Lessons from a Good Man
Bob Glass passed away in June. I will miss him very much. In losing him, the real estate development industry lost one of the good ones. I have spent a lot of time in the last few days thinking about him, and about the lessons I learned from him. I thought it might be a good thing to share these thoughts, because I know he’d be glad I did, and because the things he taught me are things we should all keep in mind, every day.
For some reason the real estate industry attracts a lot of cowboys. People (men mostly, but women too) who are attracted by the enormous risk and corresponding adrenalin rush that comes from betting tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on the success of a project. It’s not a business for the faint of heart, but after nearly 20 years in the business, I’ve met only a handful of players who I have grown fond of. People I’d share a drink with. People you can truly call a friend. That in itself is a lesson: you can thrive in this wacky business of ours and still be a good person.
What always struck me most about Bob was his optimism. He could find the silver lining in any situation.
He was always fair in his criticism and lavish with his praise. We should all be like that. I will try to emulate this more in my own life, out of respect for his memory.
He always had time to talk. Sometimes, to be blunt, it felt like he had time to talk too much! But it was out of a genuine interest in the people, places, events and things surrounding him. He was fascinated and fascinating, and loved nothing more than to spin a good story. As a storyteller myself, I have huge respect for anyone who can do that.
Whenever there was a snag, as there often is in our business, he was quick to listen, to weigh the options, and to find a path through the weeds to a solution.
He built some amazing projects. He brought up two very accomplished, intelligent and beautiful daughters, and three smart and successful sons. And most of all, he left everyone in a good mood. It was impossible to be around Bob and not end up feeling that your day, your week, and your world was just a little bit sunnier as a result.
I will miss him. The industry will miss him. But if you knew him, take some of his wonderful personality traits and adopt them yourself as you work through your days. What an amazing tribute that will be.