NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Donald Trump's best-selling The Art of the Deal came out in 1987, but feels like it could have been written yesterday. The 2016 Presidential hopeful hasn't changed much since then. He's still jetting around and making deals -- huge deals -- and talking about them in much the same way he talks about his political campaign today.
"I don't do it for the money. I've got enough, much more than I'll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form," he writes, in the book's opening line. It goes on from there with pages of Trump gems (although, in his case we're probably talking about diamonds).
Trump has claimed that the book, originally published by a division of major book publisher Hachette, is the No. 1 best-selling business book of all time (a claim that has been proven false -- it is estimated to have sold about a million copies, a fraction of titles like How to Win Friends and Influence People and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
But if Trump wins the Republican nomination or the presidency, you can be sure that this enlightening look into Trump's personality will again fly off the shelves.
Here are some things you can learn reading Trump's master work.
1. Trump is the same now as he was in 1987.
Just look at the first line of the book, "I don't do it for the money. I've got enough, much more than I'll ever need."
How many times have we heard during Trump's campaign for the Republican nomination that he's rich and successful?
From Trump's announcement speech in June: "I don't need anybody's money. It's nice. I don't need anybody's money. I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists. I'm not using donors. I don't care. I'm really rich."
Talking to CNN in July about his financial disclosure: "People said, 'Oh, well maybe he's not as rich as everybody thinks you are.' Well, it turned out I'm much richer."
An August Huffington post article cited this as his mantra: "I am rich. I am successful."
Want more? Okay: Despite Trump releasing financials claiming to be worth about $9 billion in June (and Forbes pegging the true figure as much lower), he has since claimed to be worth more than $10 billion.
On the issue of being rich and successful, at least Trump is not a flip-flopper.
2. Trump knows how to negotiate.
An anecdote from his book about making great deals: "A new 727 sells for approximately $30 million. A G-4, which is one fourth the size, goes for about $18 million...I offered $5 million, which was obviously ridiculously low. They countered at $10 million, and at that point I knew I had a great deal, regardless of how the negotiation ended." (Page 365)
Let's cut Trump a bit of slack here: This deal happened before the Internet, when you could look up these prices. Knowing you are paying less than what comparables cost isn't as much a feat these days.
That said, after four corporate bankruptcies, to remain in the game, convincing lenders to take yet another chance on you, you've got to be a great negotiator. Trump has often said on the campaign trail that he is one and that when he is President, we'll see how he strong arms China, Mexico, Iran and other countries the U.S. deals with.
It's impossible to know how things may have gone if Trump had been in the driver's seat over the past four years (he flirted with running for President last time around). Here's how things might have gone, however, had Trump been at the scene of one of America's most important negotiation moments (per McSweeney's parody channel, Internet Tendency):
The American Revolution
I would have people come up to me all the time and say, "Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, you should lead our troops. You should have lead." And I should have, because I would have ended the war, Day One.
I would have gone up to King George III, whom I know. I would have said, "Georgie, we're leaving."
He'd cry, he'd beg, he'd try to convince us to stay. I'd say, "No, no, no. Here's the way it works: We leave, you get nothing, that's the deal" And then I'd turn to the French, and I'd say, "And you ... Thanks for the help. Now give us a statue. A woman. But not an ugly one."
Papers would be signed the next morning.
-- DONALD TRUMP, THROUGH THE AGES, on McSweeney's Internet Tendency
3. Trump has benefited from keeping the wrong people out.
From pages 181 and 182 of The Art of the Deal: "At the time we began selling Trump Tower, it was virtually the only condominium in New York...To buy a cooperative -- which is what most buildings in New York were at the time -- you need approval from its board of directors, who have ridiculous, arbitrary powers, including the right to demand all kinds of financial data, social references, and personal interviews. Then they can reject you for any reason they choose, without explanation. It's a license to discriminate...It's absurd and probably illegal, but it happened to be great for Trump Tower."
While Trump adds that the commonplace discrimination is "absurd," he can't help but revel in how good it was for his business. When it comes to how the U.S. should look at immigrants, perhaps Trump has learned this lesson: No matter how "absurd" or "probably illegal," discriminating against people you don't want to let in can be good for business.
Of course, what works (while being "absurd" and "probably illegal") for a fancy New York apartment building probably would also work for one of the largest countries in the world.
4. Trump has always known how to manipulate the media.
"I got a call from a reporter asking whether or not it was true that Prince Charles had purchased an apartment in Trump Tower...I refused to confirm or deny the rumor...That was all the media needed." (Page 183)
Trump has an incredibly savvy mind for media and how to work a crowd. In this instance, it's not what he said, but what he didn't say.
In the first Republican debate, when Trump was asked whether he would support the eventual Republican nominee if it wasn't him. By refusing to give a straight answer, he set the tone for the entire debate and discussion afterward. His debate moderators from Fox News (in the tank for the Republicans in general) were aghast, as were his fellow candidates.
Trump let the controversy simmer as he surged in the polls, perhaps propelled by the authenticity in his position on the matter, until, a month after the August 3 debate, he finally signed the GOP loyalty pledge.
5. Trump doesn't care about food.
"I rarely go out, because mostly, it's a waste of time." (Page 7)
What's not a waste of time? Doing deals. Lots of deals. Big deals. Huge deals. After all, as Gordon Gekko said, "Lunch is for wimps."
But eating habits are a serious topic in presidential elections. Candidates are rolled from state fair to state fair, eating deep fried Snickers bars and meats on sticks. Eschewing the arugula and quinoa that fuel the pinhead elites on the coasts, candidates must show that they, too, think an exciting way to spend a weekend is by assaulting their stomachs with the deepest, fried-est foods on sticks that they can find. "See?," they are saying through a stick-eating grin, "I'm just like you!"
Should Trump be faced with that test, he will pass. From an April story in the Des Moines Register, early Trump staffer Chuck Laudner said of the candidate that he is, "not a picky eater, willing to have whatever is on the rubber chicken dinner circuit."
6. Trump likes to put his name on things.
This one's obvious, but unless you're familiar with the entire history of Trump licensing his name, you might not quote understand the extent of this hobby of his (a hobby that he says is worth $3.3 billion -- a number that has been challenged by Forbes and Bloomberg).
Here's a Trump joint that, save Trump's insatiable appetite to create media about himself, might have been lost to history: "A decision has been made to go into production on two Cadillac-body limousines using my name. The Trump Golden Series will be the most opulent stretch limousine made." (Page 362)
If Trump becomes President, don't be surprised if he renames the Pentagon's $400 billion joint strike fighter boondoggle into the Trump F-35 Lightning.
7. Bigger is better.
It's no secret that Trump is flashy. His flair is rooted in his core and has been since his early days.
"I decided to take over one of the other apartments on the top three floors and combine it with mine...And while I can't honestly say I need an eighty-foot living room, I do get a kick out of having one." (Page 187)
Given that Trump is now getting used to giving stump speeches on the campaign trail to crowds of tens of thousands in huge arenas, will his 80-foot living room be enough for his ego?
8. You can't have a drink with The Donald.
"The next night we met for a drink. There was just one small problem. I don't drink, and I'm not very big on sitting around." (Page 96)
Trump is a known teetotaler. This is very useful on the campaign trail -- especially on the Republican side -- because, aside from being unable to verify your faith by quoting bible verses, havingvices can be bad for business.
Then again, one criteria for getting elected by the American people as Commander-in-Chief of a military larger than the next 10 combined and a nuclear arsenal that could melt the earth is whether or not one would like to have a beer with the candidate. On that point, Trump fails. It's probably the only thing standing between him and the White House.
9. You can't trust Trump around your wife because he is too rich and good looking.
If there is a room and your wife or girlfriend is in it and then Trump also goes into that room, you should probably not leave them alone too long, owing to Trump's good looks and charisma.
At least, that's how things were in the '80s, when Trump was joining the Le Club, one of New York's "hottest" (his words) clubs at the time. He wrote of one of Le Club's membership gatekeepers, "He said that because I was young and good-looking, and because some of the older members of the club were married to beautiful young women, he was worried that I might be tempted to try to steal their wives. He asked me to promise that I wouldn't do that." (Pages 96 and 97)
The Republican National Committee was probably thinking of this passage when it made Trump sign a loyalty pledge, stating that he would support the Republican nominee, no matter who it was -- and not flirt with the Democrats or sleep with the idea of running a third-party candidate.
10. Trump isn't going anywhere.
Even if he loses the 2016 Presidential race, Trump probably doesn't plan on leaving the public eye anytime soon. The last line in his book: "Don't get me wrong. I also plan to keep making deals, big deals, and right around the clock."
Trump just gotta be Trump, I guess. Even if he fades from the Republican field, this isn't the last we've heard from him.
-- Jon Kostakopoulos helped with the research for this article.