I first gained an interest in Donald Trump while watching the television show The Apprentice. The show gave insight on how Trump runs his business, which caught my interest and prompted me to choose his book “The Art of the Deal.” Surprisingly, nearly 20 years after the book was written, not much has changed. This book report will give a brief description and my thoughts on some of the most interesting chapters in this book.
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The first three chapters serve as somewhat of a biography covering events in Trump’s personal life. The following chapters go on to give a detailed description of several major deals made during his first 20 years in the business with Trump sharing some of his “Trump Cards,” or tips, as an added bonus.
The first chapter is a journal of his daily events for a few weeks during the time the book was being written. In this portion of the book Trump speaks very boastfully, yet his confidence is very impressive. He often mentioned some of the people he spoke with during this time in his journals. Most notably was one of his good friend’s and financial advisor at the time, the formal Federal Chairman Alan Greenspan. The entry recounts an incident where Mr. Greenspan called Trump to let him know about his purchase of 10,000 shares of Holiday Inn and quickly hung up. Trump then says, “Our calls last less than two minutes. That’s one thing I like about Alan: he never wastes any time.”
In the second chapter he describes the “code” he lives by when running his business. I tend to read over this chapter quite often to see how he negotiated some of his business deals. I believe the first paragraph of the chapter says it all, “I think deal-making is an ability your are born with. It’s in the genes. I don’t say that egotistically. It’s mostly about the instincts.” Although he believes you cannot teach anyone how to make a deal, he still gave some good tips for aspiring businessmen. His first tip was to “Think Big.” Trump thought big and opted to purchase properties in Manhattan unlike his father, who was also in the real estate business, who chose to purchase small apartment complexes in Brooklyn and Queens. A few of the other tips listed were: Maximize Your Options, Know Your Market, Use Your Leverage, and Have Fun.
The third chapter is titled “Growing Up,” which gives a brief chronology of his background and life lessons learned. Some of the major things Trump learned early in life were toughness, motivation, and most importantly efficiency: “Get it in, Get it done, Get it done right, and Get out.” Trump found very early on how assertive and aggressive he was when he punched his music teacher in the second grade. At that point he realized that he needed to use his brains and not his fist to make a point.
The rest of the chapters discuss some of his major deals, which shared a common theme: “I was under budget and completed the project in half the time.” However, one not so successful chapter was when he owned a football team that was in the USFL. He convinced other owners to tackle the NFL head on by directly competing with the NFL during their regular season. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful and eventually had to suspend the season, but Trump always had a backup plan. He bounced back by negotiating a deal with the Dallas Cowboys for the top USFL player, Herschel Walker. This deal significantly cut his losses down to a minimum.
In this book, Trump offers the low down on how deals are really negotiated in the boardroom, as opposed to how it is taught in the classroom. Sure Trump has a big ego and sits on a high horse, but he is a successful billionaire and I found his book to be very motivational. I would not consider this a “How-to-Guide” that needs to be taught in college business courses. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who is an aspiring entrepreneur. It did work for many of the candidates on The Apprentice.
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