Category Archives: Book Reviews

An Analysis and Comparison of Narendra Modi Prime Minister of India and US President Donald Trump

         My source for Mr. Modi was a book by Andy Marino, “Narendra Modi, a Political Biography,” published by Harper Collins, India copyright 2014. My sources for Mr. Trump include “The Art of the Deal” reviewed on this website as well as my own readings/television news throughout the last two years.

          As I read Mr. Marino’s book and then went through it again, I found two stark differences, yet otherwise quite comparable histories and qualities. India is the world’s largest democracy by population (1.252 billion – 2013) with a gross domestic product of $1.877 trillion (2013). The United States is the world’s largest economy ($16.77 trillion – 2013) with a population of 318.9 million (2014).

         This is basically a partial review of Mr. Marino’s extraordinary book as well as a host of sources for Mr. Trump.

         CONTRASTS

                                                                 Mr. Modi – Wealth

         Mr. Modi came from a very modest household with his father selling tea at a railway station and Mr. Modi helping out in his youth. Throughout his life he has cared little about money or possessions.

                                                                    Mr. Trump – Wealth

         Mr. Trump grew up in a somewhat wealthy family and worked early with his father in a real estate business. He went on to earn a degree from Wharton University. Before he became president he had amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune, mostly in real estate.

                                                                Mr. Modi – Marital History

         Mr. Modi did have a childhood match arranged by his family, but there was no ceremony, co-habitation or consummation of the marriage. Thus, he has always been single and—in my words—in love with India.

                                                         Mr. Trump – Marital History

          Mr. Trump has had two divorces and is currently happily married to our beautiful first lady, Ivanka Trump. All his children are real credits to his family.

         SIMILARITIES

                                                             Mr. Modi – Anti-Graft

         His passion was India. His mother told him not to take a bribe and he seems to have followed her advice. India’s government had been full of graft. Mr. Modi assumed the office of Chief Minister of Gujarat on October 7, 2001. “Modi let it be known in no uncertain terms that anybody accepting bribes was to be sacked, with no exceptions.”

                                                           Mr. Trump – Anti-Graft

         It is quite well known that Mr. Trump is a multi-billionaire and working for $1 per year as President. A campaign promise that he made was “to drain the swamps.” Thus, public laws, regulation policies and jobs aren’t for sale.

                                                                Mr. Modi – Outsider

         He is an outsider of the higher castes and most politicians in that he hasn’t accepted bribes. He’s an outsider of all the major parties although he leads his own.

                                                            Mr. Trump – Outsider

         He’s an outsider in that his career before the Presidency was in the private sector. Also, he is an outsider to the establishment politicians – Republican and Democratic.

                                             Mr. Modi – Extremely Hard Worker

         Mr. Modi has spent his adult life in an energetic and sustained pursuit of political and governmental excellence.

                                                Mr. Trump – Extremely Hard Worker

         Mr. Trump worked hard to gain his fortune and for the last two years campaigning for and initiating his Presidency. V. P. Pence said Mr. Trump was the hardest-working person he’s ever seen.

                                                          Mr. Modi – Innovator

         As Chief Minister of Gujarat (like the Governor of a state), Mr. Modi had an extraordinary number of innovations which resulted in a substantial growth and prosperity. One example was the digging of canals which are being covered with photovoltaic solar panels which will lower evaporation of the precious water and provide electricity.

                                                              Mr. Trump – Innovator

         Mr. Trump is also an innovator with “The Wall” perhaps being his most novel idea. His deportations of criminal illegal aliens are another policy change.

                                                                Mr. Modi – Ambitious

         His life seems to be that of a driven man who is passionate in his love of India.

                                                          Mr. Trump – Ambitious

         Most of his life before he entered politics was intense effort in building his fortune. But I also suspect that he has always had a keen interest in politics. I believe him when he says he wants to make America great again.

                                                           Practical – Mr. Modi

         Mr. Modi strived to turn Gujarat “. . . into a prosperous, business-friendly and economically-progressive state.” Attacking bribery and red-tape were keys to accomplishing those aims.

                                                      Practical – Mr. Trump

          Mr. Trump is going about lowering regulations in order to increase America’s productivity and our people’s freedom. He is also in the process of reforming taxes – a long overdue action.

                                                 Respect for the Constitution – Mr. Modi

          In India a state of emergency was declared by the then Prime Minister. This had the effect of making the Constitution null and void. Mr. Modi was a wanted man and yet helped others who were political “criminals.” His love of India goes along with his allegiance to its Constitution.

                                                  Respect for the Constitution – Mr. Trump

          Mr. Trump has shown his high respect for our Constitution by the nomination of a superbly-qualified judge to the Supreme Court. Mrs. Clinton stated in effect that she would nominate someone who would be liberal and not bound by the Constitution as written.

                                                               Mr. Modi – Development

          Mr. Modi built his reputation and eventual position of Prime Minister on the growth and prosperity he led in the state of Gujarat.                                                                      

                                                                 Mr. Trump – Growth

          Mr. Trump’s platform is based largely on the formula that President Reagan used – lowering regulations and reforming taxes. I sincerely believe it will work again—bringing growth and prosperity to America.                                                                               

                                                                    Mr. Modi – India First

          Mr. Modi campaigned for India first.                                                                  

                                                                Mr. Trump – America First

          Mr. Trump campaigned for America first.                                                                  

                                                                Mr. Modi – Fake News

          Early in his administration, Mr. Modi was the victim of what was probably a radical Muslim terrorist act followed by Hindu retaliation in Gujarat. The fake news blamed him. Mr. Marino, the author of “Narendra Modi,” went to great lengths to show both the fake news as well and the facts and the exoneration of Mr. Modi.                                                    

                                                               Mr. Trump – Fake News

          In Mr. Trump’s campaign and his Presidency the bias of the mainstream media has been unceasing. Unlike Mr. Modi who ignores the bias, Mr. Trump strikes back. Only time will tell if Mr. Trump’s strategy works (or whether the mainstream media will become more objective), but Mr. Trump has to be himself.                                             

                                                                Mr. Modi – Business Friendly

          There is no doubt that Mr. Modi’s business-friendly ways bore fruit. He cut red tape and fired anyone whom he found who took a bribe. He invoked five pillars of a development policy for Gujarat – “. . . water, energy, people, education and security.” He shined in all these areas from the time he was sworn in (October 7, 2001) until he became Prime Minister of India (May 26, 2014).                                                 

                                                      Mr. Trump – Business Friendly

          Mr. Trump started his Presidency seeking to lower regulations and reform taxes to provide jobs, investments and businesses to America.                                                       

                                                          Mr. Modi – Law and Order

          Mr. Modi experienced the terrorist act very early when he became Chief Minister of Gujarat. During his governance after then there were no such significant acts and he governed with a balanced hand as to Muslims and Hindus.                                                    

                                                      Mr. Trump – Law and Order

          Mr. Trump has campaigned on a program of law and order – domestically with criminal illegal aliens, border security, and support of law enforcement generally. Internationally, he is pointing toward ISIS and all Islamic terrorists.                                                         

                                                                Mr. Modi – Speaker

          Mr. Modi is a very effective speaker and has been doing it for a long time. Both his words and body language are persuasive. He also enjoys travel and giving talks domestically and globally.

                                                             Mr. Trump – Speaker

 Mr. Trump likes to speak to audiences in America, and I predict that he will also be comfortable with foreign crowds.                                              

                                                     Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump are Decisive

         Mr. Modi is pro-India, not pro-party; and Mr. Trump is pro-America, not pro-party.

 Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump are pro-market/free enterprise and not for any more socialism in their nations.

         The “Narendra Modi” book was fascinating and enlightening partly because it revealed how much Prime Minister Modi was like President Trump – despite some of their obvious differences such as wealth, marital history and their path to head their country. I highly recommend Mr. Andy Marino’s book “Narendra Modi” in its entirety as well as Mr. Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal.”

                                                                  Mr. Modi And Mr. Trump Twee

         Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump make good use of Twitter to communicate.

Hillary’s America

By
Dinesh D’Souza
Review of the book and the Movie
By
John E. Wade II

Summary

We owe a debt of gratitude to Dinesh D’Sousa for this insightful and revealing examination of the sordid history of both Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

As to government policy, D’Souza writes, “She is ruthless.” This is also the case as she has dealt with Bill Clinton’s women. She’s definitely not a champion of women as she professes for political reasons. In my opinion all the evidence about the emails, server and the Clinton Foundation and on and on point to a premeditation of using the Secretary of State position for private gain. What will she do with the presidency?

D’Sousa traces the Democratic Party to Andrew Jackson’s presidency when he and fellow Democrats stole Native American lands with Jackson becoming one of the richest persons in America. He also gained politically by selling the land cheaply to white settlers who then voted for him as the common man’s friend. Jackson was a harsh slave owner who used his power for sexual purposes (Does that remind you of anyone?)

The important thing to remember is that Republicans opposed the Native American theft, slavery—fighting a war about it, the Ku Klux Klan, and segregation. Their votes were indispensable for all Black civil rights legislation—both after the Civil War and in the 1960s. Republicans are also responsible for women’s right to vote.

The Democrats will fight hard for this 2016 election because their corrupt practices at the national level are at stake. It is vital that you vote and support Republicans in November.

Detailed Review

Hillary failed miserably at her first significant political endeavor—leading a national health care task force in President Clinton’s first term. As the author states, “…even Democrats shunned it.” She also lacks any legislative accomplishments of note to her name.

But the most damning characteristic of Hillary is her dishonesty and corruption. Once she claimed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary until someone checked and saw that she was born before the gentleman became famous. As first lady she claimed she knew nothing about the firing of the White House travel staff until conclusive evidence appeared that she had ordered it. Outrageously, she claimed she was under sniper fire once and that was completely disproved.

The most serious corrupt practices of the Clintons involve money which seems to flow their way based on everything from pardons to unusually large speaking fees. The Clinton Foundation sends only about ten percent of their funds to charity.

Historically, blacks moved from the Republican Party in the 1930s in the South, whereas the South turned Republican in the 1960s, 70s and 80s due to economic reasons, not racial ones.

In 2010 a massive 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti and the Clinton’s as well as others appealed for monetary help. But in January, 2015, a group of Haitians surrounded the Clinton Foundation building chanting that the Clintons had robbed them of “billions of dollars.” There was little to no news coverage of this event. It was shown in the movie. Despite collecting huge sums of money for Haiti, little has been used where it is most needed. Taking from the poorest of the poor is quite despicable, but nothing seems beyond their “scruples.”

D’Souza states that the first real founder of the modern Democratic Party was Andrew Jackson. Jackson cleared the Native Americans out of several states resulting in grateful voters. This has been blamed on “America,” but the reality of it was these actions were promulgated by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. Jackson’s net worth in today’s dollars at death was about $100 million.

Jackson was ruthless and intentionally so, stating after the massacre at Horseshoe Bend, “It was dark before we finished killing them.” D’Souza made the sad comment, ”Jackson read the Indian treaties in much the same way that Democrats and progressives today read the U.S. Constitution.” It is important to realize that the Trail of Tears was not perpetrated by “America,” but by Jackson Democrats. Many of the Native Americans died of diseases contracted from the whites. This came from their lack of immunity like the European plagues previously derived from Asian diseases.

Slavery was a Democratic practice and was supported by Northern Democrats. The abolitionists were led by the father of the Republican Party, President Abraham Lincoln. Republicans owned no slaves. Modern Democrats like to describe the Civil War as between the North and South. While that’s the geography of it, the reality is it was between the Republican abolitionists and the Southern Democrats.

Another clarification of our history is that the Republicans fought the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacy and segregation. They provided vital support for Civil Rights from the post-Civil War through the 1960s legislation. In the movie, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson cynically explained the Civil Right Bills that he introduced, “We’re going to have this Nigger vote for 200 years.” It seems he may have been right even though it was Republicans who overwhelmingly voted for his bills while there was a lot of Democratic opposition.

President Clinton follows a long list of Democratic “…predecessors from plantation owners to white supremacists who did exactly as he did…manipulation, exploitation and abuse of women.” But Hillary is “…a bizarre specimen.” While intimidating the victims, she claims that she is a “…champion of women’s rights.” She shouldn’t be allowed to have it both ways. D’Souza ends his detailed chapter, The Enabler, with the following statement, “Now Hillary the manipulator wants to abuse and victimize the country in the same way that she has been abusing and victimizing the women of Bill.”

In the Partners in Crime chapter D’Souza does a wonderful job of explaining in detail the long trail of dubious and perhaps downright illegal history of the Clintons—from Arkansas to the present and on the verge of continuing in the White House. It seems almost everything was for sale from pardons to the Lincoln bedroom. It appears that the closer that the Clintons have gotten to a second co-presidency the higher the price of their speaking fees and other dubious fund raising.

D’Souza concludes that “Hillary’s entire tenure at the State Department seems to have been devoted to exchanging cash for favors.” He names legitimate corporations that apparently were involved in such things. But perhaps the worst of her such activities involved foreign governments which had no business manipulating our government through what were in essence bribes. D’Souza concludes the chapter which is full of crony Arkansas, national and international details with the obvious question. How much more will they take if they get to the White House again?

D’Souza concludes his superb book with a chapter, “Republicans to the Rescue—Stopping Hillary’s America.” He states categorically that, “Slavery was actually ended by the Republican Party.” Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and three Civil War Amendments to the Constitution. Republicans were vital in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. The Democrats have been the party of bigotry.

The Democrats are highly motivated because they will lose the power to continue their corrupt actions. But the Republicans have a lot to forfeit also, for the Democrats want to tax and tax and tax, just the opposite of what is needed to engender prosperity for all.

In my opinion, Hillary Clinton is not only unfit to be the first woman president; she’s unfit to be president, period. That’s my honest and deeply felt opinion. Mr. Trump may be politically incorrect; but I’d rather have that than the politically corrupt Clintons.

Hillary The Other Woman

By
Dolly Kyle
Review
By
John E. Wade II

Summary

This is a shocking account exposing Bill Clinton as a rapist, sexual harasser and sex addict and Hillary Clinton as an assessor to his actions as well as an enabler. Now or later go online to “Juanita Broaddrick,” and her graphic account of Bill’s rape of her when he was Arkansas Attorney General (regulating her nursing home).

But the list goes on and on with cover-up after cover-up. Make no mistake. This is a lawless couple intent on continuing their sordid ways in the next presidential term. Hillary grew up in the crime bed of Chicago and Bill and the author grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas—also plagued by illegal gambling, unlawful alcohol sales on Sunday as well as retired and vacationing gangsters.

The author explains how she carried on an affair with Bill until he reached the White House. She herself was raped by one of Bill’s friends and knows the shame of the event and the silence afterward. The author did not fully speak up about Bill in full until this book, copyright, June, 2016. At one time she—like many of Bill’s sexual partners, consensual or not, received a threat.

The author, with her long-time affair with Bill, goes through13 sex addict questions about Bill with his behavior being fully evident in all of them (with only one positive sufficient to establish the condition). The cover-ups of such outrageous acts of a public figure required the complicity of Hillary, the mainstream media and even the United States Senate during Bill’s impeachment.

It is critical that we do not allow this lawless couple back into the people’s White House. The author provides an 11+ page list of the Clintons’ wrongdoings.

Detailed Review

The Preface to this well written and page-turner book is provided by David P. Schippers, attorney and Chief Investigative Counsel for the U.S. House Judicial Committee for the Clinton Impeachment. He includes in his comments, “Based upon my knowledge of her character and integrity, I can say without qualification that Dolly Kyle’s word us as solid as gold.” I highly recommend that each reader of this review also read the entire book—while it will be shocking in that it is so detailed and criminal; it is quite well presented.

Dolly Kyle met Bill Clinton when she was 11 and he was 12 going on 13. After high school they had a decades-long affair with Bill in his typical reckless manner sharing such secrets as to his being a sex addict like her.

Juanita Broaddrick was raped by Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton in 1978. In a January 6, 2016 Twitter message she wrote, “It never goes away.”

In a recent television ad Hillary stated that women who claim rape should be believed. Really, after all the private investigators she has hired in order to assure that Bill’s numerous sexual attacks and advances would not hinder his or her way to power and money.

Kyle, the author, disclosed a couple of facts about Hillary that tend to make one wonder about how capable a person Hillary really is. First, she didn’t pass the Washington, D.C. bar examination the first time she tried, eventually passing in Arkansas. Additionally she was not granted a recommendation after she served on the Watergate staff.

Kyle, who majored in psychology and earned a law degree also, explained how Bill was raised almost his first five years by a mean grandmother and an affable grandfather. He got his political skills from his grandfather and was drawn to Hillary because she made him do what he needed to do.

As Bill was having an affair with an attractive undergraduate student at the University Of Arkansas where Bill was teaching, the girl began getting anonymous phone calls and threats—similar to other objects of Bill’s sex interests. Bill finally told the girl that he needed to stay with Hillary because “she kicks my butt and makes me do the things I have to do.” (like his mean grandmother did).

Kyle explains how Hillary’s father was like a drill-sergeant. She had to
compete for the affections of this tough man amidst her brothers.

I agree with Kyle that Bill and Hillary are together for political reasons. We
also agree that Bill is the one with political likability-at least when he’s not
raping or sexually harassing a woman. Kyle explains that even the decision to
have a child was politically motivated.

Both Bill and Hillary are pathological liars. Remember, “I did not have
sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

There was a national question as to whether character matters when Bill ran
for reelection after the previous impeachment related to his conduct with Miss
Lewinsky. He won in spite of that reckless sexual behavior.

Kyle states categorially that Hillary is not a leader. She has no tangible
accomplishments, failed as a senator with only three bills passed with two of them
naming post offices; failed as secretary of state; and miserably failed over the past
forty years as the defender of women. She has not “fought for” women. She has
attacked women. She is simply not fit to be the first female President of the United
States of America. Kyle states Hillary has “few core values.”

Kyle explains that the National Organization/or Women (NOW) have not
supported Bill’s sexual victims; Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Gennifer
Flowers, Kathleen Wiley, Linda Tripp, Monica Lewinsky, Sally Miller Perdue,
Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Bobbie Ann Williams, Lencola Sullivan or Beth Coulson.
The one-issue focus of the organization has been on women’s reproductive rights
whereas women need much more.

The Clintons rewrite history as they go along leading those in Arkansas to
call Bill’s presidential center, the “Clinton Lie-berry.”

One of the scandals by the Clintons was Whitewater which was a failed real
estate development intended to help Bill and Hillary. At the very least Hillary was
found to be double billing as an attorney for an otherwise respected Rose Law
Firm.

Kyle revealed that when Bill was governor of Arkansas he was sued several
times by blacks and Hispanics and lost every case. Bill was reprimanded several
times by the federal courts for violations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Later,
Bill and Hillary criticized racial profiling as a “morally indefensible, deeply
corrosive practice.”

Kyle explains that she was a sex addict and in an intimate setting went
through the criteria of sex addicts. In the book she shows how Bill fit 13 of 13
questions when only one is necessary to declare the condition. One was having sex
in unusual places-the Oval Office was one of the places for Bill. Another more
serious one was whether the sex involved force or violence-rapes include Juanita
Broddrick and Kathleen Wiley+.

While Bill and Hillary were in the White House Hillary obtained 900 FBI
files. Kyle and I believe those files-which may have included many in the
senate-could have allowed Bill to survive the Lewinsky impeachment. If Hillary
gets into the White House again, what is to stop her to utilizing the FBI and IRS?
Kyle reminded us of the lie that Hillary told and retold a story about coming
into sniper fire in Bosnia. The lie was completely disproved and was quite
unnecessary. It’s just one of the marks of a pathological liar.

Kyle explained how Hillary’s lack of popularity in Arkansas was proven
with a state-wide poll taken to see how she could do in a governor’s race. She had
no chance.

The author states something that I certainly also believe, “The mainstream
media have shown a blatant bias toward candidates of the Democratic Party for as
long as I can remember.” Kyle explains how Hillary used the first lady position to
obtain a senate seat and later a secretary of state position. Kyle states, “I have not
seen any evidence of anything positive that she has contributed on her own,
especially to African-Americans,”

The author provides an eleven page listing of Bill/Hillary crimes and
wrongdoings. It’s almost unimaginable that such a couple might actually return to the White House to continue their immoral, illegal and unethical ways. Included
were; “Attacking and intimidating the sexual victims of her husband; FBI files
subpoenaed, hidden, and later’ discovered;’ Goldman Sachs and speech fees for
undisclosed content; IRS audits of women who spoke about Clinton abuses;
Stealing of over $200,000 worth of White House furniture … ” The list goes on and
on and on.

I encourage voters to carefully read this whole book. It is obvious that Dolly
Kyle is quite intelligent and had a great deal of knowledge about the Clintons. It is
also quite telling that this page-turner book is well founded by an attorney that
presents her case in a powerful way.

Trump The Art of the Deal Book Review

By
Donald J. Trump with Tony Schwartz
Review by
John E. Wade II

Art of the Deal: Book Summary

art of deal

This book demonstrates numerous brilliant accomplishments of Mr. Trump, many of which were done at quite an early age. It also shows how he is very well suited as our president in this Innovation Age—one who can not only think on his feet, but produces tangible results while working with a multitude of others on complex projects. I’m impressed.

One thing that stands out throughout is his ability to find and utilize the best people that assure success. That’s something that President Ronald Reagan was particularly adept at throughout his presidency. In short, I see through this book and all I know of him, that Mr. Trump is a leader—whether it be multiple large real estate projects or in the future as President of the United States of America.

Another thing that is apparent to me not only through this book but elsewhere is Mr. Trump’s uncanny communication skills that keep opponents off-balance and others on his side. This runs through his handling of the press—which can be very difficult for any republican—to his unusual connection to voters even while not holding prior elective office.

This is a well-written best-seller that is a real page-turner, and when you consider that much of the book is simply explaining intricate business deals the book is even more amazing.

This book helps convince me that Mr. Trump is just right for the Innovation Age, unlike Sec. Clinton. Peggy Noonan titled a column, “Clinton Embodies Washington’s Decadence.”(The Wall Street Journal, May 28/29, p. A11) I agree.

I highly recommend this book and endorse Mr. Trump as well.

Detailed Review

The book begins in an inviting manner by taking the reader through an actual week in Mr. Trump’s life. One of the first things he says is, “There is no typical week in my life.” That could also be said quite candidly about the presidency. He explains that he has 50-100 calls a day and at least a dozen meetings. I doubt seriously if Sec. Clinton has that kind of energy, passion and drive.

It was interesting to me that Mr. Trump writes, “Frankly, I’m not too big on parties, because I can’t stand small talk.” In the book he also discloses that he doesn’t drink.

Additionally he writes something that is admirable, “…I’m loyal to people who’ve done good work for me.” Later he writes that his experience has taught him to listen to his gut and that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make. I have found that true in my investing.

Quoting Mr. Trump”…my philosophy is always to hire the best from the best.” Additionally, “I’m a stickler for cleanliness…” He’s also quite concerned about the details of his properties. While in the presidency he won’t be able to attend to all the details, I expect he will personally address the most critical ones and am confident that he will delegate others to the best of the best or ones they assign. Mr. Trump just couldn’t have built his empire without being a leader and a good manager, not a politically decadent person such as Sec. Clinton.

Mr. Trump explains, “I like thinking big. I always have.” To be honest I myself as well as my father always thought big. It is something that allows one to have vision, to see a development and judge a location—or to assess people and events in ways others haven’t, such as Mr. Trump’s wall. He and I also have focus in very beneficial ways.

Another quality Mr. Trump discloses is that he is flexible, not being too attached to one deal or another—or in the case of our nation it could be one approach or another on a wide variety of issues. Quite frankly, I think it is a real strength to be willing, able and tough enough to change one’s mind. Mr. Trump readily considers multiple alternatives;”…because anything can happen, even to the best laid plans.”

Mr. Trump gives an account of how he can get press attention through his life style, real estate projects and his manner and his passion for whatever he does. He explains how a story that cost him nothing could be worth a costly ad. But he says, “You can’t con people, at least not for long…if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.” In my opinion, Mr. Trump has delivered the goods over many years while Sec. Clinton is the epitome of “Washington Decadence.”

Growing Up

Mr. Trump explains, “The most important influence on me, growing up, was my father, Fred Trump…my father was always very focused and very ambitious…my father just plain loved working.” He would tell his son Donald, ” The most important thing in life is to love what you’re doing, because that’s the only way you’ll ever be really good at it.” It is my opinion that Mr. Trump will really love being president and be really good at it.

As a child he was somewhat unruly and in the second grade even gave a teacher a black eye. At the age of thirteen, he was sent to military school and remained there from the eighth grade through high school. He wrote, “I learned a lot about discipline, and about channeling my aggression into achievement. In my senior year I was appointed a captain of the cadets.”

He attended Fordham University his first two years of college and then attended the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. There he got his college degree and wrote “…all things considered, I’m glad I went to Wharton.”

The Cincinnati Kid

In college while his friends were studying, he read FHA foreclosures, eventually leading to the purchase of a 1200-unit apartment development in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his father. They took the poorly maintained property with 800 vacant apartments to 100 percent rented—within one year. The complex was sold for about a $6 million profit for Mr. Trump and his father.

The Move to Manhattan

Mr. Trump wrote, “When I graduated from college, I had a net worth of perhaps $200,000, and most of it was tied up in buildings in Brooklyn and Queens.” That was in 1968 dollars.

He moved to an apartment in Manhattan—an exciting transformation that led to a propitious and deepening understanding of the heart of New York City. He talked his way into an exclusive club, Le Club, meeting beautiful women and wealthy, successful people that in the long-run helped him a great deal. Although he was only twenty seven at the time and neither he nor his father had ever built anything in Manhattan, he pursued properties regardless—thinking big all the time.

Mr. Trump pursued politicians as they were critical in zoning for the city. In his development of a site described in the book, he stated, “I discovered, for the first time but not the last, that politicians don’t care too much what things cost. It’s not their money.” That will be a big difference between Mr. Trump and the decadent Washington politician, Sec. Clinton.

GRAND HOTEL – Reviving 42nd Street

Mr. Trump gained tremendous insight as to property locations and values in Manhattan as well as excellent working relationships with people involved in everything from bankruptcies to zoning. Also times were tough in the city. A property that caught his eye was the Commodore Hotel, with “…the surrounding neighborhood…unbelievably run-down.” Eventually—after much hard, hard work and promotion—he put together a deal with Mr. Jay Prizker (his family owned controlling interest in the Hyatt) and the city. He then built a distinctive hotel. Mr. Trump wrote, “The Grand Hyatt opened in September 1980, and it was a hit from the first day.”

TRUMP TOWER – The Tiffany Location

Mr. Trump explained how he was always attracted–since 1971 when he first began “walking the streets” [of Manhattan]—to a piece of property in a prime location. He wrote, “I was relentless, even in the face of the total lack of encouragement, because much more often than you’d think, sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.” He could say that about his presidential campaign from when few thought he had a chance to attain the republican nomination to his dogged determination to win the general election.

With hurdle after hurdle, construction finally began on Trump Tower and Mr. Trump hired Barbara Res to oversee the work–the first woman ever put in charge of a skyscraper. He’d met her on the Commodore job where she’d worked as a mechanical superintendent. When he hired her for Trump Tower, she was thirty-three at the time. He said of her, “Her employees respect her because they know she’s pushing herself as hard as she’s pushing them.”

After some bad press along the way, Mr. Trump wrote,”…good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.” Yes, he’s proved he can handle it in his real estate ventures and the republican nomination race. I fully expect him to do the same in the general election and the presidency.

Mr. Trump stated, “…through some blend of design, materials, location, promotion, luck, and timing—Trump Tower took on a mystical aura.” From a financial perspective it cost approximately $190 million and has been quite profitable. See some more details in the book.

GAMING – The Building on the Boardwalk

In 1975 Mr. Trump found that Hilton owned 150 hotels worldwide, but that “…two casino hotels in Las Vegas accounted for nearly 40 percent of the company’s net profits.” He began searching for properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He wanted the best location if reasonably priced and he wrote, “…I have an almost perverse attraction to complicated deals, partly because they tend to be more interesting, but also because it is more likely you can get a good price on a difficult deal.”

Mr. Trump faced the challenges of obtaining financing, architectural approvals, and licensing as a casino operator. He wrote, “With so many regulators and regulations to satisfy, we had one major advantage: the fact that we were not a bureaucracy”. He makes most key decisions himself. It’ll be a joy having him in the presidency cutting through the red tape to get things done.

He’ll want results just as he has throughout his adulthood. Please have the pleasure of reading the book as to the process he went through with his first venture in casinos.

WYNN-FALL – The Battle for Hilton

Here Mr. Trump describes his complicated assembly of a bid while directly negotiating with Barron Hilton, taking risks he had never done before by guaranteeing a loan temporarily, and eventually ending up with Trump Castle.

LOW RENT, HIGH STAKES – The Showdown on Central Park South

Mr. Trump stated this about a property he located, “By virtue of their location, the buildings represented one of the best pieces of real estate anywhere in the world.” After a great deal of hard work, he projected that he would ultimately earn a profit of $100 million dollars (1986/87 dollars).

LONG SHOT – The Spring and Fall of the USFL

Here Mr. Trump tells of how he bought the New Jersey Generals in the United States Football League. Ultimately, it was a failure because it played in the spring, had some financially weak owners and the competition of the NFL in financial strength and television dominance. Mr. Trump and the other owners didn’t lose a whole lot of money because they didn’t risk that much. I’ll let the sports fans read about the details in this chapter of the book.

ICE CAPADES – Rebuilding Wollman Rink

Mr. Trump had built Trump Tower, a major skyscraper in two and a half years—on time and on budget. He read in The New York Times that the Wollman Rink in Central Park had been under renovation for six years and the city was to start over again and open in two years if everything went well. That was not good enough for Mr. Trump as he sent a letter to the mayor of New York City, Ed Koch.

Mr. Trump explained that there was one thing he learned about dealing with politicians—“fear of the press.” “Time magazine devoted a full page in its “Nation” section to the story. It was a simple, accessible drama about the contrast between government incompetence and the power of effective private enterprise.” For the city—six years spent and nearly $13 million with two more planned costing $3 million whereas Mr. Trump accomplished the job in four months and $750,000 under the $3 million budget.

In our presidential election I believe a lot of people have caught on to the above example. Mr. Trump can and will do wonders whereas Sec. Clinton will go to the old playbook of decadent Washington.

I leave the last two chapters for the readers of the full book.

Throughout the book the intelligence and businesslike experience of Mr. Trump shined. I believe it is no fluke that Mr. Trump is getting the republican nomination. It certainly is not through political connections as Sec. Clinton is doing on the other side of the aisle. He has the brilliance, energy, drive, passion, determination and courage to lead our nation. Don’t let the decadent Sec. Clinton use scare tactics as the democrats did many years ago with republican candidate Barry Goldwater. It’s a tired argument invoked by a tired candidate.

I believe Mr. Trump is the best and, what’s more, I deeply assert that he will win. Getting a republican House and 60-vote majority in the Senate is also crucial to turning this nation around and, yes, making our beloved nation “Great” again.

REVIEW Part III: A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness

A First-Rate Madness:

Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness

By Nasir Ghaemi, M. D.

Review by John E. Wade II

REVIEW Part III

 President Franklin Roosevelt was described by a famous judge as having “… a first rate temperament.”  Psychologically the author described FDR’s personality as hyperthymic—high in energy, very talkative, outgoing, and extroverted and, in short, extremely good company.  During his thirteen years in the presidency, he traveled by rail 399 times, covering 545,000 miles.  FDR was the epitome of resilience, partly due to his temperament but also probably the result of his polio, contracted at the age of thirty-nine as he was a rising star politically.

A close aide, Robert Jackson, regarded FDR’s sociability as his strongest asset—“He liked people, almost any people.”  The author explains that “… people with a hyperthymic personality tend to score very high on openness to experience, and they are curious, inventive, experimental souls.”

Emerging from his battle with polio that would hamper him physically the rest of his life, FDR became “… completely warmhearted, with humility of spirit and with a deeper philosophy.”  FDR’s hyperthymic personality helped him combat the polio which in turn endowed him with a degree of empathy which served the nation, world and him well.

President John F. Kennedy also possessed a hyperthymic personality.  He suffered with dismal physical problems from severe abdominal pain, infections, and on and on.  He wasn’t diagnosed properly until he was thirty—with Addison’s disease—at that time, 1946, a death sentence.  But, five years later, a new steroid pill arrived, which turned out to be the cure for most such patients, including JFK.

The author made a statement about JFK that bears repeating, “Kennedy deserves respect for all the suffering he endured, for his mere survival in the face of long odds—for his remarkable resilience.  Most normal people with half his medical problems and a fraction of his wealth would have retired to a quiet, easy life.”  “Like his hero Winston Churchill and his predecessor Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy never gave up.”

And now, an infamous historical figure, Adolf Hitler, who the author believes had a mental illness, most probably bipolar disorder which went untreated in any positive manner, but rather in a very destructive manner from 1936 onward.  This is the period Hitler did his most dastardly deeds—aggressive warfare and genocide.

Despite his political assassinations and grasp of power, the author states that Hitler’s “moderate bipolar disorder influenced his political career for the better—fueling his charisma, resilience, and political creativity.”  After 1937, “… the harmful effects of daily intravenous amphetamine—to which he was especially susceptible because of his bipolar disorder—worsened his manic and depressive episodes, impairing his leadership skills with catastrophic effects.”  As the author explains, “In his final two years, Hitler probably never experienced a day of normal mood.”

I encourage everyone to read this entire book to assess for yourselves the good and bad that can come from mood disorders in leadership and to determine for yourselves the author’s critique of “normal” leader failures in crisis times.  The chapter about Hitler contains details that reveal a depth of depravity caused by out-of-date remedies to bipolar disorder coupled with tragic and evil goals.

The author presents a good case for seeking extraordinary leaders for extraordinary times, such as Lincoln, Churchill, FDR and JFK.  But all these leaders had mental and/or physical weaknesses that are “weeded out” now.  When times are normal a “normal” leader can be good to help the trains run on time.  But in the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Equal Rights Movement extraordinary leaders who have overcome huge physical and mental obstacles and possess energy and creativity, realism, empathy and resilience in depth can be the difference between success and failure on a grand scale.

REVIEW Part II: A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness

A First-Rate Madness:

Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness

By Nasir Ghaemi, M. D.

Review by John E. Wade II

REVIEW Part II

One of my personal heroes is Winston Churchill, who stood staunchly during World War II, inspiring Britain and the Allies to achieve their ultimate victory over Adolf Hitler, another figure examined in the book.  The author writes, “I believe that Churchill’s severe recurrent depressive episodes heightened his ability to realistically assess the threat that Germany posed.”

In describing Churchill from a psychiatric point of view, the author writes that Churchill “… meets the official definition of bipolar disorder, type II (hypomania alternating with severe depression).  It is also possible that he had more severe manic episodes, which we cannot fully document, yet had that been the case he would meet the diagnostic definition of standard bipolar disorder (also called type I).”

His mind never stopped.  Churchill was amazingly productive, aside from serving as minister and prime minister for decades; he wrote forty-three books in seventy-two volumes.  Because Churchill had battled illness and despair his whole life, he could and did convey to others that despair could be overcome, even in the bleak period of 1940.  He called his depression his “Black Dog.”  It’s as if he suffered and gained what the author called “depressive realism,” allowing him to recognize as early as October, 1930, the Hitler menace and to lead when his deep fears were realized.

Abraham Lincoln also demonstrated the worthwhile impact of depression and how it fostered empathy and tenacity.   Lincoln had a history of depression, including suicidal thoughts, telling a fellow politician that he “was the victim of terrible melancholy” sometimes, so he never carried a pocketknife because he couldn’t trust himself with it.  Lincoln sought compromise, but “after Fort Sumter, he realized that compromise was lost.”  He said slavery was the “… greatest wrong inflicted on any people.”

There have been a few leaders, like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., who had intently experienced depression, and out of sheer force of will made it a part of their political method.  The author states that he believes the “politics of radical empathy …  is the psychological underpinning of non-violent resistance.  Depression reveals the truth of empathy, and empathy, in turn, engenders unexpected powers of leadership.”

The author explains that “Emotional empathy, produced by severe depressive episodes, may prepare the mind for a long-term habit of appreciating others’ points of view.”  In my words, depression can produce a humble spirit that exudes kindness.

Both Gandhi and King suffered depression and yet were heroes in peace as Winston Churchill was a champion in wartime.

Dr. Poussaint gave a first-hand account, “King had a heartlessness about him … he set the pace in marches, he was strolling, not walking fast, nor slow; but strolling, and always right in the front line, which put him at risk.  Anyone could run out from the bushes and shoot him.”  King was not chronically depressed but “… experienced at least three probable depressive episodes in the beginning, middle and end of his life, the first associated with suicide attempts.”

The author does state, “No form of waging conflict always wins.”  Radical empathy in a non-violent way won the day for Gandhi and King, whereas Churchill and the Allies won World War II through warfare.

Humankind must learn to integrate nations, economies, investments, and communications, even religions in ways that reduce and eventually eliminate conflict.

REVIEW Part I: A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness

A First-Rate Madness:

Uncovering the Links between Leadership and Mental Illness

By Nasir Ghaemi, M. D.

Review by John E. Wade II

REVIEW Part I

This is a fascinating book, explaining in a compelling manner how some of the greatest leaders of the past two centuries—Abraham Lincoln, Gen. William T. Sherman, Winston Churchill, Mohandas Gandhi, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ted Turner among others—drew from their personal suffering to evoke sterling leadership abilities under the harshest circumstances.  The author also addresses the “flip side,” that is, weak leaders such as Neville Chamberlain who didn’t perceive the threat of Adolf Hitler.  He also presents a disturbing account of Hitler and his untreated and mistreated bipolar disorder, as well as the top echelon of his command who carried out his evil orders.

I urge everyone to read the complete book to come to understand, as I do, that unusual times call for extraordinary leadership, whereas ordinary times are better served by leaders who help “the trains run on time,” whether political, military or business.

For crisis leadership, bipolar disorder (with its mania and depression) can present vital elements of effectiveness, such as realism, resilience, empathy and creativity.  Depression invokes all four of those elements while mania promotes creativity and resilience.  Personally, I’d like to add one more quality to the three “high” states that the author presents (hyperthymia seen in Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR hereafter) and John F. Kennedy (JKF hereafter); hypomania exhibited by Churchill; and mania in Sherman and Turner), that of high energy.

Let’s go through the book with an open mind and a certain sense of awe that these leaders (excluding Hitler, of course) performed in a superb way beyond the limits where many in that situation would give up, as FDR with polio and JFK with Addison’s disease.

The book examines eight great leaders in “politics, military and business whose lives and work demonstrate various dimensions of the link between leadership and madness:  General William Tecumseh Sherman of Civil War fame; Ted Turner; Winston Churchill; Abraham Lincoln; Mahatma Gandhi; Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR); and John F. Kennedy (JFK).”  He also presents counterexamples of  healthy “normal” leaders who failed in time of crisis:  Richard Nixon, General George McClellan and Neville Chamberlain.

In this review I will not include all the figures that Dr. Ghaemi addresses, but will try to illustrate how democratic societies might have come to the point that only “normal” candidates can rise to great leadership even though such persons with depression (Lincoln and Churchill), creativity (Sherman and Turner), depression coupled with radical empathy (Gandhi and King), and resilience (FDR and JFK) can rise as necessary to handle times of great crisis.

The author, Nassir Ghaemi, M. D., is a professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine.  He trained in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, holds degrees in history (BA, George Mason University), philosophy (MA, Tufts) and public health (MPH, Harvard).

In identifying and analyzing these prominent individuals he used four criteria:  symptoms, genetics, cause of illness and treatment.  I will not duplicate his application of those telling standards on each figure, but I will say that I found his methodology and thoroughness completely convincing.

The author explains that “…  mental illness doesn’t mean that one is simply insane, out of touch with reality, psychotic.  The most common mental disorders usually have nothing to do with thinking at all, but rather abnormal mood:  depression and mania.  These moods aren’t constant.”

There is a growing “depressive realism hypothesis” which points out that “… depressed people aren’t depressed because they distort reality; they’re depressed because they see reality more clearly than other people do.”  This applies to Winston Churchill as he vividly saw the great threat of the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Mania can be accompanied by “… creativity, energy and sociability….” but if it is too pronounced it can lead to “… irritability, promiscuous sexuality, and lavish spending.”  The core of mania is “impulsivity with heightened energy.”

An early twentieth century German psychiatrist, Erst Kretschmer, said “Insanity is not a regrettable … accident but the indispensable catalyst of genius.”  The author states categorically that “The best crisis leaders are the mentally ill or mentally abnormal; the worst crisis leaders are mentally healthy.”  When writing of these crisis leaders he states, “The weakness is, in short, the secret of their strength.”

Just a brief comment about Sherman, a Union general who broke the back of the Confederacy with his unprecedented march through Georgia—burning Atlanta—on to Augusta, with similar tactics all the way through South Carolina to North Carolina.   “A month later, the war was over.”  Despite his mental breakdowns in the past, “With all this military success, Sherman had rehabilitated his image from crazy failure to insane genius.”

Creativity in any realm is not just solving old problems, but finding new problems to solve.  “Mania enhances both aspects of creativity:  the divergence of thought allows one to identify new problems, and the intense energy keeps one going till the problem is solved.”

Let’s briefly address Ted Turner, a legend in his own time in many ways.  The author states “I believe Turner was a success because of, rather than despite, his bipolar symptoms.”  Turner’s “… manic energy and creativity are relatively clear.”

Interestingly, the author relates that Leston Havens, a wise psychotherapist, once commented that he had known many people who had been improved by failure, and many ruined by success.  Failure deflates illusion, while success only makes illusion worse.  That’s a powerful assessment of human nature.  The author explains how early hardships in life—particularly harsh ones—tend to produce, “not infrequently, our greatest leaders.”

REVIEW Part IV: The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

The Business Solution to Poverty:

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Walwick

Review By John E. Wade II

Part IV

The chapter, “Why Business is Best Equipped to Fight Global Poverty,” starts with a statement that I heartedly endorse, “It’s not just that traditional methods have failed.  Businesses possess unique characteristics that are ideally suited to the task of innovating new approaches—and taking them to scale.”  The authors explain—and I certainly agree with them—that private businesses encompass three “…overarching and undeniable advantages in addressing the challenge of poverty:

  • Profitable businesses attract substantial capital.
  • Successful businesses hire lots of people.
  • Successful businesses are capable of reaching scale.”

The authors write—and again I fervently agree with them—that there are other factors that enhance the economic power of business as follows:

  • “Businesses, especially well-established companies, often can marshal all the necessary specialized expertise in design, financial management, marketing, and other fields that are usually lacking or inadequate in either the public sector or the citizen sector.
  • Private businesses tend to be less susceptible to political pressure than governments, multilateral institutions, and most citizen-sector organizations—especially in countries with weak governments.
  • Prosperous enterprises stimulate economic growth in the communities where they do business.”

The World Bank estimate of global GDP for 2013 is $75 trillion.  Approximately $1 trillion more is invested in the Global South as investors are “…eager to find opportunities for lucrative new investments there.”  However, there are dire challenges “…such as loss of hope, caste or class barriers, alcoholism, drug addiction, adherence to self-defeating religious beliefs, the subjugation of women, the lasting effects of childhood malnutrition, and severe physical or mental limitations—not to mention usurious moneylenders and landlords or corrupt and oppressive governments.”  The authors spell it out, “While improved education, health, political power, infrastructure, and nutrition all play important roles, we have no doubt that improved livelihood provides the most direct path to the end of poverty.”  I fervently agree with this summation.

The authors declare that, “Once you start the process of moving families out of poverty, their neighbors take notice and begin, quickly or slowly, to imitate them.”  The authors have decades of experience in the Global South and believe that “…the problems of poverty can be addressed on a large scale only through a new generation of multinational companies built to provide products and services expressly designed to meet the needs of the poor.”  Each such company will be able to do the following:

  • Transform the livelihoods of 100 million $2-a-day customers within 10 years
  • Generate annual revenues of at least $10 billion
  • Earn sufficient profits to attract investment by international commercial finance

Part Two

Zero-Based Design and the Bottom Billions

 Recommendations given to launch a business that can transform the lives of 100 million poor people include the following:

  • “Don’t take a course.
  • Don’t get a MBA.
  • Don’t read a book (except this one, of course.)”

First go to the people you want to help and “listen.”  “The simple truth is you can’t talk people out of poverty, and donating stuff to them usually won’t make a lasting difference either.”  I agree.  The “Takeaway” is, “Poor people have to invest their own time and money to move out of poverty.”

Following is the trilogy of “Don’t Bother”:

  • “If you haven’t talked to at least 100 customers in some depth before you start, don’t bother.”
  • “If your product or service won’t earn or save three times the customer’s investment in the first year, don’t bother.”
  • “If you can’t sell 100 million of your product or service, don’t bother.”

Another “Takeaway” was “To meet the biggest challenge in development—scale—your enterprise must aim to transform the lives of 5 million customers within 5 years and 100 million during the first 10.”  It is important to design for a generous profit, and one of the best ways to measure profit is by “free cash flow (the amount of money your business has available after paying for personnel, overhead, interest on loans, and any necessary investments in developing new products, purchasing new assets, or opening new markets).”  The business must pursue “ruthless affordability” for the poor people who require dramatically inexpensive materials, operations and overhead.  Whether the customers are rural or urban, it is critical to arrive at “…last-mile (more accurately, last 500 feet) distribution.”  Branding is necessary.

The book makes an optimistic statement worth repeating, and one which I concur, “…globalization has increased intercultural awareness, mobile phones have gone global with astonishing speed, concern has grown about global poverty, corporations are adopting socially responsible practices and policies (or pretending to do so), and young people leaving colleges and graduate schools have been demanding jobs that offer the opportunity for meaningful work.”  As for myself, I can’t be classified as a young person anymore, but I have come to the definite conclusion that my calling is calling toward Heaven on Earth.  This book review and my recommendation of the book itself are part of this ultimate quest.

One of three examples of ruthless design were outcomes of Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability.  It is “…the Fertiloo, an affordable compost latrine that provides rural families with access to improved sanitation while offering a safe and easy way to contain their human waste and use it as fertilizer for crops.  Designed to cost less than $100, the Fertiloo team received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is refining its design in the field in Haiti in collaboration with a local partner.”

There is a statement in the book that should be a red flag to major global corporations, “There’s already considerable evidence that major corporations will remain competitive in the global marketplace only by creating vibrant new markets serving $2-a-day customers at scale in addition to serving more affluent customers.”  Another such bold comment is, “The corporations of the future will need to serve the bottom-of-the-pyramid customers as well as the rich to stay in business.”

According to the book, “…there are a billion people who never connect to electricity…Another billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water.”  They believe there are three reasons that the needs of the bottom pyramid are not being met by existing businesses:

  • “They don’t see the profit in it.
  • They don’t have a clue how to design the radically affordable products and services that poor people need.
  • They don’t know how to design and operate profitable last-mile supply chains.”

As an example of how corporations can move in the direction of solving these problems and addressing the opportunities, the authors point to Walmart and how they have prospered at higher levels of wealth with small margins and large volume.  Incidentally, just a day ago I read an Investor’s Business Dailyarticle (December 24, 2013) entitled, “Africa’s Fast Growth Attracts Investment.”  One of the interesting investments highlighted in that article was when “…Wal-Mart became one of the first big U.S investors when it paid $2.4 billion in 2011 to buy South African retailer Massmart.”  The book states that Wal-Mart and others are not yet reaching that bottom pyramid.  But I think they will; and they have to start by entering these Global South countries.

In “The Ruthless Pursuit of Affordability,” the authors sum up a lot, “Products that are attractive to poor customers must indeed be affordable, but they also need to work well and look good.  Poor customers are, if anything, more aspirational than the rich.  And their demands and need for value are greater, too.  When money is scarce, it’s got to be used as efficiently as possible.”  An example of such a product is the treadle pump, “…widely regarded in development circles as one of the most successful income-generating innovations introduced to poor farmers around the world.”  It “…is operated by an individual using StairMaster-like pedals to draw water from as deep as 20 to 25 feet underground or from lakes or streams….It’s estimated that a total of three million pumps have been put to work on small plots of land, primarily in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.  These three million treadle pumps are now generating new net income of more than $300 million per year for one-acre farmers who live on less than a $1 a day—not a trivial sum to any but the very largest businesses on Earth.”

Step by step the authors explain how to go about designing such products; I encourage anyone with a practical interest to explore this chapter completely, as well as the rest of the book.  The path to prosperity in Heaven on Earth depends on such actions.

The chapter, “Zero-Based Design in Practice: Low-Cost Drip Irrigation” is a case study of how drip irrigation for small acreage was developed.  I will not retell the case study—I urge you to read the entire book; but the chapter has this “Takeaway,” “Design for extreme affordability rarely comes easily.  Making anything both workable and cheap may take years of careful, incremental adaptation and revision.  But it can be quite rewarding.  During the past two decades, the area under drip irrigation and other micro-irrigation methods has risen at least six-fold globally, from 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) to more than 25 million.  Gains in China and India have been the most dramatic.”

The “Design for the Market” chapter explains how hard it is to solve the technical problems and has this “Takeaway,” “Designing a branding and marketing strategy and a last-mile supply chain that will put your product or service in the hands of millions of customers is three-quarters of the design challenge.”  This chapter explains how the treadle pump was marketed successfully.  I encourage all to read the whole of it.  “Every key player in the distribution chain has to make an attractive profit…[Paul Polak, co-author] doesn’t work with any technologies unless the customer can get three times his money back in the first year by using the technology.”

The “Zero-Based Design in Practice: A Cautionary Tale” chapter gives a case study of a well-intentioned attempt of a MIT-conceived solution to the use of wood charcoal in places like Haiti.  Such use “…results in devastating soil erosion—a major contributor to the hundreds of lives lost every year due to mudslides and flooding—and can also lead to…degradation of aquatic life along the coasts of Haiti…[and]causes respiratory problems in children and increases the risk of cancer.”  I will leave this case study to you to decipher, only to say that “The fatal flaw in the project was that no one on the field team understood marketing.”  The author gives a final assessment of what might have been done and I agree with them that succeeding in these ventures requires, “…a whole lot of work.”  But if you do it right—over time—you can become a pathfinder toward Heaven on Earth.

REVIEW Part III: The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

The Business Solution to Poverty:

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Walwick

Review By John E. Wade II

Part III

 

Part One

Only Business Can End Poverty

 

I agree quite fervently that only business can end poverty, not only in the Global South, which is the subject of this book, but that premise applies globally.  The authors describe examples of poor rural people; reading this is a must if you intend to get a serious idea of their life. There are a few general characteristics—“The poor just get by,” very much in a survival mode, “The poor receive little news.  Most of the information poor people receive comes by word of mouth from families, neighbors, and friends, and occasionally by radio, filtered through a village culture little influenced by national and global news.”

 

“The poor rarely travel.” They are isolated and are “…rarely aware of the new ideas and new opportunities that surface so frequently in today’s fast-changing world.”  “The poor have few choices.” The modern world is out of reach.  Instead “…one out of five of their infants die of preventable illness…They’re vulnerable to whatever else comes along in the village where they live, whether it’s inferior health care, substandard food, dangerous transportation, or illegal activities by the police or village officials.”

 

“The poor live with misfortune never far away.” Things from uncertain rainfall to children’s bouts of severe diarrhea surround the poor.  It’s not just because income is limited, but “…because what income they receive is irregular and unpredictable.”

 

The book provides some serious wisdom about this poverty in the chapter, “What is Poverty?”  “It’s shocking.  After the world’s rich nations invested more than $2.3 trillion over the past 60 years to end global poverty, billions of our fellow humans remain desperately poor…Top-down development programs administered by governments, international agencies, foundations, or big NGO, [Nonprofit Government Organizations] rarely work because they’re so vulnerable to government corruption, bureaucratic inaction, the distance between the planners and the supposed beneficiaries, and both distrust and a lack of interest on the part of people who live at the grass roots.”

 

“Giveaways breed dependence and self-doubt instead of change.  Philanthropy isn’t the answer, either.  Despite the severely limited funds available, they’re squandered on a great diversity of uncoordinated, small-scale efforts to address every problem under the sun.  We can’t donate our way out of poverty.  Even Bill Gates, with $70 billion at his disposal, has referred to his wealth as a drop in the bucket in our $70 trillion global economy.”

 

It is estimated that 925 million people go to bed hungry at night globally.  “Poor people as we have come to know them in the Global South typically experience un- or underemployment; encounter barriers to opportunity based on their gender, race, ethnicity, or religion; lack some or all of the basic human needs, including clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing, and shelter; and all too often, lose hope and lack even the most basic self-esteem.”  Surely we can do something about this.  The light at the end of the tunnel is, in my opinion, this book, and its application with determination and persistence.

 

The next chapter is, “What Can Government and Philanthropy Do?” Since World War II global GDP went from $4 trillion to $70 trillion in 2012.  The authors explain that the main improvements have been in public health and primary education.  And it is true that the percentage of the planet’s people living below subsistence level has decreased from about a half to thirty-eight percent.  But in absolute numbers of desperately poor people, there are more today (2.7 billion), than sixty years ago (2.6 billion).

 

United Nations aid (about $5 billion in 2012), non-military U.S. aid and other aid has had significant effect in particular places, but “their net effect on the incidence of global poverty is nil.”  The author’s Takeaway is “The most obvious, direct, and effective way to combat poverty is to enable poor people to earn more money.”  “Building infrastructure—the World Bank’s longtime favorite mission—allows top government officials to award construction contracts to their families, friends, and supporters, often with kickbacks in return.  Unfortunately, massive foreign aid is often diverted to armies and police forces to preserve the power and hidden bank accounts of ruling elites, to the disadvantage of the country’s poor people.”

 

There are more than five million citizen-based organizations globally which attempt to fight poverty.  While these efforts are earnest, admirable and effective, these organizations “…tend to be scattershot and are almost always on a small scale.  Scale is the overarching issue for the citizen sector.”  From time to time these groups develop effective ideas such as one which CARE introduced, a micro savings and loan program “…based on savings rather than debt and is managed by members of the community rather than professionals…These ‘village savings and loans’…now serve some six million people in 58 countries.”

 

Worldwide, microcredit is now considered “…one of the most favored methods undertaken to fight poverty.”  However, it appears that many in the “$70 billion microcredit industry, practice fraud, demand usurious interest rates (sometimes even greater than those of moneylenders), and in at least two celebrated cases have made huge fortunes for their investors at the expense of their clients.  In some countries, the results have been tragic: poor people overloaded with debt and nothing to show for it—and even, in one extreme case in India, a wave of dozens of suicides brought on by aggressive debt collectors.”  Even in Bangladesh—“home of the microcredit movement and the country where it has expanded the most”—the country has gone down on a UN measure of poverty from 136th in 1991 to 146th twenty years later.

 

But not all is bad news.  In health care, “The eradication of smallpox and the near elimination of polio, plus recent efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, have saved millions of lives and captured the public imagination.”  The authors laud the efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in donating major sums of money to improve health care, “But so much more needs to be done!”

Education has been largely a success with literacy increasing significantly “…in recent decades in every region of the world.”  UNESCO estimates that world literacy went from about fifty-six percent in 1950 to eighty-two percent in 2000.  The authors explain, however, that schools in the Global South pay their teachers a pittance and have high teacher absenteeism.  These children do learn how to read and write in some fashion though.  The book encourages further efforts by governments in education, as there has been success previously, but states that better teacher salaries in the Global South would be helpful.

 

Other possible government advancements could be “…upgrading the legal system, expanding physical infrastructure, and improving business conditions.  In practice, making police and the courts accountable would be a big step forward.  Building more all-weather roads would help a lot, too.  And the thickets of often obscure laws and regulations that make establishing a business a months-long nightmare in many countries should be streamlined.”  Continuing, “in countries where they’re permitted (or can function under wraps where they’re not), citizen watchdog organizations can make a big difference by publicizing corruption, systematic uses of violence to stifle dissent, and other sins of government.  International organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, and Amnesty International are excellent examples on the global scale.”

REVIEW Part II: The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

The Business Solution to Poverty:

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Walwick

Review By John E. Wade II

Part II

 

Paul Polak, one of this book’s authors, wrote, Out of Poverty.  In it he explained how a market-driven nonprofit organization he founded in 1981, “…had lifted 17 million rural people into the middle class by rigorously applying practices they developed in the field in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Somalia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and new agricultural marketing practices—were revolutionary because they were market-driven and designed for and with $1-a-day farmers, and, not incidentally because they worked.”  There are approximately one billion people still living on $1 or less per day.  The authors spell it quite plainly, “…our primary concern in this book: a desire to eradicate poverty.”  I must explain that they are writing about dire poverty, $2 or less per day, not the comparative type of poverty which lingers in developed nations.

 

The authors explain, “…traditionally, capitalist approaches have exploited poor people and done irreparable harm to the environment.  But what we advocate is different: a way to achieve results on a global scale and solve your fundraising challenge without victimizing poor people or despoiling the environment.”  I’m not sure I would agree with the “exploit” statement, but I wholeheartedly agree with this book’s approach and premise of using business techniques to conquer world poverty.

 

The authors make a wonderful point—that this poverty involves “…a horrendous waste of human talent.  How many scientists, physicians, teachers, business innovators, gifted artists, and brilliant community leaders might emerge from the bottom billions if they were freed of the shackles of poverty?”  This poverty causes great environmental damage, which claims the most damage to the poor themselves as they “…over-farm already poor soils, cut down trees for fuel, use local fuels for cooking and heating, and compete for fast-shrinking supplies of water.  Lack of education, high infant mortality, and the need for more hands to increase family income lead to overpopulation, which adds a multiplier effect to the existing pressure that humanity exerts on our dwindling resource base…[with] practically all the projected increase in the world’s population between now and 2050…among people who live on $2 a day or less in the world’s poorest countries.”

 

There is a huge market potential with the emerging economies of the Global South making up approximately $12 trillion or eighteen percent of the globe’s total economic output.  According to the authors, “Global South”  transcends geography and “…refers to the generally less-developed, low-income countries typically classified as ‘developing nations,’ ‘underdeveloped countries,’ and ‘emerging nations—despite the fact that most of India, for example, lies north of the Equator, and Australia and New Zealand, which are by no means underdeveloped, lie far to the south of the line.”  Increasingly, global businesses are coming to realize that their opportunities in developed countries are limited and that it is a matter of corporate growth to seek to serve “…the New Frontier.”  I thoroughly agree with the authors as they wrote, “In business, life is change.  No well-managed corporation with global aspirations can afford to overlook new market opportunities.”

 

To understand the location of the world’s poorest people, the authors explain that most are concentrated in four areas across the globe: the Indian subcontinent (including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka)—900 million; Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines)—700 million; Sub-Saharan Africa (the dozens of nations that lie south of the Arabic-speaking countries on the Mediterranean coast)—roughly 500 million; and China—perhaps 300 million.  These four areas encompass about 2.4 billion with another 300 million spread around the world.

 

The authors sum up their premise, “The remedy we propose is to tap the mainstream capital markets to fund large-scale, global enterprises that address the basic needs of these 2.7 billion people: needs for clean water, renewable energy, affordable housing, accessible health care and education, and, above all, jobs.”  Their approach is founding businesses with a ten year goal of achieving a customer base of 100 million with revenues of $10 billion or more per year profitably enough “…to attract both indigenous and international commercial investors while minimizing its environmental impact to the greatest extent possible.”

 

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The authors have a definite route that they call zero-based design.  The first element of this formula is to listen to the poor people, not through pity, but as customers.  Think like Steve Jobs and create markets.  Scale is an essential component of this plan.  That is, “Design for scale from the very beginning as a central focus of the enterprise, with a view toward reaching not just thousands or even millions of poor people but hundreds of millions.”

 

“Ruthless affordability” requires designing products and processes “…not just 30 to 50 percent less than First World prices but often an order of magnitude less, or 90 percent.”

 

Another crucial key is “private capital.”  It is important to reach generous margins of profit “…which will play a central role in expanding any venture—drawing from a pool of trillions of dollars in private capital rather than the millions typically available for philanthropic; or government-sponsored programs.”  This is a vital point and the key that’s missing in other approaches.

 

The next element is “last-mile distribution.”  Because so many of these potential customers are in isolated rural areas, it is not only critical to plan for the last mile, but often the “last 500 feet.”

 

The authors’ list “aspirational branding” as the next element.  This one surprised me.  We are used to sophisticated branding in the developed world.  But the authors explain this is perhaps even more important with those in the bottom of the pyramid.

 

The final element is “Jugaad innovation.”  The term “Jugaad” is rooted in Hindu and refers to a creative or innovative idea that provides a quick, alternative way of solving or fixing a problem.  This involves working with what you have, and might even be called ingenuity.  Extensive testing and development are crucial.

 

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Both social goals and profitability are important, “For example, if an enterprise adopts the mission of selling crop insurance to large numbers of poor farmers at an attractive price, embeds that mission into its DNA, and never wavers from it, transformative social impact is inevitable.  The real challenge is earning attractive profits while doing it.”  The authors refer to stakeholder-centered management which means that the business addresses the needs of customers, employees, the local communities, the environment and the owners.