My father was once a top salesman for World Book Encyclopedia, and that meant I always got a new set of encyclopedias. Before the internet, books served as a valuable source of information for me to explore the world, and my passion has always been real estate.
I would flip through countless pages of information, paying close attention to the skyscrapers, and dreaming that one day I would visit the “trophy” properties seen around the globe. As I got older, my passion for real estate grew, and I wanted to soak up everything I could to become successful as a real estate investor.
In college, I majored in business, eager to carve a niche in real estate investing. I took every course I could – in the subjects of finance, economics, and real estate, always pushing myself to learn the secrets of compounding and wealth creation.
My first job out of college was in commercial leasing, and I learned very quickly that the way to build wealth in real estate was by owning it. But I needed to learn all the tricks of the trade. So I spent a few years in the trenches, learning how to buy, sell, lease, finance, and most importantly, suffer a few bruising losses.
I remember reading The Art of the Deal in 1988, in which Donald Trump inspired me to become a real estate developer. I dreamed of “doing deals” in New York City and becoming an investor in the skyscrapers that I dreamed about while reading the World Book.
Fast forward in time, more than thirty years after reading The Art of the Deal…
I’m now the author of The Trump Factor: Unlocking the Secrets Behind the Trump Empire. I have not only met Donald Trump, but I have become an expert in commercial real estate – and as I recount in the book, I have visited every Trump-owned property in the world.
Yes, exploring Trump-land has been valuable, but my expertise in real estate investing is rooted in my analytical skills, and desire to understand how to unlock value. I am also the co-author of The Intelligent REIT Investor, which has been an amazing success thanks in large part to my co-author, Stephanie Krewson-Kelly.
If I had to sum up the definition of “investing” in a few words, it would be “learning from your mistakes.” As I’ve encountered the roadblocks to get to my current destination, the true secret has been to always learn from the mistakes, and of course, not repeat them again.
Life is a journey, and there are many second-level thinkers who have inspired me to win the race. As one of my mentors, Benjamin Graham said, “the most durable education is self-education.” In real estate, the most important words are location, location, location – and one of the best ways to become an expert in any field, is to always, learn, learn, learn.