What they’re reading now

The Real DealNovember 01, 2014

Where do you look for inspiration and insight? This month, The Real Deal polled leaders in the industry to find out what they’re reading, how the book was recommended to them and what they’ve found most compelling about it.

 

Maryanne Gilmartin
President and chief executive officer, Forest City Ratner Companies

 

What are you reading right now or what did you finish most recently?

 

“The New York Nobody Knows,” by William B. Helmreich. About a New Yorker who walks 6,000 miles of city terrain to really try and understand New York; the author spends four years and took himself to every corner of the city. So far it is a captivating and human picture of the city’s true essence. It takes me much longer to get through fun reading these days, but this is an easy one to keep me awake past bedtime.

 

What spurred you to read that book?

 

It is a book about the life of our city, which I am passionate about. [I found it at] Rough Trade in Williamsburg, which is not only an amazing record store for LPs but a great book store for special reads.

 

Would you recommend it to others?

 

I think anyone who loves New York would find this book a treat.

 

Mickey Conlon
Broker, CORE

 

What are you reading right now or what did you finish most recently?

 

Right now I am hurtling through “New York 1900,” which, chronologically, is the second installment of Robert A. M. Stern’s masterful five-volume account of the evolution of New York City. I recently finished “New York 1880” and found myself unable to pause between volumes. It’s catnip for history buffs.

 

What spurred you to read that book?

 

The entire series has long held a place of honor on the bookshelf, but it would only make its way down occasionally to be used as a reference — usually to settle bets about the history of a particular building. It was only last year that a particular passage had so captured my imagination that I decided to begin reading the entire series. At first it seemed like a herculean feat — I mean, these books are heavy — but I quickly found myself irrevocably captivated, and a little bit more muscular. These books are trainer-approved.

 

Has anything you read in it stuck with you? Would you recommend it to others?

 

For those of us who ponder the wonders of the New York skyline, it’s easy to marvel at architectural innovations simply as feats of engineering, but there’s so much more. We take for granted the simple conveniences that the telephone and the elevator afford us, but post-Civil War New Yorkers could never have imagined how these new inventions would propagate the city’s rapid growth toward the sky. I wholeheartedly recommend this series to anyone interested in architecture, the history of New York, or even sociology. The whole set contains more than 5,000 pages, which may seem daunting, but it’s worth the commitment. When devouring an entire city, it’s best to take it one bite at a time.

 

Bob Knakal
Chairman, Massey Knakal

 

What are you reading right now or what did you finish most recently?

 

“The Art of Woo.”

 

What spurred you to read that book?

 

The author is a Wharton professor (my alma mater), Richard Shell.

 

Has anything you read in it stuck with you? Would you recommend it to others?

 

It is a great book for salespeople. It looks at the art of persuasion, which is a critical skill for anyone who deals with people professionally.

 

 

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