A bemused, entertaining portrait of a gold-toned incarnation of the American dream, plus some believable financials for...

TRUMPNATION

THE ART OF BEING THE DONALD

New York Times business reporter O'Brien gets down and dirty—in the most good-natured way—to craft a myth-busting biography of the real-estate developer.

The author has been following Donald Trump’s story for the past 15 years, watching him rise, fall and rise again on a self-generated tide of publicity and endless hyperbolic statements. While Trump’s business trajectory isn’t in dispute, O’Brien takes issue with the financial specifics. He punctures decades’ worth of bluster and offers his own take on Trump’s career and the “kitten’s skein of holdings Donald had woven together” by the time The Apprentice anointed him the nation’s most successful developer. Highlights O’Brien explores include Trump’s early battles with Mayor Ed Koch, his business dealings with known Mafia associates and the bailout by his much-less-famous siblings that kept him from going bankrupt. The Donald’s character is almost too colorful; the business deals based on braggadocio, the creative reporting on personal wealth and the trophy wives eventually blend together in a glittering haze. O’Brien keeps coming back to the numbers, however. The book’s essence can be discerned in his analysis of the Forbes 400; for each year that the magazine reported Trump’s personal wealth, the author has done his own reporting. For example, in 1982, Forbes said Donald had an undefined share of the Trump family’s $200 million, “at a time when all [he] owned personally was a half interest in the Grand Hyatt and a share of the yet to be completed Trump Tower.” O’Brien also mentions that New Jersey regulators assessed Donald as being “short on cash and in debt up to his eyeballs.” It’s no shock that Trump is a self-promoter, but it is surprising that he appears to have cooperated with the author, despite having declared O’Brien a “whack job” to the press.

A bemused, entertaining portrait of a gold-toned incarnation of the American dream, plus some believable financials for anyone who wants to know the real fiscal story.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-446-57854-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more