, 115 tweets, 14 min read
A thread on the things I took from @realDonaldTrump's book "The Art of the Deal" (part one ~100 things)
1/ “I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than ill ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form.”
2/ “Most people are surprised by the way I work. I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open. You can’t be imaginative or entrepreneurial if you’ve got too much structure”
3/ “There is no typical week in my life”
4/ “I wake up most mornings very early, around six, and spend the first hour or so of each day reading the morning newspapers
5a/ “there’s rarely a day with fewer than fifty phone calls, and often it runs over a hundred. In between, I have at least a dozen meeting. The majority occur on the spur of the moment, few of them last longer than fifteen minutes. I rarely stop for lunch...
5b/ ...I leave my office by 6:30, but I frequently makes calls from home, and all weekend long. It never stops and I wouldn’t have it any other way”
6/ “I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is. And if it can’t be fun, what’s the point?”
7/ Trump is big on optionality. He bought Holiday stock for many reasons. 1- he might take them over, 2-make money on the undervalued stock, 3- get Holiday to buy the stock back at a premium. So he always wins
8/ “Sometimes it pays to be a bit wild” after threatening the VP of a bank with a murder lawsuit. Threatened bcoz a widow of a husband was being kicked off her farm because of foreclosure, bank was not helping her.
9/ “I don’t hold it against people that have opposed me. I’m just looking to hire the best talent, wherever I can find it."
10/ “I hate lawsuits and depositions, but the fact is that if you’re right, you’ve got to take a stand, or people will walk all over you.”
11/ “Nowadays, if your name is Donald Trump, everyone in the world seems to want to sue you”
12/ “I’m pretty sure Charlie Goldstein is from the Bronx, but he’s a very pompous guy and has a tendency to act like royalty, so I call him Sir Charles” Where else have we seen this tactic employed hmmm
13/ “sometimes – not often, but sometimes – less is more” regarding Trump tower’s Xmas atrium design, however can be applied more widely.
14/ “I always take calls from my kids, no matter what I’m doing” note, he said this when his eldest was nine.
15/ “But I wont let my personal preferences affect my business judgement”
16/ “Our call lasts less than two minutes. That’s one thing I love about Alan: he never wastes time”
17/ “It’s funny what happened: bankers now come to me, to ask if I might be interested in borrowing money. They know a safe bet”
18/ “But what the hell? I’ll wing it and things will work out” when cement pourer can’t appear for ceremonial press conference. However prob used more widely
19a/ “I don’t kid myself about why i'm asked to speak at or chair so many events. Its not because i'm such a great guy. The reason Is that the people who run charities know I have wealthy friends and can get them to buy tables. I understand the game...
19b/ ... and while I don’t like to play it, there is no graceful way out.”
20/ Trump had just turned 40 when he wrote this book so it was written like 30 years ago
21/ “Frankly, I’m not too big on parties, because I can’t stand small talk. Unfortunately, they’re part of doing business”
22/ “I like to keep as many options open as possible” Trump is very big on optionality
23/ Trump likes the casino business. Because: scale is huge, the glamour of it, most of all the cash flow.
24/ “Robert (Trump’s brother) gets all along with almost everyone, which is great for me, since I sometimes have to be the bad guy.”
25/ In his phone call he covers half a dozen subjects in 10 mins. Trump likes his efficient meetings/phone calls
26/ “I’m loyal to people who have done good work for me"
27/ “my people keep telling me I shouldn’t write letters like this it critics. The way I see it, critics get to say what they want about my work, so why shouldn’t I be able to say what I want about theirs?” Letters are now twitter I guess
28/ “as many times as I’ve done these things, I have to say I still find them a little ridiculous. Think of it: a couple guys in pinstripe suits shovelling wet concrete. But I like to be accommodating. As long as they want to shoot, I’ll shovel.”
29/ Some broker phones Trump with big offer for piece of land of land he owns. Much more than what he paid for it. However, Trump doesn’t get excited and asks broker to push the buyers. When options are there, doesn’t jump at first good offer. Always going for better
30/ Mar-a-Lago was for sale for $25m, Trump bought it for $5m +$3m for furniture. A recurring theme is using people’s desperation to sell as leverage to get a better price
31/ “It just goes to show that it pays to move quickly and decisively when the time is right”
32/ “He calls me Donny, a name that I hate”
33a/ After not doing a big deal which sounded perfect yet soon failed: “that experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know...
33b/ ...And the third is that sometimes the best investments are the ones you don’t make” Re; 3rd point, where as president has Trump not invested? Which areas has he stayed away from? Are these the key danger areas? Things to think about
34/ “My philosophy is always to hire the best from the best”
35/ “Contrary to what a lot of people think, I don’t enjoy doing press. I’ve been asked the same questions a million times now, and I don’t particularly like talking about my personal life. Nonetheless, I understand that getting press can be very helpful in making deals"
36/ Trump changed architects because it would actually get his project going. I get the impression Trump is idealistic then realistic. This allows for upside as occasionally idealistic things will work out and minimises downside as at worst you get realistic.
37/ “You have to be very rough and very tough with most contractors or they’ll take the shirt of your back”
38/ Trump is big on loyalty, will give contractors repeated jobs provided they repeatedly provide great service
39/ “Bill Fugazy calls. I like to call him Willie the Fug, but he doesn’t seem to appreciate it” Is there a modern day version of this 🤔🤔🤔
40/ Trump tends to put feelers out for deals then only act when there is a suitable opportunity. Like for his plane, he waited many years then got a 727 at a bargain price.
41/ “I never stay up late enough to watch Letterman, but I know he’s hot. I say sure” (to interview). Again idealistic then realistic, if something is hot he’ll associate himself with it.
42/ “My style of deal making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after. Sometimes I settle for less than I sought, but in most cases I still end up with what I want”
43/ “I think deal making is an ability your born with… It does take a certain intelligence, but mostly it’s about instincts.”
44/ “Most people who try to get rich quick end up going broke instead”
45/ “I like thinking big. I always have. To me its very simple: if ur going to be thinking anyway, u may as well think big. Most ppl think small because most ppl are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a gr8 advantage”
46a/ “One of the keys to thinking big is total focus”. On total focus: “I don’t think this trait leads to a happier life, or a better life, but tis great when it comes to getting what you want. This is particularly true in NY real estate...
46b/ ...where you are dealing with some of the sharpest, toughest, and most vicious people in the world. I happen to love to go up against these guys, and I love to beat them."
47/ “Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself” Trump is big on minimising risk
48/ “People think I’m a gambler. I’ve never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays slot machines. I prefer to own the slot machines. It’s a very good business being the house”
49/ “I always go into the deal anticipating the worst. If you plan for the worst – if you can live with the worst – the good will always take care of itself”
50/ “if you go for a home run on every pitch, you’re also going to strike out a lot. I try never to leave myself exposed, even if it means sometimes settling for a triple, a double, or even, on rare occasions, a single.”
51/ “I wanted to make sure I got my gaming license. I lost time, but I also kept my exposure much lower” always minimising downside.
52a/ “I also protect myself by being flexible. I never get too attached to one deal or approach. For starters, I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first...
52b/ ...In addition, once I’ve made a deal, I always come up with at least a half dozen approaches to making it work, because anything can happen, even to the best laid plans"
53/ “I didn’t spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I switched to my second option and promoted the sire as ideal for a convention centre” after city blocked his housing plan. Again note optionality
54/ “I like to think I have an instinct. That’s why I don’t hire a lot of number-crunchers, and I don’t trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions. I’m a great believer in asking everyone for an opinion before I make a decision”
55/ “I ask and I ask and I ask, until I begin to get a gut feeling about something. And that’s when I make a decision.”
56/ “I have learned much more from conducting my own random surveys than I could ever have learned from the greatest consulting firms”
57/ Trump on critics: “what very few of them have is any feeling for what the public wants. Which is why, if these critics every tried to become developers, they’d be terrible failures”
58/ “I always follow my own instincts, but I’m not going to kid you: it’s also nice to get good reviews”
59/ “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it”
60/ “the best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without”
61/ “Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, which is why leverage often requires imagination, and salesmanship. In other words, you have to convince the other guy it’s in his interest to make the deal.
62/ “my leverage came from confirming an impression they were already predisposed to believe” – with regards to why Holiday Inns went into business with Trump. Note the larger point that people’s perceptions can easily be played into.
63/ “Leverage: don’t make deals without it”
64/ “What you should never do is pay too much, even if it means walking away (from a good site)” however principle applies to anything
65/ “You can have the most wonderful product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, it’s not going to be worth much." Is half the job of a politican getting themself known?
66/ “You need to generate interest, and you need to create excitement” Trump is big on generating hype
67/ Trump says hiring consultants is never as good as researching things for yourself
68a/ “one thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It’s in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little dangerous, or a little outrageous...
68b/ ...or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you. I’ve always done things a little differently, I don’t mind controversy, and my deals tend to be somewhat ambitious. Also, I achieved a lot when I was very young...
68c/... and I chose to live in a certain style. The result is that the press had always wanted to write about me”
69/ “From a pure business point of view, the benefits of being written about have far outweighed the drawbacks”. $40k for NYT advert or controversial statement and free press.
70/ “The funny thing is that even a critical story, which may be hurtful personally, can be very valuable for your business”
71/ “The point is that we got a lot of attention, and that alone creates value”
72a/ “the final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts...
72b/ ...People want to believe something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular”. Note ‘MAGA’ as slogan, would also be interesting to analyse how many press conferences had the word “biggest/greatest/best” in them
73a/ “much as it pays to emphasize the positive, there are times when the only choice is confrontation. In most cases I’m very easy to get along with. I’m very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me...
73b/ ...my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard. The risk is that you’ll make a bad situation worse, and I certainly don’t recommend this approach to everyone...
73c/ But my experience is that if you’re fighting for something you believe in – even if it means alienating some people along the way – things usually work out for the best in the end."
74a/ “one of the problems when you become successful is that jealously and envy inevitably follow. There are people – I categorize them as life’s losers – who get their sense of accomplishment and achievement from trying to stop others...
74b/ As far as I’m concerned, if they had any real ability they wouldn’t be fighting me, they’d be doing something constructive themselves."
75/Carter asked Trump for $5m for library, Trump was dumbfounded:“until then, I’d never understood how Jimmy Carter became president. The answer is that as poorly qualified as he was for the job, Jimmy Carter had the nerve, the guts, the balls, to ask for something extraordinary”
76/ Trump learned to be cost conscious from his father, who dealt with cheaper rental properties where margins are a lot finer. Trump preferred luxury as you can afford to spend more, and make more
77a/ However: “to this day, if I feel a contractor is overcharging me, I’ll pick up the phone, even if it’s for $5k or $10k, and I’ll complain. People say to me, “what are you bothering for, over a few bucks?”...
77b/ My answer is that the day I can’t pick up the telephone and make a 25 cents call to save $10k is the day I’m going to close up shop."
78/ Trump doesn’t kid himself. He knows life is fragile, success makes it more so. Anything can happen, so he doesn’t take too many things seriously. Doesn’t care about $, cares more about the game itself. He ensures he is enjoying himself most of all.
79/ Trump’s father never went to college and looked up to people who had a college degree with awe. Trump thought his father was smarter than most academics, had his father had the opportunity to go to college he would have realised.
80/ “Much the way it is today, people either like me a lot, or they didn’t like me at all”
81/ Trump’s father sold contractors on reliability, reliability can get you cheaper prices.
82/ “Perhaps the most important thing I learned at Wharton was not to be overly impressed with academic credentials”
83/ “a lot of times, when you are dealing with a government agency on a foreclosure, they just want to get out of it for as quickly as possible” – good opportunities if you can find them I guess
84/ “it takes same amount of energy to manager 50 units as it does 1,200 – except with 1,200 you have a much bigger upside.
85/ “well-maintained real estate is always going to be worth a lot more than poorly maintained real estate” appearances matter
86/ “along the way we went through a half dozen different project managers before we found the one we wanted… fortunately, we went through them fast, because I tend to size people up quickly”
87/ this massive guy came to beat up Trump’s site manager but he managed to talk his way out of a beating: “that left a very vivid impression on me. You can’t be scared. You do your thing, you hold your ground, you stand up tall, and whatever happens, happens.”
88/ Some resident who Trump befriended told him to sell his property site in Cinncinati, Trump trusted him and went to investigate, sure enough he sold as the area was becoming bad. “Again, it’s instincts, not marketing studies”
89/ Trump has a large dislike of people who boast about their “uncomprising integrity” but have no loyalty. He likes people stand by you through whatever, regardless of what how much integrity you say you have
90/ When NYC was doing badly, Trump wasn’t too bothered he saw it as an opportunity. When the USA was doing…, Trump... // Discuss (25 marks)
91/ “The simplest approach is often the most effective” on initiating contact with people
92/ When negotiating, Trump plays to people’s weaknesses. Plays to his strengths.
93/ “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition”
95/ Trump seems to attack with a lot, big himself up with a lot of things (strengths/weaknesses thing again) and just see what works, and in the end often wins by wearing others down
96/ Trump never commits cash early to a deal, in case it messes up. Always puts in money after everything is settled to limit risk.
97/ “If you’re going to make a deal of any significance you have to go to the top”
98/ “An employee isn’t going to fight for your deal. He’s fighting for his salary increase, or his Christmas bonus, and the last thing he wants to do is upset his boss”
99/ “The other thing about Jay is that he doesn’t much trust people in business, which is the way I tend to be”
100/ If highlighting positives of deal doesn’t work, then stress the negatives of no deal when negotiating
end of part 1, i'll do part 2 a bit later and link it from here
Part 2 is here;
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