Brian chose this edition of Hate Book Club, but I don’t blame him because we both thought it would end up being better than it was. First published in 1987, this book is a portrait of a past version of Donald Trump. Less bombastic, more optimistic, far more boring.
As always, I have to begin Hate Book Club by finding three nice things to say about the book:
1. This life advice:
“If it can’t be fun, what’s the point?” (2)
2. It made me falsely nostalgic for a simpler time when you had to call people on landlines to get anything done. Oh, romantic inconvenience
3. It reminded me SO MUCH of the Futurama episode “Future Stock,” about a 1980s business guy who gets frozen and reawakened in the year 3001 to try to use 80s tactics to succeed in future business. So I ended up rewatching that episode, and it’s a great one.
This book is shelved in the biography section of my library because it is a monotonous chronicling of Trump’s every business move from high school forward. It basically reads like a grocery list. But there were some glimmerings of the ridiculous troll-beast that would emerge in decades to come, like his condescending attitude towards women:
One of the first things I did was join Le Club, which at the time was the hottest club in the city and perhaps the most exclusive… Its membership included some of the most successful men and the most beautiful women in the world. (95)
Because success:men::beauty:women. Obviously. You can also clearly see the casual condescension and privilege that will become such a pillar of his public persona:
My father had done very well for himself, but he didn’t believe in giving his children huge trust funds. When I graduated from college, I had a net worth of perhaps $200,000 (93)
HAULING MYSELF UP BY MY BOOTSTRAPS with only $200,000, in 1960s money. Don’t worry, this judgment also extends to his own family:
Maryanne [his sister, a federal judge] is really something. My younger sister, Elizabeth, is kind and bright but less ambitious, and she works at Chase Manhattan Bank in Manhattan. (70)
Working at a bank is a perfectly normal career, but in the Trump family you have to preface it with “but she has a great personality.”
I also learned some of Trump’s baffling personal habits:
I ask Norma Foerderer, my executive assistant… to bring me lunch: a can of tomato juice” (7)
The best part was definitely when he punched a teacher in the face:
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 (71)
Honestly, I skimmed a lot of this book, so I don’t have a ton of notes, but to give you a general feel for it, here are some quotes from Futurama:
Steve Castle: Let’s cut to the chase. There are two kinds of people: Sheep and sharks. Anyone who’s a sheep is fired. Who’s a sheep?
Zoidberg: Uh, excuse me? Which is the one people like to hug?
Steve Castle: Gutsy question. You’re a shark. Sharks are winners and they don’t look back ’cause they don’t have necks. Necks are for sheep. [Everyone sinks down and covers their necks.] I am proud to be the shepherd of this herd of sharks
Steve Castle: Fry, I’m an 80’s guy. Friendship to me means that for two bucks I’d beat you with a pool cue till you got detached retinas.
Here’s the graph I made of my experience reading this book:
And here’s a gif that sums up my reaction to this book:
Don’t forget to read Brian’s review here!