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Trump: The Art of the Deal Hardcover – November 12, 1987
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From Publishers Weekly
This boastful, boyishly disarming, thoroughly engaging personal history offers an inside look at aspects of financing, development and construction in big-time New York real estate. "I don't do it for the money," maintains Trump, the son of a Queens realtor who, at age 27, bought and transfigured the colossal Hotel Commodore at Grand Central Terminal. Now 40, he has built, among other projects, and owns outright, Fifth Avenue's retail and residential Trump Tower (where he occupies a double-triplex suite); owns and operates Trump's Castle, a casino in Atlantic City; is arguably the most visible young man on Manhattan's celebrity circuit ("Governor Cuomo calls. . . . dinner at St. Patrick's Cathedral. . . . I call back Judith Krantz"); and is currently developing a controversial 100-acre West Side "Television City" project that is planned to include the world's tallest building. For those who would do likewise, Trump articulates his secrets for success: imagination, persistence, skill at "juggling provisional commitments" (e.g., for land or lease options, bank financing, zoning approval, tax abatement, etc.) and most crucial of all, a true trader's instinct. 135,000 printing; first serial to New York magazine and Vanity Fair; Fortune Book Club main selection; BOMC alternate. (December
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This is a fascinating book because it is incredible. At the age of 41, Trump, the son of a Queens, New York, developer of moderate-income apartment houses, presides over a vast real estate empire with assets in the billions. Trump's world is composed of an endless series of deals and ventures, most of them monumentally successful from his point of view. The book is less an autobiography than an hour-by-hour recapitulation of how Trump spends his time plus a few lessons for those who would do the same. Trump seems to be a clever entrepreneur and exhibitionist. There should be requests aplenty for this. A.J. Anderson, G.S.L.I.S., Simmons Coll., Boston
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The majority of the book is a swashbuckling, detailed history of his biggest projects. He talks about all the details, from negotiating with landholders, arguing about zoning with city officials, lining up contractors, interviewing architects, dealing with partners in various projects, negotiating with banks to line up financing, and the like.
Trump also devotes a couple chapters to his background. He was the son of a successful developer of rent-controlled & low-income housing in Queens and Brooklyn, NY. He was a mischievous, aggressive kid (he once punched a teacher), and was sent military school during his high-school years. He started college at Fordham in the Bronx, NY, to be close to home, but then then transferred to the Wharton Business School (at the University of Pennsylvania) because he liked its entrepreneurial emphasis. Shortly after college, he worked with his father to buy a troubled apartment complex in Cincinnati, which he fixed it up and sold for a multi-million dollar profit. Hungry for bigger things, he moved to a small studio apartment in Manhattan, and progressed from small deals to bigger ones, from renovating a hotel, to building Trump tower, to building and buying casinos in Atlantic city, along with a many other projects.
Besides the stories of his deal-making, Trump gives some tips for aspiring moguls. Although he believes you need a certain innate instinct for negotiating well, he thinks there are some tips everyone can use. For example: when planning deals, one should think big, always have a plan B, keep your options open, and use your advantages as leverage in negotiations. When executing a deal, one must deliver results, control costs, and fight competitors when necessary. Also, promotion of your project is important to get the word out. And finally, of course, Trump says one has to have fun doing all this -- if it's not fun, why do it?
Overall, the book was an OK read, and it moved quickly (I read it in about a day). Some reviewers were put off by Trump's bravado (but give me a break -- it's Donald Trump!! what did you expect?). If you can get past the bluster, you can see what it took to assemble his empire. I was inspired to re-read the book because of the success of Trump's new TV show, "The Apprentice," and I don't regret the day or so it took to re-read -- it's light reading & moves very quickly. If you'd like a quick refresher on Trump's rise, as I did, then this book (and some say the best book) should be on your reading list.
With the exception of the first couple chapters, which talk about his early years, each chapter goes into some detail about a different deal, like the USFL and Trump Plaza. Trump talks about some negotiations, licensing, and construction. Reading about the steps behind each deal has some benefit if you are patient and read carefully.
Unfortunately, you need to understand the time, New York/New Jersey, and Trump to get this information. Since the information is from the 80s, it is a bit dated. Also, if you are not familiar with New York or New Jersey, many of his references (which are oftentimes just the streets involved) will mean nothing to you. Trump also does a lot of name-dropping. If you are not from the area, then most of the names will mean nothing (with the exception of some of the USFL players he mentions).
I would rate this book higher if it wasn't so dated. If you are familiar with the area and time covered in the book, then this can be helpful.
Nobody in his or her right mind could entertain voting for Trump after reading this, certainly.
Anything and everything that makes Trump look decent in the book is purely "spin" according to Scchwartz.