Real Estate Book Recommendations

  • Spencer Hilligoss, the cofounder of Madison Investing, left behind an extremely lucrative career in Silicon Valley to pursue real-estate investing.
  • With no prior experience, he’s now managed to achieve over $350 million worth of transactions and owns a piece of over 3,500 units.
  • In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Hilligoss shared the books that changed the way he viewed wealth accumulation and aided in his path to success.

Most Silicon Valley tech leaders would never trade in their high-flying, lucrative careers in order to pursue a path in real estate.

But Spencer Hilligoss, the cofounder of Madison Investing, did just that — and he hasn’t looked back.

“You have to put in 80-hour weeks,” he said in an exclusive interview with Business Insider. “You have to put in these epically intense work ethics at these early stage start-up companies just to get them to grow at the pace that you want to achieve that unicorn status.”

He continued: “I was working that career, and that initially led me to start questioning [it].”

Up until that point, Hilligoss had worked himself to the bone. He spent a total of 13 years developing teams at various early-stage tech firms in Silicon Valley. That all changed when he joined his last company, a real estate tech startup that would provide the catalyst for his new life as a real estate syndicate investor.

Fast forward to today, and Hilligoss has done over $350 million of transactions. He also owns a piece of more than 3,500 units.

But Hilligoss didn’t come equipped with the information to master a career as a successful real-estate investor. Throughout his journey, he was reading voraciously and borrowing ideas from those who had already achieved success.

“There are a couple books that are so fundamental to changing your perspectives on finances and wealth,” he said. “They’re not necessarily straight-up real-estate books, but they are things I encourage people to go and focus on first if they’re trying to reprogram their mind for wealth accumulation.”

Hilligoss’ recommendations

1. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

“Think and Grow Rich is just a critically important book for me,” he said. “There’s these concepts that change the way that you look at growing your means and also frugality.”

2. “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown

Hilligoss notes that individuals who are interested in real-estate investing generally only have time to analyze the ins and outs of the industry after a long, tedious work day. And for that, he says that “Essentialism” is a must-read.

“Not a real-estate book. Not even a wealth book. That’s just a pure efficiency book about how you go and you say ‘no’ to other people when you actually are getting your time gobbled up for other things,” he said. “It’s about finding the time to work on your passions and side projects.”

3. “Rental Property Investing” by Brandon Turner

“There’s a couple books out there that really bring everything together well,” he said. “That book was also critically helpful. Even if that’s not going to be your asset class that you want to focus on — if you don’t want to go do single-family rentals, or you don’t want to do duplexes or tri’s or quads — then you can still go and apply those learnings in that book.”

4. “Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book” by Joe Fairless

“If anyone is trying to go and focus on big deals, and they want to tie it all together to focus on apartment buildings, then I have to plug this one book that I found to be the best,” he said. “That book pulls together goal-setting, pulls together tactics frameworks — how people can go and not only structure deals but do so with confidence over time and be iterative in their process.”

5. “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” Robert Kiyosaki

“For example, the amazing and seminal book called ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ is probably going to be the first book recommendation for anyone looking for actionable first steps to go change your entire financial life,” he said. “That’s the book you read.”

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