The CEO of a Real Estate Brokerage Company Shares His Favorite Business Books

  • Over the past 15 years, Aaron Galvin has grown his company from a lean team to 70 employees.
  • He gleaned business advice from a variety of books, including biographies of successful entrepreneurs.
  • Her two favorite business books are “Never Split The Difference” and “The Messy Middle”.

After discovering he had a knack for renting apartments while helping friends find places to live after college, Aaron Galvin quit his job in sales to rent properties full-time.

He worked alongside his mentor, a Chicago-based apartment locator, for three years before striking out on his own. In 2007, he and his wife Amy launched Luxury Living Chicago Realty, a real estate brokerage firm focused on the high-end rental market.

At the start of the company, Galvin and his lean team worked out of a one-room office in an apartment building. It wasn’t until 2013 that they had their first year of substantial growth, when LLCR grew from three employees to six. The company had another great year in 2018, growing from 20 members to 50.

Today, Galvin’s company is considered Chicago’s premier multi-family rental and marketing company. Galvin oversees 70 employees and has a two-part 10-year financial goal for his team: $100 million in cumulative revenue and 150% revenue growth between 2017 and 2027. He has also set a culture and retention goal workplace in 2017, which is to have 50 LLCR employees celebrate their fifth anniversary. Currently, they are at 13.

The CEO says he’s drawn business advice from a variety of books he’s read over the years.

He’s a fan of biographies in general. “I think it’s really important for everyone to read them — especially those of successful people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos — so that you recognize the humanity of these people,” he told Insider. “They’re just humans. They had a childhood like you. weren’t. There’s always a little nugget that comes out of each of these biographies that I’m able to apply to my life.”

Some of Galvin’s favorite memoirs and biographies include “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon,” “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike,” and “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic future.”

He also recommends two specific business books that have helped him build LLCR over the past 15 years.

“Never Divide the Difference” by Chris Voss

Written by a former hostage negotiator for the FBI, “Never Split The Difference” breaks down the skills and principles anyone can use to be more persuasive and a better negotiator.

“Voss wrote the most important manual on how to negotiate in business using the methods he used in his hostage negotiations,” Galvin said. “One of his tenets is that when you’re in a negotiation, never consider the person you’re negotiating with as the adversary. Instead, you try to find a solution together. It was such an ‘aha moment. “Everyone wants to get a good deal but, in reality, when it’s a win-win, it’s better for everyone.

Regardless of your career or industry, anyone can benefit from reading this, Galvin said. After all, life is full of negotiations, from negotiating your salary to buying a house to compromising with your partner.

“The Messy Middle” by Scott Belsky

Galvin first read “The Messy Middle” when LLCR was experiencing “a lot of turmoil in 2019,” he said. “We just didn’t have the solid foundation that we thought we had. We lost a lot of people, we had to deal with legal situations, and it was very complicated and very difficult at the time.”

The book acknowledges that businesses will experience significant ups and downs.

“That explains how very complicated running a business can sometimes become, whether it’s a sole proprietorship or a multinational,” Galvin said. “So this book really resonated with me.”

He also likes to read it again when his business is doing well. It’s important “to exploit what you learn when you were in a difficult period and to be able to build on what you did well to overcome the next difficulty,” he said.

Right now happens to be a time of growth for Galvin’s business. “Over the past 45 days, we’ve added 20 new members to our company. During what’s now being referred to as the ‘Big Resign’, we’ve been able to maintain our entire employee base while hiring new people,” he said. “It’s a testament to that experience in 2019 – recognizing what we could learn from this period and how we can do better.”