Trump: The Art of the Deal
|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 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. He 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. Schwartz later 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 Newhouse's magazine GQ – with Trump appearing on the cover – sold well. Schwartz was hired for $250,000 upfront and assigned half the royalties to write the book.
According to Schwartz in July 2016, Trump didn't 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 in November 1987 by Random House, 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 Schwartz describes Donald 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 have 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 the release of the book. This included Trump holding a release party at Trump Tower that was hosted by Jackie Mason and featured 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 royalties from the book's sales, 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 donations largely did not happen: the paper said "he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter's ballet school." The Washington Post asked Trump's campaign if Trump had donated the $55,000 Trump earned 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. In October of that year, Schwartz said the royalties he was still receiving for the book "suddenly became, for me, blood money. I didn't want to be anywhere near it. It just feels wrong." As a result, Schwartz said he would be donating the prior 6-months of royalties worth $55,000 to the National Immigration Law Center which advocates for more undocumented immigrants to remain in the USA legally. 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 for the year, and it was the only title of his dozen-plus authored books that made money.
Precise figures for the number of copies sold of The Art of the Deal are not available 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 1 million hardcover copies or 1 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 run 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 sold many more copies than The Art of the Deal. While it was impossible to find exact sales figures, a range of possibilities based on known claims and facts were given, and when compared to six other famous business books, The Art of the Deal ranked in fifth place according to the analysis; the first place 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" was 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 that 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 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".
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- Trump: The Art of the Deal Paperback
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- David A. Fahrenthold (October 4, 2016). "Trump's co-author on 'The Art of the Deal' donates $55,000 royalty check to charity". Washington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
- 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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- Buettner, Russ; Craig, Susanne (7 May 2019). "Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2019.