. The One Minute Salesperson by Spencer Johnson
  8. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
  9. What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis
  10. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
  11. Excuses Begone! by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  12. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann
  13. Sell With Soul by Jennifer Allan
  14. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller
  15. Shift by Gary Keller
  16. The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber
  17. Endless Referrals by Bob Burg
  18. The Greatest Salesman in the World OG Mandino

We encourage you to visit your favorite bookstore (support local booksellers!) or if you must, go online to order any of the books above or below – simply jot down the name and pick it up at your convenience. We are not linking to any book source so as not to directly sell any book over another or any seller over another.

BONUS: two AGBeat columnists have recently published books for the real estate industry:

Please check them out!

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The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.



  1. Christi Borden

    November 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Great list. I am especially proud that the wonderful book written by my friend and colleague, Ken Brand, has been recognized as number three on this very impressive list. This is only his first book…cannot wait for what he has in store for us in his next effort

  2. Michael J. Maher

    November 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you to David Van Noy, Jr. for posting this article to my Timeline on FB. It is an honor to be mentioned with these books. To have ((7L)) The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals on this list (and recommended by agents to you) rewards a nearly 3-year journey to attempt to deliver the perfect book on implementing a business based on generosity – a business whose philosophy attracts referrals. Your 18 books should be required reading for every new agent and your list provides 18 suggestions for book clubs/masterminds for experienced agents. Once again, thank you for the mention.



  3. Ken Brand

    November 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

    It's a supremely flattering feeling to be included in this list. I hope real estate agents and others find it a helpful and enjoyable read. Cheers and thanks so much to everyone.

  4. Christie Ellis

    November 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    What a great book selection!! I look forward to reading the ones I haven't yet. Actually 2 of the books on here, Endless Referrals and The Go-Giver, changed my course of business so much I became a certified consultant for Bob Burg so I could add more value when serving my clients. Thank you again for the great list!!!

  5. agentknowhow

    November 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Great List. I read Michael Maher's book recently and it was by far my favorite reads of the year. One other author I would like to add is Malcolm Gladwell, and his book Outliers which looks at what makes people successful.

    Every book on this list is an opportunity for agents and SBOs alike to learn something new. If not new, than at least a reaffirmation of what they already know. Sometimes, it's the deliver that matters and not so much the content. (I can't remember what why Think and Grow Rich was an influential book in my life, but I remember the feeling I had when I was reading it). I am addicted to learning and self-improvement. As such, I just wanted thank you for generating this required reading list.

  6. === TC McClenning ===

    November 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Good list. I would also add that Seth Godin has several other great books besides the one included here. Other recommendations:

    The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David M. Scott
    Really takes one's marketing efforts into the 21st century and would be a great read for any business field.

    All in A Day's Work for Real Estate Agents–Humorous & Heartwarming Stories, a funny read of more than 100 true stories attributed to agents in 44 states. Excerpts available in the media section of the publisher's website, And doesn't every Realtor work like a dog?!

  7. Paul Giannantonio

    February 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    So glad "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino was on this list. I read it for the first time in 1979 and it changed my life. I still go back and sections of it on a regular basis. I recommend it to all my agents. If you have never read it, do it now, it can change your life as well.

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