Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know about Success, Real Estate, and Life

Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know about Success, Real Estate, and Life

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by Donald J. Trump

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It’s not good enough to want it. You’ve got to know how to get it. Real estate titan, bestselling author, and TV star Donald J. Trump is the man to teach you the billionaire mind-set–how to think about money, career skills, and life. Here is crucial advice on investing in real estate from the expert, everything from dealing with brokers to renovating


It’s not good enough to want it. You’ve got to know how to get it. Real estate titan, bestselling author, and TV star Donald J. Trump is the man to teach you the billionaire mind-set–how to think about money, career skills, and life. Here is crucial advice on investing in real estate from the expert, everything from dealing with brokers to renovating to assessing the value of property, buying and selling, and securing a mortgage. Trump will show you how to cut costs, decide how much risk to assume in your investments, and divide up your portfolio. He’ll also teach you how to impress anyone, how to correct or criticize someone effectively, and how to know if your friends are loyal–everything you need to know to get ahead.

And once you’ve earned your money, you’ve got to learn to spend it well. Trump presents his consumer guide to the best things in life, from wine to golf clubs to engagement rings. Check out the billionaire lifestyle–how they shop and what they buy. Even if you’re not superwealthy, you can afford many of these luxuries.

And what look inside the Trump world would be complete without The Apprentice? Trump will take you behind the scenes, from the end of season one and into season two, with insights into the making and the meaning of TV’s hottest show.
As Donald Trump proves, getting rich is easy. Staying rich is harder. Your chances are better, and you’ll have more fun, if you think like a billionaire. This is the book that will help you make a real difference in your life.

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Random House Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Real Estate

When people hear the name Trump, they think of two things: wealth and real estate. So while this entire book is dedicated to the creation and enjoyment of wealth, I need to start with the basics. The basics, for me, are all about property. Real estate is at the core of almost every business, and it’s certainly at the core of most people’s wealth. In order to build your wealth and improve your business smarts, you need to know about real estate.

What follows is some great advice. There are some helpful tips here for first-time apartment renters as well as for multiple-home owners. So read on.

How to Pick a Location

I hate the phrase “location, location, location” because I’ve seen a lot of idiots ruin good locations and a lot of geniuses make incredible investments out of horrible locations. You could hand over the location for Trump Tower (by far, the best location in New York City), and a moron could run the site into the ground. I guarantee it.

But when it comes to your home, you should always pick a good spot. Spending more on a good location is far smarter than getting a bargain in a bad area. Is it close to work? Is the neighborhood safe, or will you fear for your life as you come and go? Is it close to conveniences such as restaurants, grocery stores, shops, and banks? Do you feel like you belong in the neighborhood, or do you feel out of place? I’m the first to admit that location should be considered seriously when investing in real estate. A lot of picking a location comes down to instinct. You have to believe in the location; otherwise, you’ll be making a rotten investment.

Be honest with yourself about the location’s proximity to the rest of your life. If you find an apartment or a house or an office you like that puts hours of additional travel into your day, or requires expensive deliveries and services, or prevents people from visiting you, you might as well find somewhere else. I realize that not everyone can live and work in Trump Tower (which certainly works for me), but given the choice, you should find the location that works best for you.

Walk around in the neighborhood. Spend time there. What’s the pattern of the day? When does the neighborhood wake up and when does it go to bed? What sort of people are living there and working there? Also, make sure to check it out on the weekends. Some neighborhoods in Manhattan are insanely busy all week and then dead all weekend, and vice versa. What happens if you move into an apartment and realize that there’s a nightclub across the street blasting music each and every night or that garbage trucks congregate there after making the rounds in the early morning? You’ll either go crazy or move out, neither of which are good options.

The view is important. I don’t know anyone who wants to spend their life looking into an air shaft or a brick wall. If you have the option, go for the view. But you have to be careful with a view, particularly if you’re paying for it. The current view might look out over a parking facility or an empty lot, but that could change in a week. In cities like New York, buildings seem to be going up at the rate of one per day, so make sure you have a good idea that the view there today will be there tomorrow.

When you’re speculating or investing in real estate that will not necessarily serve as your primary home or office, I often advise finding space in a marginal neighborhood, buying or renting at a lower price, and then waiting for the neighborhood to improve. You’ll save in taxes, make a meaningful contribution to the redevelopment of an area, and stand to make more money in the long run. If you have the time, the patience, and the fortitude, I recommend it. After all, when I bought up the West Side yards, people thought I was insane, but I’ve proved them wrong, as my development there can attest. Today that area is one of the most desirable and valuable areas in all of Manhattan.

How to Rent

an Apartment

A lot of people don’t take renting an apartment as seriously as they should. I don’t understand those people. While renting an apartment is not buying, the place will serve as your home and should be considered carefully. Not only is your home a big part of the way you feel about yourself, it’s also a reflection of how others see you. Billionaires, even those who rent their homes, take time when finding places to live, and so should you.

In New York City, an apartment market I know all too well, people often feel lucky to find anything. There’s enormous demand, and sometimes hundreds of people will charge through the streets to look at exorbitantly expensive shoe boxes that they all saw listed in The New York Times. Most of these people will be prepared—with letters of reference, with bank statements and credit card bills, and with a sense of competition that can be fierce. To play in this apartment market, or any other real estate market, you have to do your homework. Have a clear idea of your financial needs and your living requirements. Going blindly from apartment to apartment will be a waste of everyone’s time—particularly your own.

I feel strongly that an apartment should be rented with the help of a good broker. It can be done without one, but to me, that’s like taking pills without consulting a doctor or filing a lawsuit without a lawyer. It’s possible, but it’s stupid. Brokers know the neighborhoods and the specific markets inside and out. They know property values, the pros and cons of certain buildings, the rules and regulations of pricing and rents, and the ins and outs of the actual lease. Brokers are educated and licensed, and there’s good reason for that. They will prevent you from making mistakes that will cost you thousands, and in my case, millions, more than the fees that they charge. They will also save you time by filtering out apartments that do not meet your criteria.

But you should never believe everything a broker tells you. The broker is, after all, only there for the commission, as concerned and accommodating as he or she may seem. And when it comes to the commission, whether you’re selling, buying, or renting, always negotiate. Sometimes brokers do an amazing job and deserve a high commission, but when you enter the relationship, always negotiate from the start. It’s much easier to negotiate the fee at the beginning of a broker relationship. Trying to lowball brokers midway through or at the end of a transaction is poor business form.

If you cannot afford a broker or simply want to go it alone, look in the papers or on bulletin boards. Ask around and walk around. Some of the best New York stories I’ve heard are about finding apartments that simply came out of nowhere—kind of like those stories about getting a taxi in the pouring rain on New Year’s Eve. It can happen, but the odds are lousy. In When Harry Met Sally, Billy Crystal reads through the obituaries so he can move in on the apartments of the recently deceased. If you want to go without a broker, maybe try that approach, as morbid as it might sound.

Whether or not you use a broker, find somewhere you’ll be happy for a long time. Moving around every couple of years is disruptive and expensive. And most important, figure out what you can afford. It’s not a concern for me, but I would never spend more than twenty-five percent of my salary on rent—no matter how fantastic an apartment you have found. Every dollar you pour into rent is a dollar you could be using elsewhere—whether it’s for savings, or for utilities, or for enjoying the finer things in life. It’s okay to stretch yourself slightly and anticipate that in a few years you may be making more money, but that’s not a sure thing—and it’s a safe assumption that your rent will increase at the same rate as your salary. Tenants who cannot pay their rent will go nowhere fast—and certainly never make it into the billionaire’s club.

How to Read

a Classified Ad or Listing

Often people resort to the classified ads or other listings to find apartments and houses for rent. Don’t be a fool! In New York, in particular, advertisers will make rat-infested closets sound like the penthouse of Trump Tower. Learn to see through the garbage in the advertisements so you don’t waste time looking at apartments that should be bulldozed rather than inhabited. The advertisers should all write novels, since they’re clearly so talented at writing fiction.

Pay attention to words like “funky” and “charming,” which you can translate as “unlivable” and “run-down.” Ads that brag “newly renovated” usually mean that the landlord has simply slapped new knobs on the bathroom cabinets. Other phrases that should make you nervous include “old-world appeal” (read: “dilapidated”), “cozy” (read: “tiny”), and “freshly painted” (read: “There’s nothing good to say about the apartment except that it has a fresh coat of paint”). Anything that sounds too good to be true is—especially when it comes to apartments.

Also, pay attention to the information that’s not provided. If there’s no apartment number given, you can bet it’s on the first floor (where it’s never good to live because of crime and noise), and if there’s no square footage provided, it’s too embarrassing for the advertiser to mention. Also, if there’s no photograph, beware. Even the worst apartments can be made to look palatial on film, so you should be doubly suspicious if a photograph is missing when other apartments in the ad include one.

Houses, apartments, and offices need to be touched and seen before you rent or buy them. Classified ads and listings can point you in the right direction, but it’s your responsibility to thoroughly investigate any property you may be considering.

How to Buy a House

The real estate market can be terrifying, which is part of the reason I love it so much. But it can be downright petrifying when it involves what may be your most valuable possession: your home. The market changes every day, sometimes every minute. For home buyers, some of whom will buy one house in a lifetime, trying to time the market perfectly can be a ridiculous waste of time. In ten, twenty, or forty years, any small variations in the price of your house will have amortized into a blip on your financial radar screen.

You have to go with your gut, and if you love a house and you can afford it and your broker assures you that you are paying a fair market price, you’re paying the best price. It’s as simple as that. When it comes to your home, don’t be concerned about spending more than it’s worth if you know that you will be there forever and you’ll be happy there. Sometimes the emotional price you put on a house may exceed the market price. Buying a home is different from the pure economics of investing in real estate. If you simply cannot afford a house that you love, don’t be shy about underbidding; sometimes the seller will surprise you.

Before you start looking for a house, or even figuring out what you can afford to buy, make sure you have money socked away. Brokers and sellers will take you seriously, and you will increase your bargaining power as you’re able to increase the size of your down payment. Buying a house is a serious investment, and banks and lenders will be there to help you make that investment.

A typical home buyer will not have access to one hundred percent financing, and you have to be as invested as your lender. The down payment should be your own personal gauge for your commitment to the house. Don’t lose sight of the checks and balances because ultimately it will all come down to your checks and balances.

While it’s good to be mindful of costs when buying a house, don’t go overboard. Don’t try to save money on necessary items, such as not getting a survey where it might be of value, or relying on people who are not well recommended or not known. Do not attempt to save small amounts of money on items that are important parts of the process. People often stupidly try to save money at a real estate closing, since some adjustments will probably still be made and the negotiations will not have ended. But don’t be hardheaded and cheap when it comes to buying a house. It’s counterproductive.

Simply put aside some money before you begin the house-buying process (call it your reserve budget), and then legal and financial situations that arise will not be skipped to cut costs. Undermining the purchase of your home from the beginning will only end up haunting you down the line.

How to Get an Appraisal

and a Building Inspection

Let’s say you find your dream home. A perfect location, perfect architecture, perfect price. Be careful. Always know what you are mortgaging. Don’t let your guts trick your brain, and don’t rush yourself (or allow your broker—who will always be telling you about the other buyers—to rush you, either). It is better to have researched the opportunity and lose it than to make a mistake by jumping into something you’ll come to regret.

The best reality check is the appraisal. The lender will have an appraiser, and in most situations, you will be responsible for paying for the appraisal. The appraisal should not be seen as an annoying expense that will only benefit the lender. The appraisal benefits you as well. Appraisers are professionals, and they will be able to see things that may elude the eye of most home buyers. Ask questions and do your own homework, but at the end of the day, defer to the appraiser. Some of his or her findings might be insulting or surprising, and the truth can hurt, but the appraiser’s job is to be objective. A fair appraisal will only help you in the end.

Any number of things—some of which are regulated by the government (such as flood control)—can affect the location. Other factors, such as proximity to high-tension wires, may or may not be so apparent. You’re probably not going to wind up buying the Amityville Horror, but you shouldn’t expect that every seller will tell you everything unfavorable about the property. You’re better off assuming that some things will not be divulged, out of ignorance, forgetfulness, or evasion. If you’re confused by what I’m telling you, rent the movie The Money Pit to familiarize yourself with the pains of ignoring or forgoing the appraisal.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

DONALD J. TRUMP is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting standards of excellence while expanding his interests in real estate, gaming, sports, and entertainment. Aside from The Apprentice, Trump and NBC are also partners in the ownership of and broadcast rights for the three largest beauty competitions in the world.

In New York City, the Trump signature is synonymous with the most prestigious addresses, including the renowned Trump Tower, the Trump International Hotel & Tower, the Trump Park Avenue, and the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street. He also has acclaimed golf courses in Briarcliff Manor, New York, Palm Beach, Florida, Bedminster, New Jersey, and Palos Verdes, California.
The Trump Organization is also one of the largest operators of hotels and casinos. The Trump name appears on three world-class casino hotels in Atlantic City.

Mr. Trump’s current projects include the building of Trump Place, the biggest development ever approved by the New York City Planning Commission (on the site of the former West Side Rail Yards), and a joint venture with the Chicago Sun-Times to build a 2.6-million-square-foot signature skyscraper on the banks of the Chicago River.

Trump is the number one New York Times bestselling author of How to Get Rich, The Art of the Deal, Surviving at the Top, The Art of the Comeback, as well as The America We Deserve. All told, these books have sold millions of copies.
An ardent philanthropist, Trump is involved with numerous civic and charitable organizations. In June 2000 he received his greatest honor, the Hotel and Real Estate Visionary of the Century award, given by the UJA Federation.

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Trump: Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know about Success, Real Estate, and Life 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a very interesting and informing book. This book taught me the most important steps in investing in many different things. This book also gave many facts about the real estate market, and things to watch out for. Trump explains the importance of consulting a broker before making an investment. He also emphasizes that having a broker handle your portfolio is a great idea. He expresses that negotiating a deal is also very important, because you always want to get the most of your money, and the more you save on a deal is the more you make. This is an excellent book that will teach you many different things that you probably didn't know. I suggest this book to everyone who asks me about it, and I will suggest it to you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book contains some great information on how to do just about any thing with money. It even covers on how to handle romance doanld trump is outstanding in think like a billionaire. dont miss out!!!!!! for lots of $$$
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 7 months ago
D T all you are trying to bring to the usis war quit being races i hope you lose i mean after all that what you are loooser
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just heard this clowns remarks on Mexicans and John McCain not being a war hero.Shame on you DT. What a joke you are. McCain is a hero and you are a zero! If DT is ever elected president I''m moving to Canada. Let's find out how many undocumented Mexicans he employs to slave in his hotels!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just recently read this book and thought it was overall a C+ to a B. It lacked certain issues that could have been presented. Trump mostly chats about his successes and his attractive wife. Although he does demonstrate some good points here and there, the book was missing something. Yes, Trump has been quite successful, but he has gone through hardships too, which he left out. He made it seem like becoming a billionaire is the easiest thing to do. Easier said than done Trump.
PhotoBySki More than 1 year ago
The thing I enjoy about reading Mr. Trump's books is that they are very revealing ... he tells the secrets of how he became successful. He tells you what to do and what not to do. I believe if you want to become successful, you need to study and follow successful people. Read this book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book does a good job highlighting certain aspects of Donald Trump's lifestyle. Formatted for an easy/quick read, each chapter covers two pages or less. Thinking like a billionaire requires creativity. Here in this book you may discover a small trail of that which at least points out to you where to start, although you may get or feel 'Trumpmarized' by him constantly reminding you of his brand. Trump, in my opinion, only scratches the surface in writing about the title of the book. He is very frugal with his words of wisdom. If you want to be a billionaire, you will definitely need to go through more volumes of material and books and painstaking experiences then just reading this book only. If he is going to endorse books like this, he should quit calling himself an author. Mediocre material such as you find in this book does not live up to his moniker. Do not expect to think, act, breath, or even become a billionaire by reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading this book is like having a personal conversation with Donald Trump himself. He is holding the torch of the value system that made America great, ready to pass it on to those who understand what it's all about. ¿Money may not grow from trees, but it does grow from talent, hard work and brains.¿ In all essence Donald Trump in his own unique way is saying exactly what JFK said decades ago: Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. A must read for every entrepreneur who treasures the free market. He sure got me on a roll and I am loving it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don't let the cover of this book mislead you, it contains little if anything you need to know. Lets you take a look at one Billionaire¿s Agenda. Full of business cliché (i.e. dress for success, work at a job you like, do your homework, be honest), loaded with obsequious promotions and endorsements for every product he represents. Is not a book on how to buy real estate or how to become a Billionaire or how to develop successful business strategy and planning skills. If you are looking for substance, then you will be DISAPPOINTED. However, if you like the Apprentice and need to know what happens next, then read the second half of the book. Not a financial reference but if you must read something written by Donald Trumps, Save your money and go to library.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If this book were a Donald Trump building, it would have a bright central atrium and lots of interesting side chambers for wandering. The main lobby is Trump's charm and fabulous lifestyle, but the hallways wander into very practical and sometimes dull areas where ¬¿ although it is quite nice to have a billionaire's advice ¿ your garden variety millionaire could probably fill you in: how to rent an apartment, how to find an attorney, how to monitor your finances and so forth. However, even billionaires have to start someplace, and this breezy volume gives a glimpse of Trump's foundations, as well as his fame and charisma. We like the mix of practical advice with flashes of the billionaire lifestyle. For instance, one of the book's strongest features is a diary-style account of a typical week in the author's life, with his usual bevy of rich celebrities and corporate power brokers. After that, who wouldn't want to be a billionaire?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first Trump book I have purchased. I was entertained by the first couple of chapters and to be candid...the rest is Trump tooting his own horn. Yes, he is amazingly successful, but I was deceived by what I thought I was buying. The book talks mostly about the Apprentice and not thinking like a billionaire
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here's the deal...after being impressed by Trump's magical, 'art of the deal,' I am left suprised by this pathetic mess. Self-indulgent which is normal and expected, but also full of fluff and little substance--very little. If repitious babble regarding his conquests with The Apprentice is your bag, buy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had not read any of Trump's books before but decided to give this one a shot. Overall, it was a decent book but it does not contain a lot of content as far as the 'hows and whys' of becoming a billionare. Most of the topics are covered within a couple of pages and don't delve into alot of details of why Donald thinks this is a good way of thinking. In short, alot of the material he covers is common sense! The book does have some generalized good points but I think myself and other people added to Trump's wealth simply by buying his book that really doesn't compare to other self-improvement books I've read. If you're a trump fan or need a book to carry around to read on a plane ride, this might be a good choice. I wouldn't consider it if you'd like to get to the nitty gritty of how to REALLY make money, though!