The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life Hardcover – Oct 13 2009
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"The Trump Card is appealing, grounded, smart, and has a sense of humor. Ivanka Trump proves that believing in yourself and working hard never go out of style." -- ANNA WINTOUR, Vogue --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Ivanka Maria Trump is a businesswoman, a one-time fashion model, and the daughter of Ivana and Donald Trump. Ivanka joined The Trump Organization in 2005 as a member of the development team and is currently Vice President of Real Estate Development and Acquisitions. She actively participates in all aspects of real estate development from deal evaluation, analysis and pre-development planning to construction, marketing, operations, sales and leasing. She has expanded the Trump Organization’s interests internationally, bringing the highly acclaimed Trump International Hotel & Tower brand to the global market. In addition, she joined forces with Dynamic Diamond Corp., a diamond trading company, to design and introduce a line of jewelry at the brand's first flagship retail store called 'Ivanka Trump' on Madison Avenue. Ivanka received her bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude.See all Product Description
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I really wanted to like this book. I did not buy it thinking I would seriously be introduced to the secrets of winning at work and life by a 27-year-old who works for her father and has been given every possible advantage. But, rather than a how-to-succeed-in-business guide, the book comes off more like an attempt to prove that Ivanka isn't as spoiled as everyone thinks and that she does actually have a brain in her head.
The first half of the book is useless unless you are an Ivanka fan and want to know more about her upbringing. If you don't care about her childhood, the prestigious schools her father paid for her to attend, and the 100+ foreign countries she's been to, you can skip over this part. If you're really looking for her advice on how to succeed in the workplace, there are a few chapters of the book with tips on things like job interviews, e-mail and Blackberry etiquette, and how to negotiate with business associates. I don't think Ivanka deserves much credit for any of this because none of it is new or unusual. A 30-second Google search could provide the same tips for free. But at least it relates to what the book is supposed to accomplish.
Ivanka's challenge with this book is that she doesn't seem to understand that in the real world, no one gets hired as a VP in a multinational real estate development firm at the age of 24. She offers anecdotes of how she's tried to prove that she's worthy of the job, but she never comes around to admitting that she was in no way qualified for the position and that no matter how hard you work or how well-educated you are, unless you are the boss's kid, it will take decades for you to get to the same level that Ivanka has reached. She briefly mentions working for Bruce Ratner for one year right after she graduated and uses that to justify her rise to upper management in her father's business. As though it happens that way all the time. As though it was all a result of her hard work. It just doesn't work that way in real life, and she loses a lot of credibility by trying to suggest that she would have achieved the same level of success withour her last name.
The one reason I give the book 3 stars instead of 2 is that there was a brief moment where she offered advice that is useful to anyone, regardless of age, social status, or educational background. She makes a very strong argument for the value of hard work and making a real contribution. She points out that even if you don't have a Harvard degree like the person down the hall from you, you can still outwork that person by putting in more hours, coming up with better ideas, and making your contributions known to the people in charge. She offers an outstanding tip in this vein to anyone who wants to advance in their current company: if you're making the same contributions in Year 5 that you made in Year 1, you shouldn't be worried about promotions and raises ... you should be glad you still have a job. She is right on with this point, as too many people (especially young people, and I'm only 27, so I can say this without malice) think raises and promotions are a matter of time and not a result of effort and accomplishment.
I do think she is a great role model for wealthy children who have a chance to do something positive with their lives, but aside from the one tip I mentioned above, this book isn't going to help anyone who grew up in a poor or middle-class family, went to public schools, and didn't have an executive level job waiting for them in the famly business when they graduated from college.
Ivanka Trump is poised, educated and successful. She has escaped the fate of many of those "born rich" by keeping out of trouble and living a dignified life. I'm sure a lot of young women look up to her because she's pretty and seems nice on The Apprentice. Although she breaks no new ground in her advice (be on time for meetings, work hard, be a team player, dress appropriately for work) these are things young women need to hear. They already hear it from their mothers, whom I'm sure they don't listen to because what does your mother know? But they might listen if their idol Ivanka says so, which isn't such a bad thing.
The Bad: She comes off as a bit of a snob; condescending and quite defensive, self-possessed and dare I say insecure. She keeps reminding the reader that she's a boss, "The people who work for me..." "When you're a member of my team..." that kind of thing. She doesn't know how people can go out every night and still get up for work the next morning but is always glad when friends "drag her out on a Thursday night." She name drops like nobody's biz, except maybe her father. She sounds like kind of a bore.
The Ridiculous: Her non-stop insistence that she is making it in her own right is embarrassing, not to mention unbelievable. I'm sure she would like to think so, but for it to be true, she would have to go into a whole other business, and not take one dime or get any help whatsoever from her family.
After college she spent a year at a different real estate company before joining the Trump Org. She apparently did this to show people she could work for someone other than her father. I'm sure the company bent over backwards to accommodate her in order to have the Trump connection for future biz deals.
So after an entire 12 months in an entry level position, she was then qualified to become a VP at her father's company.
We are then supposed to believe she is out there doing deals, etc. "in her own right" because all the people she does biz with see her for the astute professional she is.
If they know what's good for them, they will do what she wants because if they don't The Donald will cut them off at the knees.
I got the impression that she was trying to convince herself, more than the rest of us, that she's doing it on her own.
1. she provides "good" advice in the conventional sense (work hard, think things through, get educated, etc), but nothing that is profound or original, and nothing that cannot be gleamed from "common sense" and/or the internet, for free.
2. The "good" advice she provides, though "good" in theory, is not sufficient for application; for example, she speaks of getting educated ----- the question becomes: how? Her advice would be much more useful if she spoke of some techniques to help apply it in the real world. Moreover, after reading the work, seeing its underlying assumptions, it is my opinion that even if she had inserted these techniques, there would be better works out there, too numerous to mention, that would render it instantaneously obsolete in both depth and breadth.
personal note: if one is interested in achieving success with education, one of my favorites on this subject is Charles Hayes' "Self University"
To summarize, the book does not fulfill its stated goal, as it does not provide a "Trump Card" for her intended audience, and the cards it does give can be found in better condition elsewhere ------ the book is not what it should have been.