Book Review: Use What You've Got- by Barbara Corcoran

Real Estate Agent with Beringer Realty

Book Review: Use What You've Got- by Barbara Corcoran

*This post is included in the ActiveRain Book Club Group. If you haven't joined yet, you should!

The full title of this book is "Use What You've Got: & Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom." Later the book was republished with a new title "If You Haven't Got Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on your Pigtails: & Other Lessons I Learned from My Mom."

Both titles work, but the second, in my opinion, is much more reflective of the tone of the book. It's fun and silly (you'll find yourself laughing out loud) while at the same time it addresses a key component of success...being yourself and figuring out how to make your strengths work for you.

This book is very down to earth. Barbara Corcoran, who grew her own real estate business from the ground up, takes real-life challenging situations and shows you how she solved her problems her own way based on common-sense lessons she learned from her mother, as the title suggests. And because she presents each business situation and challenge as a story, it's a super easy read and an absolute delight.

Some chapters include:

  • It's your game, make up your own rules
  • Go play outside
  • Jumping out the window will make you either an ass or a hero
  • You have the right to be there

Even though I couldn't always picture myself handling a situation the way she ultimately did, I appreciate that on several occasions Corcoran points out that there's more than one way to do something. For instance, she suggests there is a left-brain logical approach to creating a business plan and a right-brain visual approach...and either way is okay! For me (a typically visual person) this is comforting to hear :-)

Though published in 2003, the lessons still apply. If you're looking for a unique business book written by one of the real estate industry's most admired and successful leaders, "Use What You've Got" might just be for you.

Posted by



Shannon Lewis is a Realtor® and broker at Beringer Realty located in Urbana, Illinois. She and her partner, Debbie Hensleigh, help home buyers and sellers in Urbana, Champaign, Savoy, and many other surrounding communities.

Homeplace Advisors on Facebook  Visit Our Website  Email Shannon!

Search for Homes in Champaign-Urbana IL

To contact Shannon with a question, for real estate assistance, or just to say "hey!":

call 217-552-8059, or email

Comments (4)

Glenn Roberts
Retired - Seattle, WA

Looks like a delightful read, Shannon. I'll look for it. And thanks for the Book Club plug. We stand at 15 members today. Let's watch it grow.

Jan 28, 2011 06:06 AM
Shannon Lewis
Beringer Realty - Champaign, IL
Realtor, Broker - Champaign-Urbana, IL

Glenn, I will definitely watch for new group members. Hope you'll enjoy the book as much as I did!

Jan 28, 2011 06:14 AM
Nancy Williams
Coldwell Banker Homestead Group Select Professionals - Harrisburg, PA

Hey, Shannon,

I have the audio version  of Barbara Cororan's book and value it much.  Thanks for passing it along.

Jan 29, 2011 04:24 PM
Shannon Lewis
Beringer Realty - Champaign, IL
Realtor, Broker - Champaign-Urbana, IL

I love audio books for road trips! Thanks for stopping by, Nancy.

Jan 30, 2011 03:02 AM