Extracting Lessons From The Art of the Deal

Extracting Lessons From The Art of the Deal

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Donald Trump has been remarkably consistent up through the years. His signature book “The Art of the Deal” chronicles Trump’s business career from the beginning until his escapades in the casino industry in Atlantic City (prior to the events of the 90’s). I just recently finished reading it and I’m quite puzzled why people were surprised about Trump’s presidential run. The man literally wrote a book about his playbook for dealing with politics.

Again, and again politicians and archaic rules and regulations stood in the way for Trump’s ambitions. You can’t build taller than X, you must include this, you must conduct lengthy and costly impact studies, you need approvals from politicians and whimsy bureaucrats and on and on. The strength of character necessary to withstand the uphill struggle again and again was prominently displayed during the campaign. Trump stood steadfast as a rock against the onslaught of a united world press. I was quite late to the game, in terms of this book. The political pundits, talking heads and journalists covering the campaign probably had read this book at some point. Having this knowledge under their belt makes it all the more puzzling why they expected Trump to crumble under the weight of endless attack. Trump tells several tales of business deals where he had to negotiate down from his initial bid in order to gain acceptance from the political class and business partners. When Trump goes by his playbook now as President, journalists immediately blast out “Trump caves, Trump backs down, Trump suffers defeat on X issue”.

It is not a novel analysis to point this out, but pointing it out again is necessary to illuminate the discrepancy between the goals of Trump and how it is reported. Any person with a decent chunk of common sense will understand that you give and take during negotiations. All politicians do so. Trump is not unique in doing this. The media however, wishes to sweep this fact under the rug. Any deviation from campaign rhetoric, or from the “contract with the American voter” is extolled as a major setback or scandal. This is yet another instance in a long run of intellectual dishonesty for the press. It is apparent that they wish to act as political actors in framing public perception of Trump through their coverage. Nothing has changed from the days of the campaign. The vast majority in the MSM wanted to effectuate support for Hillary and animosity towards Trump through their words.

In the same manner, Hillary’s campaign and the punditry of American portrayed business setbacks as flaws of character and as lack of business acumen. It boggles the mind how one could describe Trump in any way as a failure. It is public record that Trump through his skills managed to bring ashore success after success. Construction project after construction project. Beneficial deal after deal. The man managed to beat the behemoth of the Democratic Party and the so-called Clinton Machine on his first try. On my first attempts at various things I usually fail miserably. Any honest look at Trump’s achievements should make our jaws hit the floor. That being said it is true that the political class is fighting back viciously against President Trump’s agenda. Courts are churning our highly questionable rulings, the Republican House leadership needs a B12-shot straight up their ass and the Democrats are stalling, delaying and in general being unpleasant.

If we go back to The Art of the Deal we can see what Trump did back in the 80’s when confronted with reckless and unreasonable politicians. Trump found the loopholes in the regulations, he went as far as he could without violating the law, he upstaged politicians (Wollman Rink) and he was victorious in the end. Currently in terms of the presidency we are at the equivalent point in The Art of the Deal where Trump had just completed his first big real estate deal, the Commodore Hotel. We would not be remiss to expect Trump’s presidency to follow a similar path to the one he told about in the book. We can thus look forward to more successes after plowing through recalcitrant politicians, bureaucrats and nay-sayers in the press.

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