Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control” as Want to Read:
The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,135 ratings  ·  222 reviews
One of America’s leading experts in cults and mind-control provides an eye-opening analysis of Trump and the indoctrination tactics he uses to build a fanatical devotion in his supporters.

Over the past two years, Trump’s behavior has become both more disturbing and yet increasingly familiar. He relies on phrases like, “fake news,” “build the wall,” and continues to spread
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Free Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cult of Trump, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Timwigal Trump has a type of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) called malignant NPD. It has four components: 1) Narcissistic Personality Disorder, 2) ant…moreTrump has a type of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) called malignant NPD. It has four components: 1) Narcissistic Personality Disorder, 2) antisocial behavior, 3) paranoia, and 4) sadism. Trump thinks he is uniquely superior (“Only I can fix it”) which is the defining characteristic of narcissism. Trump has bragged about being the world’s greatest expert in 23 subject areas including drone technology. When Trump was asked from whom he sought foreign policy advice, he responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain.” His narcissism is expressed in grandiosity and entitlement to total power.
Paranoia There is a list of 58 conspiracies that Trump supports compiled by the Right Wing Watch group. For example, not only is Obama a Muslim born in Kenya, but Obama had a Hawaiian government bureaucrat murdered to cover up the truth about his birth certificate according to this tweet: How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash. All others lived- Dec 12, 2013 04:32:44 Trump lives in a paranoid zero-sum world where you are either loyal to him or the enemy. His world is divided into: Winners and Losers. Strong and Weak.
Antisocial Personality Disorder Antisocials lie and exploit, violate the rights of others, and have neither remorse nor empathy. Trump doubles and triples down on transparently disprovable falsehoods. Trump never apologizes and appears to feel no remorse of any kind. When asked if he had ever asked God for forgiveness, Trump said “I’m not sure I have…I don’t think so.”
Sadism When a protester was removed from a Trump rally, Trump said “I’d like to punch him in the face.” He is a cyber-bully because he can humiliate people. Anyone who fails “to kiss his ring” he wants to destroy in a humiliating way because it brings him pleasure. Malignantly narcissistic leaders distort reality such that the abnormal becomes normalized and alternate facts, conspiracy theories, racism, denial of science, and turning the free press into the enemy becomes the new normal.

To Trump all negative facts about him are lies. And all who tell them are liars who should be punished with the harsh treatment they deserve, which is why he has branded the entire press, “the enemy of the people.” It’s not accidental that leaders like Stalin have used such phrases in an attempt to delegitimize a free press and justify a deadly purge. Because in the world of the malignant narcissist, those who you imagine are unfairly attacking you deserve the most severe retaliation.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,135 ratings  ·  222 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control
Michael Perkins
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Just remember— what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”


“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

-Orwell, 1984


I read this book because of my sister.

I am a skeptic who belongs to no party. My parents always said to vote for the best person, not the party. I am crystal clear who the best person is this year.

My sister lives in Reno, I live in Berkeley. I usually see her once a yea
Carrie Poppy
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've despised Trump for a long time and loved Steve Hassan even longer, so it's no wonder I enjoyed this book. Hassan is a former member of the Moonies (aka The Unification Church), and since leaving, he has spent his entire career academically codifying theories of undue influence. He also helps people leave high-control groups, and helps family members speak to their loved ones still ensnared in such a group's grasp.

If you're very informed on the basics of cults, including the sociological stu
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, psychology, cults
Eye-opening. I extricated myself from a cult about twenty years ago but did not recognize it as one until I read this book. (After leaving I had called it a toxic religion.) This book is easy to follow and broadened my understanding of mind control, thought stopping, us-versus-them thinking, and high-demand groups. "It is a devastating moment to realize that you have given your life to a false leader, prophet, or messiah." Even when that moment comes many years after leaving. I'm still alarmed a ...more
Ross Blocher
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Steven Hassan spent years in Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church (you might remember them as "the Moonies"). After deprogramming from that cult, he was inspired to study high-pressure groups and help others find autonomy. In The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control, Hassan points to cultic elements in Donald Trump's political rise, messaging, administration, and relationship with his base. Drawing on psychological literature and cult studies, ...more
B Sarv
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the
President Uses Mind Control
By Steven Hassan

It has been my great misfortune to see Donald Trump become the leader of a country. His election has brought to light many of the barely-subcutaneous ills that make up the true story of the United States. It was with trepidation that I picked up this book but I realized that after his election campaign and subsequent reign I was starting to get inured to the hourly race to the bottom he is engaged
Robert Devers McDonald PHD
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Hassan's latest book is a wise and insightful application of a lifetime of experience and research to the President Donald Trump phenomenon of social manipulation and control. He brings together a great wealth of knowledge of the techniques Trump uses over and over with enough success to result in his election as president and the retention of considerable popularity among his supporters despite persistent untruthfulness. Important and engaging stuff. ...more
Nada Majdy
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The more you read about Trump, the more you know he's not an idiot, well he is an idiot alright but he's an idiot with an well-thought plan and he knows where to hit and how to hit. I highly recommend this book, very insightful indeed. ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Oh, for fuck's sake, what's it with people writing all this trash? Subzero rating for clickbaiting the gullible. ...more
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"A big lie (German: große Lüge; often the big lie) is a propaganda technique used for political purpose, defined as "a gross distortion or misrepresentation of the facts, especially when used as a propaganda device by a politician or official body". The German expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, to describe the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously"."

“Repeat a li
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm almost done with this so I'll write my review.

My only complaint would be that it's very non-friendly toward conservatives. I am a liberal, but I already bought this for my Mom (who is very religious and in an echochamber on Facebook), and I worry that she'll be triggered and suspicious as she reads it. I don't care if she's conservative but I want her to see that Trump is actually using people like her and using tactics similar to cults and narcissists to influence and control people. He wa
Oct 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Well, aren't you lucky? Here's the book from a leading witch doctor that knows how to break the spells of evil sorcerers. ...more
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The author was described as a cult de-programmer.
What did this mean? Later I read he had a Master's
degree in counseling psychology. He estimated there
were 5000 cults in the US.

The author (SH hereafter) at age 19 was tricked into
becoming a member of the Unification church. They
called themselves "Moonies." Named after cult leader
Rev. Sun Myung Moon who turned out to be a billion-
aire arms dealer. He did mass weddings of followers
who Moon randomly paired. SH broke out of this cult
and spent
Rachel Moyes
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
What I loved about this book is that, while I was skeptical of some of the points and felt some of Hassan's analysis was too simple, I could feel that he wanted me to think for myself, challenge him, and do my own critical thinking. I cried a little bit at one point, because I felt so deeply respected.

The book was scary, but it made me feel more secure in a way--Trump is not some never-before-seen aberration. He fits an authoritarian model. People have fallen prey to thought reform/mindwashing
Mannie Liscum
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don’t let the title fool or dissuade you. This isn’t a ‘bash the President’ book by design. Yes, much is critical of the President and his behavioral traits, but his psychological health is on display for all to see. Moreover, his rhetorical style is far from hidden or difficult to divine. As someone who occupies the media spotlight as frequently and constantly as possible, most of the President’s means on control and persuasion are on open display. Now how different people respond and react to ...more
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Steven Hassan is amazing! As a former member of the Moonies cult, he approaches the topic of manipulation with empathy and thoughtfulness. As a psychologist, he made a career out of helping people leave cults and recover what he refers to as "freedom of mind".

This book helped me understand how otherwise rational people "fall down the rabbit hole", emerging as believers in conspiracy.

He also discusses the techniques Trump uses to influence how people think. Interestingly, Trump attended Normal V
Blake Jones
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Interesting, monotonous, biased, and at the same time makes you wonder why in the world did we ever think this guy would be a good I think Steven Hassan makes some really great points, but the book repeats itself, somewhat boring voice to listen to, and it gets a bit too opinionated in some parts.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Hassan has been helping victims of mind control for decades. The focus of his latest book is not to simply share his opinions on Trump. It dives deep into researched-based mind control models and only looks at well-documented and indisputed examples. Very sobering book. Very well written.
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book provides a compelling analysis of Trump’s narcissistic milieu, and the author draws exhaustive parallels between his behavior and that of some infamous cult leaders. I cannot stress enough that these are important considerations if you want to steer clear of toxic people.

I do think it is important, however, that we don’t give Trump too much credit. My sense from observing Trump is that the factors that drive him are quite different than any of the other figures mentioned —think lizard
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This book was published in 2019 and its so fucking eery considering EVERYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED. Steven Hassan is my fave cult author who had a stint with the Moonies (the Unification Church) as a young adult before being deprogrammed and devoting his life to cult activism. He is actually pursuing a doctorate degree as we speak so he can testify as an expert witness in cases of undue influence.

The way the right media machine uses cult tactics like repetition, fear mongering, to manipulate emot
Mark Laxer
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Steve Hassan’s The Cult of Trump is brilliantly and sensitively written, accessible, and non-judgmental. The Trump phenomenon is a dramatic, if not dangerous example of how cults are hardly a fringe experience. They only seem that way because of a mass denial and lack of education that runs as deep and as wide as society itself. Hassan’s book is a critical and bipartisan step toward addressing—indeed healing--this national gap in education. The book is timely and, for those who value democracy, ...more
Jill Martinez
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I got this book to figure out why nice, intelligent people that I know continue to follow Trump. What I learned about what's how much Trump has in common with other cult leaders, the techniques that are used and how to separate a loved one from a cult. Planning on a future intervention. ...more
Oct 23, 2020 added it
Shelves: non-fiction, library
This was an absolutely fascinating read. The author is an expert on cults--and a former cult member. He takes readers through the distinctive traits, tactics, and characteristics of cults and cult leaders, while also making the connection to Donald Trump, the Trump campaign, the Trump family, and the Trump presidency.

Many of the observations and conclusions that author Steven Hassan point out in The Cult of Trump seem obvious. Think for a moment about the times you have heard Trump speak--how m
Savy Leiser
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was incredible. I used it as a major source in the video essay I did on whether political parties are becoming cults. In that video I do a full review. ...more
Scott Bilodeau
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finished this book tonight - a book someone had given me as a holiday gift, with a personal note scrawled inside, which I thought was really classy. The book deals less with politics and more with the psychology of cult leaders, cult followers and the tools and strategies used to foster the codependent relationship that is required to maintain the cult’s cohesion against any kind of outside influence. The author uses Trump, his followers and his propaganda networks as they really do fit the clas ...more
Alisa Wilhelm
Author Steven Hassan is an experienced cult de-programmer and I have seen his other books cited by people who needed de-programming for themselves or their loved ones. Hassan has first-hand experience with cults: he was once a high-ranking member of the Sun Myung Moon cult (Unification Church, members are known as Moonies) and his father helped de-program him.

This book is very straightfoward and full of citations. Each chapter is well organized and could stand alone. When describing characteris
Sean Flinchpaugh
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great book, if one wants to delve into and compare the narcissistic personalities of various cult leaders over the years. And honestly, I'm verging on 3.5 or 4 in terms of rating but the book reaches a bit later on in regards to effects of modern-day political structures and ignores political realities. To quote Obama, " Trump is the symptom, not the cause." It treats Trump as a one-of-a-kind and ignores forces that may have given birth to him. Still a good read, and if one wants to brush up o ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An important read for everybody. Trump might just be the most well-documented and widely recognizable malignant narcissist in the world.

It is the best example to teach people throughout the world about the dangers of these people - and how many of us are, or have been, influenced by people just like Trump.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book helped me to understand why so many of President Trump's voters support him no matter what he says or does even though they might find his words and behavior troubling. It also gave me more insight in how cult groups get and control their followers. A good but frightening read. ...more
Tim Good
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Spot on!
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i couldnt read i think Im illlityerate
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth
  • The Guardians
  • Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum, #26)
  • The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • The Water Knife
  • Permanent Record
  • The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery
  • The House of God
  • Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
  • The Memory Police
  • It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump
  • House of X/Powers of X
  • Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society
  • The Hour I First Believed
  • Inside Out
  • Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Dr. Steven Hassan is one of the world's foremost experts on undue influence. Licensed mental health counselor and an exit counselor. Hassan was an early advocate of exit counseling, and is the author of two books on the subject of "cults", and what he describes as their use of mind control, thought reform, and the psychology of influence in order to recruit and retain members.

Himself a former memb

News & Interviews

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
103 likes · 15 comments
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. —Daniel” 2 likes
“Certitude is not evidence of truth. Nor does repetition make it true. If anything, repetition should make you suspicious. Truth always stands up to scrutiny on its merits.” 2 likes
More quotes…