TRUMPbooks:Think Big and Kick Ass

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Think Big and Kick Ass
Book cover
Book cover
Author Donald Trump
Bill Zanker
Original title Think Big and Kick Ass: In Business and in Life
Country United States
Language English
Subject Self-help
Genre Business
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date
Media type Hardcover
Pages 384
ISBN 978-0061547836
OCLC 946581955
Preceded by Why We Want You to be Rich (2006)
Followed by Trump 101: The Way to Success (2007)
Website Official website

Think Big and Kick Ass: In Business and in Life is a non-fiction book by businessman Donald Trump, first published in hardcover in 2007 by HarperCollins. The book was coauthored by The Learning Annex entrepreneur Bill Zanker. Another edition was subsequently published in paperback in 2008 under the title Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life. Trump and Zanker had prior business ventures together before writing the book; Zanker's company helped gain Trump speaking engagements around the world with large audiences.

The book advises the reader to create large goals for oneself, citing Hillary Clinton as an example of success.[4] Trump focuses a chapter "Revenge" on the importance of retribution, recounting his feud with Rosie O'Donnell and criticism of Mark Cuban.[5][6] The book describes Trump's romantic exploits, and he muses an unknown quality gave him success with women.[7][8] Coauthor Zanker describes Trump's history with The Learning Annex, writing his business partner gave a significant amount of earnings to charity.[9][10] Trump discusses his debt difficulties with banks in the 1990s, and criticizes the banks for unwisely investing with him.[11][12]

Trump promoted the book on Larry King Live, at a cash giveaway in New York City, and in a speech at the Wharton School.[13][1][14] The book's 2007 printing was for 400,000 copies.[2] Becoming a bestseller in 2007,[15] the book was the highest selling personal finance work on in 2015.[16]

Vanguard wrote positively of the book, [17] and fashion designer Emilia Wickstead said it inspired her to become an entrepreneur.[18] Real Estate Weekly called the book, "the icon of everything Trump".[19] London Review of Books wrote that it capitalized on consumers' dreams.[20] The Washington Free Beacon rated the work's cover as the second best of all of Trump's book covers, and characterized the book as exemplifying "The Trumpean Ideal".[21] The work was negatively received by two reviews in The Economist,[1][15] Real-World Economics Review,[14] and San Francisco Chronicle.[22]

Background[edit | edit source]

Donald Trump coauthored Think Big and Kick Ass with The Learning Annex entrepreneur Bill Zanker.[23] Prior to coauthoring the book together, Trump and Zanker had entered into a business relationship through The Learning Annex.[9] Zanker's company performed marketing services for the Trump Organization and Trump's brand.[9] The Learning Annex helped arrange speeches around the world for Trump.[9] The speeches by Trump were billed as part of a series called the Learning Annex Wealth Expos.[10] Zanker's efforts helped garner crowds of 80,000 in attendance at some of Trump's speeches.[24] After their collaborations together including The Learning Annex and Think Big and Kick Ass, Trump and Zanker cofounded a crowdfunding website called FundAnything in 2013.[24][25][26] Trump's role included placing monies into the company, investing in donation drives, and marketing his donations via Twitter.[25][26][27] Trump parted with FundAnything in December 2014.[26] Trump said of his business ventures with coauthor Zanker, "We really have had great success together."[24]

Contents summary[edit | edit source]

Donald Trump in 2008

Think Big and Kick Ass emphasizes the importance of maintaining large goals for oneself, "If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big."[28] He elaborates on his think big thesis, "The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do."[29] Trump advises budding business careerists to have an optimistic outlook.[30][31] Trump writes, "think positively and expect the best. My positive attitude has brought me a lot of luck."[31] He says those who seek out their passions in life will find financial success.[32] He tells readers to devote two hours a day focusing on how to generate money.[33] The book talks about the importance of concentration on the task at hand, writing, "Focus is a tricky thing. Focus does not mean that you narrow your mind and become inflexible. That is taking focus too far."[34] Trump describes his expectations of loyalty from his employees, writing, "I try to hire people who are honest and loyal. I value loyalty very much. I put the people who are loyal to me on a high pedestal and take care of them very well. I go out of my way for the people who were loyal to me in bad times."[35][23] Trump cites Hillary Clinton as an example of an individual with "the ability to think big", calling her "a fantastic person" and a "very good person".[4] He warns about repercussions for disloyalty, "They must respect or even fear you, or things will go very wrong. If you do not create an atmosphere of respect and loyalty, you will be in for a struggle."[36]

A chapter of the work titled "Revenge", focuses on obtaining retribution from perceived enemies.[37][5][38] The chapter begins with a recounting of long-running argument between Trump and actress Rosie O'Donnell.[5] Trump additionally writes of businessman Mark Cuban that he "has absolutely zero television persona or personality" and said of his appearance that he has "the look of a Neanderthal" and "just doesn't get it".[6][39] He praises Bill Clinton and criticizes Mario Cuomo, writing, "Bill Clinton is a great guy with courage, Mario Cuomo is a disloyal guy without courage."[35] Trump comments, "My motto is: Always get even. When somebody screws you, screw them back in spades."[38] Trump wrote that he, "love[s] to crush the other side and take the benefits."[40][41] He elaborated on the value of revenge, "When someone intentionally harms you or your reputation, how do you react? I strike back, doing the same thing to them only ten times worse."[42] Trump cautions readers of the dangers of the planet, "The world is a vicious and brutal place. We think we're civilized. In truth, it's a cruel world and people are ruthless."[43] Trump writes that those who do not seek revenge are remiss, "I tell people, 'Get even!' This is not your typical advice, get even, but this is real-life advice. If you don't get even, you are just a schmuck!"[5][44]

Trump recalls some of his romantic exploits, "Beautiful, famous, successful, married — I’ve had them all, secretly, the world’s biggest names."[45][7][46] Trump reflects on how such exploits made him feel at the time, "Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, 'Can you believe what I am getting?'"[47][48][49] He explained that he was successful in his endeavors with women due to some unknown quality he possessed, "The women I have dated over the years could have any man they want; they are the top models and most beautiful women in the world. I have been able to date (screw) them all because I have something that many men do not have. I don’t know what it is but women have always liked it."[8]

Coauthor Bill Zanker writes in the work about the importance of brand name power for Trump: "That is an example of the Trump attitude. Trump knows his worth, and he gets people to pay him for it. But it is not only for the money. With Trump it is never just for the money. He is passionate about everything he does. He loves connecting with people, helping them, and educating them.[9] Zanker gave as an example his company The Learning Annex and its business relationship with Trump, "If you consider the advertising, promotions, and everything The Learning Annex does to enhance the Trump brand, nationally and internationally, Donald gets much more than $1.5 million per speech— but he donates much of the money to charity."[9] Trump concurs with Zanker's assessment, "I give two-hour speeches at the Learning Annex Wealth Expos. I donate a large portion of my speaking fees to charity."[10]

Trump discusses his 1990s conflicts with finance companies regarding debt management in the work, "I turned it back on the banks and let them accept some of the blame. I figured it was the bank's problem, not mine. What the hell did I care? I actually told one bank, 'I told you you shouldn't have loaned me money. I told you that goddamn deal was no good. You knew you were charging me too much interest.' I was just kidding — but maybe not."[11][12][50] He instructs the reader, "A depression is not within the control of the borrower."[51] Trump advises consumers of the book, "Banks are afraid of getting sued."[40][52]

Genre[edit | edit source]

The New Yorker and Politico placed Think Big and Kick Ass within the genre of self-help books.[23][40] The Economist and Bookseller + Publisher Magazine said it was part of a trend of business books.[53] The Economics noted that during successful periods of the stock market more finance books were published.[1] Author and academic John Lubans wrote about the business genre, "And there’s a subset of the business fad industry: books. Not about a system of work, but titles written by celebrity leaders like Donald Trump, Jack Welch, and others bent on explaining how they got to be as good as they decidedly are and how you too, if you follow their advice, can make it to the top. Mr. Trump’s latest, Think Big and Kick Ass, probably defines the genre."[54][55] Jeffrey L. Buller wrote in Change Leadership in Higher Education that the book was part of "a school of thought that says when it comes to success in life or at work, leadership requires people to become aggressive, assertive, and at times even abusive in order to achieve their goals.[56] The Daily Beast marveled that subsequent to Trump's inauguration, the work joined the pantheon of presidential memoirs.[57]

Release and sales[edit | edit source]

Think Big and Kick Ass was first published in 2007 in hardcover format by HarperCollins.[58][23] An audiobook was released the same year.[59] An audiobook was released under the same title again in 2008.[60] The work was first published under the title Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life in paperback format in 2008.[61] HarperCollins gave it additional print releases under this title, in 2010 and 2012.[62][63] In November 2007 there were 400,000 print copies of the work.[2] Must Read Summaries published a review and summary of the book in 2014 and 2016.[64][65]

Trump marketed the work with an interview on the CNN program Larry King Live,[13] and at appearances in New York City.[22][66] He promoted sales of the book by doling our currency.[3] At an event in New York City, Trump personally handed out one-hundred-dollar bills to the first 100 purchasers of the book.[1] Trump gave a presentation about the book at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in an event hosted by MSNBC on January 2, 2008.[14] During a 2008 lawsuit involving Deutsche Bank, attorneys for the finance company quoted from the book as evidence about Trump's views on loan relationships with banks.[67][68][41] According to The Economist, the book became a bestseller in 2007.[15] In July 2015, the book was the highest selling work in the category of personal finance on[16] Trump declared revenues of less than US$201.00 from the book in 2016.[69][70][71]

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

Vanguard journalist Ochereome Nnanna wrote positively of the book, "The simple impression I get is that the man is a very imaginative, straightforward, practical person; the ultimate Mr. Big Shot. He will be your friend if you come to him with genuine friendship, but he will give you a fight of your life if you decide to fight. That is my kind of person."[17] Fashion designer Emilia Wickstead told the Financial Times the book inspired her at a young age to become an entrepreneur.[18] Real Estate Weekly wrote, "Think Big And Kick Ass is the title of one of Trump's books and the icon of everything Trump."[19] London Review of Books wrote that the work was a way to capitalize on the aspirations of consumers.[20] The Washington Free Beacon rated the work's cover as the second best of all of Trump's book covers, and characterized the book as exemplifying "The Trumpean Ideal".[21]

A review of the book by The Economist was critical of the advice imparted in the work, "This latest tome from The Donald offers shocking revelations (Lee Iacocca, a legendary tough guy and former boss of Chrysler, is a cry-baby), invaluable advice on when to get even (always) and reasons to get a prenuptial agreement ('Look at Paul McCartney, the poor bastard')."[1] A second review in The Economist wrote, "Donald Trump is a Wharton alumni, but you would not guess it from his new bestseller, 'Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life', with its street-fighter's advice to always get even and never marry without a prenuptial agreement."[15] University of Hawaii business history professor Robert R. Locke wrote in Real-World Economics Review in an article on Trumponomics, "The management principles Trump evokes in Think Big and Kick Ass are those for self-enrichment reminiscent of robber barons during the Gilded Age."[14] Carlos Lozada wrote for The Washington Post, "I'm no billionaire, but much of the advice usually falls between obvious and useless. Stay focused, he says. Hire a great assistant. Think big."[72]

San Francisco Chronicle was critical of the book, calling it "self-aggrandizing" and, "extolling little other than a brash, Gordon Gekko-like pursuit of money and real estate holdings."[22] The Economic Times commented upon the work, saying it gave a window into Trump's views on deal-making.[73] Bloomberg News and The Huffington Post observed the work formed part of a collection of works which were profitable for Trump in collaboration with ghostwriters.[74][75]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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  58. OCLC 946581955
  59. OCLC 416796597
  60. OCLC 931092896
  61. OCLC 191930196
  62. OCLC 772982215
  63. OCLC 801586527
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Further reading[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]