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Make It Happen in Business and Life
by Donald J. Trump and Bill Zanker
(Click for Amazon book review)
OnTheIssues.org PRE-ELECTION BOOK REVIEW:
This book is written in collaboration with Bill Zanker, the founder of "The Learning Annex," as an outline for that educational institution. Trump was instrumental in funding Zanker early in the Learning Annex's development, and makes regular appearances with Zanker. If Trump had focused more on THIS institution, he might have avoided all of the controversy in Trump University (which is explored in the sister volume to this book, "Trump 101").
This book is organized for Learning Annex readers: each chapter has a "Sum it Up" section; a "Key Points" bullet list, and a "Zanker's Take" where Zanker comments on Trump's chapter. Trump uses this book to outline his approach to education and his approach to life – Trump's personality shines through in every chapter. Unlike in previous earlier books, which were much more measured and business-like, Trump had, by 2008, written enough books that he could finally be himself and let readers see the real Trump.
What is that real Trump? He's pretty much what you see on the campaign trail in 2016: a opinionated man who makes sure you hear his opinion; an earthy man unafraid to talk about women as a man sees them; and a straight-talker who speaks plainly and gets to the point.
The "earthy" part requires further elaboration, because when pundits call politicians "earthy," they usually mean "he speaks without a script and even says 'umm' sometimes, and he recognizes cusswords without raising an eyebrow." That ain't Donald: he is the real thing, when it comes to earthiness. If you google this book, you'll see its original title: "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and in Life" – yes, that was the ACTUAL published title of the book! The term "Kick Ass" got softened to "Make It Happen" somewhere along the line, but Amazon still carries versions with the earthier title. And the title is just the tip of the iceberg: this book is so full of cusswords that OnTheIssues had to revamp our editorial policy to deal with it (we allow "ass" in context now, and a couple of other earthy phrases). And Trump has earthy advice on women, too – advising men to be cocky and confident, and "you will be able to get all the women you want" (p. 270).
Some pundits might say, "How could such a creature get nominated for president?" But of course, Trump's supporters know that that's his charm, not his weak spot. He says what he thinks; he is what he is; and you can take it or leave it, as far as he's concerned. The voters took it, and Trump captured the nomination, despite the pundits' aghast disbelief. Trump extends his attitude towards earthiness and women to the rest of his personality too, for example:
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, June 2016
OnTheIssues.org POST-ELECTION BOOK REVIEW:
Trump suggests "Think Big" as a business maxim – but how will that apply to his presidency? We'll discuss here how Trump applied "Thinking Big" to business, and then how he might apply it to politics.
In the first chapter, Trump begins with a rundown of all of his previous successes, all of which include becoming extraordinarily wealthy, meeting tons of celebrities and athletes, and being internationally famous. Trump immediately attributes his successes to the ideal of persistence, and how he wouldn’t have gotten where he is today, without being mentally tough, hardworking and willing to break through barriers in order to get what he wants. Those attributes apply in a straightforward manner to a White House role – we can expect Trump to be persistent and hardworking and willing to overturn old barriers to get what he wants.
More importantly, Trump emphasized the concept of “getting even” in business and in life. According to Trump “When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even. I get screwed all the time. I go after people, and you know what? People do not play around with me as much as they do with others” (p. 29). Most Americans learned in kindergarten that “getting even” not only diminishes one’s character from the perspective of others, but also provides no constructive means for solving the problem at hand. Later in the book, Trump dedicates an entire chapter to “getting even” and how he’s been able to slight others who wronged him in a myriad of ways. The key political question is: Will Trump apply "getting even" to politics as much as he applies his other business maxims?
Anybody who followed his 2016 campaign has seen this behavior from Trump on Twitter, in the media, or through his rants/speeches. How will "governing by tweet" work? Even after he was elected in November, Trump still takes shots on Twitter at accounts ranging from Saturday Night Live “Just tried watching Saturday Night Live- unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad” (Dec. 3), to nameless bloggers “ @filibuster @jeffzeleny Pathetic- you have no sufficient evidence that Donald Trump did not suffer from voter fraud, shame! Bad reporter” (Nov. 28) and critics “The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore!” (Nov. 26). From a foreign policy standpoint, the concept of “getting even” is disastrous and threatens the integrity of the United States, as well as the safety of American citizens. For example, if the United Kingdom, decided to resurface and pass a ban of Donald Trump into their country during his presidency, would he suddenly insult parliament, or even worse, threaten the country with sanctions, or war?
Trump's focus on "getting even" feels like he is "thin-skinned" in this book. While in the White House, Trump cannot afford to have thin skin while dealing with foreign leaders, and certainly cannot immediately go after leaders of other countries that may slight his ego, or the country he represents. If for example, another leader embarrasses, belittles, or subtly harasses Trump, his first move cannot, and should not be to retaliate with insults, or worse with physical force via the military. What if President Nieto of Mexico refuses to pay for a wall on their northern border shared with the United States, and instead denounces Trump for calling Mexicans rapists? Will Trump respond by bombing the country? If Trump “goes after” foreign leaders, the United States government will appear incompetent and unstable around the globe, which will question the premise that the United States is indeed the greatest country in the world.
Instead of tearing other leaders to shreds, Trump should instead listen to a woman such as First Lady Michelle Obama who famously said at the Democratic National Convention, “When they go low, we go high.” For the benefit of the country he was elected to represent, Trump must not listen to the words he wrote himself, in the book “Think Big” and must deal with political situations rationally, and with care.
-- Will Hayes, OnTheIssues.org analyst, January 2017
Make It Happen in Business and Life
by Donald J. Trump and Bill Zanker.
Page last edited: Feb 25, 2019