This weekend (3/17/13) there was an intriguing lecture at the Tuxedo Library entitled the Essential Manners for Men, given by author Peter Post, the great grandson of the famed Emily Post. He spent the good portion of his time providing an overview of Emily Post’s life while discussing the family role to help carry out her legacy.

Peter Post is the managing director of the Emily Post Institute and author of 5 books on manners –for men, couples, business people, and golfers. Central to his discussion was clarifying the role etiquette plays in our lives. Post stressed that etiquette is a means of building relationships and a way to prevent problems. Key points included:  

1.)    it’s not what you decide, it’s how you decide to do it, that matters.

2.)    That perspective really matters

3.)    To think before you act

In Manners for Couples, Post writes, “Etiquette is not about being excessively or insincerely polite with each other, or living by a set of artificial rules.” Rather it is acting with consideration, respect and honesty.

Emily Post was born in Tuxedo Park in 1872, the daughter of architect Bruce Price, who was responsible for the planning and development of Tuxedo Park. Some interesting facts about Emily Post:

  • She married once only - in 1892 and divorced in 1906
  • She enjoyed acting in her youth, but was discouraged from pursuing it.
  • She wrote numerous books, some of which are out of print and are hard to get a hold of, like How to Behave though a Debutante.
  • She was an architectural consultant and talented designer.
  • When asked to publish a book on Etiquette, she said to the publisher “It’ll be a small book. I haven’t got much to say. The whole subject can be reduced to a few simple rules.”
  • She had a popular radio show in the 1930’s, as a talk show host.
  • She was an activist, against prohibition.
  • She was one of Life Magazine’s most important people of the 20th century.
  • She lived a long life, dying in 1960 and is buried in Tuxedo Park.

After the lecture I purchased a copy of Essential Manners for Couples.  Having started reading it, I’m looking forward to continue working at building a more positive relationship with my significant other. With ample tips fostering good manners, I hope to achieve that result. I also look forward to discovering the life of Emily Post through her writings and biography.

andrewfieldsbooksigningWhy Real Estate?

In recent years a number of businesses and professions have been billing themselves as the second oldest profession.  I have no doubt that the honor belongs to real estate.  Ever since that primeval Australopithecus took possession of that ancient cave, declared his ownership and physically evicted his competitors, real estate has been a consuming preoccupation.  Ownership has come a long way since then.  Brute force has been replaced by money and the rule of law.  Though these tools replaced one form of power and strength with another, the latter version attempts to protect the vulnerable.

Property ownership goes way back.   Deeds were one of the first uses of written language.  There is a cuneiform deed in the Louvre, work that has been dated 2600 BCE.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art has one that dates to 2800 BCE.  Real estate has played a key role in all economies throughout history.  Its investors have made and lost fortunes of every size.  It has been the cause of war, famine, prosperity and invention.  The ownership of property or lack thereof has influenced almost every ideology you can think of.   It is a vast, undulating, economic juggernaut that, while ultimately expanding in value, can suffer from the most convoluted setbacks if you happen to be in the wrong location.

The pursuit of wealth through real estate is a life adventure.  You’ll encounter plenty of thrills and chills along the way.  You’ll take many wrong paths and experience many false starts.  Finding your property is a discovery rivaling many of life’s great moments.  When you bring together a group of like-minded individuals to form the ownership entity, you can expect to participate in negotiations every bit as intense as the six-way talks over North Korean nuclear disarmament.  There will be good times and great times; and yes, there will be bad times, even times of danger and exposure to serious losses.  That’s what an adventure is all about, and each adventure is unique.

As a real estate adventurer, you are open to every form of property investiture as a means for profit.  This means that at every juncture, you are on the lookout for that diamond in the rough and that rough in the diamond.  An open mind and flexible spirit are all that is required.  If you are a rigid thinker and tend towards inflexibility, please run back to the bookstore where this book was purchased from and hope your return period hasn’t expired.  This volume will be of no help at all.  

The best news of all is that now is always the time to purchase property.  Underlying the entire book is the principle that “there is always a best deal.”  The type of deal you will pursue will change with economic cycles and preferences, but even in the worst of times, the buy of a lifetime can still be had.  It is because this business does not have an even market. What do I mean by an even market? Stocks are traded in an even market.  If the price of a stock is $34.75, that is the price.  You might get it for $34.73, but that is about it.  Real estate parcels, on the other hand, are held individually and each one has its own story.  It is that unique story that can create the fantastic opportunities that this book is all about.  The majority of the properties I’ve bought have sold for 50% off.  That’s like getting our stock for $17.37.  Of course, I can’t turn around the next day and sell it for full list price, but if I bide my time, I will cash in for list price and more.

By following the principles of this book, anyone with a little start-up capital and a willingness to stomach the ups and downs of business can tap into this juggernaut and accumulate virtually any amount of money.  The amount is limited only by your willingness to persist and the amount of time you spend.  Real estate pays little attention to an individual’s physical make-up, it is not sexist, and it isn’t racist.  It will never ask you to show your diploma or file transcripts of your grades.  When you show up to the plate with the money, the deed or the lease, you will be treated only as a principal.  But be warned that principals can be open to some pretty rough treatment. Then again, that’s how the game is played.  It’s also a game where you get to choose your own hours, working conditions and persona.

You can exercise in the morning and show up at noon.  Lunch hours are as long as you want them to be and vacations are plentiful.  There are practically no real emergencies and everything can be handled at a comfortable pace.  Real estate does, however, stay with you.  Be prepared to occasionally lose your off switch.  There will be times when you won’t be able to leave your work at the office.  All business is like that, but when it comes to real estate you are very much alone.  There are no real allies, just collaborators of convenience.

Join Andrew Field at Ye Olde Warwick Bookshoppe on Saturday, Sept. 22nd, 6-8 p.m., for a booksigning. Click on image for details and a short book review.