The art of the deal is about management, leadership mentality. It’s a kind of biography presenting the life of Donald Trump until the ’90s – way before he thought about the American presidency. If you’ve ever tried to figure out how were people making money in the United States, you will find out that the real estate market was a great place to do that. Then, sooner or later, Donald Trump’s name comes up inevitably because he did many great deals and he, eventually, made a lot of money.
Now, this is not a political message, don’t interpret it like that and be rational. You can like the man or be totally opposite, that’s not the point here. Nevertheless, I have to say that this is a brilliant book. If you’ve ever wondered how does someone at that level of working with hundreds of millions of dollars operate and make deals or what kind of deals they make? How were those deals structured and what was his thinking behind this decision-process, this is the book for you as Donald Trump reveals all of this. Simply saying, he walks you through a few of his transactions and presents the people and his strategy behind these deals. Most importantly he keeps the story really interesting.
Anyway, Donald Trump comes from a real estate family. His father, Fred Trump, was a renowned real estate developer on the outskirts of New York. He became a wealthy business person for building row properties in South Brooklyn. This way Donald Trump was already introduced into the real estate market as a child and when he came of age he decided to pursue a career in the real estate business. On the other hand, he didn’t want to stay in some niche and had his eyes set on Manhattan, the property capital of the world. However, the book doesn’t concentrate only on New York. You will find other deals in Atlanta and other cities where he was developing his other projects.
There are a few key points from the book which I’d like to mention below. Treat them as principles followed by Trump in his business and political (my assumption) career:
- Think big, be obsessive and driven
- Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself which means to be very conservative in business. It’s better to pay a higher price for a sure thing rather than putting your business at risk
- Maximise your options – be flexible and never be attached to one option, deal or approach. Keep as many options open as possible. Furthermore, if you took one way still hold other options at hand in order to deliver your goal
- Know your market – don’t waste too much money on market research and surveys. Get there on your own and talk to real people until you know the market by instinct. Next, trust your gut feeling. Honestly, I’m not so sure about this point. Maybe in the ’80s market surveys weren’t so reliable, nowadays when we have AI, big data etc. I would rather go for it
- Enhance your location – this rule is specific to the property business. Keep your property spotless and tidy and keep an eye on their surrounding as it’s one of the major price factors
- Get the word out – publicity is always better than no publicity, no matter if it’s positive or negative. Create interest, excitement and sensational story as the press loves it
- Always deliver your promises
In conclusion, if you wanted to know the real kind of thinking of Donald Trump, whether you are on one side or the other, I don’t care, read the book. Love him or hate him, but the man knows how to win. It’s a great reading on leadership mentality and making large deals. Trump gives great guidance on negotiating and construction deals. You’ll find here a lot of wisdom and a lot of business intelligence on how to make good win-win deals which is something critical. The book also offers inspiration and technical advice to anyone venturing into real estate.
The Art of the Deal
by Donald J. Trump
Size: 384 pages
Other information and reviews of this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1032.Trump
Other useful links:
Trump’s website: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/
Donald Trump on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump
The Trump Organization on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trump_Organization
Other great biographies: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and many other