Op vrijdag 20 januari wordt Donald John Trump beëdigd als 45ste president van de Verenigde Staten. Een nieuw tijdperk breekt aan voor de Verenigde Staten en de rest van de wereld.

Eén van de opvallendste dingen aan de man die schijnbaar nooit een blad voor de mond neemt, is dat hij er keer op keer in slaagt anderen te choqueren met zijn ongepolijste uitspraken. Brexit is fantastisch, de NAVO achterhaald, China neemt een loopje met de VS.

Over wat Trump echt zal doen als hij president is, wordt veel gespeculeerd. Maar één ding lijkt duidelijk: Trump wil zich ook in zijn nieuwe rol afficheren als dealmaker. Niet iemand met onwrikbare ideologische standpunten, maar een pragmatische zakenpresident die weet hoe je tegenstanders onder druk moet zetten, om er voor jezelf het beste uit te halen.

Wie het over de dealmaker Trump heeft, kan niet heen om het boek dat het beeld van Trump op dit vlak diepgaand heeft beïnvloed: Trump – The Art of the Deal.

In de bestseller uit 1987 vertelt Trump over zijn jeugd en zijn eerste grote vastgoedeals als twintiger en dertiger, in de jaren 70 en 80 van de vorige eeuw.

Het is wel een problematisch boek. Ghostwriter Tony Schwartz deed in de zomer van 2016 uit de doeken dat hij zich schaamde voor het beeld dat hij heeft opgeroepen van Trump in The Art of the Deal. Geen letter uit het boek zou van Trump zelf afkomstig zijn.

Trump beschikt volgens Schwartz bij lange na niet over de taalkundige finesse om frases als 'deals are my art form' te bedenken.

Belangrijker nog: het beeld van Trump als zakelijke krachtpatser dat in The Art of the Deal naar voren komt, is volgens Schwartz zwaar overtrokken. Volgens Schwartz is Trump in tegenstelling tot wat hij zelf suggereert wel degelijk een geldwolf, een pathologische leugenaar en kan hij zich extreem slecht voor langere tijd concentreren. Schwartz zou het boek nu liever 'The Sociopath' hebben genoemd.

Dit alles neemt niet weg dat Trump The Art of the Deal zelf als een soort bijbel beschouwt. Het boek biedt in elk geval tal van opvallende parallellen met uitspraken die de vastgoedmiljardair de afgelopen jaren via Twitter deed - het ééndimensionale medium voor boodschappen van 140 tekens dat Trump op ongeëvenaarde wijze benut.

Business Insider verzamelde 45 citaten uit The Art of The Deal en contrasteerde die met 36 tweets van Trump, geclusterd rond 10 Trumpiaanse thema's. Voor wie iets wil begrijpen van de nieuwe president van de Verenigde Staten.

Trump, de geweldige

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks." (p. 1)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "MY STYLE of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after. Sometimes I settle for less than I sought, but in most cases I still end up with what I want." (p. 45)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "...if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big. Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage." (p. 46)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I don’t kid myself. Life is very fragile, and success doesn’t change that. If anything, success makes it more fragile." (p. 64)

Trump, de familieman

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I still remember my mother, who is Scottish by birth, sitting in front of the television set to watch Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and not budging for an entire day. (....) My mother loves splendor and magnificence, while my father, who is very down-to-earth, gets excited only by competence and efficiency." (p. 80)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "THE MOST IMPORTANT INFLUENCE on me, growing up, was my father, Fred Trump." (p. 65)

"You made it in my father’s business—rent-controlled and rent-stabilized buildings—by being very tough and very relentless." (p. 74)

"The real reason I wanted out of my father’s business—more important than the fact that it was physically rough and financially tough—was that I had loftier dreams and visions." (p. 79)

Trump, de dealmaker

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I believe in the power of negative thinking. I happen to be very conservative in business. I always go into the deal anticipating the worst. If you plan for the worst—if you can live with the worst—the good will always take care of itself." (p. 48)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first. In addition, once I’ve made a deal, I always come up with at least a half dozen approaches to making it work, because anything can happen, even to the best-laid plans." (p. 50)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "If you’re going to make a deal of any significance, you have to go to the top. It comes down to the fact that everyone underneath the top guy in a company is just an employee." (p. 127)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without. (...). leverage often requires imagination, and salesmanship. In other words, you have to convince the other guy it’s in his interest to make the deal." (p. 53)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I’m the first to admit that I am very competitive and that I’ll do nearly anything within legal bounds to win. Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition." (p. 108)

Trump, de manager

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "In most large public corporations, getting an answer to a question requires going through seven layers of executives, most of whom are superfluous in the first place. In our organization, anyone with a question could bring it directly to me and get an answer immediately. That’s precisely why I’ve been able to act so much faster than my competitors on so many deals." (p. 209)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I have a very simple rule when it comes to management: hire the best people from your competitors, pay them more than they were earning, and give them bonuses and incentives based on their performance. That’s how you build a first-class operation." (p. 220)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "There is nothing to compare with family if they happen to be competent, because you can trust family in a way you can never trust anyone else." (p. 206)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "It’s funny. My own mother was a housewife all her life. And yet it’s turned out that I’ve hired a lot of women for top jobs, and they’ve been among my best people. Often, in fact, they are far more effective than the men around them. (....) The person I hired to be my personal representative overseeing the construction [of Trump Tower, red], Barbara Res, was the first woman ever put in charge of a skyscraper in New York." (p. 173)

Trump, de marketingman

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "You can have the most wonderful product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, it’s not going to be worth much. (...) You need to generate interest, and you need to create excitement." (p. 56)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Some people have a sense of the market and some people don’t. (...) "Woody Allen has it, for the audience he cares about reaching, and so does Sylvester Stallone, at the other end of the spectrum." (p. 51)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Hiring outside consultants to study a market. It’s never as good as doing it yourself." (p. 56)

"One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It’s in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you." (p. 56)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "If I take a full-page ad in the New York Times to publicize a project, it might cost $40,000, and in any case, people tend to be skeptical about advertising. But if the New York Times writes even a moderately positive one-column story about one of my deals, it doesn’t cost me anything, and it’s worth a lot more than $40,000." (p. 57)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "The funny thing is that even a critical story, which may be hurtful personally, can be very valuable to your business." (p. 57)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells." (p. 176)

"A little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole." (p. 58)

Trump, de kruidenier

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I never threw money around. I learned from my father that every penny counts, because before too long your pennies turn into dollars." (p. 61)

"The day I can’t pick up the telephone and make a twenty-five-cent call to save $10,000 is the day I’m going to close up shop." (p. 62)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I know from my own experience that the only way to get even the best contractor to finish a job on time and on budget is to lean on him very, very hard. You can get any job done through sheer force of will—and by knowing what you’re talking about." (p. 322)

Trump, de gevoelsmens

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I don’t hire a lot of number-crunchers, and I don’t trust fancy marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions. I’m a great believer in asking everyone for an opinion before I make a decision. It’s a natural reflex." (...)"I ask and I ask and I ask, until I begin to get a gut feeling about something. And that’s when I make a decision." (p. 51 en 52)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "The other people I don’t take too seriously [besides number-crunchers, red] are the critics—except when they stand in the way of my projects. (...)." (p.52)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I’m someone who responds to people I have respect for, and I listen. Again, it’s instincts, not marketing studies." (p. 90)

Trump, de anti-politicus

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I discovered, for the first time but not the last, that politicians don’t care too much what things cost. It’s not their money." (p. 111)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "When it comes to making a smart decision, the most distinguished planning committee working with the highest-priced consultants doesn’t hold a candle to a group of guys with a reasonable amount of common sense and their own money on the line." (p. 283)

"If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dealing with politicians over the years, it’s that the only thing guaranteed to force them into action is the press—or, more specifically, fear of the press." (p. 305)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Bad press translates into potential lost votes, and if a politician loses enough votes, he won’t get reelected. If that happens, he might have to go out and take a 9 to 5 job. That’s the last thing most politicians want to do." (p. 306)

Trump, de kasteelheer

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Ultimately, Trump Tower became much more than just another good deal. I work in it, I live in it, and I have a very special feeling about it." (p. 192)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "The cycles of buyers at Trump Tower became something of a barometer of what was going on in the international economy." (p. 184)

"At first, the big buyers were the Arabs, when oil prices were going through the roof. Then, of course, oil prices fell and the Arabs went home." (p. 184)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "1981, we got a sudden wave of buyers from France. I wasn’t sure why, but then I realized the reason was that François Mitterrand had been elected president, and anyone smart and wealthy realized immediately that Mitterrand was going to hurt the French economy." (p. 184)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Wall Street types, brokers and investment bankers who’ve made instant fortunes during the bull market frenzy. It’s ridiculous, when you think about it. You get stockbrokers, barely twenty-five years old, who suddenly earn $600,000 a year because clients they’ve never met call up and say, “I’ll take fifty thousand shares of General Motors.” The broker pushes a button on a computer and, presto, he’s got a huge commission. As soon as the stock market falls out—which it will, because it too runs in cycles—most of these guys will be out on the street looking for work." (p. 185)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "The other new buyers are the Japanese. I have great respect for what the Japanese have done with their economy, but for my money they are often very difficult to do business with. For starters, they come in to see you in groups of six or eight or even twelve, and so you’ve got to convince all of them to make any given deal. You may succeed with one or two or three, but it’s far harder to convince all twelve. In addition, they rarely smile and they are so serious that they don’t make doing business fun. Fortunately, they have a lot of money to spend, and they seem to like real estate. What’s unfortunate is that for decades now they have become wealthier in large measure by screwing the United States with a self-serving trade policy that our political leaders have never been able to fully understand or counteract." (p. 195)

Trump, de ruziezoeker

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "Despite what some people may think, I’m not looking to be a bad guy when it isn’t absolutely necessary." (p. 175)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "I’m very good to people who are good to me. But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard." (p. 58)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: "It irritates me that critics, who’ve neither designed nor built anything themselves, are given carte blanche to express their views in the pages of major publications, whereas the targets of their criticism are almost never offered space to respond. Of course, I can be irritated all I want and it won’t do any good. So long as a critic writes for a newspaper like the New York Times, his opinion will continue to carry great weight—whether I like it or not." (p.342)

Trump, de president

De komende jaren moet Trump laten zien wat hij echt waard is als president. Fervente critici zoals zijn voormalige ghostwriter Schwartz waarschuwen voor een grote deceptie.

Als Trump zijn verkiezingsbeloftes serieus neemt, mag hij dit citaat The Art of The Deal in ieder geval niet uit het oog verliezen:

"You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on." (p. 60)


MIS OOK NIET: Waarom je de dag na Trump’s inauguratie waarschijnlijk duizenden Amerikanen met roze mutsen ziet