Trump: The Art of the Comeback

Trump: The Art of the Comeback

by Donald J. Trump

Trump's story begins when many real estate moguls went belly-up in what he calls the Great Depression of 1990. Trump reveals how he renegotiated millions of dollars in bank loans and survived the recession, paving the way for a resurgence, during which he built the most successful casino operation in Atlantic City, broke ground on one of the biggest and most… See more details below


Trump's story begins when many real estate moguls went belly-up in what he calls the Great Depression of 1990. Trump reveals how he renegotiated millions of dollars in bank loans and survived the recession, paving the way for a resurgence, during which he built the most successful casino operation in Atlantic City, broke ground on one of the biggest and most lucrative development projects ever undertaken in New York City, and outsmarted one of South America's richest men for rights to the Miss Universe pageant.

Blunt, outrageous, smart as hell, and full of hilarious stories—check out his chapter "The Art of the Prenuptial Agreement"—Trump tells it like it is: the women in his life; the wild and woolly deals; negotiating tactics; his investment philosophy; and his strategy for success or coming back from adversity.

Whether you love him or hate him, one thing is certain about Donald Trump: He is a true American original, with great instincts and billion-dollar dreams. The Art of the Comeback is Trump at his best—unpredictable, irreverent, and irrepressible.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

James Poniewozik

If Donald Trump has nothing else -- humor me -- he has timing. And if the prospect of an Axl Rose comeback album weren't enough to infuse the air with Eau de Late '80s, on Monday the markets took a 10th-anniversary dive, just four days before Trump's new book, The Art of the Comeback, would hit the stands, as if to kick off a grand nostalgia week for a beloved crony from the old days. Crank up the Poison and cut me a line, baby, it's 1987 again!

Certainly, for these past few weeks, Trump himself has been working overtime to recall his "Art of the Deal"-era heyday of media omnipresence, spasmodically grabbing headlines wherever the news cycle offered an opening: His penciled-into-the-galleys regret that he never dated Princess Diana garnered The Art of the Comeback a jolt of pre-publication buzz in the New York tabloids, and he interjected himself into the New Jersey governor's race with a surprise broadside against Christine Todd Whitman, apropos, apparently, of nothing but his own self-importance.

Yet Comeback is on its gold-plated surface the story of a business resurrection, not a public-profile one. At the beginning of the decade Trump nearly went bankrupt in what he insists on calling "the Depression of 1990." (No pointy-headed economist is going to tell Donald Trump he got clocked by a mere "recession.") The book begins in the real-estate dealmaker's dark hour and establishes early on his idea of a touching vignette -- it's like reading Frank Norris' evil but equally unsubtle twin:

"I pointed across the street to a man holding a cup and with a Seeing Eye dog. I asked, 'Do you know who that is?'"

"Marla said to me: 'Yes, Donald. He's a beggar. Isn't it too bad? He looks so sad!'"

"I said, 'You're right. He's a beggar, but he's worth about $900 million more than me.'"

We can only hope the beggar was able to renegotiate his debt with 90 international banks on favorable terms. Trump was, and Comeback is ostensibly the story of how he thus bought himself time to get out from under. The problem is, he could, and does, tell that story in one chapter. The rest of the book is a how-I-spent-the-'90s report rehashing Trump's deals, divorces and controversies -- the Mar-a-Lago renovation, the Riverside South saga, the legal quashing of Ivana -- through self-serving elision and indirection. Here's the Atlantic City kingpin on his campaign against casino gambling in New York: "Gambling would've been a very bad thing for New York, and the politicians ultimately realized that." Coauthor Kate Bohner must have either a surgically constructed poker face or permanent tooth marks in her tongue.

But that's run-of-the-mill revisionism. The book's real dishonesty is that it's passed off at least partly as an advice book, in the swimming-with-sharks mold of corporate vanity tomes like Peter Lynch's or Trump's own past blockbusters. But although Trump throws us a list of 10 comeback tips -- "be passionate," "stay focused" -- that he never expounds on, what real lessons can Joe Waldenbooks draw from Trump's exploits? If your business tanks, make sure you're in so deep the banks have to save your keister? Foreign investors don't understand Manhattan real estate?

Comeback does have its pleasures -- for instance, the taut narrative tension between the authorial id and the legal department's superego: "Then I fired him. (He says he quit.)" Another lies in Trump tip No. 9: "Get even." Trump settles scores deliciously: An Upper West Side antidevelopment activist "was easy to defeat ... I enjoyed grinding her into the ground"; a bothersome Citibank official "thinks she's hot shit"; Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett is "a jerk" (Trump devotes a whole chapter to his loathing of the media). And give Trump credit for one kind of honesty -- he doesn't pretend he's a nice guy. In a chapter on prenuptial agreements, he essentially says there are three types of women -- two who won't sign the prenup and one who will, just to screw you -- and a sane man shouldn't marry any of them.

So why write such a pointless and ultimately ugly book, besides generosity toward Binky Urban? After all, as Trump would gladly tell you, he could have made twice as much money trading buildings in the time it took the typist to input the copyright page. The short answer, sure, is pride. The long answer is wounded pride.

See, the dirty secret is, Donald Trump never came back. Oh, he got his money back. But being Donald Trump was never quite about the money. It was about leaving his stamp -- his golden T -- on his age. The Donald Trump of 1987 was American power embodied: He was our gluttony artist, poised to take Manhattan and more. Today, he's what? A rich landlord. A regional celebrity. A museum piece with no more grip on the popular imagination than a railroad tycoon. For while Trump regained his mere shekels, he was eclipsed and outbillionaired by Gateses, Ellisons and Turners, the ones who capture the popular imagination the 1990s way, by buying and selling pieces of it.

Trump's cock-crowing all over Comeback is an elegy for his own lost relevance. Even the name-dropping reeks of sad '80s reverie -- Michael Jackson, Madonna, Carl Icahn -- and the book is plastered with more celebrity photos than a Planet Hollywood franchise: How dare you call me a has-been! Look at me with Sly Stallone! He complains petulantly that no one recognizes that "real estate is the backbone of this country." He coyly denies his rumored political ambitions, as though anyone has cared about them since three administrations ago.

Donald Trump is today worth over a billion dollars; he may yet be worth several billion. But until marketing hunks of dirt regains cultural-commercial parity with developing operating systems, he will be a Master of the Universe in a Mortal Kombat era. He may score another bestseller, but he will never be Donald Trump again. -- Salon

Library Journal
Six years ago real estate developer Trump (Trump: The Art of the Deal, LJ 2/15/88) was several billion dollars in debt, owing in part, he says, to his complacency and the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Now, thanks to some skillful negotiating, hard work, and luck, he says he is back. Trump's goal for this third book is to provide "inspiration" for almost anyone, and some of his top-ten comeback tips are to play golf, stay focused, be paranoid, get even, and always have a prenuptial agreement. He even includes investment and marital advice he has offered to friends and acquaintances, e.g., "If he doesn't lose the ballbreaker, his career will go nowhere." Trump comes across as smug, crude, and self-impressed, but one remains fascinated with his business acumen. He dislikes shaking hands because it spreads germs and even informs readers to "simply bow" if they ever meet him. Recommended for curiosity seekers.Bellinda Wise, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, N.Y.

Read More

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt


It helped me relax and concentrate. It took my mind off my problems; I only thought about putting the ball in the hole. And, the irony is, I made lots of money on the golf course--making contacts and deals and coming up with ideas.

I am convinced that if I had maintained the same work ethic I had during the 1970s and most of the 1980s, there would have been no recession for me. I wasn't focused and really thought that life and success just came hand in hand. I thought I was better than the rest. When I began to relax and take it a little--or perhaps a lot--easier things got began to fall apart.

I have noticed over the years that people who are guarded or, to put it more coldly, slightly paranoid, end up being the most successful. Let some paranoia reign! You've got to realize that you have something other people want. Don't let them take it away.

This is a key ingredient to success and coming back. If you don't have passion about who you are, about what you are trying to be, about where you are going, you might as well close this book right now and give up. Go get a job and relax, because you have no chance of making it. Passion is the essence to life and certainly the essence of success.

When I decided to keep 40 Wall Street as an office building, everyone in lower Manhattan was converting their buildings to residential space--and with good reason. The apartment market is hot as a pistol. I decided to head in the exact opposite direction, and now I am signing up tenants at rents farhigher than anything I expected.

Some of the greatest investors I have ever known invest by instinct, rather than research, study, or hard work. If you look back over history, this is the way the greatest fortunes have been built. People had ideas that they truly believed in.

If you go to the office and don't find the energy in the people you are with, it is highly unlikely that you will be energized toward success.

I hate to put this in the book because it can't be acquired. People who inherit fortunes are lucky; I call them members of the lucky sperm club. But you can help coax luck into your life by working hard and being at the right place at the right time.

During the bad times, I learned who was loyal and who wasn't. I believe in an eye for an eye. A couple of people who betrayed me need my help now, and I am screwing them against the wall! I am doing a number...and I'm having so much fun.

Anyone in a complicated business should be institutionalized if he or she gets married without one. I know firsthand that you can't come back if you're spending all your time fighting for your financial life with a spouse.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >