Whatever your politics, we can all agree on one thing: Donald Trump is crazy confident.
He doesn’t let his lack of experience or facts hold him back from stating his opinion. He flies by the seat of his pants and somehow still lands on his feet.
A year ago, the lamestream media mocked his chances of winning the GOP nomination. But Trump never doubted himself. When challenged, Trump whips out his machismo, and slaps you in the face with it.
You can’t deny he gets results. They might be exaggerated or fake, but he still gets them. Trump has said insane things about grabbing pussy and banning Muslims, and he still has a solid base. His confidence is like a big bright light; it lures us in and we cannot look away.
Is it possible for anyone to obtain that kind of confidence? How does Trump keep it up? There’s only one way to find out: follow Donald Trump’s teachings.
Trump’s first lesson: You will never be as great as Donald Trump.
Trump’s confidence is unattainable to the average Joe because it’s not something you can learn — it’s genetic. “More than anything else, I think deal-making is an ability you’re born with,” wrote Trump.
Most of us will never be billionaires or run for President, so it makes sense we will never attain Trump levels of bombast. But that doesn’t mean that The Art of The Deal isn’t packed full of teachings to help the rest of us become crazy confident in our own right.
Here’s what I learned:
People like straight-talk and authenticity, even if it’s bullshit.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed
Speaking in fragmented sentences was an easy change to adopt. Most people will still figure out what you’re saying, and letting go of those extra words was certainly weight off my back. Plus, when you let other people fill in the blanks, they’ll usually end up believing you said what they wanted you to say. It’s a win/win.
Authenticity also comes from not giving a flying fuck what the elites think. Fast food is bad? Then I’m going to eat it. I’ve got that confidence because I know people will relate to me and my goddamn Big Mac (even if I am eating it with a fork and knife because I am very much so an elite).
“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.” — Donald Trump
“One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better… The point is that if you are a little different, a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.” — Donald Trump
“The power of the New York Times is just awesome.” — Donald Trump
“In reality I wasn’t that far along, but I did everything I could, short of going to work at the site myself, to assure them that my casino was practically finished. My leverage came from confirming an impression that they were already presupposed to believe.” — Donald Trump
“What the bulldozers and dump trucks did wasn’t important, I said, so long as they did a lot of it. If they got some actual work accomplished, all the better, but if necessary, he should have the bulldozers dig up dirt from one side of the site and dump it on the other. They should keep doing that, I said, until I gave him other instructions…. There were so many pieces of machinery on this site that they could barely maneuver around each other. These distinguished corporate leaders looked on, some of them visibly awed.” — Donald Trump
“We had no formal name for the company… so I began to call it the Trump Organization. Somehow the word ‘organization’ made it sounds much bigger.” — Donald Trump
“I got a some of my sense of showmanship from my mother. She always had a flair for the dramatic and the grand.” — Donald Trump
“And while I can’t honestly say I need an eighty-foot living room, I do get a kick out of having one.” — Donald Trump
“Finally, I see a huge and magnificent gold wreath for the entrance to the building, and decide we should use just that. Sometimes — not often, but sometimes — less it more.” — Donald Trump
“I don’t kid myself about why I’m asked to speak at or chair so many events. It’s not because I’m such a great guy. The reason is that the people who run charities know that I’ve got wealthy friends and I can get them to buy tables.” — Donald Trump
“My father and I put in a very minimal bid for Swifton, and it was accepted. We ended up paying less that $6 million for a job …. We were also immediately able to get a mortgage for what we paid…. In other words, we got the project without putting down any money of our own.” — Donald Trump
Reading and listening will only make you second guess your gut.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed
Your gut is the only thing you should trust. Decisiveness doesn’t involve listening to outside consultants, reading books with facts, or having diverse committees discuss the pros and cons of a given policy. All of those things just make you second-guess yourself and eat away at your confidence.
Tony Schwartz, the guy who helped Trump write his first book, had plenty of time to soak in his greatness. His conclusion: “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” Exactly. You don’t need them.
To be like Donald Trump, I got rid of all the books around my desk. I set them on fire to make sure I wouldn’t dig through the trash in a moment of weakness. I only needed myself, and I should only trust myself.
“My people keep telling me I shouldn’t write letters like this to critics. They way I see it, critics get to say what they want to about my work, so why shouldn’t I be able to say what I want to about theirs?” — Donald Trump
“I’m the first to admit that I am very competitive and that I’ll do nearly anything within legal bound to win. Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.” — Donald Trump
“Even in elementary school, I was a very assertive, aggressive kid. In the second grade I actually gave a teacher a black eye — I punched my music teacher because I didn’t think he knew anything about music and I almost got expelled.” — Donald Trump
Give your haters a taste of their own medicine.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed
That’s right. It’s called tough love. When you’re criticized, criticize right back. Let them know you’re not to be walked over. Trump’s constant complaint of mainstream media bias is a great hit back at everyone in the press who has ever badmouthed him. Of course, he also likes to call his critics dopey or wacky, and why not?
As a writer on the internet, I get a lot of mean comments. I used to ignore them — not anymore. Now I bite back harder.
“The day after Flutie’s great game, I wrote a letter to Harry Usher, our new commissioner, suggesting that the cost of Flutie’s contract be shared among all USFL owners — on the grounds that Flutie’s promotional value was leaguewide. I knew it was highly unlikely that the other owners would go along — and they didn’t — but my attitude is you can’t get hurt asking.” — Donald Trump
“If you want to buy something, it’s obviously in your best interest to convince the seller that what he’s got isn’t worth very much.” — Donald Trump
It never hurts to ask for more.
Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed
Donald Trump is all about shooting for the moon so you end up among the stars. You never know when someone is going to say yes to your request, so you might as well try.
So when I went to Starbucks for my usual PSL, I explained to the barista that I was BuzzFeed’s Sarah Burton and I would love a grande for free. Having someone as important as me walk around with a PSL was pretty much free advertising, I explained.
Unfortunately, Andrew the Baristo told me he couldn’t do that. So I paid and instructed him to write my name, B-U-R-T-O-N, huge on the cup.
As you can see, I did not receive what I asked for. Disgusted, I promptly threw the cup in the trash (after I finished drinking it, of course). I had been disrespected by Starbucks. That would be the last time I would be their loyal customer.
“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.” — Donald Trump
“Just compare that will all the hundreds of ‘respectable’ guys who make careers out of boosting about their uncompromising integrity but have absolutely no loyalty. They think only about what’s best for them and don’t think twice about stabbing a fired in the back if the friend becomes a problem. What I liked most about Roy Cohn was that he would do just the opposite.” — Donald Trump
“People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I can it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.” — Donald Trump
“They were just interested in buying his name. I’ve always felt that a lot of modern art is a con, and that the most successful painters are often better salesmen and promoters than they are artists.” — Donald Trump
“I don’t hire a lot of number-crunchers, and I don’t trust marketing surveys. I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions…” — Donald Trump
“Among other things, she reported that a majority of fans who’d been surveyed in a poll wanted the USFL to stay in the spring. You can probably guess how much stock I put in polls…. I managed to get the issue of moving to the fall put to a vote. It passed by more than the required two-thirds majority.” — Donald Trump
“I like to think that I have that instinct. That’s why 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.” — Donald Trump
Don’t Trust The Numbers
Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed
Donald Trump described himself as similar to Sylvester Stallone — a “genius by instinct.” He doesn’t need numbers. For me, that was the most refreshing advice of all. I also hate looking at statistics. Sometimes people don’t know what they want until you give it to them.
I went back and reinterpreted my post stats. I removed the numbers, and trusted my gut instinct. This is the kind of data the proves I’m a great employee who definitely deserves to be CEO. Or CFO? CDO? You know, whichever one makes more money.
“He agreed to put me up for membership. He had only one misgiving. He said that because I was young and good-looking, and because some if 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.” — Donald Trump
“I was admitted to the club, and it turned out to be a good move for me, socially and professionally. I met a lot of beautiful young single women, and I went out almost every night. Actually, I never got involved with any of them very seriously. These were beautiful women, but many of them couldn’t carry on a normal conversation. Some were vain, some were crazy, some were wild, and many of them were phonies.” — Donald Trump
Surround yourself with Tens.
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed
There’s a reason Donald Trump knew it was important to join the most elite clubs. It’s the same reason he bought the Miss USA beauty pageant: Surrounding yourself with Tens raises your own value. It’s simple economics. So I picked out the two hottest guys at BuzzFeed and had them walk the streets of New York by my side. The passersby indubitably concluded that for me to be with these people, I must be pretty fucking smart myself. Either that or have a pretty big clit.*
*Please note: I did not grab them by their genitalia, because seriously, you just have to draw a line somewhere. For me, it was between being a jackass, and a giant piece of human garbage that doesn’t understand the concept of sexual assault.
True, unlike the rest of the quotes I’ve included, that statement does not show up in The Art of the Deal.
But it’s by far the most important. Besides, this Trump teaching is about the book, so it still counts.
Trump has taken credit for a lot of things: “finishing” birtherism, airplane hanger rallies, the Budweiser rebrand, US-Iran prisoner swap, Lady Gaga.
But after reading an interview with his book’s actual author, Tony Schwartz, I saw another level of Trump’s greatness. His teachings, which I had been religiously following, were not even his.
Wow. My mind is blown. It’s the most brilliant piece of advice I’ve ever read. I had to put it into action right away.
And that, my dear readers, is why I’m taking credit for this article that I did not write.
Sarah Burton / BuzzFeed
That’s right. I, Joanna, have been writing this article the entire time. Sarah will get all the credit – even if it sucks. But I guess she’s cool with that because “all press is good press,” right?
That’s not to say that this has all been a lie. Sarah did dive whole hog into Trump’s teachings, and it is fair to say that she’s crazy confident now.
However, I feel I must take this opportunity to apologize to America, because like Tony Schwartz in 1987—