Matrix Blog

Book Talk

[London Calling] ‘Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel’ New Development Edition

June 9, 2014 | 10:41 am |

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I read Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel nearly every night to my 4 sons when they were younger (probably an unnecessary qualifier). It was also my favorite children’s book as a kid.

As it turns out, this story preempted current London construction methodology (h/t boingboing.net).

So, many of the squares of the capital’s super-prime real estate, from Belgravia and Chelsea to Mayfair and Notting Hill, have been reconfigured house by house. Given that London’s strict planning rules restrict building upwards, digging downwards has been the solution for owners who want to expand their property’s square-footage.

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This trend reflects the appraisal concept of highest and best use for the equipment despite the inherent wastefulness. Does it make sense to leave the equipment in the basement? With all the concern in the US about below grade empty oil tanks and the environment, I wonder how this practice is allowed, cost effectiveness aside.

Given the exceptional profits of London property development, why bother with the expense and hassle of retrieving a used digger – worth only £5,000 or £6,000 – from the back of a house that would soon be sold for several million? The time and money expended on rescuing a digger were better spent moving on to the next big deal.

You really need to read the book.

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[Vox Video] Housing Crash Fix Explained From Geithner’s Perspective

May 13, 2014 | 11:03 am | fedny |

Former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is promoting his book chronicling the financial crisis Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises. Great book name, btw.

He sits down with Vox Media’s Ezra Klein to talk about what happened. I highly recommend watching this entire interview. Once you get past Ezra Klein’s sock selection, he touches on all the key points that would help us better understand what went wrong. It reconfirms why I enjoy reading anything Ezra writes.

I also have to say that Geithner has a great engaging conversational style that I enjoyed and helped me gain additional insights. However the problem with the Geithner’s responses – that I can’t seem to get past – is that Geithner was head of the New York Fed, surrounded by Wall Street, during the housing bubble run up. You walk away from this conversation feeling like his actions were the only appropriate responses to the crisis – ie focus only on the banks (and grow moral hazard significantly). Of course it has to be a nightmare to get anything done in Washington. However, I also got that same feeling when I read Andrew Ross Sorkin’s well written “access journalism” book, “Too Big To Fail” – that saving the banks was all that mattered to him.

It doesn’t help that I read previously Neil Barofsky’s terrific book “Bailout” which provides a lot of insights into how the sausage was made – identifying the US Treasury’s exclusive focus on the banking system when there were opportunities to help main street at the same time. Apparently Geithner takes Barofsky to task in the book, probably because Barofsky did the same.

I’m not sure if I’m going to pick up a copy.

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Nathan Pyle’s NYC Basic Tips & Etiquette Book Is Like A Diagonally Cut Sandwich

May 4, 2014 | 6:04 pm | Books |

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[Source: Buzzfeed]

My friend Nathan Pyle, author of the best selling NYC Basic Tips & Etiquette Book is now embarked on a new journey as the graphics guy at Buzzfeed.

Don’t forget to buy his book so he can continue to be inspired to give us these types of insights.

My personal favorite:
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But there are so many more to learn from…

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[Book] Next Generation Real Estate by Brendon DeSimone

May 4, 2014 | 5:10 pm | Books |

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My friend Brendon DeSimone has penned a tome on today’s relevant issues in the home buying and home selling process. Yes, there are a lot of real estate “how to” books out there, but his presentation is refreshingly straightforward. He provides a slew of tips from well regarded people in various walks of real estate life.

Even better, Brendan allowed me to rant about the current state of the appraisal industry and how buyers and sellers can navigate through the process in today’s challenging and confusing market conditions.

And yet even better, here’s my back cover quote for Brendon’s book:

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You can pick up a copy in a bunch of places, and here’s one:

Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling [Amazon]

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Nathan Pyle’s NYC Basic Tips & Etiquette Book Tour Captures Hearts & Minds

April 25, 2014 | 10:23 am | Books |

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My friend Nathan Pyle‘s book NYC Basic Tips & Etiquette is selling out at The Strand and is hovering at around #100± on Amazon overall, #1 in travel and #1 in comics. He’s so modest that he doesn’t realize how amazing it is to have Harper Collins/William Morrow behind the marketing – and they approached him! Even cooler that he gave my wife and I a shoutout in the book!

Here’s the book saga timeline (ie Facebook page).

Here’s a fun interview on CBS 2 New York TV:

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Nathan Pyle’s NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette Book Now Available!

April 16, 2014 | 11:13 pm | Books |

SMALL_COVER_d My friend Nathan Pyle has penned a book: NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette that should be required reading, well at least required viewing for:

  • anyone living in NYC, or
  • anyone planning to visit NYC, or
  • anyone who’s ever read anything about NYC, or
  • anyone who hasn’t thought about going to NYC someday, or
  • anyone not planning to visit NYC, or
  • anyone who’s never read anything about NYC, or
  • well, anyone.

You get what I mean. This book is clearly for everyone.

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You can check it on on his Facebook page or actually buy it on Amazon.

He’s come a long way from making selfie-videos of his basketball dunking prowess. I’ve long been a fan of his art. Nathan combines nice Midwestern sensibilities (he’s from Ohio) with street smarts, artistic talent and a dab of humor.

In fact Nathan’s only shortcoming is his siding with the “GIF” (Graphics Interchange Format) pronunciation camp while I am squarely in the “Sounds like “Jif” as in the peanut butter AND confirmed by the inventor of the “GIF” camp who said, and I quote:

“It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF.”

And the word is getting out, in newspapers, an AMA on Reddit on radio/podcast, etc.

Here are a few samples, I plan to revisit his artwork over the next few weeks. The book even provides instructions on where to eat pizza on a busy sidewalk!!! C’mon people, the value add for that alone is worth well above the very modest price! Here are a few samples…

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My New Book “Flash Appraisals” Just Passed Michael Lewis

April 1, 2014 | 2:38 pm | bloomberglogo |

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Coverage of my new book “Flash Appraisals” just passed Michael Lewis’ “Flash Boys” as “Most Read” on Bloomberg Worldwide.

Ok, ok, admittedly a lame attempt at April Fools’ Day humor….but if I wrote a book…

More importantly, Bloomberg News coverage of our recently released Manhattan market report for Douglas Elliman jumped into 4th place and passed the coverage of Michael Lewis’ new book (8th place) – I’m halfway through his book and it’s a fantastic read – so is Oshrat Carmiel’s article.

The market report article has been the number 1 most emailed article all day. Apparently real estate remains the backyard bbq conversation not unlike rigged high speed trading on Wall Street.

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How Real Estate Brokers Can Negotiate With Foreign Buyers, Illustrated

March 29, 2014 | 12:33 pm |

Saw this visual over at Business Insider that shows how communication patterns differ around the world – from Richard D. Lewis’s book “When Cultures Collide“.

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[Source: Crossculture.com Click to expand]

I haven’t read the Lewis book yet but I’ve always been fascinated by the topic of communication and linguistics – another book got me interested in the topic: That’s Not What I Meant!: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Your Relations with Others by Deborah Tannen circa 1992. I’ve read it three times.

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[Book] APE: Guy Kawasaki Gives Us The Tools (and Confidence) To Publish

December 12, 2012 | 10:28 pm |

I’ve long been a fan of Guy’s insights and how he cuts through the $^%^&&%##**&% to get to what’s important. I first observed this when he was at Apple Computer eons ago and then when he was President of ACIUS, the database software company behind 4th Dimension we used to build Miller Samuel, and with his series of books beginning with the “Macintosh Way.” A couple of years ago I interviewed him on my podcast.

Guy, along with Shawn Welch, have written a terrific new book:

APE: How to Publish a Book (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur). And when he dropped me a note about it I got very excited since I’ve been in “I need to write a book” mode for several years, getting nagged and nudged by friends and family. This book answers my questions and more importantly, puts me at ease with the process. I highly recommend it.

He calls it “Artisanal” Publishing, currently a wildy popular and soon to be overused word in our culture, but it’s Guy’s word and I’m a believer.

As digitization creates a revolutionary opportunity for writers to become their own publishers a new self-publishing infrastructure has emerged. This book will become the standard guide to this new publishing universe.
– Jason Epstein, former editorial director of Random House and co-founder of On Demand Books.



APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book [Kindle Edition]

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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Barry Ritholtz Part 1

September 23, 2012 | 3:57 pm | Podcasts |

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