Trump: The Art of the Deal
|Author||Donald J. Trump|
|November 1, 1987|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)|
|Followed by||Trump: Surviving at the Top (1990)|
Trump: The Art of the Deal is a 1987 book credited to Donald J. Trump and journalist Tony Schwartz. Part memoir and part business-advice book, it was the first book credited to Trump, and helped to make him a household name. It reached number 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list, stayed there for 13 weeks, and altogether held a position on the list for 48 weeks. The book received additional attention during Trump's 2016 campaign for the presidency of the United States. Trump cited it as one of his proudest accomplishments and his second-favorite book after the Bible.
Schwartz called writing the book his "greatest regret in life, without question," and both he and the book's publisher, Howard Kaminsky, said that Trump had played no role in the actual writing of the book. Trump has personally given conflicting accounts on the question of authorship. In 2019, Schwartz suggested that the work be "recategorized as fiction."
The book talks about Trump's childhood in Jamaica Estates, Queens. It then describes his early work in Brooklyn prior to moving to Manhattan and building The Trump Organization, his actions and thoughts in developing the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Trump Tower, in renovating Wollman Rink, and regarding various other projects. The book also contains an 11-step formula for business success, inspired by Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking.
Trump was persuaded to produce the book by Condé Nast owner Si Newhouse after the May 1984 issue of his magazine GQ—with Trump appearing on the cover —sold well. Journalist Tony Schwartz was recruited directly by Trump after he read Schwartz's extremely negative 1985 New York Magazine article, A Different Kind of Donald Trump Story, regarding his failed attempts to forcibly and illegally evict rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants from a building that he had bought on Central Park South in 1982. To Schwartz's amazement, Trump loved the article and even had the cover, which had an unflattering portrait of him, autographed by Schwartz and hung in his office. Schwartz was hired to write the book for $250,000 upfront; Trump assigned him half of the royalties. Schwartz later admitted that his motivation was purely financial. He needed the money to support his new family.
According to Schwartz in July 2016, Trump did not write any of the book, choosing only to remove a few critical mentions of business colleagues at the end of the process. Trump responded with conflicting stories, saying "I had a lot of choice of who to have write the book, and I chose Schwartz", but then said "Schwartz didn't write the book. I wrote the book." Former Random House head Howard Kaminsky, the book's original publisher, said "Trump didn’t write a postcard for us!" The book was published with the authorship given as "Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz".
Schwartz was the subject of a July 2016 article in The New Yorker in which he describes Trump unfavorably and relates how he came to regret writing The Art of the Deal. He also stated that if it were to be written today it would be very different and titled The Sociopath. Schwartz repeated his self-criticism on Good Morning America, saying he had "put lipstick on a pig." In response to these claims, Trump's attorneys demanded that Schwartz cede all his royalties from the book to Trump.
The Art of the Deal was published in November 1987 by Random House. A promotional campaign was undertaken in conjunction with its release. This included Trump holding a release party at Trump Tower, hosted by Jackie Mason, featuring a celebrity-filled guest list. There were a series of appearances by him on television talk shows. Trump also appeared on a number of magazine covers as part of publicity for the book.
In 1988, Trump set up the Donald J. Trump Foundation to give away the book's royalties, in Trump's words, promising four or five million dollars "to the homeless, to Vietnam veterans, for AIDS, multiple sclerosis". According to a Washington Post investigation those promised donations largely failed to materialize; the paper said "he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter's ballet school". The Washington Post asked the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign if Trump had donated the $55,000 of royalties he had earned from the book in the first six months of 2016 to charity, as he promised in the 1980s, and it did not respond.
By 2016, Schwartz said he had received some $1.6 million in royalty payments. Schwartz said he would be donating six months of royalties (worth $55,000) to the National Immigration Law Center, which advocates for immigrants to remain in the United States regardless of whether or not their entry was legal. Schwartz had earlier donated royalties he received in the second half of 2015, worth $25,000, to a number of charities including the National Immigration Forum. Schwartz said he wanted to help the people Trump was attacking.
Financial disclosures by Trump for 2018 revealed the book earned over $1 million that year, and it was the only title of his dozen-plus authored books that made money. Trump's financial disclosures for 2019 reported royalties for The Art of the Deal in the $100,000 to $1 million range.
Precise figures of the number of copies sold of The Art of the Deal are unavailable because its publication preceded the Nielsen BookScan era. It had a first printing of 150,000 copies. Several magazine and book accounts state that it sold over one million hardcover copies or one million copies. A 2016 CBS News investigation reported that an unnamed source familiar with the book's sales placed the figure at 1.1 million copies sold.
Trump said in his 2016 presidential campaign that The Art of the Deal is "the No. 1 selling business book of all time". An analysis by PolitiFact found that other business books had sold many more copies than The Art of the Deal. While it is impossible to find exact sales figures, a range of possibilities based on known claims and facts were given. When compared to six other famous business books, The Art of the Deal ranked in fifth place according to the analysis; the top-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, outsold it by a factor of 15 times.
Reception and legacy
Three years later, journalist John Tierney noted Trump "appears to have ignored some of his own advice" in the book due to "well-publicized problems with his banks". Trump's self-promotion, best-selling book and media celebrity status led one commentator in 2006 to call him "a poster-child for the 'greed is good' 1980s". (The phrase "Greed is good" is from the movie Wall Street, which was released a month after The Art of the Deal.)
The book coined the phrase "truthful hyperbole" describing "an innocent form of exaggeration—and... a very effective form of promotion". Schwartz said Trump loved the phrase. In January 2017, the phrase was noted for its similarity to the phrase "alternative facts" coined by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway when she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's widely derided statements about the attendance at Trump's inauguration as President of the United States.
Based on Trump's tax returns between 1985 and 1994 which showed a loss greater than "nearly any other individual American taxpayer" during that period, co-author Schwartz suggested that the book might be "recategorized as fiction".
In 2021, Yuri Shvets, an ex-KGB agent, claimed that Trump had been cultivated by the KGB for 40-years, starting in the 1980s as tensions between the United States were thawing. In the The Art of the Deal, Trump acknowledges the potential business opportunities arising from the positive turn in the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which includes the possibility of building "a large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government." It was during this period that the ex-KGB agent alleges to have discussed with Trump going into politics and were "stunned" when he returned to the US and took out a full-page ad parroting anti-Western Russian talking points.
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- Katie Galioto, Theodoric Meyer, Andrew Restuccia, and Nancy Cook (May 16, 2019). "Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort took a financial hit last year; 'The Art of the Deal' continues to make money, but the president's dozen-plus other books brought in next to nothing — $201 or less". Politico.com. Retrieved May 16, 2019.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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