Trumpnation: The Art of Being the Donald

Timothy L. O'Brien, Author Business Plus $24.95 (276p) ISBN 978-0-446-57854-7
Donald Trump, entrepreneur, television star and powerful brand selling suits, perfume and quixotic dreams of fortune in his name, asks in this engrossing romp, ""What is it about me that gets Larry King his highest ratings?"" O'Brien, a New York Times investigative reporter who has reported on Trump's ups and downs, answers that question in this instructive tongue-in-cheek primer for would-be Trumps. Sometimes hilarious quizzes summarizing the main points of each chapter demonstrate Trump's audacity, itinerant poor judgment and the kind of hubris one can only stand back and watch with astonishment and a sort of clandestine admiration. O'Brien chronicles Trump's rise, fall and rise again from both public favor and the Forbes rich list, and deftly balances irreverence and respect for his subject. The star of The Apprentice appears alternately arrogant and (nearly) humble, whether he is popping Oreos while watching Pulp Fiction on his private jet, discussing the ""emotional business"" of selling hotels, or dismissing the lure of the jet set. O'Brien's reportorial style, peppered with wit and irony, is the perfect base to Trump's acidic persona; he is the straight man to this contemporary P.T. Barnum. In between, there are lessons to be learned, regardless if the reader ever gets to apply them, for instance: be outrageous in your demands and keep a straight face. That may be hard to do while reading this book, but, as Trump might spin it, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Reviewed on: 10/03/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
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