great books - Posted by bhagan

Posted by bhagan(Jpn) on June 14, 2006 at 24:35:23:

Thanks Ray, I was looking at a book called Commercial Real Estate Investing 12 easy steps by Jack Cummings. My partner was a little intimidated by your book and I wanted to get him a primer. However, I went on Amazon and found the biography of Zeckendorf and got it for $99.00. That was the lowest price as they went all the way up to $850.00 for collectible editions. Can’t wait to read it for the first time.

great books - Posted by bhagan

Posted by bhagan on June 11, 2006 at 22:47:19:

Other than Ray’s fantastic tome on commercial real estate. What other books does everyone recommend?

Thanks in advance.

Re: great books - Posted by ray@lcorn

Posted by ray@lcorn on June 12, 2006 at 21:03:59:


Thanks for the kind words. I don’t know if you’re looking for “how-to” books or those that chronicle some of the greats in the industry.

Since I rarely get to talk about the latter, let me mention one particularly excellent book that happens to be an autobiography by one of the greatest developers of the 20th century, and then a link to a list of where to find more like it.

My favorite real estate books can fill a page, but the one book I kicked myself for omitting a reference to in my book is “Zeckendorf”, an autobiography by William Zeckendorf (with Edward McCreary), published in 1970.

It’s out of print, but you can sometimes find a copy on Amazon through one of their member sellers. Don’t be surprised to see a very high price. The book is a collector’s item. I will always be indebted to a friend and sometime poster here, Eric C from TX, for giving me a copy a few years back. It is now on the shelf I reserve for those books I plan to read again and again.

Zeckendorf was the prototype of the brash NYC real estate developers that came to prominence during the post WWII boom in New York. His account of how NYC came to be the home to the UN is alone worth the read. Zeckendorf flew very, very high, with projects across the US and Canada, and then had a spectacular fall, due mostly to overleverage.

His thoughts about identifying markets, planning and building quality projects, carving deals into pieces, working with architect I.M. Pei… all make a fascinating tale told by a true master dealmaker. (I meant to include his “Hawaiian Technique” in my chapter on structuring deals, but pure brain fade on my part, it got lost in the shuffle leading up to publication.)

There is an excellent reading list of investment real estate books, especially of a similar genre at


Re: great books - Posted by Jacques

Posted by Jacques on June 16, 2006 at 11:54:58:

I to find a copy of Zeckendorf at my university library and borrowed it. I’m halfway through it. Great book.