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Donald Trump: Master Apprentice Paperback – Oct 3 2007

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Gifts For Dad

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About the Author

Gwenda Blair is the author of the bestselling Almost Golden and has written for The New York Times, New York, Newsweek, the New York Daily News, Esquire, Smart Money, The Village Voice, and other newspapers and magazines. She lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


On a warm fall afternoon, the world's most famous businessman sat next to a pile of 12-inch-tall male dolls. If this were somewhere other than New York City - the South American jungle, say, or ancient China - they might have been mud-and-twig fetishes designed to ward off evil or ceramic objects destined to accompany him into the afterlife. But it was Times Square in September 2004, and Donald Trump was launching a sales campaign at Toys R Us for a plastic action figure modeled in his likeness - more or less. Laser technology had provided the billionaire's pursed mouth and bushy eyebrows, but a shoe-polish brown pompadour had replaced the famous orange comb-over and there were no genitals.
No matter; despite its single-breasted suit and wing-tip shoes, the Apprentice Talking Donald Trump Doll is not really a replica, or even a toy. Instead, it's a pint-sized, personal mentor for viewers of the hit reality television series, "The Apprentice," on which fresh-faced young contestants compete for a job with the Trump Organization. Embedded in the doll's chest is a digital sound chip that allows it to declare, in Trump's own voice, "Have an ego," "Think big," and other pithy bits of advice similar to those he offers each week on the show.
What the doll doesn't reveal are the sources of Donald Trump's own extraordinary success. These include a number of lucky breaks, among them his father's real estate wealth and political connections, his surname (changed by a prescient German ancestor from "Drumpf" to Trump) and his ex-wife Ivana's gift of a catchy nickname, "The Donald," which became instant newspaper fodder.
But of equal importance are what we might call The Donald's Five Commandments: Do whatever it takes to win. Don't spare the chutzpah. Turn everything into an advertisement for yourself. No matter what happens, claim victory. And above all, always use the superlative. While he's heeded business basics like "Location, location, location," his own personal mantra is "Exaggerate, exaggerate, exaggerate."
Following these guidelines, he's carved out a career in self-aggrandizement that has netted him fortune, fame and enthusiastic fans. Hundreds of them showed up for the one-time-only opportunity to plunk down $26.99 for a doll and The Donald's autograph in metallic gold across the face of the doll's box. They knew him from "The Apprentice" as the archetypal boss: ready to pounce on mistakes, dismissive of excuses and ever aware of the bottom line. What they didn't know was that behind this most recent claim to fame lay a life history with more twists and turns than any television producer could possibly imagine. Nor did they know that Trump himself had been a lifelong apprentice to a powerful man whom he had admired, rebelled against, studied, competed with, and eventually surpassed. "I wanted to do what my father did, but bigger, better, stronger, higher, everything, right?
Fifteen years earlier, that mentor had watched with a bewildered look as Donald sat in another Manhattan toy store, F.A.O. Schwartz, and autographed a Monopoly-like board game with his name and face on it. The man was Donald's father, Fred Trump. Like his son, he was in real estate. Also like his son, he was immensely wealthy. But he had made his money building ordinary homes for ordinary people, not by constructing super-luxury apartments, running casinos, engaging in financial manipulations and turning himself into one of the most celebrated figures of the century. Whereas the erstwhile apprentice lived in the center of photographers' lenses, his master existed outside the media's glare. The two men's lives were vastly different - as different as business in the middle of the twentieth century and at its end, as different as the America of the World War II era had become as the cold war drew to a close.
This apprentice did not always follow his master's advice. When Donald ignored his father's old-fashioned, all-brick aesthetic in favor of modern, glass-walled skyscrapers, he achieved great success; when he disobeyed his father's financial precept s and signed personal financial guarantees for nearly $1 billion, he created a disaster. Only a year after the F.A.O. Schwartz event, Donald's empire lay in shambles. But unlike other magnates of the time, he emerged from financial turmoil to create a second, virtual empire. He would no longer own everything with his name on it; instead, he would market himself as the embodiment of the American dream of wealth and fame. He would be the people's billionaire: the personality brand created by the dark suit, the improbable hair-do, and the over-the-top description of every undertaking as the world's most fantastic, amazing and incredible.
Only a dozen years earlier, many had considered him finished, but his current life seemed to be, quite literally, gold-plated. To the contestants on his show as well as the world at large, he seemed the quintessential man in charge. But the reason he had survived and flourished was that he had, once again, been an apprentice, resolutely adhering to his father's most fundamental rule: No matter what happens, never, ever give up.
November 2004

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First Sentence
On June 14, 1946, the day Donald Trump was born, school bands and Boy Scouts marched up Fifth Avenue, and there were plenty of American flags waving-a festive touch, although in honor of Flag Day rather than Donald's birth. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Re-packaged and updated, in order to ride the wave March 11 2005
By Corinne H. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everybody and his brother wants to ride along on Donald Trump's current wave of popularity. During the past year, we've seen books appear by Apprentice-candidate Amy Henry, first Apprentice winner Bill Rancic, board-room colleagues Carolyn Kepcher and George Ross, and naturally, several business / autobios by Trump himself. Now in early 2005, we have two new Trump biographies: this title, and "No Such Thing as Over-Exposure," by Robert Slater. But this one isn't entirely new. It's based on a longer book that Gwenda Blair released in 2000.

"The Trumps: Three Generations that Built an Empire" was a much thicker volume, divided into three equal sections: the first for grandpa Friedrich Trump's immigrant story, the second for father Fred Trump's rise in New York real estate, and the last for son Donald's takeover. Several glossy pages of photos were included so that we could see the family grow and change along the way. In "Master Apprentice," Blair used her previous work as a foundation. She stripped the Friedrich and Fred sections away, condensing more than 200 pages into an interwoven 6-page introductory backstory. She eliminated the photos. She kept the same chapter titles and structures for Donald's section and added a final 16-page chapter that covers the last five years, chronicling the Atlantic City bankruptcy and the tremendous fame surrounding "The Apprentice" TV show. The last four pages turn the reader's attention to Don Jr. and predict his own beginning success. While much of the original text remains the same, Blair should be given credit for retooling and refining some of the initial writing and adding new details where they are pertinent. The final outcome doesn't look or read like a slapdash piece, and it's not a carbon copy of "The Trumps."

Blair's work stands apart from the other books mentioned because of the substantive detail she's gleaned about every Trump deal ever made. (It's appropriate that many negotiations hinge on the Atlantic City properties, because the facts read like a never-ending Monopoly game gone tremendously awry.) Her research is exhaustive and her bibliography, extensive. She spoke to hundreds of individuals, though seemingly, not to Donald Trump himself. The result isn't a glowing account of its main subject but is about as neutral as it can be. The reader is left to decide whether Donald will ultimately ride off into the sunset with a white hat or a black one covering that signature coiffure. Given his drive to be the best and to have only the best, we know at least that the horse would be the fastest, the Stetson would be the largest, and they would both cost more than the average American's annual salary.

Read this book (or its predecessor) first. It will provide perspective for the rest of the titles in the Trump / Apprentice canon.
Mostly just retreads from her wonderful trilogy of the Trump family Jan. 3 2007
By Mary Ellen Quinn - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed her book on the Trump family history especially about the grandfather. This book however disappointed me. I found it to be a knockoff of the original trilogy with very little new material. Just being honest. I'm a true Trump devotee so I read everything out there on him, whether written by him or someone else.
A Look In To The Donald March 6 2008
By JB Capital management Co - Published on
Format: Paperback
Master Apprentice provides an eye opening view for Trump first timers in to the life "The Donald". Trump appears more a master "salesman" than "apprentice" in his legendary efforts for power, prestige and notoriety in Manhattan real estate. A good read.

Jeremy Hill
JB Capital Management
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Highly Recommended! Sept. 27 2005
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Becoming a successful real estate developer in New York, one of America's most difficult cities, requires laser focus and ruthless tactics. So that's what Donald Trump and, to a lesser degree his father, Fred, brought to the job as they rose to power and fame. Journalist Gwenda Blair does a masterful, thoroughly reported job of describing the various forces, conflicts of interest, power plays, politics, personalities and near-criminal behavior that resulted in three FBI investigations (but no indictments) of Trump's various real estate deals. Blair provides insights about the family relationships and friendships that shaped Trump's personality and business deals. This is a careful study of the underside of the real estate development business and what it really takes to get big projects done in complex political and financial environments. Would most corporate managers find this book useful? Certainly. We think it provides fuel for thought and a new perspective on being relentless and persistent, as well as being pretty clear about the downside of lying and of having what Donald Trump calls a "killer instinct."
0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fun read and interesting. Aug. 1 2005
By elvis_lives - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Probably one of the better books out there on him. But, as the title sez "Master Apprentice"... How fitting a name.

I would imagine his kids are going to have a tough time living in the shadows of this guy when he's dead. They'd be wise to start their own company and do it from scratch.