Whether or not you like him on a personal level, Trump’s business acumen is beyond question. Any man who can parley a million dollar loan into the multi-billion dollar enterprise that Trump operates has something that the rest of us lack.
After all, people win the lottery every week, but they don’t go on to become the next Trump.
I’m currently about halfway through Trump’s business book, Think Big. Honestly, I think it deserves its place on the shelf next to Think and Grow Rich, Mastery, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. While the other three books are about success-orientation, dedication, and personal interactions, Trump’s work combines these topics naturally into an easy read.
The book is laid out in a fairly common self-help format.
The majority of each chapter is Donald Trump sharing a personal story, breaking significant points out of those stories, and explaining why those points are crucial to success. For example, he starts Chapter 3 with the story of how The Apprentice came into existence. Next comes a set of headings related to the story (e.g. “Some things work because you do not know they are impossible”) and an examination of the case which supports that heading. This serves a few important purposes:
- It reinforces the notion that his ideas work
- It conveys knowledge in a narrative fashion rather than a presentation fashion
- It carries Trump’s unique mindset in the phrasing, pacing, and word choice
Next comes a section by the founder of The Learning Annex, Bill Zanker. These passages read more like testimonials and support for Trump’s main point. They’re all relatively short, and their structure is less defined, but they expose Trump’s main points from a different mindset and a different angle. This allows the book to spread its appeal more effectively and reinforces the notion that these ideas work.
Finally, we get a one-paragraph summary of the chapter’s contents and a key point breakdown. This makes the information in each chapter easier to reference and reinforces the ideas in your mind.
On top of all this, the structure and wording is highly accessible. It’s borderline blue-collar and carries no “fluff” words. Trump sells his points on their own strengths, so he doesn’t need words like “eschew” and “tabulate”.
As I said, I’m only through the first few chapters so far, because I am working to properly absorb everything Trump has to offer. There are only ten chapters, but each one is packed full of stories and concepts that need to be studied and contemplated. It’s not a task to be undertaken lightly.
What follows is a short outline I constructed from the second chapter – stripped of the narrative and key passages, obviously.
Passion over Goals
Don’t just go looking for money
Find what you really want to do
Then figure out how to get paid for it
E.G. I love to share ideas and debate – start a blog and write books
E.G. I love to eat, but aside from the flooded Yelp market I can’t think how to make money on it
Idea + Passion = ACTION
Without action, there is nothing to show for your ideas
Without Passion, action will not work
Don’t do work you can’t be passionate about
Example of “Stan” – excellent golf course developer, miserable Wall Street exec
Learn to thrive under pressure
Pressure crushes most people, but is necessary for success
Recall Schwarzenegger: “The last 3 or 4 reps…divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion”
Reframe – focus kills stress
If you’re always stressed, intellect counts for nothing
Grace under pressure > Other skills
Focus on the glorious (and fun) future, not the problems of the now
Learn from mistakes – failure breeds success
Persistence uber alles
Push your envelope
Action over ideas
All these key points are expressed over some 35 pages. Needless to say, this is a book which covers a lot of ideas very quickly, and merits multiple readings.
Very few expected Trump’s political campaign to be as influential as it has become. Those who did predict his rise understood the principles he has demonstrated over his long entrepreneurial career.
This book will bring you much closer to understanding and developing the kind of success every entrepreneur desires.
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