Jump to content

Gary W. Keller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gary Keller
Alma materBaylor University
Occupation(s)Author, Real Estate Expert
Known forCo-founder and Executive Chairman, Keller Williams Realty
SpouseMary Pfluger
ChildrenJohn Keller
WebsiteGary Keller KW Headquarters profile

Gary Keller is an American entrepreneur and best-selling author. He is the founder and Executive Chairman of Keller Williams, which is the largest real estate company in the world by agent count and second in closed sales volume, and units sold.[1] Keller founded Keller Williams on training and education and later brought his teachings to print. His books include The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, and The ONE Thing. He is considered one of the most influential people in real estate.[2]

Early life


Keller was born on July 21, 1957, in Pasadena, Texas. Both his mother and father were school teachers, until his father was promoted to be a high school administrator. The family moved to North Shore, outside of Houston.[3] Keller originally had no intention of attending college. The summer following his high school graduation he began to pursue a music career. Mid-summer, he came to his parents and informed them that he wanted to go to college as his music career was not working out.[4] His parents informed him that they had already applied to Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he was accepted. After visiting the university, Keller decided to attend, following in the footsteps of his sister and father who had previously attended the university.[5]

While at Baylor, Keller spent time shadowing professionals in the fields of law, accounting, banking, and real estate.[5] It was at that time that he became interested in real estate and began to pursue a real estate and insurance degree program that had just started at the university.[5] His senior year he was interviewed by various real estate companies who came to Baylor looking for graduates.[5] Following graduation in 1979, Keller moved to Austin where he began his career in real estate.[6]



Real Estate


When Keller moved to Austin in 1979, he worked for a company that would later become a competitor. He found success in Austin, selling five houses his first month and became VP within five years.[7] In 1983, he partnered with Joe Williams and started two companies – Keller Williams Realtors, which Keller ran, and Keller Williams Commercial, which Williams ran.[8] The commercial company never took off, but Keller's residential side did. In 1987, inside the residential company, Keller created a division that would later become Keller Williams Realty International, which became known as KWRI.

The company grew to be the largest real estate agency in the Austin area within two years. After expansion and franchising, it became the largest real estate franchise by agent count in North America and the only privately held global residential real estate brokerage, reaching over 100,000 agents worldwide in 2014[9] and surpassing 180,000 agents by 2018.[10]

In 2017, he began to transition Keller Williams into more of a technology company,[11] launching technology initiatives that included KW Labs, KW Keller Cloud, and "Kelle," an artificial intelligence app used as a virtual assistant and an agent-to-agent referral tools platform called "Referrals."[11] Keller replaced John Davis as CEO of the company in 2019.[12]

Writing and publishing


Keller began writing during his early years at Keller Williams Realty. He established KellerINK for the publishing of instructional and inspirational business books with a specialty in real estate. His first book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, was co-authored with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan and released in 2004.[13] The book made the best-seller list on BusinessWeek.[14] He co-authored a second book, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, in 2005 along with Papasan and Jenks.[15] This book became a New York Times best-seller.[16]

In 2013, Keller and co-author Papasan published their first non-real estate book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.[17] The book reached #1 on the Wall Street Journal business bestseller list. It was also a bestseller on The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.[18][19] Hudson Booksellers named The ONE Thing one of the five best business interest books of 2013.[20] The authors have been featured in publications including Forbes and Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Review.[18] In all, Keller has published four best-selling books on real estate and has sold more than a million copies worldwide.[18]

In addition to writing and real estate, Keller has been involved in other ventures including that of an investor. He has invested in companies such as the Austin-based Music & Entertainment Television.[21] Keller is also a public speaker[22] and was a panelist for the nonprofit Relationship & Information Series for Entrepreneurs in 2013 along with former Texas Longhorns quarterback Vince Young.[23]

Other ventures


In 2013, Keller launched ALL ATX, a nonprofit with a goal to educate musicians on how to build successful careers in the Austin music industry.[24] He purchased Saxon Pub in 2016[25] and One World Theatre in Austin in 2022.[26]


Publication year Title Original publisher ISBN Notes
2004 The Millionaire Real Estate Agent McGraw Hill ISBN 9780071502085 Co-Authors Dave Jenks & Jay Papasan. BusinessWeek best-seller.
2005 The Millionaire Real Estate Investor McGraw Hill ISBN 9780071469531 Co-Authors Dave Jenks & Jay Papasan. BusinessWeek and New York Times best-seller.
2008 SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times KellerINK ISBN 9780071605274 Co-Authors Dave Jenks & Jay Papasan. New York Times best-seller, the Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller, and the USA Today Bestseller.
2013 The ONE Thing Bard Press ISBN 9781848549258 Co-Author Jay Papasan. First non-real estate book for Keller. New York Times How-to Bestseller, New York Times Business Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Non-Fiction Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller, USA Today Bestseller, and Publishers Weekly Top 10 List. Mentioned on other national lists, including BookScan, Entertainment Weekly, LA Times, Hudson's Booksellers, Reuters, and 800CEOREAD. Winner of 12 book awards and translated into 26 languages.



Keller has received numerous awards and accolades over the years.[27] He is a previous winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a finalist for Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year.[17] In 2011 Baylor University honored him with a Meritorious Achievement Award and a Medal of Service for his business leadership.[5] The same year Austin Business Journal recognized him as one of Austin's 30 Most Influential.[27]

Personal life


Keller has his own band that performs annually at Keller Williams events.[28] Keller lives in Austin with his wife, Mary. Their son John also lives and works in Austin.[28]

Keller teaches a business and life development course to young adults both in Austin and through his alma mater, Baylor University. He has been a supporter of Baylor since his graduation, and in 2007 he donated the funds for a residential real estate research center at the Hankamer School of Business.[29] The Keller Center, as it was named, studies consumer behavior, marketing strategies, and management solutions.[30]


  1. ^ "Welcome to Keller Williams". Retrieved 21 Sep 2016.
  2. ^ Luck, Marissa (4 May 2018). "Keller Williams' growing army of agents eclipses most cities' populations". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  3. ^ "GPISD Honors Its Own". Your Houston News. Fall 2008. Retrieved 21 Sep 2016.
  4. ^ "Gary Keller". California Real Estate. 2004.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Medal of Service - Business Leadership". Baylor Magazine. Fall 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  6. ^ Simmons, Lee (24 May 1998). "Realtor saw opportunity in adversity". Austin Business Journal.
  7. ^ "Personal Selling Power". Inc. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  8. ^ "KW Commercial - Agent Details". kwcommercial.com. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  9. ^ Buchholz, Jan (8 May 2014). "Keller Williams hits milestone with 100,575 agents worldwide". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  10. ^ Luck, Marissa (4 May 2018). "Keller Williams' growing army of agents eclipses most cities' populations". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b Abraham, Rincey (1 March 2018). "Keller Williams Hopes to Become the Amazon of Real Estate". Miami Agent Magazine. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Gary Keller returns as CEO of nation's largest realty company". Austin Business Journal. 9 January 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  13. ^ Bruss, Rebert (25 May 2004). "How to be a successful real estate agent". Inman. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  14. ^ "The BusinessWeek Best-Seller List" (PDF). BusinessWeek. July 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 20, 2004. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  15. ^ Bruss, Robert J. (1 May 2005). "Book Review: Serious About Success?". L.A. Times. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  16. ^ "The New York Times Paperback Archive". The New York Times. 19 June 2005.
  17. ^ a b Schawbel, Dan (23 May 2013). "Gary Keller: How To Find Your One Thing". Forbes. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  18. ^ a b c "The One Thing - Author Jay Papasan Shares The Secret To Success". Entre Leadership Review. December 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  19. ^ "Hardcover Advice & Misc. Best-sellers". The New York Times. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  20. ^ "2013 Book Of The Year - Best of 2013". Hudson Booksellers. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  21. ^ Zaragoza, Sandra (7 October 2007). "Music for the masses". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Keller makes Toronto speaking debut". REM Online. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  23. ^ Drake, Sarah (9 May 2013). "Vince Young, Gary Keller among RISE speakers". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  24. ^ "About - ALL ATX". allatx.org. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  25. ^ Maas, Jimmy (12 March 2019). "A New SXSW Documentary Follows The Rollercoaster Ride Of Saxon Pub's Survival". KUT 90.5. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  26. ^ Rascoe, Rachel (1 April 2022). "Faster Than Sound: Gary Keller Now Owns West Austin's One World Theatre". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  27. ^ a b "Austin's 30 most influential". Austin Business Journal. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  28. ^ a b Pope, Colin (9 November 2012). "Journal Profile Gary Keller Interview". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  29. ^ "Keller funds center at Baylor University". Chicago Tribune. 11 March 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  30. ^ "$5M kickstarts real estate center at Baylor". Austin Business Journal. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2014.