I picked up a paperback copy of “The Art Of The Deal” By Donald Trump at the bookstore in the mall last week. I just finished the book and although it wasn’t exactly as I expected; it was a worthwhile read that offered a glimpse into the life and mind of one of the most famous (or infamous, depending on your politics) figures on the planet – Donald Trump. The near 400 page book wastes no time.
Unsurprisingly busy, shrewdly descriptive and fast paced are good phrases to describe the style this book follows. I’ve never seen the movie “metropolis” but I imagine it’s much similar. The beginning of the book follows Trump around for a solid week, day by day as he meticulously notes conversation after conversation along with pros/ cons and the motivations on both parties of each deal discussed within those conversations. Meeting with multiple people throughout the day, making and taking phone calls constantly & negotiating ( and then renegotiating) are big themes in this book, of course, but it is not as sharply illustrated in the entire book as it is in the first chapter.
It goes through how Trump’s father was a working class guy who refused to follow the beaten path; instead opting to build a house on his own – with his own money – as a young man. He used the profits of that house to build another one, and scaled that business up with hard work, attention to detail and the willingness to be tough and do whatever it took ( no excuses ) to get his builds done. He had no choice – the people and tenants he was surrounded by made delivering on a promise and keeping your word a necessity – not an option. Trump saw this as a child and often accompanied his father to these deals and learned much about business – the most important thing he learned from his father was insider knowledge about how to build on budget, what it cost to build and how to stand up to tough people. You could say that it was a perfect storm of sorts when Trump came of age and decided to go into the real estate business himself.
Although written in the late 80’s (which makes the book over 40 years old) there are still many things one can learn from reading it. It’s impossible to not adopt a fond respect of Donald Trump’s commitment to playing a game he likes (real estate) and playing it better than anyone else while maintaining his individuality. Perhaps that is another of the most valuable lessons he learned from his father – that if you choose to do something choose something you love because that’s the only way you’ll ever be able to do it. Donald Trump watched his father build decent houses and pulled himself out of poverty and gave his children a better life than he had.
When Trump came of age – he became a famous negotiator for his down to earth common sense approach to business and ended up dominating the New York real estate market. Throughout the book you are offered insights into why he makes decisions , how he makes them and what he actually cares about. There is an expression that goes “Don’t take it personally, it’s just business”; but with Trump there is no difference and that is a compliment.
If you are looking for insight into the old school physiology of success (before the internet as we know it, and before cell phones, then check out this book. It was written by a man at the top – but reads like a friend explaining the route they took to get to a great destination.
Thanks for reading my review of “The Art Of The Deal” By Donald Trump. 🙂