Summer Reading

September 1, 2009

Why do we talk about summer reading at the beginning of the summer and not the end?  Do we know what we will fancy at the beginning of the summer? There are all those wonderful books we are so supposed to appreciate. The new cannons of literature, witness The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (2008, David Wroblewski), but George was not in the mood to relive a new Macbeth after such a bruising market.  So we enjoyed The Art Thief (2008, Noah Charney ) – think the Thomas Crown Affair and then mix in iconic museums and swanky auction houses like Sotheby’s and that other one. Alas an ending disappoints, and we struggle to connect with something.  Along come Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of a Radical Price.  These two authors don’t give our brains the time off, but they certainly beg some questions about how our business is changing.  With so much wonderful feedback to the Heery Herald, we will open a discussion with our wonderful readers – all 6 or 7, but damn you are smart and we would appreciate your thoughts.


In Outliers, Gladwell addresses a tireless question of why do some people succeed and others not. More provocative is the idea that some people may not succeed on the basis of merit alone.  When does success transcend being in the right place and the right time?  Here are some questions we are asking:

  • Are we doing everything we can to be successful?
  • Are we making appropriate investment?
  • Do we personally have the attributes of success to lead in our market?
  • Are we seeing market adaptation and moving fast enough the take advantage?
  • How can we be in the right place at the right time more of the time?


In Free, Chris Anderson really turns things upside down.  It addresses profound ideas like why some enterprises create phenomenal wealth by giving things away.  How can we garner attention and confidence in a world where there is a wealth of information that leads to a poverty of attention?  The rest of the world has moved from pay for content to pay for promotion.  All content previously paid for will eventually become free. These are related issue we see in our business:

  • If information on real estate listings is free, how do we convince clients and customers to come to us for information?
  • How do we stay current on market information?
  • What do we do of value that people should pay for?
  • How does “freeconomicies” impact real property and its brokerage?


We have strong opinions. However, the value is in the listening and not the telling.  We want to be better, faster, and smarter – so, what say you?


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