Over the last few months I’ve noticed a dividing line between REALTORS® in Facebook comments and in other forums such as ActiveRain. The situation goes like this: an agent will post in a real estate agent-only Facebook group or ask an ActiveRain question, “What books do you recommend I read to help my career?” Then, a flurry of comments roll in. Some are helpful, “This book was a game-changer!” Others, a bit more opinionated, “Reading is a waste of your time. Get in the trenches, that’s the only way to learn!”
Over the weekend, a thread got so heated, the poster felt attacked and deflated. She was told by one commenter that “you either have it or you don’t in this business,” insinuating that successful people don’t need to read to improve their skills, that the business should just come naturally.
On another post, comments ranged from, “I don’t have time to read books” and “all I need to read are online articles” to another group of agents advocating specific real estate and business books.
As an author and a broker/agent who has read piles upon piles of real estate and business books (my friends try their hardest to sway me over to fiction when they can!), you can probably guess my stance on this issue. But I want to get to the WHY behind this debate that I see continually popping up.
For one, the real estate industry is a highly competitive one, causing some agents to be dog-eat-dog and not want to lend a hand to other agents. I wonder if the agent commenting that books are of no use has read just as many books as I have. Books are inspirational, motivational and help you generate fresh ideas when you may be headed for a burn out. When I see someone advise another agent to miss out on the benefits of a book, I smell sabotage in the works. I applaud the agents who sincerely suggest books to agents who ask for help – this is and should always be the true spirit of a REALTOR®.
Of course, not all the anti-reading comments reek of sabotage. The comments alluding to lack of time or that they receive all their knowledge from online articles speaks to this technology age we are in. Are more people moving from long format books to quick and easy articles? Perhaps the source of comments – online threads – are simply indicative of people who spend more time online, commenting on threads or reading articles, than reading books.
My advice: strive for balance.
If you spend all your time in classes or with your nose buried in a book, trying to learn all you can about the industry, you are never going to get off the ground. I’ve seen too many agents stuck in this education-zone who fail out of the business before they even make one sale. If you’re too scared to fly, that you never leave the nest, you’re gonna fail (that’s how the saying goes, right?). However, you must spend time everyday educating yourself in this business. Whether it is hands-on with mentor guidance or poring over a real estate book, invest in yourself so that you never stop growing in this business. Take time in the early in the morning, before the emails start filling up your inbox, and read something business-related. I’ve found that switching off the TV at night – ahem, except for Monday nights currently – and reading before bed not only helps me sleep better, but I have made a huge dent in my ever-growing book collection.
Besides, who wants to disagree with one of the most successful businessmen of our time – Warren Buffett – and his advice to never stop learning? If he’s doing it, you sure should be, too!
How about you? Are you an avid business-book reader or do you prefer to catch up on the latest industry trends online? Prefer the best of both worlds, like I do? Comment with some of your favorite real estate related books below, or check out my top six books for REALTORS®.