TOP EXECUTIVES FROM THE NATION'S largest home builders gathered at the 19th annual BUILDER 100 conference to explore the forces that will shape the industry in years to come. Gathering at the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, Calif., attendees spent two days discussing such hot-button topics as how to improve operations and lower costs to boost earnings and how building companies must evolve to survive the challenges of an ever-changing industry.

Among the highlights: Attendees heard—and contributed to—a lively economists debate over how long the building boom will last, getting expert opinion from Eric Belsky of the Joint Center for Housing, David Berson of Fannie Mae, Philip Hopkins of Global Insight, and UCLA's Christopher Thornberg, who provided somewhat of a contrarian viewpoint. In another session, Michael Lewis, author of Money Ball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, showed how the unorthodox yet successful strategies of one Major League Baseball team could be applied in the home building space.