Today is the Fourth of July. And I’m sure many of you are spending time with loved ones. Maybe you’re grilling out and getting ready for the fireworks later tonight. As for myself, I’ll be spending some time down by the beach in Florida.

Wherever you are, and whoever you’re with, I wish all subscribers a happy Independence Day. And seeing as how the market is closed today, I thought we might try something different.

Today, I’ll share some of the books I’d recommend for any investor looking for a great read this summer.

First up…

Greatness Is a Choice, by Ethan Penner

When I saw that Julius Irving (aka Dr J) wrote the foreword, I knew this book was going to be a “slam dunk”. As a college-level basketball player I’ve always been a Dr J. fan, who won three championships, 4 MVP awards, and 3 scoring titles.

So, whenever you see a book with “greatness” in the title and the foreword written by one of the “greatest” of all time, I know the book has to be great. And Mr. Penner definitely delivered on his promise.

Dr J explains:

Ethan is a man who truly walks the walk in every facet of his life and is clearly very well equipped to offer his reflections on life’s true meanings, as he has done so beautifully and generously here in this book.

Penner is best known for his career in finance and specifically his 30-year career in real estate debt.

He is credited with being the primary driver in the creation of the Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (‘CMBS’) market for which he received broad recognition including being named one of the U.S. Real Estate Industry’s 100 icons of the 20th century. In 2011, Real Estate Forum voted him one of the Real Estate Industry’s 65 living legends in their 65th anniversary issue.

However, Penners book is about his life and philosophy with several important messages, as he explains in the Prologue:

…nobody can be truly great at everything, but we can aim for greatness in every little thing we do, with the outcome being that we’ll be great people, great friends, great parents, great partners, great lovers, and great in our careers.

As a side, I reached out to Penner in hopes of meeting with him to consult on commercial real estate debt markets. Our team at Wide Moat Research is highly fixated on finding opportunistic distressed debt and he appears to have the skillset we look for in finding “great” recommendations for Wide Moat Research.

The Value Equation, by Chis Volk

I’ve been fortunate to call Mr. Volk a friend as I’ve invested with him for over a decade.

He has launched three REITs, the last one named Store Capital that had investors like me and Berkshire Hathway. He stepped down as CEO in 2021 and I witnessed (as an analyst and investor) all three companies deliver outperforming shareholder returns while benefitting a broad array of stakeholders. 

Berkshire Hathaway Investment Manager, R. Ted Weschler provide Volk with this testimonial for the book:

Chris Volk is a walking, talking Capital Asset Pricing Model – only better. He’s a rare combination of a successful entrepreneur and talented teacher. This book is a gift for anyone interested in business, from start-up dreamer to seasoned executive.

Altogether, Volk oversaw the successful deployment of more than $20 billion in net lease and mortgage capital to thousands of growing businesses across the U.S. It was not hard for me to provide Volk with a testimonial (located on the website):

I recommend this book for any finance student, investor, analyst, or C-suite executive. Volk’s vast knowledge provides readers with the characteristics of successful business models along with insights into how leaders can improve their own models to generate wealth.

Volk’s framework presented in the book is the foundation upon which most of the largest personal fortunes were built. You may know Volk (I call him Professor Volk) for his extensive bowtie collection and his signature “value equation” approach. His focus is centered on his wealth creation formulas which, as he says in the book, is “designed to simplify complex subjects with math no more complicated than what you learned in middle school”.

I regularly consult with Volk, and he has written dozens of research reports for Wide Moat Research on companies such as Amazon, Kohl’s, and Target.

REITs for Dummies, by Brad Thomas

Of course, I saved the best for last.

I’m going to tell you about my latest book, REITs for Dummies.

This book is my fourth book, and it was by far the most fun I’ve ever had with writing a book. Unlike other books that I’ve written, the RETs for Dummies book was targeted for investors of all skill sets and I was able to provide stories so that readers could become part of extended family.

The purpose for the book was to create an easy-to-understand guide to getting started with real estate investment trusts―also known as “REITs.” As you may know already, I was a real estate developer before I became a stock picker – this provides me with an added level of experience as a research analyst.

Our team at Wide Moat Research also has a competitive advantage because of our broad selection universe, and of course REITs are obviously in our wheelhouse.

In the book, you’ll get a straightforward tour of REIT property sectors and the different ways you can invest in REITs. You’ll also find:

  • Strategies for selecting the best REITs for you and your family
  • Ways to navigate the sector and generate durable income that helps you sleep well at night
  • Options for those who want to go beyond the United States and investigate international REIT products.

As I tell my followers, you don’t have to be a dummy to read my new book. A few months ago, I actually gave a copy to my CEO, Porter Stansberry as well as a copy to President Donald Trump.

I had so much fun writing this dummies book that I’m now working on another one now.

Once again, happy July Fourth. And happy reading.


Brad Thomas
Editor, Intelligent Income Daily