The 15 Books You Need to Read in 2019

The average American will read one book per year. Don’t be average. For 2019 I’m providing you a list of 15 books, or one per month with a few for extra credit.

The links & images take you to Amazon for Customer Reviews, formats, and snapshots of what’s inside each:


1. Retire Early With Real Estate: How Smart Investing Can Help You Escape the 9-5 Grind and Do More of What Matters // Chad Carson

I’m a big fan of Chad’s. Great guy, former Clemson football player and extremely successful real estate investor – what’s not to LIKE?!. I had the opportunity to meet Chad in person at a recent conference and he’s contributed some of his time to our Facebook Group. Chad has lived the title of his book, which goes along with my rules of investing: never take advice from someone who isn’t where you want to be financially. More on Chad at but be sure to grab his book first.


2. Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men // Ryan Michler

Sorry ladies but this one is for the man in your life (Gift Idea?). MEN – time to level up your activities of Protecting, Presiding, and Providing for your family. I’m a huge fan of what Ryan’s doing @, to the point I started calling myself a ‘Michler Disciple’. I had the opportunity to interview Ryan pre-book launch and you can catch that here. And while this book isn’t focused on real estate, it is focused on Providing for your family. Grab it.


3.  Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff // Chip Gaines

From everyone’s favorite HGTV couple, Chip walks you through some of the crazy stuff he did as a teenager and how he and Joanna started out on building their entrepreneurial empire.


4. The Closer’s Survival Guide // Grant Cardone

I’m a big fan of Uncle G and almost anything he puts out and The Closer’s Survival Guide is one of those. If you’re great at grabbing leads but having trouble sealing the deal, put this one at the top of your readers list.


5. Launch Your Dream: A 30-day Plan for Turning Your Passion into a Profession // Dale Partridge

Dale is a great guy to follow on instagram @dalepartridge and his book is a swift kick in the back side to get you moving toward your dream. Quick read, full of quality content.


6. You Can Retire Early!: Everything You Need to Achieve Financial Independence When You Want It // Deacon Hayes

If you’re on the road to frugality, you’ll enjoy this quick read from Deacon @ Much like his book, his blog is full of nuggets to increase income and reduce expenses.


7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F&$k: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life // Mark Mason

Don’t let the title full you, this book is full of vulgar language (sarcasm…thick layer). I did grab this book based on the title alone. However, I did enjoy this one, found it very entertaining as many of the author’s points of view remind me of a close friend. If you have virgin ears, this book is not for you.


8. The Go Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea // Bob Burg & John David Mann

The concept of this book is simple…the secret to success is giving. Something the entire world (including myself) needs to make part of our daily routines. Following Joe through his journey is very enlightening and as a quick read, something I consume multiple times a year.


9. Fail Until You Don’t: Fight Grind Repeat // Bobby Bones

Coming from humble beginnings, Bobby is now the host of a nationally syndicated radio show. This book has absolutely nothing to do with real estate investing but truly is a motivating story to support its title.


10. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action // Simon Sinek

I’m upset it took me so long to find this book. It certainly goes with our mantra of: Discover YOUR Why. Establish YOUR Goals. Set YOUR Criteria. If you want to grab a taste of the author before purchasing, just YouTube Simon. He gives some phenomenal speeches, some of which get into the science of how our brains and bodies function on the road to success. This is how I stumbled onto Simon and finally acquire his book. Start with why.


11. Lessons from a 3rd Grade Dropout: How the Timeless Wisdom of One Man Can Impact an Entire Generation // Rick Rigsby

If you’re not familiar with Rick’s story, I encourage to YouTube him and watch a few clips. You’ll find yourself humbly motivated. In this quick read, Rick goes into things he learned from his father growing up. Inspirational read, more inspiring to hear Rick tell the story in the audible version.


12. How to Make Big Money in Small Apartments // Lance Edwards

This book really dives into the weeds on tactics and drills, primarily wholesaling small apartments. It does focus a tad bit on Buy & Hold but the primary focus of this one is how to acquire off market properties. AND with the hot markets we are in now, this one is a must read.


13. Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat // Michael Masterson

For the big dreamer, this one encourages you to throw traditional thinking out the window and just go…with some insightful and helpful ideas to ensure you don’t completely fail at your first shot. What I enjoy the most about this book are the different strategies it offers at each level of your business’ success.


14. EXTREME OWNERSHIP: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win // Jocko Willink and Leif Babin  

EXTREME in all caps is appropriate here as this book will challenge you to up your ownership of any situation hitting your circle. It’s hard for me to understand the correlation Navy Seals and all of our fighting forces who have faced war on the front lines links to what we do in business and growing wealth, BUT, this book inched me closer to understanding that. One of my favorite quotes from an interview with the co-author of Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink is:  “Don’t take today off. Not today. Wait until tomorrow…As an overall rule I don’t like procrastination. You need to get things done. But, if you are going to rest, that is one that you should procrastinate on.”


15. Long Distance Real Estate Investing // David Greene

It seems David excels at almost everything he tackles. From being a cop, realtor, now a broker and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast, he has some great insight and success to back it up. As many local markets have been HOT for a while, long distance real estate investing has sparked my interest. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but David Greene lays out the proper steps and insight on how to get this done.


And be sure to…check out My REI Reading List for what I consider the most influential books for beginning real estate investors.

ENJOY!! And don’t be average. 


I Have $10k to Invest in Real Estate. Where Do I Begin?

One of the more common questions I see or hear. “I don’t have a lot of money and by that I mean, I have approx. $10k and I want to invest in Real Estate. Where do I begin?” Some people will tell you to wait until you have more money, $100k even. I’m not that patient and I see how our net worth has exponentially grown since purchasing our first buy and hold property. So what do you do?

First…You give it all to me! Bwhahahaha, BWhahahahAA, BWHAHAHAHA <- my attempt at an evil laugh (think Dr. Evil / Austin Powers).

Seriously, first, you have to decide what type of investor you want to be. There are many ways to invest in real estate (flipping, wholesaling, buy & hold, notes, etc.). For the sake of this post, we’re going to focus on Buy & Hold, because, quite simply, I focus on buy & hold :).  Here are a few options to get started in Buy & Hold REI if you have just $10k to invest:

REI Strategies. Lessons Learned. How-Tos. No Spam…Learn More. 

Option 1 : FHA a Small MFR

Find a small multi-family (2-4 units) and get approved for a FHA loan. At the time this article originally published, down payment requirements are 3.5%, as long as you meet the criteria (i.e. you have to live in one of the units for a certain period of time). At 3.5% down payment you can purchase a $100,000 property and still have money to pay all closing costs. This is also known as House Hacking.

Option 2 : Buy an Inexpensive SFR

To obtain a conventional loan for an investment property typically requires 20-25% down payment. With only $10k to invest you will target a $50k single family residence, however, banks typically won’t provide a mortgage for less than $50k. With a $10k down payment, loan would be for $40k and if you find a lender willing to do this, please send me their contact info (I’m at But if you can convince the seller to owner finance 10% on a 2nd position mortgage (or seller carry back), then your $10k is now 10% of the down payment, meaning your now looking at properties with a price of $100k. Which leads me to Option 3…

Option 3 – Buy a Property with Owner Financing

One of the best strategies to leverage your money!  In this scenario the seller becomes the bank or provides part of your down payment by what’s called a seller carry back. Best case scenario is the seller owns the property outright and y’all come to terms. No silver bullet here in deal structure, just up to you and the seller to create a win-win scenario using whatever terms y’all agree to. Always have a lawyer review these terms and represent you at closing.

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Option 4 – Partnership

Partnerships are great and here again there is no silver bullet to structure them. Find a deal that meets all of your criteria and find a partner or partners to make it happen.

We did this when we Purchased Our First Apartment Complex. We had $25k to invest and needed THREE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND to close. Partnerships made it happen.

Speaking of, Option 4B is partner with someone on a larger multi-family. When we were raising money for our apartment complex, we had a minimum investment of $25k. But if you and 4 of your buddies each had $10k to invest, bringing $50k of capital to the table, I would certainly take a hard look at it.

So if you want to invest and you think “I don’t have that much money”, there are options. You just have to be creative. Happy to talk through any of these with you. I’m at or 850-610-0966.

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How to Find REI Opportunities: Just Ask

*Repost from December 2016; as we get into the holiday season, childhood family traditions become nostalgic and lead me back to this little story…
“If you can move the house by the end of the month, you can just have the whole thing!”


real estate investing pensacola fl
As the year is coming to an end, the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas often remind me of those precious childhood memories. Forcing me to reflect and think about love ones who have passed and I hope those great memories stay with me forever. On that note, when thinking about real estate investing, I sometimes think about my Maw-Maw & Paw-Paw. For as long as I can remember my grandparents owned & operated what they referred to as a tenant building – low income, mid-size multi-family rental property that provided them a way of life. I hope to blog about more of those memories one day, but they lived in the house next door to their tenant building and the story on that house acquisition is amazing.
As the story goes, my Paw-Paw was in need of some spare lumber, this was late 1970s, ’78 or ’79 I think. Driving by this house, he noticed the owner was outside and in the process of removing the front porch from this 2 story, 3 bedroom / 1.5 bath, 1900 sq. ft. home. When Paw-Paw asked if he could have some of the lumber being discarded from the front porch removal, the owner simply said, “If you can move the house by the end of the month, you can just have the whole thing!”
And that’s exactly what they did. They acquired a lot a few blocks away near downtown, hired a moving company, and a few weeks later my grandparents were setup in their new home. I cannot tell this story without mentioning the power company. The path of the move required the power company to drop lines on 2 sides of the street – the largest cost of this project which had to be done on a Sunday; when most businesses downtown were closed (late 70s). I believe their all-in cost was around $25k. Simply put, an amazing opportunity.
real estate investing pensacola fl
Paw-Paw (green hat, 2nd from the right)

We created many holiday memories in this home and my parents still own it today. Opportunities are everywhere and through this event, my Paw-Paw has certainly encouraged me to Just Ask.

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 #REI  #RealEstateInvesting #HelmsREI

How Do You Know How To Invest in Real Estate?

As I continue to talk with more & more people about our buy & hold real estate investing in Pensacola, I find myself running into a similar question: How do you know how to do this? How do you know how to successfully invest in buy & hold real estate?

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Fair question. I have spent most of my career in the IT world, I did not study REI in a MBA course, and we just started actively investing in 2014. Self-education is the actual answer; self-education and being strict on the tripod of acquisition criteria that we have adopted.

Years before we purchased our first Pensacola property we started learning. Learning about the Pensacola market, different ways to invest, and trying not to repeat what I consider a false start to my real estate investing career in 2006. It seems like Real Estate has always interested us and it really wasn’t until after our first full year of investing did our focus become clear – thanks largely in part to the REI social network @

We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, just follow the pros!  The best source of learning is from people who have and are successfully investing. At the time of this original post (I’ll add more books as I continue to educate myself), I’ve listened to over 250 hours of audiobooks & podcasts that are focused on real estate investing/wealth building and held countless conversations with local realtors, lenders and real estate attorneys.

Below I’ve listed the books/links that I credit the most in helping shape my mind around our real estate investing. As I run across additional, paradigm shifting material, I’ll be sure to update this post. Enjoy!


real estate investing pensacola fl

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey

Biggest Takeaway: Create a budget that will assist you in meeting your financial goals and stick to it.


real estate investing pensacola fl

The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone

Biggest Takeway:  Write down your goals often and dream big! Being financially successful is my duty & obligation. #DBALB

Biggest Takeaway: Overall different way of looking at money and putting validation around making your money work for you. This book is a perfect gift for anyone, especially new fathers. 

Biggest Takeaway: All about stats.  Create a budget and not a flashy lifestyle; live within your means. Focus on being an exemplary builder of personal net worth. Exemplary Net Worth Equation: 

Exemplary Net Worth > Your Age / 10 X Current Salary

real estate investing pensacola fl

BiggerPockets Podcast & Social Network 

Biggest Takeaway: Too many to count here. Always great to have a network of like minded people seeking similar goals to bounce ideas and directly learn from. Free to join – send me a colleague request. They have published a few Amazon Best Selling Books on REI


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#REI  #RealEstateInvesting #HelmsREI