My List of Life-Changing Books with Bruce Norris | Part 1 #834



Bruce Norris is an active investor, hard money lender, and real estate educator with over 35 years experience. Bruce has been involved in more than 2,000 real estate transactions as a buyer, seller, builder, and money partner.

Renowned for his ability to forecast long-term real estate market trends and timing, the release of The California Comeback report in 1997 gained him much notoriety. The accuracy of the extensive report led many California investors to financial freedom. His January 2006 release, The California Crash, was an in-depth look into the California market correction and the statistics behind Bruce’s predictions.

Bruce is also the host of the award-winning series, I Survived Real Estate. The events bring together leaders from numerous real estate sectors to discuss legislation, regulation, stimulus-related issues, and solutions to the current market. The events have also helped raise over $1,000,000 for charity since it began in 2008.

Bruce currently serves on the Executive Board for the Real Estate Research Council of Southern California. He was awarded Educator of the Year by Think Realty in 2018.

How to win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

See you at the Top by Zig Ziglar

The Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn




Narrator  This is The Norris Group’s real estate investor radio show the award-winning show dedicated to thought leaders shaping the real estate industry and local experts revealing their insider tips to succeed in an ever -changing real estate market hosted by author, investor, and hard money lender, Bruce Norris.

Joey Romero  Welcome everybody to the Norris Group, real estate radio show and podcast. We’re doing a special show today. Joining me today is Bruce Norris live and in person in Riverside, California. You know, when Bruce does these presentations for the clubs, you know, there’s been references in his presentations to a couple of books. And inevitably, throughout the years, I’ve always gotten these emails from people or questions, actually, during the Zoom call, does Bruce have like a top five, you know, list of books that he would recommend that you read. And so that was kind of the the brainchild of this of this show. We’re gonna go ahead and talk about some influential books that Bruce has read throughout the years and event has impacted his career, especially early on. And so we’ll go from there. But before we get started, Hi, Bruce.

Bruce Norris  Hey, Joey, how you doing? Good seeing see you.

Joey Romero  And so, but Bruce, are books recreational for you? Or was it a matter of business why you started reading them?

Bruce Norris  You know, when I was a kid, honestly, the only books I read was, like one of those series books with adventures. I’m not even drawing a blank on the names of the books, but it was like the Hardy Boys, there you go. That was literally the only books I read. And so I did not pick up that habit until I got married. I got married at 17 and after getting fired a few times, I started thinking maybe, maybe it’s me. You know, you don’t want to blame yourself for anything. So, it’s always out there. But then I really started doing some soul searching, thinking, maybe I actually need some help here. So, I think that was the start of me looking at what I could find on my own. So it wasn’t like I was a voracious reader, I was with, I just wanted to keep a job. That was my original thought. And you know, a lot of the list of the books that we’re going to be covering nothing to do with real estate. And so maybe, maybe we’ll visit that topic and another, you know, five favorite real estate books or something like that. But I had to bring the right person to the real estate business. And all of these books helped me do that.

Joey Romero  Okay, so this wasn’t more of a, like, Hey, this is going to have an impact in your career, like you didn’t know that you were just trying to get incrementally better every time you read a book.

Bruce Norris  Yeah, I was trying to figure out how to maneuver at work and life, I was pretty irritated at life, frankly. I didn’t enjoy that. I felt like the victim and all that nonsense, you know. So, it’s not fun to have that as an employee. So, you know, like, I got like a chip on your shoulder type thing. And the more I got fired, the bigger the chip got. And so it took a it took a few firings. And you know, we had that Harold Pomeroy moment where he basically changed my life because he pissed me off to such a large extent, telling me the truth. You let your family down every day, by not trying hard. That was a great thing to say, you know, because I didn’t connect those dots. But when he did, it was life changing. So, I think maybe it wasn’t until after that, that I actually started looking at how to improve myself. Because up until then I was just resentful about stuff, I had been, I had been fired five times in a row the first time was actually not fair. And I retained that for a long time. The guy that fired me was a manager of the department I worked for. The firing came from the president of the company as he fired all the people in the department other than the manager and the manager and gotten I got along great. And he knew I did a great job and he was crying when he gave me my severance pay. Well, in the back of my mind, I went Is this how this works? And I got ticked and I just thought okay, well the heck we’re trying hard. And you know, I thought the world owed me a check or something. The next four people that hired me got the resentful guy that got fired wrongfully. And then I figured out no one cares how low you’ll sink. Your bow if you want to be on food stamps, which we were for a month, one month I never got them again, because my wife was embarrassed to go to the store with them. And actually, the first time she used them, there was somebody at the cash register, the cashier said, gave her a hug and said, they’re there, honey, it’ll be okay. And that was like, okay..

Joey Romero  Oh, man.

Bruce Norris  You know, that, okay, that I had landed on the bottom square due to my own resentment. And Harold Pomeroy fix that in one sentence about my effort. But then I needed some tools, you know? And that’s what these books provided.

Joey Romero  Okay, well, then let’s, let’s jump into them now, are these books in order of importance to you? Or just hey, you know what, these are just top five in my in my list? And let’s just, we’ll go through them.

Bruce Norris  This is the sequence of how they were introduced to me.

Joey Romero  Okay.

Bruce Norris  Yeah, that’s kind of why I did that. So, the first one How to Win Friends & Influence People. I had a problem with creating escalating situations. I don’t know if you’ve ever had that trouble, but if there was a bone of contention, I could make it twice as bad as it was going to be or it should have been.

Joey Romero  Oh, yeah, hold my beer.

Bruce Norris  Yeah, it’s just, I was, I was on the edge, you know, and I was, again, resentful, and all that. And I brought that to everything. And this book, there was, it’s kind of funny, there’s usually one sentence in a book, where I could put the book down and go, Okay, I got it. And there was a, there was basically a sentence and it says, You have to learn to avoid the acute angle. And what was meant it was basically just defuse stuff. Don’t, don’t escalate it. And I just thought, I think I could do that. And so it became a game for me, that even in things that were just obviously should be escalated that you could take it the other direction. And I actually enjoyed the process because it was, it was astonishing, to the other side. So, I’ll give you two quick examples that had to do with the house buying business. So, I implemented this a long time before the examples I’m going to give you but this would be an example of how the outcome changed because of my understanding what this book was telling me to do. I had bought a home in Corona. I just bought it. And it had an automatic sprinkler system going. And it was cockeyed, and the guy had just washed his truck next door, and it soaked his truck when it went on automatic. So, he came over now I’d never met him, he knocked he did knock on the door. He that kind of knock, you know. And he’s your your blankety blank sprinkler system is so my newly washed truck. Now the old Bruce would say…

Joey Romero  Is business before your Black Belt, Bruce?

Bruce Norris  …I’m ready. Anyway, so it was like. So, I just immediately went into diffuse mode. And I kind of smiled at the guy. So, you know, that doesn’t sound like a situation that two reasonable guys can solve. He looked at me, he goes, Yeah, you’re right, I’ll just move my truck. And it was it was that kind of game. You know, one of my sons read a note that I I actually wrote to a guy that had parked his car in my driveway. And I know he would read the note to see what you know what nasty thing I was may be saying. And what I said in the note was, I appreciate you parking your car in my driveway. Because it now appears that somebody lives here. Thank you very much. Well, the car never got parked there again.

Joey Romero  You know, that’s one of the things that in this book. It’s  it has six things to make people like you, right. And one of the things I always remembered is smile. And you said that right at the first thing you did, I smiled at him. And I said, You know what you said? And that’s, you know, one of the it’s, you know, this book is really based on the golden rule, right?

Bruce Norris  Yeah, it really became a game that I recognized instantly. Every time there was an escalation. It was my goal to defuse it and make it zero. And, and you can do it and your life is just so much better. I mean, I was just always escalating things to the ridiculous level. And now I was on the opposite end of things, things that you could be legitimately a contest. When you said nothing, and your life was so much better.

Joey Romero  Yeah.

Bruce Norris  So, this was this was a big step for me because I just, I stopped being angry at life. I just did.

Joey Romero  You know, one of my mentors in insurance before I you know, a long time ago, I was selling insurance. He always told me be easy to work with. And that always stuck with me. Just be easy to work with. You know, the guy’s a jerk. Alright, well, I’m not going to reciprocate that, you know, how can I help you? You know, and that’s kind of how I’ve always, you know, treated people like that I want them to enjoy their interaction with me. And that’s always stuck with me. And that’s kind of based on the same principle. Alright, so let’s talk about number two on your list is See you at the top by Zig Ziglar. Now this is a book I haven’t read. So, I’ll rely on you to kind of talk about it.

Bruce Norris  Well, Zig Ziglar, was really well known for sales. So, he was a door to door salesman, great closer. So, it was a sales book for sure. But he had a quote in there. And this was kind of cool, because it tells you who he was. He said, live in such a way that if somebody should speak badly of you, no one would believe it. I really liked that.

Joey Romero  30 lives, sir.

Bruce Norris  Well, in other words, it would be so cool to have such a reputation then somebody heard something and I was like, that’s BS. You know, it’s funny, I hadn’t thought about this. My buddy Glenn, that I’ve known forever, right? Since 9th grade, someone I was at a dance or something for high school and somebody said that, Glen smoke marijuana. And I was not in the mood to hear that I was I challenged the guy literally to a fight right there. And he says, no, no, no, he said, I’m kidding ,you go ask Glen. So, I went to go ask Glenn and he said, Yeah, I do. And I’m like, I was just…

Joey Romero  I’m defending your bad name.

Bruce Norris  It was just anyway, but Zig Ziglar was a great closer. And so he didn’t, he had nothing to do with real estate. But there were some things that I read his book. And that was the first probably the first book about sales that I ever read. And I actually drove around with it in a in a tape. And that was the that was why I like getting into sales because I could now listen to stuff. So, Ziegler was one of the people that I listened to and he had stories. So, I’ll tell you one of the stories and then how that translated into into a real estate situation. He went into a hotel in Houston. And he said, reservation for Zig Ziglar. Sorry, Mr. Ziglar we can’t find it. When did you make the reservation? He said, about two weeks ago. And he said, Honestly, every room in this hotel has been booked for a year, a solid year, because this weekend is the doctor convention that we have every year and he said, so. There’s just no way two weeks ago, a reservation would have been available. And without batting an eye Ziglar said, I see. He says Let me ask you a question. Do you consider yourself an honest woman? She said, I certainly do. He said, okay, I’m an honest man. If the president united states walked in the hotel tonight, would you have room for him? And she said, You know certainly well, if the President came in, we’d find a room for him. You’re an honest woman, I’m ominous man, he’s not coming tonight, I’ll take his room. And he got the room. Now, I listened to that tape, never thinking that I would use that close verbatim. But in a, you know, really an impossible situation. We had a construction sale, excuse me, we’re constructing a duplex and it was sold. But we had to get a demand from Security Pacific bank to get a payoff. So, we could close escrow. And they were delaying it and delaying and finally, that when you get a loan approval, there’s it’s only good for so long. So, literally, if we didn’t get that demand, the escrow is going to fall out. We’d have to start again. It was a big deal. A really big deal because our construction loan was was done as far as the due date. So, it could be foreclosed on. So, it was we had to get a yes answer. My partner went to the bank and forcibly asked for the demand, demanded the demand, got escorted out of the bank by security. He was so err, you know, religion. So, he calls me up. He says, Bruce, we’re, we’re not getting the demand today. I said that is actually not possible to be acceptable. So, pull off the freeway and turn around and head back to the bank is that there is no way, so on the phone. I call the lady that had kicked him out with security, helping him out. And I said, Hi, I’m Bruce Norris, I’m the partner, of the gentleman you just had taken out of the bank. She said I’m glad to talk to you. For a couple minutes, she said this is the way it works pal. You mail in a request for the demand when we get to it, we fill it out. We mail it back, any other questions? I said yes. I said do you consider yourself an honest woman? I certainly do. I said, if you needed the demand for yourself today, could you walk out the bank with it? There was a pause. And she said, yes, I could. I said just this once, could you treat a customer with the same consideration that you could treat yourself, there’s a pause, I cannot believe you’re going to get that demand. I say, Well, here’s the, bad news, my partner is going to be the one that picks it up. We will not let him in the bank, I will slip it through the crack of the door. So, reading these books, you don’t you never know what’s going to help you. You know, but that attitude that I have to get a yes answer is in your head because you’ve watched this process, and the impossible happen. And that’s, happened so many times, you know, one of the, I think that was sort of the birth of the talk that we do right now, unintended journey, because there’s so many of those moments for me that if that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have gone any further. It was the end of the road type stuff. And so reading that book was a big help in those situations where you think, well, this is a definite answer, no answer for 99.9% the population but with Zig Ziglar get it done. Yeah.

Joey Romero  Bruce Ziggler. Alright, so the next, Alright,

Bruce Norris  Nice to be able to borrow, you know, that’s the thing you’re getting, you’re getting touched by these books. So, I learned not to aggravate people in the first book. And now I learned to get them to cooperate in completely obnoxious settings. You know, the, you know, the story about the getting the guy to sign or get the paperwork at the gate. You know, I’ve got it very early in my career. Yeah, I’ve got to get a guy that is a multi gazillionaire already in the 80s out of his 10,000 square foot house at four in the morning. And I asked him a series of questions, you know, and it’s like, do you own a business? Yes. How many salespeople? Yes, last question. I worked for you. And the only way I could do what you needed me to do was push a buzzer at four in the morning, would you want me to do it? And then there was a pause, he says, I’ll be right down. So, I, over and over again. But these were not real estate books. You know, these were persuasion books, and how to change your life books.

Joey Romero  What’s a it’s a skill set that you’re building. And these books are, you know, one by one teaching you so what are the next book, seasons of life by Jim Rohn that teach you?

Bruce Norris  What, you know, Jim Rohn, was really a seminar. And I was forced to go to that in the inside of 30 days of me being in the house, buying business, and work for a company and he had all the employees go to the seminar. I had never been to any seminar. My brother Dwight had gone to a few us, I was very suspicious of, you know, I just was the disgruntled attendee, I had no choice. And then within a couple of minutes, I wrote my first note on top page, and I got the impression he was there for a really wholesome reason. I didn’t feel like he needed a thing from me. And I thought, you know, why don’t pay attention to this guy. And the first thing, first thing that struck me is there were sentences that he said, that were so perfect, that I just like, how long did it take you to say it that way? I mean, it’s just a perfect sentence. And, you know, I just started taking a lot of notes. And I think one of the stories that he said, and this is, I suppose one of the reasons I tell stories is because what changed his life was a Girl Scout coming to his door, selling him a $2 box of cookies. He’s 26 years old, he’s married, not successful. And the girl does a really good job. And he wants to buy it…

Joey Romero  She read the Zig Ziglar book, right?

Bruce Norris  Right. And he didn’t have two bucks. So, what does he do? He lies to her. He actually tells her if you’re just late, there was a girl before you and I bought 10 boxes. So, she very nicely laughed, and then he slumps to the floor and cries. That was his moment, where it’s like, that’s never happening again. And one of the things that did for him is and one of the reasons I carry the money that I do is he always carried hundreds of dollars. And so if he ever met up with a Girl Scout cookie sale, he bought the whole thing. And I just, you know, just that kind of thing changed changed his life. Well, that night was the first time I heard about setting goals and being able to borrow something in your past that motivated you and I just knew what that was, that was that Harold Pomeroy moment, telling me I was letting my family down that emotion, I got to borrow and plug into anything I wanted to accomplish with that kind of intensity. That was an amazing tool. And so that’s what that seminar gave me, was a tool to go. And I love getting irritated, because of that be honest with you. It’s not that I want to be irritated, but I know what to do with it. So, if something bad happens, I get that hat on. It’s like, okay, I’m not going anywhere. I’m solving this. And so that’s just a great series of tools. I, I just loved how he talked, I went to his seminar, probably every year for eight years in a row, I had written an eight year goal to be a millionaire. And on the eighth year, I went there with my little chart, you know, the chart that’s supposed to have a straight line to get there. And it was like, life doesn’t work out quite that way but I get there. And it was pretty cool. We had a private meeting at his office. And, and then when we did the, the event for not the I Survived.

Joey Romero  MillionaireMaker.

Bruce Norris  MillionMaker, I think, I think he was the first he was the first guest speaker. And I was in one of the back rows sitting next somebody when when he started speaking, and it was obvious he was very well to do and all that. And so somebody that was sitting close to me, said, I wonder why he still does this? Well, during a one hour presentation. There were three unsolicited standing ovations. That’s hard to do as a speaker. And at the end of the third one I looked at, I say, when would you get tired of hearing that?  Well, I’ve I’ve witnessed this, you know, firsthand being here, you know, one of the, you know, piss Bruce off moments was, you know, the the first time we went through the Florida stuff with Dalton.  Yeah.

Joey Romero  You know, and that was like, hey, no, I’m not, I’m gonna stand in front of our investors distrusted me. And I’m gonna make this right. And I saw it firsthand.

Bruce Norris  Well, it’s a great place to go, because I feel undefeatable went on there. I really do. I think it comes across. And yeah, that switch got clicked instantly,Joey. When I, when Aaron and I figured out that the number that was, I just literally my head went, No, that’s not how this is going to end. While the plane ticket. I was like the only person on the plane because that was right at the start at COVID.

Joey Romero  Yeah.

Bruce Norris  I mean, literally, and met with the builder. And, you know, and he was obviously really upset thinking that I was going to be completely freaking out. I was in solution mode, man.

Joey Romero  Yeah.

Bruce Norris  I said, that’s, that’s not what we’re going to do. We’re going to figure this out. So, you know, fortunately, he made a great effort to get all the subcontractors in that room.

Joey Romero  Yeah.

Bruce Norris  But I had to tell him collectively the bad news. And 30 days later, we wrote the checks and solve the problem. But yeah. Without that training, of knowing that, okay, this is solvable, but I have to put my Harold Pomeroy move on.

Joey Romero  Well, that was, I was about to say that the second part of that was watching you, you know, asked me for the list of phone numbers of every single one of those contractors that were owed money. And you went into your office for three days straight and just make calls. And just, you know, just negotiate it and talk to them. And you know, I’m sure you  heard an earful from everybody, you know, but at the end of the day, you know, we, you know, I still remember, you come in, you know, down the hall, you know, Aaron was in his office, I was in mine. And before you got Aaron, you just looked at me and you said we did it. We just got the last one. And like you came in, you gave me a hug. And I was like, man, like, we really did it. And obviously, you went next door to Aaron and you know, share the news too. And it but it was like the culmination of like some just unbelievable pressure.

Bruce Norris  You know, what was interesting is, those phone calls were not unpleasant, oddly enough.

Joey Romero  Really?

Bruce Norris  No, because that meeting, when we stood in front of that group and said, Okay, this is the problem. And when people understood that, I was putting up money that I had, didn’t have anything to do with creating the problem other than I was there to solve it. No, that reaction was so completely positive. I made the first five phone calls and okay, because my, the number that I was giving people was 60 cents on the dollar basically. So, we had a whatever it was $2.5 million problem and whatever we had in cash is what that was, you know what I could do? So, it wasn’t really, it wasn’t negotiable, because the first five people took the six cents on the dollar. And it was all pleasant matter of fact that we I think we had staggered the calls every 10 minutes. And the first five phone call didn’t take 15 minutes, it took way less. But on the sixth phone call, there was a guy and him and his wife were owed 150 grand a piece or something like that. And he had filed all the paperwork he’s supposed to. And he said, he said, Bruce, there’s no way that I’m going to discount the thing 40% when I’ve got everything filed, and  I said, well, I’d be honest with you, the offer is going to have to be exactly the same for everybody on the list, or you just have to take it another direction, because I, I have to honor the first five people that said yes to the offer. And so I’m, it’s not that I’m trying to be hard on the number that I have to have. And so he’s like, Oh, my God, it’s like it never occurred to he was going to say yes to this. He said, give me, give me a little time to think about this.

Joey Romero  You can come into my office with like, all right, you’d hand me a folder, okay? Send a, send whatever it was that we were like the agreement.

Bruce Norris  So, he calls me back in about 15 minutes. He said, I cannot believe I’m going to say this but alright, I’ll go along with it. So, one of my favorite memories, the reason I told that story is  when anybody was owed over 100 grand and discounted I personally delivered those checks. Does that mean it was a big deal? It was a big deal. So, I go to the office. Now, his wife is that one of the businesses and he’s got the other one. They’re both grown a lot of money. So, I had both checks, but he’s not there. But the woman I hear I hadn’t talked to over the phone. She said I have to go see this guy. And so I’ll take it. Okay, what’s going to happen? He comes out he says, I gotta tell you that my husband is no joke of a man. He was in that audience that you spoke to with him with a gun. The fact that you got him to say yes to this. You have chutzpah young man. That was it doesn’t get better than that, though, you know, but I think  that same thing you know, Jim Rohn basically said you, you can solve the unsolvable if you get the mindset you’re not going anywhere until you get it Yes.

Joey Romero  That’s gonna do it for this week’s episode of the Norris group, real estate radio show and podcast. See you next week.

Narrator  For more information on hard money, loans and upcoming events with The Norris Group, check out For information on passive investing with trust deeds, visit

Aaron Norris  The Norris Group originates and services loans in California and Florida under California DRE License 01219911, Florida Mortgage Lender License 1577, and NMLS License 1623669.  For more information on hard money lending, go and click the Hard Money tab.




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