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TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  74 reviews
With unprecedented access, one of the nation's leading business journalists reveals the good, the bad, and the ridiculous behind the public image of The Donald. ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Business Plus (first published October 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Tim O'Brien restored my sense of humor. O'Brien was sued by the Donald over the reporting in this book, twice, but if anything, O'Brien makes the Donald look bombastic rather than purposely evil. At first I was disconcerted by the breezy style, but by the middle I understood that the style matched the subject matter.

I was laughing by the time O’Brien tells us about the fight headlined daily in the New York papers between developer Trump and Mayor Koch in the 1980s. I got to the point where I wa
I thought this was a very honest portrayal of Donald Trump, a man whose real talent is not his building expertise or his business acumen but instead his ability to sell to himself.

Like Trump or hate him, it is impossible to deny his celebrity status. And it is this celebrity status that has ensured he remain a household name for decades.

After reading this book, I do feel as if I have a greater appreciation for Trump's appeal to so many Americans.

1. Those around him report he is an extremely po
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was interested in reading this book that was first published in 2005 because it was the book that Trump filed the 5 billion dollar libel lawsuit over. In July 2009 the Judge dismissed the case saying Trump had not proven his case.

The author interviewed Trump and his family and associates as well as researching documents and archives. O’Brien reveals Trump as a very complex man. At the time of the book Trump was 1.8 billion in debt. At times O’Brien seemed sarcastic in his descriptions of Trum
Diana Long
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in 2005 and re-published in 2015 with an updated introduction. The author is a journalist and spent years following Donald Trump and his exploits and captures the essence of the poster boy for the American Dream in this work. So what is it about Trump that people tend to gravitate toward him? By watching videos, reading one of his books and especially this book, I finally got it. There is only one Donald Trump, he's a one man show and no one could surpass his ability for self promotio ...more
Bryan Craig
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is great background on Donald Trump's rise in the business world. It stops at 2005, but the author peels back the various masks Trump creates in marketing himself, and the author successfully unveils some consistent traits and methods we see as president. It's more warts, however, after reading this book, today's chaos makes a more sense. ...more
This was an interesting look The Donald before he got serious about politics. In short he's been much about selling an image rather than an a tangible item. To paraphrase someone else he's the poor man's image of a rich man. A weak man's image of a tough guy. The late iconic movie star John Wayne did this as he became a character all his own in an almost self parody. Instead of Wayne playing a part, the part was Wayne. It was John Wayne the sailor. It was John Wayne the Marine and of course John ...more
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trump as he is

Excellent book. It's not mean, just an honest look at Donald Trump. Not a biography. Sort of a running interview, interspersed with factual context. That's important because Trump isn't big on facts.

Enjoyed it and got a better idea of the man. He's not a cartoon character, just someone enjoying the limelight and perks of wealth, whether or not he has them.

In this election year, he is great for forcing issues into the forefront, not something other candidates are really good at. L
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best part is when the author compares a Trump to PT Barnum ( their biographies really are similar!) I agree with other reviewers that this is more of a long interview than a biography, but there some great details in it.

2.5/5 stars
Theresa Gilman
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Well, what can one say? That I'm sad to find that there appears to be no discernible growth in the man over 40+ years?

The book is fine. I'm just depressed that this boob may soon be running our country as badly as he's run his businesses.
Scott Hunter
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
good account of who Trump is.
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Donald Trump. Who is he, and what is he all about? Timothy L. O'Brien attempts, in so far as is possible, tries to answer those questions for the reader. The footnotes and sources referenced attest to the author's meticulous research. And Mr. Trump gave him access and approval for the writing of this book.

I decided to read this book because I wanted to have a better understanding of Mr. Trump as a person and as a presidential candidate. When I read that Mr. Trump sued Mr. O'Brien for $5 billion,
Spencer Jakab
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not only did I laugh out loud several times while reading this book but I was duly impressed with the author's snarky insights in Trump's character. This was written a decade before be began his presidential run that spawned thousands of articles about the man yet it is consistent with them in terms of his character. O'Brien had unprecedented access to Trump and was fairly kind to him (I think) but was sued for $5 billion. The Trumpster's gripe: Understating his net worth. The suit was thrown ou ...more
Tracy Dougherty
The write obviously doesn't like DJT. He spends a lot of time chronicling the Apprentice show but doesn't give any behind the scenes info. He writes a lot about who DJT knows or has been associated with but there are no stories. It's redundant and light on substance. I could have googled the majority of this info and pieced the same story together. ...more
Lisa Dunckley
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was interested in reading some Trump biographies that were written prior to his run for presidency. I was expecting to learn about his rise and fall (rises and falls??). I was NOT expecting this book to be so entertaining!! Author Timothy O’Brien has written a very funny, tongue-in-cheek, poking-fun-at-The-Donald book. My favorite parts are the tips at the end of each chapter, tips for being like Trump. The one that made me laugh out loud was something like this:
Tip #1: Bring your wife and you
Nathan Garcia
Jul 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The point is that if you are a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.… That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. I play to people’s fantasies.… People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion."

TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald by Timothy L. O'Brien covers the life
Rajiv Bais
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was better than David Cay Johnston’s book.

O’Brien’s chats with Trump show you why Trump is full of shit for having sued him.

You let an author into your life and say you enjoy his company. Yet, you sue him when he was able to use your words and others’ stories and truths about your actual image against you?

What this book also reveals is how Trump clearly isn’t a billionaire and never was one. What kind of billionaire borrows money from banks to build casinos, hotels, and infrastructures in N
Rick Reitzug
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was published in 2005, so it pre-dates Trump's presidency and 2016 presidential campaign. The book provides a fairly even-handed treatment of Trump (i.e., even-handed in that it doesn't paint him completely in a negative light--as it well could, given the ample "ammunition" the author cites). Interestingly, there are many parallels between Trump's unsuccessful, but positively-spun (by him and much of the press), career as a businessman and his presidency. These include his uncanny abil ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fr, favorites, 2017
Those who don't like Donald Trump will read this and it will confirm what they already know about how "The Donald" has skirted bankruptcies, spun bad press, and boasted about false claims to the point where they almost become reality.

Those who do like Donald Trump will likely not read this, though they should.

Filled with many quotes directly from Trump himself, this book shows just how much of a blowhard he really is. It shows how he borrowed money to build his dream buildings, lost money in sal
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish every voter in America, including myself, had read this book in 2015, before the Republican primaries. O'Brien lays bare all Trump's devious shenigans, his actual lack of wealth, his deceit to banks and other lenders, his total disregard for everyone but himself. He even pulled fast ones on his siblings and his father bailed him out on his casino investment at one point! Yet Trump kept the shell game going, and continues to do so to this day.

Trump is truly the worst flim-flam man, con art
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: bio-autobio
A quick and easy read which gives a glimpse at the man who would become the 45th POTUS. The book feels very "surface level," but that treatment ultimately seems appropriate given the apparent lack of depth to Donald Trump's guiding philosophies.

The revised introduction which includes references to the 2016 presidential campaign is a welcomed addition. It sets the tone for the rest of the book, and keeps the story from feeling trivial or dated.

As it stands, Timothy O'Brien's TrumpNation offers s
Kevin Larsen
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donaldtrump
An interesting read. Written about 2005, there is a 2016 edition with a new introduction. The book is written as a journalist being a friend of Trump, but, of course, not taking him seriously or taking him at his word. A note about how honest the book is is that the author got sued by Trump for alleged wrong estimates of Trump's wealth. Fortunately for us, the publisher fought it in court and the book is uncensored and not redacted.
Most importantly in the book is a chapter on Donald Trump's Pub
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Great and funny bio of "The Donald" up to ~2005. But now that he's been president of the US for about 1 1/2's not that funny anymore. But the book does show that the Trump we have now in the oval office is the same as he's always been.

There's a brief section which mentions P.T. Barnum, the showman, charlatan, and self-promoter. Trump was built from the exact same mold. O'Brien points out that Barnum didn't actually say "there's a sucker born every minute", but he did say "the people l
Paolo Aguas
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
The book was just okay, I mean it did not really dive into how to become Donald Trump, it felt more of snippets about him. I honestly cannot see why Trump would want to sue the author about this book (I mean he does say a lot of nasty “true” things about Donald but I mean just let it go).

At every end of a chapter in this book there are questions that you answer and you need to answer in the most Trumpiest way I didn’t really find it funny I mean I bought it was okay but nothing extremely funny.
Patrick Porras
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Growing up, I didn't really know anything about DJT other than he was rich and he killed it in his cameo in Little Rascals.

O'Brien helped me understand the 2016 Presidential Election cycle by showing me who our POTUS has always been. He is a compelling showman. He has been a tabloid favorite since the 80s. His sentences can often simply be fact-less braggadocio, but it has never stopped news outlets and entertainment heads from eating it up, only adding fuel to the fire.

An excellent, lucid read
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it
TrumpNation is a shorter version (or the Coles Notes version) of Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power. TrumpNation gives you a quick overview of how Trump business started by leverage his father's fortune but with his big bold ideas give him a quick start but how he crashes hard with a string of bankruptcies and narrowly escapes personal ruin. Then finds the simpler world of licensing his name which plays to his strength of self-promotion with dramatically less ...more
Katherine Phillips
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I paid a whole dollar for this book at Dollar Tree. In the words of Trump, “What have you got to lose?”
The book intrigued me because Trump sued the author over publishing it. (Trump lost.)
However, I found it a fair assessment of Trump and hardly a smear job. It was published in 2005, so the whole campaign and election were not included.
I love the style that Timothy O’Brien adopted. It was casual and matter-of-fact with many humorous antidotes.
I’m mailing tomorrow to my cousin who is a huge T
Bernie Charbonneau
This was an experiment, insight for myself. I read this book in parallel with Fiona Hills book on Putin. I chose this volume on Trump amongst other choices for the simple reason this was the book that he sued the author for false information that he supplied! Never the less, in reading this book you are left with the exact reason of why and how Trump conducts himself. I figured if Trump org. is suing this work, there must be something in it. By the way, to compare the political climb to the top ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A thorough view of the development of business holdings of Donald Trump including price paid for each and every property and what it was later bought for if sold ( a rarity) personalities of those he bought from and most importantly who he borrowed from. The author was successful in portraying a man who always came out on top no matter how large the financial failure. When told about the collapse of his casinos, he reported it to represent only one percent of his holdings (not really true.) Beca ...more
George L. Reading
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Read

This book is well written and has great readability. So very interesting insights into the huckster that is Donald Trump.The author gives Trump credit where credit is due and tells it like it is elucidating Trumps many flows and shortcomings..He does, infact, expose Trump for the truly flowed individual that he truly is.
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