REALTORS: The 15 Best Books for Real Estate Agents

As a real estate professional, there will always be more to learn. The actual act (and art) of selling a home isn’t too hard. It’s everything else you need to do to have a successful career in real estate that proves more difficult.

Think about it. Even if you have the most amazing brokerage support in the world and the deepest network of experts to assist you, you still have to understand, manage, and work toward mastering:

  • Business management
  • Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics
  • Banking and finance
  • Selling and prospecting
  • Psychology and counseling

You wear all the hats in your real estate business — from janitor to CEO. That’s a lot of stuff to try to wrap your arms around. So education is important.

You don’t have to be an expert in all of the above, but you do need an understanding of the fundamentals. You can get much of that knowledge by taking a class, completing online courses, and via the old standby: reading a book.

GASP! You mean actually read a book?

Sure, why not? Here are 15 books that I and some top-performing Premier Agents highly recommend for real estate agents. Some pertain specifically to real estate sales, and some will help with running a business and dealing with people — including yourself.

Real estate

1. 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals by Michael Maher

You might have a wide network that feeds your sphere, but how many referrals does it truly generate for your business? We all know real estate is an industry of relationship building, so how can you evolve from someone who simply knows a lot of people into a powerhouse agent whom others can’t wait to refer — and without extra marketing effort involved on your part?

2. The Miracle Morning for Real Estate Agents: It’s Your Time to Rise and Shine by Hal Elrod and Michael J. Maher

Changing your morning routine could change your business and your life. If things aren’t going the way you need or want them to, and you feel that SOMETHING needs to change, you’re not alone. Written by the same authors who wrote “7L: The Seven Levels of Communication” and the first “Miracle Morning” book, this book is designed to provide real estate agents with both inspiration and strategy.

General sales

3. The Conversion Code: Capture Internet Leads, Create Quality Appointments, Close More Sales by Chris Smith

Yes, consumers start their real estate search online, but it’s no longer enough to have a slick real estate website or mix up your social media posts to generate leads. To win the online marketing game, you have to amp up your conversion rate. This book will give you step-by-step guidance on how to increase your online traffic and convert more leads into sales.

4. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek (recommended by Michael Napolitano, Jr.)

Photo by Malone & Company Photography; licensed under CC BY 2.0

Many business leaders believe that figuring out the Who, What, Where, When and How of their product is the path to success. But Sinek says figuring out the WHY is even more important. Based on his popular TED Talks video, this book will show you how identifying your purpose first — the WHY you’re in business — helps your clients understand it and subsequently makes you their preferred brand.


5. The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone (recommended by Mark Martin)

Spoiler alert: The 10x Rule means aiming for a goal that’s 10 times higher than where you are now. Now you know the rule, but you should still pick up the book to discover how to identify your goals, establish an action plan to achieve them and overcome obstacles in your path so you can succeed regardless of the state of the economy.

Small business management

6. Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk (recommended by Mike Hogan)

“Anyone can build a career around something they’re passionate about.” And Vaynerchuk should know. He took his family’s liquor store from a $3 million to $60 million business in a few short years and went on to found VaynerMedia. But this book tells you more than how to harness the internet to build your brand today; it shows you how to adapt and evolve when the current business climate changes so that you can succeed in any environment — as long as you’re passionate about what you do.

7. Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler (recommended by Micah Harper)

You might not think of yourself as an entrepreneur or a risk-taker, but what do you call becoming a real estate agent? You don’t have to toss out conventional wisdom and reinvent the wheel, but this book will show you how to unapologetically challenge what isn’t working, seek new solutions and relish innovation to build your business.

8. Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results by Jack Mitchell (recommended by Dewey Whitton)

Photo by Ridwan Jaafar; licensed under CC BY 2.0

“They’re too customer service-oriented.” Said no satisfied client. Ever. Let’s be clear about the title of this book: A “hug” here means a way to show clients you care: coffee and a danish when they drop in; cards on birthdays and anniversaries; a shoulder to cry on when they’re having a bad day and so on. “Hugging” is a simple way to deliver above-and-beyond service to buyers and sellers — and employees — so that they hug you back with long-term loyalty.

9. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan (recommended by Mike Hogan)

In the 1991 movie “City Slickers,” the tough-love cowboy Curly, sick of the whining city boys, says the secret to life is just “one thing” that everyone has to figure out for themselves (and, no, it wasn’t Curly’s finger). Keller and Papasan took that quote and the concept and show you how to identify the one thing that will keep you focused on making your business the success you envisioned.

Personal and professional development

10. Compound Effect by Darren Hardy (recommended by Matt Delhougne)

Stumped as to where to take your real estate business next? Unsure how to jumpstart a new initiative? Simply stuck in a rut? Through six fundamental ideas, Hardy gives you straight talk about how to set and achieve your personal and professional goals. Even if you don’t consider yourself a student of self-help, this book is a quick and easy introduction to adopting daily disciplines for long-term benefits.

11. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Sean Achor (recommended by Dustin Oldfather)

The old formula of hard work = success = happiness doesn’t always hold true. As a real estate agent you can work seven days a week and not reach the goals you set for yourself. Even if you’re making money hand over fist, are you truly happy? Achor flips the formula on its head and argues that happiness generates success and performance — not the other way around.

12. Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang (recommended by Shannon Fox)

Nobody likes to hear no, especially when they’ve worked so hard to earn a yes. But what Jiang learned after experiencing his own crushing defeat — then purposefully seeking out rejection to identify what’s behind it — is that anyone can overcome rejection: It comes down to asking the right questions and learning which no you can turn into a yes.

Photo by Ridwan Jaafar; licensed under CC BY 2.0

13. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (recommended by Vija Williams)

Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Duckworth’s own take on genius is similar: rather than it being inherent, it’s a combination of passion and perseverance. What happens after you fall down is what will determine your success in achieving your goals. This book will not only show you how to “learn” grit, but how to encourage it in others, too.

14. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss (recommended by Mary McKane of the Levi Rodgers Group)

World-class athletes, movie stars, scientists and military leaders might not have a whole lot in common, and they might have taken very different paths to success, but whatever strategy they used got them to the top of their industry. Author, entrepreneur and public speaker Tim Ferriss interviewed dozens of guests on his podcast and shares in this book what he learned about how their day-to-day actions contribute to their accomplishments.

15. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter (recommended by Micah Harper)

All too often, the aggressive drive and singular focus that helps us achieve our greatest success can be a detriment once we’ve seized the golden ring. Certain behaviors and attitudes won’t cut it at that level, especially when you’re trying to create relationships, and inspire and lead others.

Bonus list

Some books just become the “bibles” of their industry. Here are a few additional recommendations that can help you in every aspect of your real estate career.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About the Money…It’s About Being the Best You Can Be! by Gary Keller

Widely considered the gold standard for books on how to be a successful real estate agent, the “MREA” has been recommended by brokers, mentors, trainers and coaches since the first copy came off the press. The author is one of the founders of Keller Williams, one of the most successful brokerage franchises ever. Whether you’re brand new to real estate or a seasoned veteran, whether you’ve never read MREA or have read it a dozen times, you’ll get something out of this book. Don’t even borrow it; just buy it. You’ll read it and refer to it more than once.

Endless Referrals by Bob Burg

This book frequently lands on various must-read lists for sales. It builds on Burg’s proven relationship-building principles to bring even more clients to your door and helps you attract only those who are interested in what you sell. He shows how to maximize your daily contacts, utilize your tools both online and off, leverage your relationships and generate ongoing sales opportunities.

Photo by chau.tu; licensed under CC BY 2.0

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber

In “The E-Myth Revised,” Gerber explains an approach to developing small businesses that focuses not on surviving, but growing and thriving. One of the best things about this book is Gerber’s message about following the franchise model. To be clear, he’s not saying you should buy a franchise. Instead, he wants small business owners to develop processes and systems so that they are not personally driving all the business revenue.

Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

The authors, two social media veterans, describe how businesses are using online social tools to build networks of influence and how you can do the same to positively impact your business. As real estate agents, a strong social media presence should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Use the information in this book to attract potential clients and build your brand.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

This book addresses a new way of solving a very old problem: How can we prevent our lives from being all about work? Agents work long and hard hours. Many rarely take vacations. Weekends? Yeah, right. But those practices aren’t healthy in the long run. Maybe you can’t get away with working just four hours a week, but give some of the practical tips in this book a try and add some balance to your life.