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Am I Being Too Subtle?: Straight Talk From a Business Rebel Hardcover – May 9, 2017
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“The notoriously blunt businessman shares the ups and downs of his career and the lessons he’s learned in business—with just a little profanity—in a new book, Am I Being Too Subtle?”
--The Wall Street Journal
“Here we have the real Sam Zell: one of our nation’s most interesting, provocative, and successful practitioners of business and life. He’s a wise man who hates fuzzy thinking. He is a biker, wearer of leathers and jeans and boots and his signature quirky beard. He points his skis straight downhill. You know, all the usual things that the few really smart (but not too smart for their own good) business people do.”
--Steve Roth, chairman and CEO of Vornado Realty Trust
“A highly readable and revealingly personal book filled with unique insights and unvarnished straight talk about business, people—their quirks and potentials—and about life itself.”
--The Huffington Post
About the Author
Sam Zell is the chairman of Equity Group Investments, the private investment firm he founded in 1968, and the chairman of five NYSE companies. He is an entrepreneur and investor who is active in a diverse range of industries, such as energy, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and communications, and of course real estate. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Helen.
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Top Customer Reviews
After reading the book what really comes through as setting Zell apart is how he does not follow the herd mentality. The man is a true clear thinker. This is not a guy who makes his decisions from listening to the often ill-informed talking heads in the media. He does his homework and then makes his own decisions. He does a good job of explaining his philosophy, including giving examples. To his credit, Zell discusses not just his successes, but he also talks about his mistakes, namely his investment in the Tribune Company and in parenting, for examples, because you often lean more from your failures.
Ultimately you should judge a book that dispenses advice on how practical the advice is and whether there is anything actionable to take away. He offers a lot of insights that are good, but also that any experienced business person already knows: work hard, have good ethics, do your homework, go against the crowd. What sets the book apart (and I’m gathering Zell as well) is how he tells the story and thinks just a little bit differently. The nuances and details are often important, and the little things Zell points out as lessons I found the most meaningful. Surprising, for a captain of industry, Zell preaches being nice to everyone; and he explains why you don’t have to be a jerk and get in people’s faces to be successful. That doesn’t mean shirking from the truth and being direct, as the book’s title says, but getting the right balance as Zell outlines has clearly worked for him. Having read dozens of books by entrepreneurs and business people over thirty years, I found this to be one of the best.
The advice is there for the taking, the question is do most of us have the fortitude to stick with something you believe in when everyone is telling you that you are wrong?
It is a book that could serve as an inspiration for any entrepreneur or organization that cares not only about what they do, but more importantly how they do it.
Holy smokes; I was just noticing some lower than 5 Stars Reviews. You have no idea how great this book is. I'm 83% through the book in under a week and have over 55 highlights/notes in my Kindle. This is instantly an Investment Classic. This has to be Top 3 of all time books ever written on "how to think" and "how to structure deals" and "tax efficiency" and "how to create/build a company culture". For those with less stars, go fly a kite and continue to put your head in the sand. I can't believe how great this book is and I was raving to my wife, "I can't stop reading it, this is the best among all real estate biographies/action books I have ever read". I have read ALL THE MASTERS including the other Sam Zell book by Johnson. I have read: Zeckendorf, Rouse, Hines, Trammell Crow (2), Maverick RE Investing & Financing (2), AG Spanos, Dynasty Families, Fred French syndication, etc, etc (pretty much anyone who is anyone is real estate and development). My favorite RE Investors include (current & today): Zell, Barrack and Sternlicht. If you didn't glean an MBA in deal making or actually past that, you are a moron (is that too subtle?). This is up there with all the best real estate books ever written and the best Value Investors classics on "how to think & structure or underwrite deals" (not technical, but big picture) such as: Graham/Buffett/Munger (probably most akin to Munger like thinking), FWS by Ponzio, Einhorn, Klarman, Charles Koch (both books by Koch on culture such as Science of Success / MBM / Good Profit just worth $22B), Greenblatt. If you are new to real estate or seasoned, you need to read this book. It is ripe with "wisdom". I wish I could have been fortunate enough to work with Zell and those who have at EQR, EOP, Equity Commonwealth or others; consider yourselves blessed. What a hero. The Tribune naysayers, you should have listened to him, he actually cares and aligns interests. Truly a unique wise and sound individual. I have left a few reviews in the past, but you are a fool not to read this book and if you have less than half the book highlighted, you aren't seeing it. Thank you Sam Zell. I am forever grateful of shortening my learning curve and hope to come even 25% close to what you have accomplished. This is RE Investment, Risk Analysis, LBO's, Value Investing all-in-one. Sam Zell is a master of making complex situations "simple". He can synthesize information into basic concepts and formats. What takes most people a paragraph or more to convey, he can do it in a sentence. Brilliance & Genius in simplicity. If you can't see it, I'm sorry for you. If you can say "thank you" and "blessed to have read this book". Sam: "THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS". I hope to do similar things and have learned so much.
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