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Book Review-Donald Trump-The Art of the Deal

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2382 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The Art of the Deal by Donald J. Trump with Tony Schwartz published in 1987 gives an insight about a man’s life and how he has achieved success in his life. Donald trump was a young entrepreneur who was entangled in many controversies but knew how to use these controversies to his own benefit. He knew how to live life king size. This book gives a knowledge and inspiration of how to make a deal successful.

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Donald Trump was born in Queens, New York in 1946. Trump was the fourth of five children. At the age of 13 he went to New York Military Academy in upstate New York. He enrolled in Fordham University in the Bronx. In 1971 he began working for his father’s company, the Trump Organization. Donald trump’s family business was basically into construction business but at a smaller scale. Later he started his own business. Donald Trump believes that the key to success in any business is to balance courage, caution and promotion with patience. Much of his success came from offering to buy units before they were in the market. A key to understanding Trump’s success is that he actually likes handling complexity. Life is about challenges and reaching goals with having fun of winning them. But it is clear that it’s not about the money, but it is about winning. To win one has to be in right place at the right time, everyone is given luck but it is the smart one who masters luck.

Donald Trump

“Trump: The Art of the Deal is a look at the mind of a brilliant entrepreneur and an extraordinary education in the art of the deal. It is a must read for anyone interested in money and success. He talks about many of his business meetings, and different strategies he has taken to implement good business practices, and to get what he wants at the price he wants.

Donald is a down to earth guy but can be highly demanding when it comes to getting the job done. He is a brilliant at getting the right jobs done with right people pretty much at the right time. Another great thing about this novel is that the fact it shows people on how things work in the real world. Trump approach towards the business extremely straightforward. He believes that the art of business can be reduced to a very simple formula of buy at low price and sell at high price.

His eleven steps in the book are a policy of knowledge which he has shared with his readers. The book is written in a manner that will also encourage the reader a bit of reading between the lines and reading behind the scenes. He has a lot of ego and an interesting stage charisma.

About the Book:

Donald trump has given a systematic approach to explain the art of dealing. First author gave us insight of his life, explained a week of his life. Then he explained the key elements in making a deal. In the next few chapters he told us about his past life and the rest of the book covers about the different dealing he made in his life. The book is written in an autobiographical style, each chapter covers a major “deal” in the life of The Donald Trump. The beginning chapters show his past history and talks about his family and later it talks about how he was introduced to the world of real estate by his father.

Each chapter covers a different deal, which were mostly in the 1970s-80s. Unfortunately, one needs to understand the time, New York and Trump to get this information. Since the information is from the 80s, it is a bit out dated. Also, if the readers are not familiar with New York many of the streets and peoples name are difficult to remember and it will mean nothing to you. Trump also does put in lots of people’s name which is pretty difficult to remember for the people from other countries to understand.

Beginning with a week in Trump’s high-stakes life we see just how he operates day to day and how he runs his business and how he runs his life. Donald spends the bulk of his book discussing in detail his triumphs in Manhattan from starting as an unknown developer and how he gained celebrity status as an entrepreneur. He outlines his often unpopular decisions, such as filling half of one of his buildings with the homeless while waiting for tenants to give up their leases. He also outlines his ability for efficiency by taking over the construction of the Wollman Rink from the city and finishing the project before the dead line and lower than the budgeted cost. Donald further discusses his entrance into the casino industry in New Jersey and then Atlantic City as well as his plans to build the world’s tallest building on the west side and court NBC as its main tenant. Perhaps this book is at its best in its discussion of Trump Tower: The Tiffany Location, Donald’s largest love and possibly most significant investment having been profitable even before completion of construction.

Secrets of the deal maker

A key to understanding Trump’s success is that he actually likes handling complexity. What to others look like big problems, to him appear as massive opportunities. The more complex the deal, he notes, the fewer developers will be interested.

Though one of his trademarks is confidence, in fact he always goes into any deal looking at what could possibly go wrong. Protect the downside and upside will take care of itself. Every deal must have a fallback position. The dealmaker must sacrifice personal preferences to ensure a profitable outcome.

Think big

The people who think small are the ones who are afraid of taking big decision, afraid of winning, afraid of success. The key behind thinking big is total focus.

“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: If you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”

Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself

People always say think positive but Donald trump have a different saying about this he believes in power of negative. Plan for the worst rest will be taken care off.

Maximize your option

While thinking keep all your options open. Consider all possible angles so that we can prepare for any outcome for a situation and make the deal in one’s favour. Keep your options open about the things that you are going to do after a deal is over.

In the case of Trump Tower Donald Trump had kept his option open for the type and different structure of the building he wanted to build over that land. He was ready to even build a office building in that space, his final option would be to sell the land also. He had thought of all possible outcomes even the worse ones.

Know your market

Study of the market is very important in any business but if it is done with own surveys and drawing one’s own conclusion it helps in a much better way and saves lot of money too which was not put in any market research team.

Use your leverage

Leverage is having something other guy wants. One has to convince the other guy it’s in his interest to make the deal. Try to control on your fear of losing and take big decisions.

Get the word out

One has to do proper promotion of his product. It might so happen that he has the best product but people might know that. There are many ways to do this by using public relation to promote it. Donald trump showed a great way of using the media to his advantage. He created controversies and press started writing about him by doing this he saved a lot of money.

‘People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.’

Fight back

Donald trump fought with the people who treated him badly and he fought for something he believed. Donald trump has given a significant insight about his deals. He has given all the details about how he goes around a deal, what are the initial judgments for the investments.

The approach of Donald trump in making a deal

First of all what he would do is select the best location if possible and get to know about the plus and minus about that place, if not best location then too he will promote in such a way that people feel that it is the best location in town. He uses the media as a tool for publicity of his deals. He tries to cover the deal from all possible angles. He thinks of the future what he is going to do after the deal is successful. He keeps his mind open for different options.

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The best example of his deal is the trump tower: the Tiffany Location. The location was a prime location in New York. Initially the deal was dead but Donald did not give up he tried and wrote letters. He believes that Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure. After almost three years he tried again and this time the company was bankrupt. While making the deal he also took into account the zoning and adjacent pieces. Before the closing of the deal he took in written agreement on a piece of paper that the other party will not back out of deal. He brought the air right of next building and tries everything to increase FAR. Finally he made all the deals and put every piece in place. He closed the deal which the value he thought that would be proper for this place, less than the market price. After deal was over he had different plans for the building. He kept all his option open.

Trumps point of view on deals is that if you can handle and accept the worst part of a deal then you can let the good take care of itself. Whenever you go to handle a deal think and calculate of the worst outcome of the deal and the implications of after the deal. If you think you can bear the worst than carry on with the deal otherwise you need to work hard before the deal is made and try to make this happen in your favor.

Drawback of the book:


There were many names in the book. It was lot of confusing. It was difficult then to relate the people in the start of the book with the end of it.

Who is Tony Schwartz?

This is the person which whom Donald trump wrote the book. There is no mention of this guy anywhere in the book except the front page.

Why was Donald trump so obsessed with casino and Atlantic City?

Donald trump was in construction business and he was trying to buy casino keeping the fact that he did not have any experience of handling casino business. He already had two casinos in Atlantic City and he still wanted to build more in this city. Instead he could have build at different locations. He could have targeted different type of construction instead of only focusing on hotels and casino.

Barron Hilton

The sympathy for Barron Hilton was totally not Donald Trump. He made decisions which were not rational. He took lot of risk on himself.

Details of the construction market in US

People from different country cannot properly relate the construction market in US. A brief about US market would help understand better.

Images given in between

Instead of placing all the images at one place in between the book, it would have been better if the images were distributed in the books according to their need. After every chapters of dealing images could have been placed and more number of images was required.


Many a times the narration went back and forth in time which is little difficult to relate, like he explained about his week of life but there was no mention about which year he is talking about.


1. This book has a clear structure of understanding how to make a deal.

2. Deal should be made with a proper person who can take decisions.

3. Think of every possible alternative plans before a deal.

4. Trump shared with readers how to become successful by hard work, persistence and so on.

5. Deals should be made with oneself present in it.

6. You get a feel of how to make deals from Trump, but this book is not an introduction course to real estate 101.

7. Never back out of a deal once a word is given.

8. Personal marketing is better than public relation team.


This book is truly an inspirational to all the people who would like to pursue construction as their business. It does not provide the technical stuff behind the business but it provides a great managerial aspect of this business. It helps create confidence and it provides with eleven key elements to crake a successful deal with others. It helps us understand that more than earning money winning is more important and having fun of it. Thinking big is the first step to any success. People think small because they can’t take big decision on time under great pressure. They are afraid of the down turn of the deal but Donald Trump teaches us that before any deal we should calculate our downside losses first and while dealing give no chance to other to overcome on you.

The Art of the deal has shown some out of the box thinking done by Donald Trump. At the end of the book you feel really motivated to think in a different way, calculate everything. One thing everyone has to accept that Donald trump grabbed every opportunity he got because he believes in that a person showed be on the right place at right time and show not miss any opportunity which comes on the way.

Donald trump is a great person and a brilliant entrepreneur who believes in hard work pays off. He would go against anybody who is wrong even if it causes a great loss to him. Donald trump believed that on buying at low price and selling it at a higher price and to do this he appointed right people with right talent for the job. This book is a must read for a MBA student or a person who wants to pursue construction business. It really provides all the managerial skills that are required to guide a person while making a deal.


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