In the heart of a bustling city lies the promise of a dynamic future, shaped by the vision, determination, and leadership of its residents and officials. Roswell, a city known for its vibrant community and rich history, stands at a crossroads where possibilities are endless. Joanne Curtin, sits down with Mayor Kurt Wilson, a visionary leader committed to propelling Roswell into a new era of prosperity. This candid conversation is about the city’s future trajectory, the challenges it faces, and the timeless principles of leadership that will guide its journey towards an even brighter future.
Joanne: Thank you for having me over today. I am admiring your wall of photos here. Can you tell me more about it?
Mayor Wilson: I am glad you’re here. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. I’ve enjoyed your “Behind The Curtin” videos. These photos on the wall are all people that have had an impact on me.
Joanne: I think it’s great that you reflected on who to put up there. That’s awesome, because you don’t get where you’re going without learning from others. So, if you could have dinner any of these people, who would you invite?
Mayor Wilson: That’s a great question. I would probably be more contemporary oriented than historically oriented. I definitely would talk to Mother Theresa. Everything I read about her is authentic, honest, and courageous. She’s an incredible warrior who has this great courage most of wish we had and she’s challenging her faith all the time. And Johnny Carson, of course. My dad was Carson’s doppelganger, they looked like twins.
Joanne: Most of our clients are in the area we like to call “The Platinum Triangle”, that’s Roswell, Alpharetta, and Milton. I’m curious about what you think sets Roswell apart from Alpharetta and Milton?
Mayor Wilson: I love my sister cities, let’s start there. I routinely have the mayors of Alpharetta and Milton over to my home. I believe in personal engagement because we are all in this together. Roswell has been successful in part because it won the geographic lottery. It was once the crown jewel of North Fulton County. Now, I acknowledge that Alpharetta has grown and they have some advantages over us, take for example the number of exits off the 400. Whereas Milton has stuck to their vision of being made up of mostly single-family homes. And that works for them.
The city of Roswell is 42 square miles, that’s it. And 65% of that is made up of single- family homes. We’re looking at the other 35% that, until now, did not have a viable long term economic strategic narrative. How do we get ahead in terms of industry? We can’t chase manufacturing businesses that we don’t have the room for. And without an intentional strategy, someone else was going to make the strategy for us – the state, the federal government, Fulton county. When I came in to office it was clear to me that Roswell needed to be a city of 120,000 people in 20 years. We are currently at 96,000. That means the city of Roswell is going to be very intentional. In other words, the development community is not going to come to us. We’re going to do the placemaking for the development community. As I said, we have limited space, 42 square miles, and because we have limited space we have scarcity. So, we’re about to use that to our economic advantage. The city is already heavily invested in zero based budgeting. That means we’re really serious about how we spend our money and reimagining how each department works and what services to provide, from an entrepreneur perspective. We are looking at what we do well, and what we don’t do so well.
Joanne: Since you’ve been in office, what’s something you are most proud of?
Mayor Wilson: All credit goes to God and my team. I am proud to say we’ve gotten more done in 12 months that has been done in 20 years. We have the best in class police force focused on de-escalation, a full-time fire department, and passage of the $180 million dollar bond overwhelmingly approved by voters.
I am a big believer that we’re building our organization in a different way. I hope we are building a political legacy and leadership that will last beyond my term. The question we ask ourselves is “what’s the right thing to do for the city of Roswell?” I hope the legacy is an organization that is highly competent, highly effective.
Joanne: You talked about looking at things done well and things that need improving. Is there something in particular that you’re working on?
Mayor Wilson: Communication is the hardest thing for us. We’re a fairly static organization and it seems we’re always playing defense. The challenge is to reach people with consistent, authentic, and sophisticated messaging.
I really believe that leadership has responsibility, not just for governing, but for bringing rational discussion into the marketplace. The overwhelming majority of us want to have sober discussions with healthy skepticism. I hope we heal the acrimony that has overtaken our political debates.
Roswell is a great place to live, There’s an unbelievable quality of life here. And I want to people who live here to really know that, to enjoy it, and to celebrate it.
Joanne: We love Roswell. In 2017, Tom and I started a 501c3 non-profit, Curtin Team Cares. We are committed to helping local families and organizations where help is needed most. Currently we are actively working with the Children’s Development Academy of Roswell (CDA). Are there any other organizations in Roswell that you feel others should know about?
Mayor Wilson: I love our community and I love CDA with the leadership of Maggie DeCan. I believe in the mission of CDA [www.cdakids.org]. We have so many great charities that operate in Roswell. HomeStretch [www.homestretch.org], North Fulton Community Charities [www.nfcchelp.org] with Sandy Holiday at the helm, Sunny and Ranney [www.sunneyandranney.com], and can’t forget The Cottage School [www.cottageschool.org]. The Cottage School has a beautiful mission and has really helped save students and their families.
Joanne: Since we’re in the South, I’m sure you know that people are just as interested in where you are from as who you are for.
Mayor Wilson: You saved the toughest question for last. Well, I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama where half the town loves Alabama and the other half loves Auburn. I went to college at Ole Miss. And then I moved to Georgia and I’m still learning how to respond whenever someone says, “Go Dawgs!”. I love the Braves. So, I guess, I root for everyone. How’s that for a politician’s response?
Joanne: (laughs) Okay. That’s a fair answer. It’s been pleasure talking to you today. I am excited to hear about the new developments in Roswell that will soon be announced. We’ll have to meet up again so we can talk more about them.
Mayor Wilson: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Roswell is a remarkable place and I’m looking forward to its bright future.
“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners who live well in their homes to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of luxurious real estate one wonderful home at a time.
“Behind the Curtin” Episode 6 – A Historic Home on Roswell’s Wood Place
Charlie and Sharon McCall live in historic downtown Roswell, Georgia. They have updated and renovated a nearly 100 year old home in historic downtown Roswell, Georgia.
Joanne: Where did you live before purchasing your house on Wood Place?
Charlie: We lived in Chicago. Before that, we were in Atlanta since 1982, coming from Salt Lake City due to a company transfer. Then in 1992, we were transferred to Chicago. After about two and a half years, we decided to move back and bought this house 31 years ago.
Joanne: How have you increased your property’s value over time? What renovations have you done?
Charlie: We remodeled the bathrooms, added a master bedroom suite, created a bonus room in the attic, and continuously landscaped the yard. We also added a pool and patio in the back.
Joanne: Did you use a designer for the renovations?
Charlie: We hired a contractor for the inside work like the bathrooms and kitchen. We also had a friend who is a builder help us with the design for the master bedroom area. He incorporated our preferences, like a walk-in shower, into the blueprint.
Joanne: Since the house is 100 years old, were there any restrictions or requirements for adding on?
Charlie: Our street opted out of being part of the historic district, so we don’t have building restrictions specific to that. However, we still need to adhere to the city of Roswell’s permit requirements.
Joanne: What does your home have that you really needed?
Charlie: The main thing we needed was more space, so adding a master bedroom was crucial. We also updated the bathrooms and kitchen for modernization rather than increasing square footage.
Joanne: Which room in the house is your favorite and why?
Charlie: I love the middle of the house where we spend most of our time. We added a sunroom to bring in more natural light since the older part of the house didn’t have many windows. The charm of the house really struck me in that central area.
Joanne: Are there three fireplaces now that come off that central area?
Charlie: Yes, there are three fireplaces in a triangle formation—one in the bedroom, one in the living room, and one in the den. They all work, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy that part of the house. These three separate fireplaces share the same chimney. We had the chimney rebuilt with new brickwork and mortar, and added gas logs for easy use.
Joanne: Charlie, what’s your favorite part about the property?
Charlie: The den and sunroom are where we spend most of our time. We also love the spacious bedroom and the yard, especially when the weather is nice.
Joanne: It’s interesting how COVID made us appreciate what we value in a property, such as landscape and outdoor spaces.
Charlie: Absolutely, we have added decks and outdoor areas to make the most of our property.
Joanne: Did you have any favorite sources or places where you bought things for your house?
Charlie: We focus mainly on finding items that fit well in the smaller rooms of our house.
Joanne: After living here for 31 years, where do you like to shop for furniture and decor?
Charlie: We do a lot of online shopping and also visit Home Depot and Lowe’s. We also enjoy salvage stores and flea markets for unique finds.
Joanne: Are there any specific salvage stores or flea markets nearby that you frequent?
Charlie: There’s a place called Board of Trade [goboardoftrade.com] where we found our living room sofa and other items that fit well in our small rooms.
Joanne: Was there anything during your home renovations that you splurged on and couldn’t live without?
Charlie: The pool and the kitchen were definitely splurges. We didn’t necessarily need them, but we’re glad we have them now.
Joanne: What did you learn from the process of building the pool and outdoor kitchen?
Charlie: We love being able to enjoy the pool and cookouts outdoors.
Yeah, that’s a nice extra-large patio. And then there’s the outdoor fireplace out there. Gas Grill built in and gas cooktops and sink with hot and cold water.
Joanne: It’s all about being outside and enjoying the space, right?
Charlie: One thing we would do differently is to prioritize privacy in our outdoor area, especially around the kitchen. The neighboring house was torn down, and the new one overlooks our property, making it feel exposed. We added a fireplace to block the view of the pool, but we still plan to find a way to enhance privacy. Overall, we are happy with everything.
Joanne: Let’s discuss your impressive pool. What type of lining does it have? Is it lined with pebble tech? Is it a mineral or a saltwater pool?
Charlie: It’s actually a saltwater pool. The company that constructed it used to be located on Highway nine. The pool is made of concrete with steel walls and steel posts surrounding the edges. Concrete was poured on the floors and slides, and then they applied a hybrid membrane, which I believe is a combination of different materials.
Joanne: And could you please spell the name of the pool company for me?
Charlie: Is it spelled as DESJOYAUX. [www.desjoyaux.com]
Joanne: So now that you’ve completed your pool and everything, if money was not a concern, what would be your next project or improvement?
Charlie: We would focus on the floors. Currently, the floors are a bit challenging because the house is old and uneven. We actually laid tiles in the dining room and sunroom as one of our initial projects. However, due to the unevenness of the house, it’s difficult to lay flooring throughout consistently. We want to match the existing hardwood floors but aren’t sure if they can be laid or if we need to replace them entirely.
Joanne: I agree with you. It might be better to cover the existing tile with something rather than removing it completely. That seems to be the trend nowadays. After completing the pool and the outdoor kitchen area, is there anything you believe should not be compromised when making additions or improvements?
Charlie: Yes, I think getting a reliable contractor who will do more than just come in and install a product, but can also help with issues that older homes have.
Tom Curtin, CEO of the Curtin Team, and Ben and Candice Thorton from Capital Mortgage Solutions, LLC, actively discuss cooperative buying and aiding first-time homebuyers. They dispel myths regarding down payments and explore alternative financing methods. It is revealed that a primary residence can be purchased with as little as a 5% down payment, and some loan programs mandate even less. Furthermore, they delve into the possibility of gift funds, which parents, friends, or close family members can offer. Conventional guidelines dictate that gift funds must originate from a direct family member or fiancé. 401k loans are also an option for individuals who lack a family member or employer to help with the down payment. Borrowing from a 401k to make a down payment on a home has no impact on the debt-to-income ratio.
Check out our previous blog post about the real cost of waiting to buy –
Tom and Joanne Curtin discuss the history of the Curtin Team and how the lessons they learned have propelled them forward to build a successful real estate business in Roswell, Georgia. They discuss their success in real estate investments and outline steps they took to get there. They talk about how they committed fully to the decision to invest in real estate and emphasize taking action instead of waiting for the “perfect” opportunity.
Selling a home is a big decision, and one of the most important aspects of the process is determining the right price. Unfortunately, some sellers make the mistake of pricing their homes too high, which can lead to a host of problems down the line. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why people price their homes too high when they sell them, and the potential consequences of doing so.
1. Testing the Market
One of the most common reasons why people price their homes too high is because they want to “test the market.” In other words, they want to see if there are any buyers out there who are willing to pay more than what they think their home is worth. While this may seem like a logical strategy, it can backfire in a big way. Overpricing your home can make it less appealing to buyers who are looking in your price range, and it can also turn off potential buyers who might be willing to pay more for a home that is priced appropriately. For example, a home that is worth $600K and the list price was $600K, it would be more likely to get that amount. However, if you listed a home that was only worth $575K for $600K, price reductions might eventually lead to a sale price of only $540K.
2. Leaving Room for Negotiations
Another reason why people may overprice their homes is that they want to leave room for negotiations. They may assume that buyers will try to negotiate the price down, so they start with a higher price in order to end up at the price they really want. However, this strategy can also be counterproductive. If your home is significantly overpriced, buyers may not even bother making an offer, or they may assume that you’re not serious about selling.
3. Believing a Higher List Price Will Result in a Higher Sale Price
Some sellers mistakenly believe that if they list their home at a higher price, they will end up selling it for more money. However, this is not necessarily the case. Buyers are savvy, and they will typically do their research to determine what a home is really worth. If your home is priced much higher than other similar homes in the area, buyers may simply choose to look elsewhere.
4. Misinformed About the Market
Finally, some sellers may overprice their homes because they are misinformed about the market. They may have received bad advice from a friend, neighbor, or another realtor who is not familiar with the local market conditions. It’s important to work with a realtor who has experience selling homes in your area and who can provide you with accurate information about pricing and market trends.
So, what are the consequences of overpricing your home? The most obvious consequence is that your home may sit on the market for longer than it should. This can lead to a variety of problems, including:
• Reduced interest from buyers
• Fewer showings
• Lowball offers
• A lower eventual sales price
In addition, if your home sits on the market for too long, it can start to develop a stigma. Buyers may assume that there is something wrong with the home, or they may wonder why it hasn’t sold yet. This can make it even more difficult to sell the home in the future.
In conclusion, pricing your home appropriately is crucial if you want to sell it quickly and for a fair price. While it may be tempting to overprice your home for any of the reasons mentioned above, it’s important to resist the urge and work with a realtor who can provide you with accurate information about pricing and market conditions. By doing so, you can avoid the pitfalls of overpricing and increase your chances of a successful sale.
New home construction has come a long way in recent years with a focus on space design, energy efficiency, and environmentally-friendly materials. Here are the latest features in new home construction:
Large Mud Rooms (aka Family Foyers) – Large mud rooms have extended their footprint in new homes. Previously, mud rooms were often limited to just a hallway with a built-in, but now they are taking on a larger role by accommodating seating, sometimes with a desk to pay bills, and drop zone for mail. Think about it as a room to hide all the mess when you or your children walk in the door – there’s a place to drop shoes, coats, backpacks, laptops, papers, mail and even to take a minute to sit and relax before entering the main house. All of this is usually hidden behind a sliding door to create separation and the ability to close off this area from guests seeing the mess.
Heated floors – Heated floors are especially popular in the primary bathroom. Making cold tile warm in the winter is a game changer! Heated floors operate on a timed thermostat so you can program the heat to match your schedule. Waking up and the bathroom is already toasted, no longer cringing when your bare feet hit the cold floor and scrambling to get your slippers on. Once you have them, you’ll never want to be without them.
A Hidden Room – Childhood dreams come true! Having a hidden room to relax and unwind or to safely retreat into if needed, these rooms are being added behind bookshelves just like in the movies! Often found in an office, a walk-in closet, or primary bedroom, hidden rooms can serve a variety of purposes like hiding a prized and valuable collection, a hidden entertainment area, or a reading and relaxing spot. Another example is the understairs space that often goes unused, which can be turned into a hidden fun playroom for kids. We’ve even seen a hidden hatch door in the floor that led to a wine room underground. The possibilities are endless.
Environmentally Friendly – Environmentally-friendly building has become a favorite for energy efficiency, with an attainable and clear ROI and because of increased environmental awareness. Homeowners want to be a better steward of the planet, and this not only saves homeowners money on energy bills, but it also helps to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the home. There are many ways builders are incorporating this into their plans, such as:
● Solar: Your builder can prepare the roof when built for solar panels. Installing mounts and preparing for wiring during construction will save you money for when you do install solar panels in the future.
● EV Ready: Your builder can ensure that your home has enough electrical service in your garage and install chargers during construction.
● Battery Ready: Equipping your home with solar batteries allows you to capture the energy produced with solar (instead of or in addition to sending it back to the grid) and then use it as you need it, either during a power outage or on cloudy days when solar may not be sufficient.
● Geothermal Systems: According to the US Department of Energy, a Geothermal heat pump can mean a 25%-50% reduction in energy consumed compared to a traditional system that uses air. In addition to the electricity savings, geothermal systems are eco-friendly because they don’t burn gas during operation. And because there’s no combustion, there’s no admission of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gasses. Because these systems are much quieter to operate, it also saves on noise pollution. If the builder is already digging for a septic for your home, ask about the possibility of adding geothermal during the dig.
There has been a significant shift towards the use of environmentally-friendly building materials. This includes the use of recycled materials, low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes. Eco-friendly building materials cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, and conserve natural resources; all while improving water and air quality. Examples are Low-Formaldehyde Insulation, Low-VOC Drywall Adhesives, Low-VOC Paints and Carpets, ENERGY STAR® Low-E Windows, low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual flush toilets and LED lighting packages.
Hidden Outlets – These can be an afterthought, but with planning ahead and smart design, your outlets don’t have to take away from your beautiful kitchen backsplash. Electrical outlets can be placed under the cabinets so they remain hidden from view and still easy to access. There are also countertop pop-up outlets that only appear when needed or removable tile plates that can keep the outlet masked when not in use. With the amount of device charging we need now, consider a charging station drawer. This drawer will have a power strip at the back of it and you can keep unsightly wires and devices out of view while charging. Perfect in the kitchen, bathroom and built-in desk drawers.
Large Kitchen Island – Kitchens are the heart and center of the home. Large kitchen islands serve a multitude of roles, from prep station to homework spot to eating area. Large kitchen islands have an aesthetic impact on the room as well. Popular design trends include the waterfall edge where the countertop continues down the side of the island all the way to the floor or the simpler English cottage style with tongue and groove paneling. Large dramatic hanging light pendants and gorgeous sink hardware help showcase the island as a centerpiece of the kitchen.
Floating vanities – Floating vanities add a contemporary feel and modern look. These shorter base cabinets appear to “float” on the wall instead of sitting directly on the floor. They can make small spaces look larger and open up the room. The downside is less storage space. To add to the floating visual, under-cabinet lighting is a popular added feature, this lighting below the floating cabinetry also adds to the “floating” appearance of the vanity.
Dog Wash Station – Dog owners are spending more and more on their dogs every year. A recent survey cited that one of the main reasons Millennials purchased a home was because of their dogs. So, it’s no surprise that new features specifically for dogs are becoming standard. We’re even seeing dog watering stations with a faucet to refill the water bowl.
Locating a dog bath in a mud room, laundry room ,or garage is a practical solution, especially if your space has exterior access. Putting everything you need right by an exterior entrance; your home will remain better protected from tracked-in dirt. Ideally your wash station has a faucet with a handheld sprayer attachment and drain area. Plus, it’s more versatile than you might think. You can use it not only for your furry friends, it’s also great for washing off muddy kids or dirty shoes.
Built-In Speakers Inside & Out – Bring on the tunes! If you already know where you want to put the sound system and entertainment center, talk to your builder about installing built-in speakers in those rooms. You’ll save yourself valuable floor or wall space and have the luxury of having your house literally filled with music.
Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, these trends are worth considering to stay ahead of the curve and to optimize your space in a modern, fashionable way.
“Behind the Curtin” provides an inside look at local homeowners’ beautifully-crafted houses, giving insight into what it takes to renovate, upgrade, and style the most coveted parts of their dream homes. In this video series, industry expert and business owner Joanne Curtin explores local homes while interviewing their owners along the way to better understand their thought processes when making important decisions. Join Joanne to get a look into the world of thoughtful real estate one wonderful home at a time.
“Behind the Curtin” Episode 2 – A Pool and Pool House in Milton, Georgia
Tripp and Grace Melton live in Milton, Georgia. They have been residents since 2003. In 2020, they began the work of creating an outdoor space for relaxation and entertaining, with a pool and pool house.
Joanne: Why did you pick this area?
Tripp: We were working downtown at the time and couldn’t find anything we liked. And then we drove through this area and liked the idea of a newer construction.
Grace: Even though the house wasn’t initially what I had in mind, I fell in love with the hidden pantry in the kitchen and the fireplace in our keeping room looks like the wall in the church where we go married.
Joanne: What have you done specifically to increase the value of your home?
Grace: We made a lot of use of the outside space and tried to do some thoughtful landscaping with trees and buffers because the way the house is situated, you can see the whole backyard from the street. But the biggest thing was adding the pool in 2020 and the pool house.
Joanne: Did you use a designer to create the outdoor living resort space that you have?
Tripp: No, these are all our ideas, even the landscaping. We worked with our pool builder for the pool house to execute what we wanted.
Joanne: What do love about the outdoor space you’ve created?
Grace: For me, I love being around water. I like seeing it, I like hearing it. I think it’s calming, but it’s also a great entertaining space. And we use it year ‘round, because we’ll have the pool heated. We can go out here for coffee in the morning or have friends over late at night. We use the fireplace and the electric heaters in the middle of winter, and so we spend a lot of time in the pool house. It’s been fun.
Joanne: Where did you find vendors and contractors for such a big job?
Tripp: We went to our original builder. They gave us some ideas and some referrals. We also did a lot of research online about what we wanted.
Joanne: So, what did you splurge on?
Tripp: The sliding doors on three sides of the pool house was almost a third of the cost of the entire pool house. But the space is transformed when they are opened or closed. The pool house stays cool in the summer and comfortable in the winter. Also, our ceiling fan from Big Ass Fans Company, is large enough to create a nice breeze.
Joanne: What else do you really like about the space?
Grace: The vaulted ceiling. It’s not just a flat ceiling, so I think it’s a nice, added dimension.
Joanne: What have you learned from the process?
Tripp: I’ve learned from this process to get everything in writing. In the end, even when you’re dealing with friends or people you like, it’s still a business transaction.
Joanne: Is there anything you would do differently?
Tripp: We weren’t able to put in a bathroom because of the rules regarding septic fields, unless we wanted to install another septic system. However, we finished the basement with an additional bathroom that allows us to have a changing room for the pool.
And some people have asked why didn’t do an outside kitchen. I mean, we just don’t use our inside kitchen that much. So, it wasn’t a big deal for us.
Joanne: What advice would you give someone who wanted to renovate their outdoor space?
Grace: I would say good design that’s really well thought out. And materials, don’t skimp on materials.
Tripp: I would tell someone don’t skimp on the decking. For example, the travertine around the pool is cooler in the summer than pavers or concrete. I would also not skimp on lighting. We changed our ground lighting to soffit lighting and it changes the whole look. We also installed a cool sound system through a Sonos sound system with speakers shaped like rocks around the pool area.
The Curtin Team’s CEO, Tom Curtin and Director of Sales, Christy Smith explain the benefits of mortgage rate buy downs for buyers and sellers. Like many practices in the world of Real Estate, mortgage hacks depend on Buyer/Seller goals, timelines, and preferences. Buy-downs are unique, though, because they offer direct benefits to both Buyers and Sellers in the short term and long term. They allow houses to be sold more efficiently, less stress with high monthly payments for Buyers, and less interest payment over time. If you are in the market to either buy or sell a home, don’t forget that there are ways for you to save money during the process.
What was the last book you read? More importantly – what was the last book you read that helped you and your team succeed at work? Being well read doesn’t just help you in your day-to-day activities. Choosing to learn from established experts and authors helps shorten your learning curve so you can bring practical information and methods to your co-workers, colleagues, and clients. While there’s no substitute for learning by doing, there’s a wide gap in knowledge that favors those who take time to read effective business books over those who don’t. Over the years, I’ve read more than a fair share of business books, and some have stood out more than others. That’s why today I am sharing my top five favorite business books that you will wish you had read sooner.
1. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
Written as a narrative story, this is an easy read. I find this book foundational for any new or recently-started investor to understand what it means to have an investor mindset. It helps distinguish what is truly an asset and liability and how to use money as a tool to create wealth. You don’t have to be born rich to become rich. Instead, there’s a path that just about anyone who is willing to take can follow. In 1999, my wife Joanne read this book and I read it shortly after her. It was one of the reasons Joanne decided to leave her teaching career to become a real estate professional just a year later. It’s the reason we bought our first investment property and created goals around real estate investing. I have a lot of gratitude for this book.
2. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear
This book is about breaking bad behaviors and adopting good ones in four steps with small, incremental, everyday routines that compound into massive, positive changes over time. You can truly change your behavior by following these steps. There are some great hacks here on breaking cravings and creating new habits. These include steps about making new routines easy to start, making them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. 1. Make it obvious – Don’t hide your fruits in the fridge, but instead put them on display front and center. 2. Make it attractive – start with the fruit you like the most so you’ll actually want to eat one when you see it. 3. Make it easy – don’t create needless friction by focusing on fruits that are hard to peel. Bananas and apples are super easy to eat, for example. 4. Make it satisfying – if you like the fruit you picked, you’ll love eating it and feel healthier as a result! The book goes into a lot more detail. I highly recommend it as you can apply these little hacks to make your life better and more efficient.
3. “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins
This book is a self-help classic that breaks down how Tony Robbins has helped top performers perform at their highest level and how you can use the same mental and physical tactics to accomplish your biggest life goals. “Unlimited Power” connotes your ability to revamp your life and produce every outcome you’ve ever wanted while generating value for the people around you. There is so much packed into this book that I can’t get into everything. It’s a long read, but it’s worth every page. One key idea is to use modeling – how you can model yourself after others who are more successful to get what they have. We’ve used this tactic in our real estate business as well as real estate investing. The difference between successful people and everyone else is that successful people see “failure” as an opportunity to grow and learn. We model, try new things, fail and learn. Also simple hacks to change your mood with body posture and breathing techniques, it works! And lastly emotional intelligence, how you respond to situations and your emotions, your attitude determines a lot of what you can accomplish.
4. “First Break All The Rules” by Don Clifton
This book walks you through how to be a better manager and debunks a lot of traditional management methods. I enjoy this book because it resonates with my management style, especially being a part of a small team. We are truly a family. Happy and satisfied employees make the company better and treat clients better. Managers can help employees be happier and more satisfied, it starts with caring about how happy and satisfied they are at work and personally. Intentionally design the atmosphere to encourage self-expression, trust, enjoyment, and productivity. A leader sets the goals, and helps guide but ultimately employees will be happier when they can control and have input in how they reach those goals. If you want to help your team grow, you’ve got to get to know them on a personal level. And if you want to know what standard you should hold everybody to, you need to look at your top performers and spend a lot of time with them. I’d recommend this book to someone who just became a manager and feels overwhelmed, or a seasoned executive that wants to learn and play to their employee’s strengths, or anyone that would like to become a great leader at work.
5. “Five Dysfunctions Of A Team” by Patrick Lencioni
This book will teach you how to have a functional team to be more productive and how to avoid back-channel politics. It’s written in an easy-to-read fable and then breaks it down into practical guidelines on how to overcome each of the five dysfunctions. In hindsight, if I had read this book at the start of my team building career, I could have avoided some drama and probably gotten out of business faster with some people we ultimately ended up parting ways with, but not before they caused damage to the team. it could have possibly helped to fix some bad behavior, but I suspect it would have just highlighted it and caused them to opt out sooner, and maybe I’d have a few less gray hairs.
The next time you are asked what the last book you read was, I hope you think back to one of my five suggestions and are able to apply what you’ve learned in the workplace. True leaders and intelligent thinkers know that they don’t know everything, and they know when to look for outside wisdom and advice to pass along to those who rely on them in the business world. These five reads cover everything from financial responsibility and habit building to team chemistry and unlocking your true potential, and I highly suggest that you check them out.
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