The Art of the Deal

Each week Drew Wade will attempt to read and review a book by an author who’s new to him, and then he’ll tell you if it’s worth your time or not.


This week I’m taking a different approach with the kind of book I read. The next novel in my alphabetical list is a real clunker, and I’ve been busy moving and getting married, so I haven’t been able to read as much as I’d like to lately. So, when the opportunity to read something ridiculous and/or amazing came along, I took it. I was at the Poland Library Used Book Store when I found it—Donald Trump’s (ghostwritten) The Art of the Deal, original paperback edition from ’87 or ’88. Perfect condition. 50 cents.

Side note about the Poland, Ohio Library Used Book Store—it’s much better than the library itself. “Travesty! Sacrilege!” you’re saying. I hear you. You’re about to tell me how beautiful the Poland Library is. You’re about to tell me what a marvel of architecture it is. You’re about to tell me that it’s one of the few things the greater Youngstown metropolitan statistical area has going for it (now that Mill Creek Park is essentially a toxic waste dump). Okay, got it, and I don’t disagree with you. Now, I’m about to tell you that the Poland Library is all about appearances. Have you ever been to the actual library part? I could fit their entire book collection in my apartment (slight exaggeration, but not really). It’s a beautiful building that they spent a lot of money on, and it shouldn’t be a library. But their book store is still amazing; it has a decent, if erratic, selection, it has trade paperbacks in brand new condition for a dollar, and it has off-the-wall finds like Mr. Trump’s book for much less.

Now, back to Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump is a professional idiot by many accounts. Those same accounts always talk about his idiocy being connected to his politics and his brash mannerisms and his hatred of immigrants and women. I have no arguments with those criticisms. But a man or woman can be completely hopeless in one area and be amazing in another area. Such is the case with Mr. Trump. Say what you will about the man, but he has a brilliant business mind, and what he says in this book might possibly change your mind about business. It probably won’t change your mind about him, and it probably won’t change your life, but it will make you say, “Huh, I’ve never thought about business in that particular way.”

Most of the book is told through stories of his business dealings and how he outwitted former mayor of New York, Ed “You’re Pronouncing it Wrong” Koch. Did you know Trump made his first big property deal on a crappy apartment complex in Cincinnati? You do now. (I know—which crappy apartment complex in Cincinnati, right? Because there are so many to choose from!) But even in the business dealings we still get smatterings of the Donald’s wisdom. A lot of the time he uses the lessons he learned in his business deals to illustrate points he made earlier, in Chapter Two: “Trump Cards.” These Trump Cards (get it?) are sound, solid pieces of advice that will affect your thinking, especially if you have some of the entrepreneurial spirit about you. Take for instance, on page 48, when he tells you to protect the downside of your deal and the upside will take care of itself… Hey! What am I telling you this?

If I give you all this wisdom you’re just going to try and compete with me and make my life harder, and that’s the last thing I need. You’re going to take all of these useful things I’ve learned about business and you’re going to use them to make your own businesses, and then the banks will give you all loans and won’t have enough left for little old me.

So forget it. I’m buying up all the copies of this book I can find. If I see you reading it, I’ll snatch it out of your hands and run like someone fleeing from the ICE. The only way you’re going to get to read this book is if you find some anti-immigrationist/birther/tea-partier with a copy, and then you’re going to have to fight him (because, let’s be honest, they’re usually men) for it. And you know what? I’m kind of okay with that.

Cool. Now just forget you ever read this.

Published by

Alexandra Stanislaw

Alexandra Stanislaw is the Editor-In-Chief and founder of Devise Literary. She is also an Assistant Editor for Hotel Amerika. Her work appears in Crab Fat Magazine ("The Good Friend" and "Tampa Raised You Up"), Ragazine, and Chicago Review of Books.

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