Lessons from Sam Zell

It’s no secret that Sam Zell is one of the most successful investors in American history. He has made a mantra of looking left when everyone else is looking right and capitalize on the mistakes of others.

I read his book recently, “Am I Being Too Subtle” and he speaks of his career, from his very first deal as a property manager to buying Tribune to selling Equity Office to Blackstone. He spoke about the Savings & Loans Crisis and also of the many partnerships he has made over the years.

One thing which has remained with me after reading the book is that Zell doesn’t refer to him as a CEO, doesn’t refer to himself as a fund manager and I doubt he knows what the hell Microsoft Excel is. Zell cares about the deal and getting the deal done.

Zell refers to himself as a “Professional Opportunist”. Wow. Let me tell you how I take that.

An opportunist always sees the glass as half full. They “read the tea leaves” to follow the trends as economies change and mature. More succinctly, they are adaptable and flexible and change to fit the situation not rest on their laurels and complain about how the situation has changed.

We should all endeavor to be opportunists.

We are at a crossroads where technology creates opportunities out of nothing. Profit out of thin air. Boomers are retiring. The 90s were 30 yrs ago. And we are in a brand new decade.

Let’s be optimistic. Let’s be opportunist.





President — Cade Management Co. Real Estate and SMB advocate. Email me telless@cademgt.com

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President — Cade Management Co. Real Estate and SMB advocate. Email me telless@cademgt.com

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