Picks and Pans Review: Trump: the Art of the Deal

updated 02/29/1988 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/29/1988 01:00AM

by Donald J. Trump with Tony Schwartz

Part memoir and part how-to, this is the first book by Trump, the billionaire New York real estate developer who looks like a movie star and acts like a showboat gambler. He has made his fortune by concocting such megadeals as New York's Grand Hyatt Hotel, the flagship Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and Atlantic City's Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. He married smart, choosing a glamorous, Czechoslovakian beauty who is as devoted to him and as driven as he is. Ivana Trump manages the Trump's Castle hotel in New Jersey, takes care of three homes and three children. While it might not necessarily turn anyone into an instant competitor of Trump's, his book is full of clearly stated business tips. His 11 commandments of deal making, for instance, include: Think big; fight back; deliver the goods; have fun. Trump isn't big on personal insight—"I don't do it for the money...I do it to do it." He deals only superficially with his older brother, Fred Jr. The brother, who wasn't able to fit into the competitive environment created by their father, a New York City builder, committed suicide. (For an objective portrait try the new revised edition of the 1985 book Trump: The Saga of America's Most Powerful Real Estate Baron by Jerome Tuccille.) Trump does, however, cut through a lot of corporate flimflam: "When it comes to making a smart decision, the most distinguished planning committee working with the highest-priced consultants doesn't hold a candle to a group of guys with a reasonable amount of common sense and their own money on the line." Keep a few grains of salt handy. Trump insults his readers' intelligence by claiming it was generosity that once prompted him to suggest that homeless people live in empty apartments in a prestigious building he owned. (He elsewhere admits he wanted to construct a "new and larger building in its place.") Still, even those who never get closer to the real estate business than paying the rent could find moments of fascination in this book. This is the entrepreneurial mind at work if ever there was one. (Linden, $19.95)

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