Commercial Real Estate Marketing Public Relations

17 Books About Commercial Real Estate to Put on Your Reading List

February 11, 2021

This article is by Elaine Misonzhnik, editor of National Real Estate Investor magazine. The article was published on NREI on December 17, 2020.


If you are looking to beef up your knowledge of commercial real estate over the holiday break or for a gift for someone who’s interested in learning more about the industry, there is no shortage of books on the topic. And there’s more variety among them than you might think — some are pure advice books, others are biographies and autobiographies of the industry’s luminaries and some read like straight-out real life thrillers.

In looking through the available offerings, we've focused on memoirs, biographies, industry history and tales of corporate success and malfeasance and avoided the wider world of pure real estate investment advice books. Here, in no particular order, are 17 of the most prominent books about the science and art of commercial real estate and what it takes to succeed in this business.

What It Takes: 
Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

By Stephen A. Schwarzman
Avid Reader Press
384 pages

Threshold Resistance: 
The Extraordinary Career of a Luxury Retailing Pioneer

By A. Alfred Taubman
Harper Business
224 pages

Placemakers: 
Emperors, Kings, Entrepreneurs – A Brief History of Real Estate Development

By Herb Auerbach
Figure 1 Publishing
208 pages

The Big Short: 
Inside the Doomsday Machine

By Michael Lewis
W. W. Norton & Company
291 pages

Zeckendorf: 
The Autobiography of a Man Who Played a Real Life Game of Monopoly and Won the Largest Real Estate Empire in History

By William Zeckendorf
Parker Publishing
344 pages

Other People’s Money: 
Inside the Housing Crisis and the Demise of the Greatest Real Estate Deal Ever Made

By Charles V. Bagli
Plume
448 pages

Bubble in the Sun: 
The Florida Boom of the 1920s and How It Brought on the Great Depression

By Christopher Knowlton
Simon & Schuster
426 pages

Irrational Exuberance: 
Revised and Expanded

By Robert J. Shiller
Princeton University Press
392 pages

The Gambler: 
How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History

By William C. Rempel
Dey Street Books
432 pages

Am I Being Too Subtle? 
Straight Talk From a Business Rebel

By Sam Zell
Portfolio
240 pages

The Black Skyscraper: 
Architecture and the Perception of Race

By Adrienne Brown
John Hopkins University Press
280 pages

Raising The Bar: 
The Life and Work of Gerald D. Hines

By Mark Seal
Fenwick Publishing
464 pages

The Power Broker: 
Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

By Robert A. Caro
Vintage
1344 pages

The Art of the Deal
By Donald J. Trump
Ballantine Books
384 pages

The Death and Life of Great American Cities
By Jane Jacobs
Vintage
458 pages

Billion Dollar Loser
By Reeves Wiedeman
Little, Brown and Company
352 pages

The Liar’s Ball
By Vicky Ward
Wiley
256 pages