COLORADO SPRINGS: From what is being written about President Trump one would think that he has not been in the public eye for the last forty years. Pundits seem not to understand either the man or his policy moves.
Certainly, much of the criticism is ideologically based. But people should know better. As citizens, we can cut through the disinformation pretty easily.
All one has to do is read President Trump’s 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, to understand how he thinks.
The Art of the Deal is interesting on two levels. The first is what the book is all about: how deals are made in Trump’s real estate world. From that level, it contains some very useful advice.
Not earth-shattering insights, but common sense lessons learned from experience.
How Donald Trump thinks.
The Art of the Deal is written in the first person. It’s a narrative story and the author is speaking directly to his audience. Trump is a good storyteller. He has a flair for the dramatic and either highlights or exaggerates certain elements in a story for their dramatic effect.
The first chapter is a description of a week in the life of Donald Trump.
He describes what his work day and week are like including, someone suspects, not all—of the phone calls and meetings he’s had that particular week.
Because we learn about the man from The Art of the Deal, it is autobiographical. But it is not overtly autobiographical in the way that his predecessor in the White House wrote two autobiographies by the time he was 35.
Unlike his predecessor, Trump is no narcissist.
What is the secret to his success?
Donald Trump is driven. In a recent interview, Dr. Sebastian Gorka said he wished he had as much energy as President Trump.
much more often than you’d think, sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure. – Donald Trump (DT)
Chapter 2 – The art of the deal
This chapter contains all the “secrets” of making a good deal. It all boils down to things you’ve likely heard before: do your homework, know what you’re talking about and who you’re talking with. Be patient and disciplined and wait for the right opportunity.
This last one is instructive. We live in an increasingly risk-averse society. The point of the book is that there is always a risk in any endeavor. You need to understand and manage risk.
The remaining chapters, except the final one, describe specific deals and how they worked out.
They are interesting as examples of how Trump applied the things he tells you in Chapter 2.
The final chapter brings the reader full circle to a brief description of how the deals and deal proposals described in Chapter 1 worked out, or were abandoned.
How does all this apply to politics?
Inevitably, his real estate deals ran right into what the political class felt was their domain. From those experiences in the 1980s, Trump understands what makes politicians tick.
That goes a long way toward understanding why they don’t like him. He has their number.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dealing with politicians over the years, it’s that the only thing guaranteed to force them into action is the press—or, more specifically, fear of the press. = DT
Likewise with the press. At times the press was with him; at times very much against him. Like politicians, Trump recognizes that the press has its own agenda.
It was not one of my best experiences with the media, but it taught me something. You don’t act on an impulse—even a charitable one—unless you’ve considered the downside. =DT
Trump is no novice in dealing with the press. Both the press and politicians want you to believe they act in the public interest. Trump knows better and so should we: They, like everybody else, act in their own interest.
What does this have to do with China and trade?
Trump understands negotiation. The examples in the book are legion. He always negotiates from a position of strength.
Sometimes that requires waiting for the right moment, as when a competitor was about to go bankrupt or a bank wanted to unload a property at a bargain rate.
With China, we are in that position of strength. They need the deal worse than we do.
Trump can afford to wait either for their economic situation to get worse or for them to realize it. For their part, the Chinese may want to wait and see who gets elected president in 2020.
For the Chinese, any of the Democrat candidates will be much easier to deal with. If they win.
The same can be said for North Korea. We can afford to wait. Kim Jong Un cannot but he’s so used to dealing with weaker presidents that he’s not yet convinced he needs to deal with Trump.
Trump has already negotiated better deals with Canada and Mexico and he’s working on NATO and the European Union.
He understands how it’s done:
The key was to find a mutual interest. Deals work best when each side gets something it wants from the other.
So in the cases of China and North Korea, Trump and his negotiators haven’t yet found the incentive to make the deals work. They will.
As a businessman, he respects results:
it’s not how many hours you put in, it’s what you get done while you’re working. – DT
Politicians want to be graded on their intentions. Trump understands results matter.
But in the end, you’re measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish. – DT
Conflicts with the press
If Trump seems confrontational and combative, that’s because it’s part of his personality. He has a brash and direct way of speaking that New Yorkers understand but much of the rest of the country doesn’t.
That’s just my makeup. I fight when I feel I’m getting screwed, even if it’s costly and difficult and highly risky. – DT
…the fact is that if you’re right, you’ve got to take a stand, or people will walk all over you. – DT
The tactics of the left are to be totally confrontational.
Everything Trump does or says must be wrong—simply because he said or did it. They tried it on George W. Bush and it worked. Bush is a gentleman who doesn’t relish getting down in the mud and wrestling with the pig.
Trump is a pugnacious New Yorker. He does.
There’s a lot to be learned from this book. However, tead this book. Trump the man will come into clear focus.