The Art of the Deal is a non-fiction business book written by Donald J. Trump – now President Trump. In the book, Trump begins the book by showing readers what his typical daily schedule looks like over the course of a week. During this time, he has many phone calls, a few meetings and watches the news. The author mentions that he lives by a certain set of rules or standards when making deals and in life in general. Early on the book, Mr. Trump makes it very clear that he thoroughly enjoys making deals – especially good and challenging deals. Trump admits that making deals was never about the money for him; it was that he liked the “challenge of building a spectacular development on almost one hundred acres by the river on the West Side of Manhattan, or creating a huge new hotel next to Grand Central Station at Park Avenue and 42nd Street”. (47)
After going through his daily routine, he talks about his past and how he got to where he is at the time he wrote the book. He begins by talking about his father, what work he did and how he got to own his own business in real estate development and construction. He talks about the values his father instilled in him at a young age, how they were alike and how they were different in terms of business, entrepreneurial spirit and developments. Trump studied at Wharton and earned his degree before moving back home and working full-time for his dad. He buys his first development property in Cincinnati; he gets the development with some help from his father. Together they decide to make apartments that they can rent. The building was a success and after a few years, when the Trumps noticed a decline in the area, they decided to sell the development to someone else.
Eventually Trump and his father part ways because Trump is ready to start buying development properties in Manhattan while his dad would prefer to continue developing in Brooklyn. During this time, Trump recounts some of his successes and some of his failures; he explains to the readers why he believes the deals he made were so successful and why he was going after some of the properties he ended up buying. He also explains how he was able to turn those properties into profitable businesses that offer an luxurious experience for any who choose to vacation at those properties. One thing Trump does each time he opens a development property is he hires the best company or individual for the job. Two examples are when he chooses an architect to help him design his skyscrapers, he usually chooses the person who would be best suited to bring his vision to life or the person who would best be able to get approved by city officials. Another is when he entered the casino industry; he quickly realizes that he doesn’t really have to expertise or time necessary to handle the day-to-day operations of a casino, so he hires the best in the local industry to make sure that his business thrives.
Trump goes over the lessons he learned from his many successes and his failures. It becomes evident that Trump was not into developing just for the money (if at all), but simply because of the challenges one has to overcome to develop a property on time and under budget as well as the creativity required to design skyscraping residential and commercial properties. Trump makes it clear that he cares about getting the job done well, getting it done right, getting it done within budget and on time. Time and again, Trump gets the job done – no money or time wasted.
The book also shows the kind of relationship Trump has with the media, banks, critics and government administrations. He details the steps he took to get from land purchase to construction to rentals. It’s a complicated or lengthy process at times. The author also shows that he cares about his employees and has no problem hiring the best people/person for the job. He’s done this when choosing contractors, architects, chefs, managers and any other employee. He also offers tips on how to make a good deal – what techniques and other methods he’s used in the past that have worked well for him. He also offers some insight in how to pick the right location for your development because location is immensely important. He points out that you can build the nicest skyscraper, but if it’s in a poor location then it still won’t do as well as a nice skyscraper in a prime location with breathtaking views of whatever is nearby.
Honestly, the book reads more like a conversation between two people or friends. Mr Trump explains things in clear terms and also takes readers through his thought process. The book gives insight into how Trump views things – how his business decisions have been guided by his own principles and gut feelings. I loved the book; I found it engaging, interesting and well-written. The story Trump tells is relatable and he paints a clear picture of the amount of work he puts into each deal or transaction he makes for a business. It’s evident he takes it all very seriously, but also likes to have fun which is why he built Mar-A-Lago and Trump Tower. This book is what Business Adventures by John Brooks should have been. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in buying real estate for developing or flipping to make a profit, to anyone who has to make business deals on a regular basis, to anyone involved in negotiations, any entrepreneur, small business owner, business scholar or student or real estate agent looking to make the leap into developing. I purchased this book on a whim at Barnes and Noble one weekend, but for those not interested in buying a copy of the book, I would think that there would be a copy available at your local library. For those who are interested in purchasing their own copy, Barnes and Noble has them for $16.99 ($14.44 for Members) or you can buy a copy on Amazon for $11.26 (a Prime item too).
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