An excerpt from “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor”, by Gary Keller with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan
“It’s a little-known fact that America’s first millionaire was a real estate investor. A German immigrant and the son of a butcher, he was named John Jacob Astor. In the early 1800’s Astor got rich trading in furs, tea, silk, and fine china, but that was not where his real fortune was made. Eventually he invested his trading profits in something that would prove to be even better: real estate. His most profitable investments were in New York City, and before long the man known as “Manhattans Landlord” was widely acknowledged as the wealthiest person of his time. He has not only become America’s first millionaire, he was now its first multimillionaire. Shortly before his death Astor reportedly said, “Could I begin life again, knowing what I now know, and had money to invest, I would buy every foot of land on the Island of Manhattan.” Astor passed away in 1848, leaving over $20 million to his heirs. ($20 million may not seem like a great fortune now, but in 2005 dollars it would be the equivalent of about $458 billion.) This immigrant butcher’s son not only was America’s first millionaire and multimillionaire, he was also America’s first Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
I love the story of John Jacob Astor because it captures both the art and science of investing. The art inspires us, and the science instructs us. The fact that an immigrant butcher’s son could build America’s first great fortune is the inspiration. The fact that he did it through real estate is the instruction. This is consistent with my experience. I believe there is an art and a science to achieving your highest potential in any endeavor, and building financial wealth is no exception. The art of real estate investing is about becoming inspired to overcome your MythUnderstandings and think like a millionaire Real Estate Investor. The science is about learning and applying the models these successful investors use. Up to this point we’ve addressed the art. It’s now time to address the science: the Five Models of the Millionaire Real Estate Investor.”