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The blue (real estate) bible

Back when I was in grad school studying real estate, we used to refer to the below book as the “blue bible.” It is a comprehensive look at real estate finance and investments, and also development. But perhaps more importantly, it is written in a way that is clear, direct, and immensely practical to the actual world of real estate.


The reason I mention this today is because the fifth edition is out and my friend Bruce Kirsch is now an author, along with Peter Linneman. Thankfully the cover is still blue, otherwise I might be a little sad and this post wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

Bruce has an MBA in Real Estate from Wharton (at Penn) and is the founder and CEO of Real Estate Financial Modeling, LLC, which I recommend to absolutely everyone who wants to get better at financial modeling and deal underwriting.

I have a lot of people who reach out to me on a regular basis and want to ask me about getting into real estate, and in particular, development. I try my best to make time because I was once in their shoes. Usually that means an early morning coffee in Toronto’s PATH.

My advice is fairly consistent. You have two options. Try and get your foot in the door at a shop or, if you’ve got the gall, go out and try and do it on your own. I have friends who have successfully done the latter with very little in the way of formal real estate training.

Whatever your decision, knowledge of the industry will obviously serve you well. Oftentimes I’m meeting with design and/or planning professionals who bring a lot to the table, but usually lack the finance and investments knowledge. That’s when I remind them of my story: Don’t screw up the numbers.

This is also when I suggest taking one of Bruce’s classes. I’ve taken a number of them. Because to learn how to model something in Excel you have to understand how it actually works and Bruce helps you do exactly that. Garbage in, garbage out. That’s how models work.

But the other thing one should consider doing is picking up a copy of the blue bible. I have a copy sitting on my desk right now and will tell you that it’s a “must read”, whether you’re a designer and just want to learn more about the other side of the business, or you’re an experienced real estate professional.

For more on the book, click here and then on Textbook at the top. Oh, and Bruce, congratulations on the new book!

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