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Do I have to be careful about what I say? Can I be sued for writing a book review? These thoughts occur to me as I prepare to summarise this book.
Well, firstly, it’s an interesting listen. Donald Trump has definitely had an interesting life. If you’ve been reading the news for the last year then I think you will already have an idea of the character of this man, and my impression is that the Donald Trump of this book is very consistent with the persona portrayed in the media.
I’m going to grossly oversimplify things by splitting what I learned about Trump into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ attributes:
• He’s fearless
• He’s happy to join in with any sort of media/publicity exercise with minimal preparation – happy to just be himself and rely on his spontaneous charisma. He isn’t a fake.
• He has the ability to inspire people
• He was good at sport
• His primary motivation appears to be self-aggrandisement and self-enrichment. I don’t think he’s really interested in the greater good.
• In his many business dealings it has all been about winning. Lots of people have been victims of collateral damage in the course of these dealings, and I don’t think that would have troubled Trump’s conscience. The goal of victory or profit is sufficient justification for any harm that might have come to anyone in the course of doing business. There are simply winners and losers.
• His evaluation of women appears to be based on physical attractiveness alone
• There are some suggestions in the book that he has been involved in racist activities
• He promotes gambling (by owning casinos) and the objectification of women (by owning beauty pageants)
He might make a good general, because he seems to inspire people and he’s ruthless in pursuit of his goals (he didn’t go to Vietnam, but that’s another story). He’d make a terrible president. He has already established a reputation for racism, sexism and for confrontational positions towards Mexicans and Muslims. He doesn’t appear to have the diplomacy and sensitivity required of this role, and his motivation for seeking office is questionable.
The book is a valuable listen because it gives you the opportunity to evaluate whether all the negative press about Trump is justified – and as a bonus it is an interesting listen.
37 of 44 people found this review helpful
If you like Trump, skip this book as it's a biography where his past is thoroughly delved into, complete with a story of how he, as a child, went into a neighbor's backyard only to be found throwing rocks at her toddler (Trump says he was just a "rambunctious" kid). It goes through later years at boarding school where he seemed to find his way but, when bested in scores, blasts his friend for cheating (sound familiar?).
It's an exasperating look at the many, many, MANY questionable and flat-out duplicitous dealings in business, with women, etc. I say exasperating because, no matter what, the public doesn't seem to care, seems to applaud his... "audacity."
If you've followed Trump in the past, you won't find much new here, but it is most certainly thorough and well-researched. Undoubtedly, it will be called Trump-Bashing, and may even spark a law suit by the man, as he's done with so many other stories in the past, but I don't see how that'll stick. Trump and his words on record are used as a source, and the man positively gloats about his dealings.
I wish Marc Fisher had narrated it as he does an admirable job with the foreword and epilogue. As it is, Campbell Scott, as he is apt to, turns in a rather unenthusiastic performance (I know! I know! Nonfiction is hard to narrate). He does, however, manage Trump's words/quotes well, choosing not to turn the man into a caricature. Most appreciated!
Truly an extraordinary look at an extraordinary man who knows how to, "give the people what they want." And it's frightening what they want.
Kinda makes me wanna go take a shower right now...
60 of 72 people found this review helpful
I'm guessing that many of the people who worked on this book were pretty hostile to Trump. On the whole I think they did a pretty good job of putting their personal distaste to one side and giving a fair overview of Trump's eventful life.
His failures get more attention than his successes, but perhaps they are just more interesting / revealing.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Amongst a climate of chaos this book comes across as balanced and well researched. With the understanding that it is a group effort by several writers, the timeline is at times a little erratic, but the focus is upon a thematic tale. Many of Trump's current... errr... behavioural aspects become more recognisable and understandable. Anybody with an interest in American or World politics, stability or the future should read or listen to this book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful