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Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success Hardcover – September 22, 2015
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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“Never Enough is an admirably straightforward, evenhanded but nonetheless damning account of Trump’s life.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“A brisk and entertaining read, drawing on interviews and documents and distilling decades’ worth of news coverage to tell the story of Trump’s childhood, family, business deals and political forays.” ―The Washington Post
“A carefully reported and fair-minded account. … [D’Antonio] has pulled together Trump's story, subjected it to some fact-checking and dissected a string of business deals that display his drive to win, his thirst for money, his willingness to push boundaries and his apparently endless quest for publicity.” ―USA Today
"Delightful." ―London Review of Books
"Balanced, well-sourced and perfectly timed." ―The Financial Times
About the Author
As part of a team of journalists from Newsday, MICHAEL D'ANTONIO won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting before going on to write many acclaimed books, including biographies of Milton S. Hershey and Sir Thomas Lipton. His book, Mortal Sins, was praised by Booklist as "a landmark work of recent history [which] remains gripping and affecting to the last word." He has also written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, and Sports Illustrated.
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The book starts with a preface written during the presidential campaign, and highlights not only Trump’s appeal to voters, but his personal characteristics. Trump will succeed or fail based on his character traits.
D’Antonio gives an overview of Trump’s paternal lineage, where the reader comes to understand Trump’s family background and how he’s applied what he’s learned from his father and brought it forward.
What is refreshing about Trump is that one can usually understand everything out of his mouth, and I think that’s the broad appeal.
Overall, “The Truth About Trump” is a very comprehensive look at a man who has positive and negative traits. He can be extremely generous with his time and money, but he demands loyalty to a fault and can be vindictive with his lawsuits. The book was a steady read that helped me to understand the man who is our current president. Out of the books I’ve read about Trump, this one was the easiest to comprehend and was written in an honest style. It ggave a candid assessment of the man himself. I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to learn more about Donald Trump.
The book starts off with this grandfather’s immigration to America and his entrepreneurial adventures. Then it moves on to his father and his business ventures. He made his name and fortune in the NY real estate business, specifically catering to middle class renters in Queens. He taught his son all he knew about the real estate business. In addition, he seems to have instilled a killer “always be a winner no matter what” instinct into his son. Mr. D’Antonio follows the son’s life from his childhood days and his schooling at the brutal military school where he was educated it (and the author does show how the word brutal was no exaggeration). This seems to have played a very important role in giving him the personality he has today (i.e., savage, no rules barred, winner takes all attitude, always pushing the boundaries to get what he wants, etc.). The author, however, does not interview too many of his instructors and fellow classmates (or if he did, does not do mention the results in too much detail). That is one of the big problems of this book. This is very much the opposite of David Remick’s “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barrack Obama”. In that book Mr. Remick did a meticulous job at interviewing (and presenting to his readers the results of those interviews) a very large number of people who knew Mr. Obama personally in an attempt to figure out who Obama “the man” was (ironically that author fails at that task just like Mr. D’Antonio does – more on that below). Mr. D’Antonio should have done a far better job at interviewing more people who knew Mr. Trump personally and presenting those interviews to the reader with the goal of using their knowledge of Mr. Trump to help the reader figure out who Mr. Trump “the man” is.
The book then follows Trump through the rest of his life until his run for the White House. The reader learns of many of Mr. Trump’s personality quirks and traits (i.e., always attacks those that criticize him, a distorted sense of truth, boundless narcissism, loyalty to those who were loyal to him [a characteristic in Trump’s early life that Mr. D’Antonio does not look at in Trump’s later life], etc.). Although the identification of these traits gives us an important picture of his personality the reader is still not presented with a picture of who Mr. Trump “the man” really is. With respect to an overview of who “the man” is Mr. D’Antonio, like so many, is simply stumped. He even admits as much. On p.335 of the paperback he writes “Anyone who tried to grasp the “real” Trump was likely to fail. As the …. Gossip columnist Liz Smith tells me, ‘I have known him forever, and can’t figure him out”. Even his first two wives expressed this exact same view to Mr. Antonio.
In short, a book that provides us a decent picture of many aspects of Mr. Trump’s personality but that is unable to get at the heart of who the subject really is. Perhaps Mr. Trump himself does not even know himself. Considering Mr. Trump’s disdain for education, learning and self-reflection is it really a surprise that he has utterly ignored Socrates’ very important maxim “know thyself”? Could it be, as Mr. Antonio concludes in the final page of the book, that in this age of Facebook, Twitter and other forms of narcism run amuck, that Mr. Trump has only reflected society albeit in an excessive and “first adapter” manner? Could this be the core reason for his success?
for those interested in an investigative reporter's perspective on Mr. Trump this reviewer recommends David Kay Johnson's "The Making of Donald Trump". Being an investigative reporter Mr. Johnson does not attempt to analyze Mr. Trump's personality or character but instead looks at him from viewpoint, in Fitzgerald's words, "action is character". A good compliment for to this book.
Another book that, surprisingly given its very niche focus, provides valuable insights on the personality of Donald Trump is Simms' "Donald Trump: The Making of a World View". This book only examines Donald Trump's views on various aspects of foreign policy (i.e., trade, defense, etc.) based on speeches and interviews in both the written press and television over the past 30 years (nearly all of these were made before he even considered running for office). The reader learns, based on these views, Mr. Trump's love of "the strong man" (for example he described Gorbachev as a disaster because of his unwillingness to use force and the Chinese leadership as wise because of its use of force at Tiannaman Square). The reader also learns how Mr. Trump views very complicated issues as being, in his opinion, actually quite simple. He stated, on numerous occasions, that gaining expertise on very complex issues such as arms control and foreign policy can be gained, no matter how complicated the issue, in only a few hours (at most). The book also shows how naïve he is on, as if what is stated in the previous sentences is not enough, on many foreign policy issues. For example, in speeches on the Crimea he stated, paraphrasing, it was a wealthy area. This is despite the fact, outside of geographic strategic value, the area is quite poor economically. Hence Mr Simms' book, ironically, provides more insight into the personality of Mr. Trump than do full fledged biographies such as D'Antonio's, Johnson's and Kranish's "Trump Revealed". This reviewer has also written a review of Simm's and Kranish's book for those interested in those books as well.
From his early years we find a high strung, overly aggressive and self-absorbed boy. Eventually Trump lands in military school where he sharpens his warrior persona. The Trump name becomes synonymous with wealth, ambition, and instant gratification. He describes man as “a vicious animal” and therefore life as a “series of never ending battles “. He proclaims that, “You can’t just let life make a sucker out of you”. After reading this biography I am convinced that “The Donald” has made suckers out of all the American people.