Say this for Kessler--he puts on quite a show preaching the relentlessly upbeat gospel of Creative Real Estate, an undefined conceit involving such articles of faith as ""all things are possible to people who want them badly enough and who are willing to think in new and different ways in order to get what they want."" At the heart of CRE doctrine, however, is the familiar principle of nothing (or little) down, embodied in canons like: ""There are hundreds of ways to buy real estate, and only one requires all cash."" The author, a successful West Coast realtor and publisher of a magazine called--surprise!--Creative Real Estate, offers only generalized guidance on securing properties with appreciation potential (i.e., buy in the path of progress and, when possible, on the water or hillside). Nor does he provide individual appraisals of the widely variant investment opportunities that characterize the real estate field: single-family dwellings; apartments of differing sizes; raw land; and commercial rental properties. Financial factors, too, are summarily examined--via the initialism IDEAL: income, depreciation, equity build-up, appreciation, leverage. Wheeling and dealing with a short bankroll, plus resourceful, remorseless negotiation, are the principal points here--elaborated with anecdotal evidence that CRE disciples have prospered by resorting to such sharp practices as using credit-card signature loans for down payments or latching on to OPM (other people's money) to swing attractive acquisitions. One plus is the first-rate material on the tax benefits accruing from carefully constructed property swaps. But nowhere does Kessler systematically address the workaday risks of property ownership--building codes, zoning squabbles, problem tenants, credit constraints, the essential illiquidity of real-estate commitments. A far better bet for cash-strapped beginners is Robert L. Nessen's The Real Estate Book (p. 337).