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.
The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino
The God Memorandum
The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey.
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
Good to Great by Jim Collins
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 back to The Norris group, real estate radio show and podcast. Back again with Bruce Norris, talking about the books that had the biggest impact in his career. Hope you enjoy. So, the next book isThe greatest miracle in the world, and this is something that’s very, it’s deep in your presentation. And it’s been something that you really talk about, and one of the probably most impactful times in
Bruce Norris You know, I think it’s one of the things that sort of a sequence. So, you know, I listen to a Jim Rohn seminar, and then there’s a suggestion of going to hear Og Mandino or get his book. So, that was, that was why that happened and almost happened back to back. And it was interesting, because I was just, I was so suspicious of seminars and then love the first one I went to. So then I thought, wow, I mean, that’s a big deal. So, okay, so go hear Og Mandino know, I was so impressed with the book that I bought 10 of the books. And it was called the greatest miracle in the world. And I just loved the book. And so I thought, well buy 10, I’ll give nine of them away. And within three months, I quit the business I was at doing the real estate went out on my own. And within just a couple months, I had this conversation with the seller. And it was very, it was I had been in front of enough sellers at this point to realize this was not a normal seller in the sense of his, you know a lot of people wanted to get as much as they could and protect the record all that he could care less.
Joey Romero We used to call them lay downs. Like whenever you got to lay down, you were like what?
Bruce Norris Yeah, well, that was what happened. It was, I can pay you this much for the house, that’s fine. A monotone that’s fine. I need this long of an escrow. That’s fine. I need you to do a little work. That’s fine. I mean, literally, and I was just like, that’s not fine. In my head. I’m thinking this is not good. And I did, I said, I said Yeah, I don’t want to talk to about your house anymore. Are you okay? And he looked surprised at me. And he says, No, I’m not. And I said, Okay, I’m not going to talk to you about your house anymore. I said, I’m going to go to my car and get you book, and I want you to read it. And so came back and gave him the book. I said, if you don’t wanna read the whole book, this is the chapter I want you to read. And the chapter was the God Memorandum. And it basically just reminded you, you know, if you’re down, you got to remember, man, you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. And who knew that the next morning when I when I went to go see him, he opens the door and says, I want you to know that the book he gave me saved my life, I was going to sell you my house and kill myself. And Joey that was profound for me. Because I never sat across from anybody in business again, without looking for that. Are you okay? You know, and it it was a game changer because it made me relaxed about the visit. Because we know what he said to me when he saw he did sell me his house. He said, I’m gonna sell you my house. He said, because I realized what I need is I need a fresh start. And I realized, okay, we’re the fresh start business. That’s not bad, you know, and I got a very positive I matter of fact, I started and, it, this even happened before that I didn’t have a, you know, a name to put with it but the original guy that I worked for, he called me back about six months after I left the company. And he says, you know who this is? I said, Yeah, it’s Dan. He said, Yeah, he had closed his business. Basically, it went out of business. And he said, I’m going to start up again, buying houses, and he said, I only want one person to work with. And I said, and that’s, and that’s me? He said, Yeah. I said, why is that? He says you’re the only one I can trust. I said, Well, the problem is we just do business so differently. And so he said, Why do you do it? So, I tell him, you know, I get a phone call. And I listen to the problems and I bombard it with solutions, one of which might be me buying it, but I just bombard her with stuff that isn’t me involved. And he’s like, You can’t buy houses that way. I said, well, not only can you buy houses, you actually respect yourself and enjoy the business. And that’s what I was missing. So it was that was quite it. But see again, Have I mentioned a real estate book?No. This has to do with bringing the best view to the business, you know. And so I was a very successful homebuyer and didn’t know squat about real estate really knew how to interact with people and get trusted.
Joey Romero It’s one of those moments that gets seared in your mind, you know, for the rest of your life.
Bruce Norris Yeah, yeah. When somebody says, You just saved my life. And it’s been, you know, when it’s one of the reasons I speak joy. So I can share that, hey, however, you’re viewing this business, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can be you can, you can love what you do, because you’re going to treat the person across the table like they’re valuable. And, and you’ll probably buy more houses because of it. Because people, I love when people used to say this to me. I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I didn’t tell I’ve never told anybody else. But the reason they were able to tell me that is they trusted me. One of the books that we’ll talk about next time is called the Speed of Trust. And if you get trusted, miracles happen, it really does it bear, it’s the barriers break down. But when you’re buying houses, the original thing is, I can’t trust you, you’re trying to steal my house. And then when you start suggesting things that don’t include you buying a house, I mean, I’ve had people, this was kind of funny. This one guy, there was a there was a property that was an ad call. It was in Corona to. I’m gonna forget the exact numbers. But let’s say it was 140 grand house and the guy owed 80 grand on it. And he didn’t want any money. He just wanted to walk away from 80 grand loan. So I went there, and I went through the whole thing, once you just listed you’ll end up with this, why don’t you do this? He says, you run an ad that you’re buying houses. Are you going to buy my house or not? I said, you’re telling me that you’re going to find somebody to deed this house to today? Not get any money. And so a fraidy grant? Yes. Okay. Might as well be made. But when after we got done signing the paperwork, so you got to tell me why that is? Why did you just do that? And it was sort of like a big relief. I could tell when he signed the paperwork as far as making the deal. A load came off. I said, Okay, I helped me understand that. He said, I’ve never owed money in my life. I have a building in New York that I inherited pays me 10 grand a month. I’ve never owed any money in my life. I I’d rather rent that have this payment. Okay. Simple. But he was looking at me like I’m a nut I’m keeping on avoiding gigging his property was never better. But I enjoyed that, you know, and it didn’t prevent me from buying houses. It made me buy much, many more, I’m sure.
Joey Romero The next book is a really simple, easy read. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson why that book?
Bruce Norris Who Moved My Cheese was a story about two mice. Basically, they were used to cheese being in the same place every day in any quantity they wanted. And then one day it changed. And the mice.
Joey Romero You mean like foreclosures? They were here all the time?
Bruce Norris Yeah, so that’s, that’s exactly how I would related to the world of business, you know, for for as a real estate investor, because that book came out in 1998. And we had foreclosures explode till 96. Well, if you were buying properties, you know, you definitely bought at auctions and Trustee sales and all that. And then all sudden you didn’t. And it’s sort of like, okay, what do we do now and Who Moved My Cheese was really a story about attitude. So, there was one mouse who just said, Well, I’m going nowhere until they bring the cheese back. And so he didn’t get to eat a lot of teeth for a long time until he finally sucked it up and went somewhere else and then cooked up with the guy right at the end of the workday was doing very well. Because he decided maybe there’s another cheese source. And so he, you know, he had a much better outcome because of his attitude. He said, Okay, there’s there’s gonna be more cheese but they can’t be I can’t be here waiting for this to come back. I gotta go find the new source. And that was, you know, really, probably the beginning of the quadrant system to be honest with you, because we had gone from buying a bunch of REOs to there were no REOs, okay, well, well, what did we do in the 80s? Oh, yeah, we bought from people. Okay, and so. Oh, okay, it’s back to that. So, now we’re back to quadrant three and four. How do we do that? Well, somewhere in the next year or two, I bought the 93 building lots that I would ultimately build in 2004. And that was all part of the process that you know Who Moved My Cheese allowed me to think out of the box, that okay, just because what I was doing does don’t work anymore doesn’t mean I’m done. It means I have to look what’s for what’s next.
Joey Romero Okay, the last book on, on your list is, is tons of industries really referenced this book, you know, whether it’s insurance, whether it’s sales, whether any in real estate, Good to Great by Jim Collins. Can you talk about that book?
Bruce Norris Yeah, Good to Great was a really great read and again, didn’t have anything to do with real estate per se, but it had to do with what your business what your passion is. So there’s there were three parameters are markers for you to to answer. What am I passionate about? What can I be the best in the world out? And is that it? Is it something that’s profitable? Can I do? Can I make a profitable business out of it? So what the time, so this was, he wrote this in 98. The Norris group hadn’t didn’t start until about, Oh, ’05 ’04. So, but at that time, we I was teaching, I was doing some teaching, and I was being asked to be teaching nationally. Well, I realized when I, I had a pretty good grasp on California statistics, when I go to New York and speak, I had to dummy all that down and be generic. Or when I went to Texas, and I, and we were, we had a promoter at the time that was very capable of getting large audiences. And so I mean, this was going to be the future. But I realized I wasn’t passionate about it. I wanted to go as a matter of fact really, that was part of what I was thinking is that knowing what I know about California’s charts, if I just said, I’m just teaching California, create a California only series, then no one will be able to compete with us. Because they’ll bring their generic stuff in, and it won’t apply. Ours will be a direct hit, you’re in California, you’re an investor. This is exactly what these charts mean, and exactly what you do, because that’s what this is what they say. Well, that was a pretty cool moment. Now, that was really shocking to the promoter at the time, saying I’m not going to go around the country and teach this anymore. And that was about coinciding with Aaron coming to the company. And so the I think the first document he created was the California Crash. And but right after that, he created those five courses, the California only series. And that was a homerun, because it was a direct hit to what California investors had to do. So that was that was the model that I use the Good to Great book said, here’s, you want to go from good to great, the great is got these three things, what are you passionate about? What can you be the best in the world at and doesn’t make a profit. And that’s what, that from, you know, for. So, for the last 20 plus years, that’s where we landed, because that was my passion.
Joey Romero So, now that we’re kind of through your list, I’m gonna throw in a couple of Joey’s honorable mentions.
Bruce Norris Okay.
Joey Romero And so, and then I’ll give you a minute to, to comment on him. Now, Aaron, Aaron always credited him becoming an actual real estate investor to John Schaub, and his Building Wealth One House at a Time. And so I think that’s a very important book, if it meant that much there and it must have been a great book.
Bruce Norris Well, you know, John Sharp has a trophy in his, in his living room called the Rohny Award for a really good reason. We don’t give those away. So, he had a great impact. And you know, what was great about John Schaub, so sometimes people get overwhelmed, like, okay, the Norris group, for many years, bought 80, 80 houses a year to flip them. Well, that’s, that’s out of the range of most people being able to think about that. What John Schaub suggested is just buy a house a year paid it off, you know, you will retire in luxury, and you didn’t even have to quit your job. But it was true, you know, and that’s why I love interviewing people like John Schaub, because their journey was different, but very, very successful.
Joey Romero And he’s always been conscious of lifestyle along with…
Bruce Norris …You know, that’s, yeah, if he owns a category, it’s Can we play now? Yeah. Honestly, because he’s asked me and I’ve sent it get an email. You’re ready for your plane ride? I mean, I wouldn’t mind doing it, but it seems like he has a lot of time on his hands. You know, we last time I remember him contacting me sends me pictures as he’s flying over Cape Coral. And he’s, got he’s, he says there’s a lot of blue roofs here.
Joey Romero You don’t mean like, hey, let’s both book a flight? No, he means like, he’s flying the plane.
Bruce Norris And yeah, he’s a, he’s a flight instructor. Like, you know that good at that he’s also…
Joey Romero He owns his own plane.
Bruce Norris Yeah and his yacht. He’s a yacht instructor, if you want to be that kind of. So, yeah, he, he said, Okay, what are the tools to get me the lifestyle I want? I think it’s real estate investing. But I don’t think you know, there’s a lot of people like made a business of flipping stuff and all that. I don’t think that he may have, he probably flipped some properties. But I think he really had that model of let’s make this simple. Let me get a little pack of these things, and pay them off and improve them, you know, he taught Mike Cantu to retire your worst rental, and replace it with a better one. So, you do that every year. So, you know, he just has a pack of rentals that are probably a plus in every way. And he has a very boring life so he can take his plane iand his boat. Oh, yeah, that’s and see that’s attainable. If you’re teaching and they go, Yeah, but this guy flips at house and that is never going to happen. You can see how some people wouldn’t be able to relate to that. But John Schaub said, Here, let me show you how to buy a house a year, and do it on the side. And eventually, you get where you want to go. So, yeah, that’s, that’s what’s fun about the real estate industry, there’s so many ways that people have been successful. So, when I, when we give somebody an award, first of all, they just have to have a spotless reputation, which he does. And they just have helped a lot of people get what they wanted.
Joey Romero So my my second honorable mention book is another friend of the Norris group is that Big Shifts Ahead by John Burns. Probably the clearest demographics book ever written. Can you comment on that book?
Bruce Norris Yeah, I was pretty excited. You know me in the statistics. So, I’m probably the only person by the way I’m named in that book. Did you know that?
Joey Romero Yeah.
Bruce Norris That was fun. Yeah, that was very kind of John. Big Shifts Ahead. I read in one day, which is no joke. This is a very dense book. But I was excited because of how he divided the demographics up. It was it was much clearer than the baby boom generation. And, you know, the, yeah, it was really smart. How he had done it, he took it in 10 year chunks. And then there were different bents to each generation, to where, you know, homeownership, which was an urgency for the baby boomers, right? I mean, that’s, that’s what you want it. By the time you were 20 man, you were married. And by the time you were 21, you had a house. And then you know, to have kids, and then them have kids, and those kids are like. So, what he did is broke down all those different characteristics of people, and how it changed. So, the demographics went from you’re married, and you’ve got two kids. And now you’re not married. And you have no kids. And it’s, you’re gonna have kids later. And there’s going to be lots of single households. So, it was really one of those defining books where you go Wow! this has got, yeah Big Shifts Ahead. That’s exactly right. This is really going to change the landscape of how real estate works. So, yeah, that was that was a, I mean, you buy that book for $29. I remember thinking about that wonder how many 10s of 1000s of dollars of data were bought.
Joey Romero While so much that he says there’s no there’s no follow up book coming. It was so much work.
Bruce Norris No,no, that was that’s a that’s definitely the best real estate research book Probably ever written. No doubt.
Joey Romero So, before we go, what’s your what’s your most recent fun read, that you’ve done?
Bruce Norris Fun read. That’s interesting. I don’t usually read for fun. Did you know that?
Joey Romero No.
Bruce Norris Well, Greenlights was fun, by…
Joey Romero Just start that way.
Bruce Norris That people kind of hate. I liked it. I liked the guy. But it was a journey. And it was actually very intense. Because he’s he’s an intense guy. And a lot of the things that you know, how he’s successful it should not have happened. There’s no way he forced his way in the doors of things, because he wouldn’t take no for an answer. or he suggested to people that he’s been the best person he was, he had like a bit heart. And he was saying, Are you happy? You know, basic talking to director. So, are you happy to be aboard? No, I really want the lead part. And then three months later, he’s got the lead part, you know. So, I liked the fact that he was so aggressively assured of himself and he had a you know, his upbringing was pretty intense. He had a dad, that was really no joke of a man as matter of fact, the point for their family, he point of passage was when you could beat your father in a fight. Like, what? so yeah, that was a rite of passage. One of the stories and this was just Matthew McConaughey, you know, he’s like, 12 years old. So, how you going to spend your summer? He decides that their house sort of bacsa, I mean, got a lot of acres between it, but there’s a lumberyard back there. So, he decides to build a tree house with stolen lumber. So, he gets 10 snips and snips off the edge of the fence to her every night, he can steal some lumber, and he starts building a 12 storey Treehouse, that is all the way to the top of his house where he’s when he gets it all done once it’s at the end of the summer. He’s at the top of the world. Yeah, I thought he was he’s very introspective. And he’s a very intense, but I, I think actually, he’s got maybe a future in politics. And I think that he wouldn’t mind doing that.
Joey Romero Well, you know, what do you say to that? He’d say, all right. All right. All right.
Bruce Norris Do you know that line was not in line at all? Yeah, that was…
Joey Romero This. It’s his iconic like, phrase now is the
Bruce Norris It’s the first thing he ever said on camera. Oh, this was this? Well, he wasn’t supposed to even work. He was in school. So how intense this guy is. I mean, he he said, film school, which was not a plan thing. He basically told us that he was quitting school, so he could go to that. And so he’s just in that type of school. And somehow he’s the chance meeting at a bar or something, a guy that was having, he was there to be a director of a movie. And so they started talking, and they said, Yeah, it’s sort of like gave him a chance at something. And the kind of hey, thought about the role. And there were like, I forget exactly what it was, but a sort of like he was going to be sort of like his role was going to be flirting with the girl. And there was three, there were three checkmarks that he wanted in his head, that that he had to have. And like he thought of all three, and that was when he pulled up in the car. And he went, check Fox. All right, all right. All right. He’s got all that. So…
Joey Romero That’s hilarious.
Bruce Norris But I love that because I mean, his life is really an unintended journey, too. I mean, he’s made his own way. There’s just no way he gets a chance without him being give me the chance. In other words, I’m squeezing my way in here. And, and, you know, I don’t know if you know this or not, but so he’s, he’s getting paid 10 15,000 $50 million a role for the the, the, what he called the romantic comedies. The RomComs? The RomComs, okay, so that was what he is known for, and he could get hired, hired for them all the time, he decides it’s not what he wants to do anymore. So, literally, he tells his agent not doing those anymore. Want roles that are equal to the excitement of my life. And 15, 18 months passed and he finally gets a role. And then you get he wins the Oscar.
Joey Romero Yeah, the body transformation that he went through.
Bruce Norris Yeah, he had to lose like, I don’t know. 60 pounds, which he wasn’t fat. Yeah. Crazy. That’s just the intensity of this guy, you know? So, yeah, that’s so reading that book is really kind of a yeah, it’s just a really fun journey. So, that was a fun book. But man, the guy could get intense. If he had roles that he’d be running on rocks for five miles, because the guy had to be tough, you know?
Joey Romero Yeah. Have you seen the movie Interstellar?
Bruce Norris No.
Joey Romero You have to see that movie. That’s one of my top five favorite movies. because of my daughter.
Bruce Norris Okay.
Joey Romero There’s a relationship that he has with his daughter. He’s this guy that’s going to stay and, you know, I won’t spoil the story, but at the end of it like, he, like he makes me cry.
Bruce Norris Okay, now that’s McConaughey? Yeah. Okay. He’s, you know that there’s a part of the movie and I don’t know what the name of the movie is where he’s pounding his yeah, that’s, oh, it’s a… Real estate or that it’s the Wall Street movie.
Joey Romero Yes, it’s no, it’s the DiCaprio was the main guy. He’s yes. Yeah.
Bruce Norris He’s a table with DiCaprio, right?
Joey Romero Yes.
Bruce Norris That was not a planned sequence. Matter of fact, the whole thing when he played for kz, that was all made up. He just went off. And they kept it.
Joey Romero That’s funny.
Bruce Norris Yeah…
Joey Romero So, as we wrap up, you know, we talked about maybe giving out a book that maybe people should read, because it’s going to be kind of impactful here coming up pretty soon in the book that we talked about is The Price of Tomorrow. Why deflation is the key to an abundant future by Jeff Booth.
Bruce Norris Yeah, he’s, you know, he’s the technology genius, who’s created companies and is a billionaire. What his take on this, you know, is from a from a guy’s background that’s makes you understand the job, the tech technologies, its job is to make things cheaper, more accessible, faster, and ultimately replace human beings. And it made me think that it sort of like, as time goes, by, things get more more and more efficient. So, if you ever watch a video of Tesla, you have, there’s this moment of like, Where are the people? It’s, they don’t need a lot of people to build these cars for a great deal, a great many of the processes. But I just read an article a couple of weeks ago, that for the for like the beginning part of putting the Tesla together, they’ve eliminated 80% of their robots. WoW. they’ve refined the process so much that it now is like a one piece thing instead of an assembly. So, that’s what he was saying. He’s basically saying that there’s going to be progress to the point that you’re going to be missing a lot of jobs. So that’s the future. And it’s over. It was over my paygrade. But I but I read it because, you know, it’s, I remember, there was an article in the Riverside press just probably three years ago. But it outlined the percentage of jobs and like each category, and basically said in 10 years, 80% of those jobs would not need people. Wow. It’s like what
Joey Romero Sounds like something you’ll be talking about on June 3, when you deliver your time report this year.
Bruce Norris Yeah, well, we’ll definitely we’ll definitely touch on that. And boy, it’s interesting when you think about, Okay, I’m going to do do it one more time. And then you have a major bank fall apart in three days, and all of a sudden, you go, wow.
Joey Romero And then dominoes start to fall. And the government has to step in to say, well, we got to do something here.
Bruce Norris Yeah, but see that, Yeah, there’s really big ramifications for all of that stuff, including, okay, so what is interest rates going to do you have inflation. But now you’re saying that, and I’ll describe this, this is one of the chapters. See, that’s what’s fun about writing these reports, you have new chapters every time because now there’s different circumstances, you know, these banks are holding assets that are perfectly safe, that are now devalued, because the interest rates are gonna have gone up. So they’re getting paid, like on a 10 year T-bill, they bought them when they were 2%. Perfectly safe. But now the yields, you know, we got to 4% Well, if you have a 2% tenure T bill, somebody’s not gonna buy your 2% 10 year T-bill at face value to get 4% they got to discount it. Well, that’s what happened. The bank assets, you know, when you had the people that take a look at your books and go, are you evaluating this 10 year T bill at face value, or discounted value? And oh. And so that was that was when it hit the fan. But then then you realize, well, that’s the circumstance of every major bank in the world. They have securities that are under the normal interest rate now. So, how the heck do you fix that? Well, one of the ways they can fix it is you have to go okay, well, we better make interest rates 1%. So the asset value is fully still there. So they’ve put themselves in quite a mess. And that’s why that’s why the title of the report This is uh, you know, we are going to have the last decade or 1% rates.
Joey Romero Interesting. Well, this was fun, Bruce. And I think we’re gonna give it about a month and then we’ll do this again and we’ll, we’ll talk about five real estate related books. If that’s alright with you.
Bruce Norris Sure. I guess I’ll read up.
Joey Romero All right. All right, everybody. Thank you so much.
Bruce Norris All right. Bye bye.
Narrator For more information on hard money, loans and upcoming events with The Norris Group, check out thenorrisgroup.com. For information on passive investing with trust deeds, visit tngtrustdeeds.com.
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 www.thenorrisgroup.com and click the Hard Money tab.