Speed Reads


Trump didn't get a great deal on The Art of the Deal

President Trump considers himself a master deal-maker and often made his bargaining prowess a selling point of his campaign. But negotiation experts and people who have negotiated with and against Trump who were interviewed for a Friday Politico report on Trump's deal-making skills aren't so sure.

They describe the president as a "confident, competitive, aggressive, impulsive, zero-sum, win-at-all-costs, transactional, unpredictable, often underinformed and ill-prepared, gut-following, ego-driven, want-it-and-want-it-now negotiator" whose actual record of deals is pretty mixed. (For example, he paid "$60 million more than even a high-end" appraisal value when he purchased New York's Plaza Hotel in 1988.)

"Is he truly a masterful negotiator?" said negotiation expert Marty Latz. "I would say not — in business, and certainly not to date as president."

Particularly telling is the arrangement Trump made with Tony Schwartz, his ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal. "Most writers for hire receive a flat fee, or a relatively modest percentage of any money the book earns," Schwartz said, but he got fully 50 percent of the $500,000 advance plus half of all royalties and nearly equal billing on the cover, with his name listed second but in the same size font.

"What should have been a great deal on a book about negotiation actually is one of the most interesting pieces of evidence that [Trump is] not a good negotiator," Harvard Business School negotiating professor Deepak Malhotra told Politico. "I don't think there's a better ghostwriting deal out there."