Trump The Art of the Deal Book Review

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

Art of the Deal: Book Summary

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.

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