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No such thing as over-exposure

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Old 03-31-2008, 11:49 AM
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Gopher-preneur book of the month, March '08
No Such Thing as Over-Exposure: Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump
by Robert Slater

If you love watching the Apprentice and want to learn more about the man behind it all, Donald Trump, this is a great book to read. This book really gives the reader an insiders point of view of the goings on in the Trump organization and how Donald conducts business.

Reading this book will no doubt expand your mind and make you rethink the ways you currently run your business. Review - To read the latest Trump tale is to be reminded of writer Fran Lebowitz' comment that there are only two social classes in America**the celebrities and the audience. Business biographer Robert Slater, who spent 100 hours with Donald Trump, provides an intriguing link between the two in No Such Thing as Over-Exposure: Inside the Life and Celebrity of Donald Trump. About the man who made bragging an art form, Slater wonders: Does Trump have any definable business strategies and leadership strategies? Why did he become a business celebrity? Why did The Apprentice become a surprise hit?

The result is a surprisingly fascinating profile of a man who shattered the CEO public relations paradigm by branding himself rather than his product. The Slater timeline begins with Trumps' spit ball throwing, football playing, military school youth. He describes dear old Dad's philosophy of development ("Get in get it done, get it done right and get out.") This is followed by an engaging recap of how Trump changed the New York skyline by leveraging Atlantic City properties and then became a poster boy for the recession of the 1990s. His much reported rise and comeback is deconstructed in terms of his capacity for self-branding (force of personality, willingness to broadcast private life, delivering the goods, and "truthful hyperbole.")

Slater spends too much time on getting Trump to say yes to the book and trying to create a management roadmap from Trump's unique career. But he gets the details right. Trump tends to stay close the office, doesn't use computers, thinks e-mail is for wimps, avoids germs by withholding handshakes, broke up with his second wife in a gossip column, and calls himself the biggest star on television.

Slater interviewed 150 people, yet the most revealing moments are when Trump speaks for himself. For example, when he insists that he is "worth the salary of six actors on Friends." When ex-wife Marla Maples comments about his virility, he says, "That's what sells condos in New York." Such comments derail Slater's desire to extract leadership lessons from Trump. Whether you find him brilliant or a carnival barker, Donald Trump is one of a kind. His success represents a moment when a celebrity and his audience are merged: Neither can stop looking at him. **Barbara Mackoff

See previous books of the month here.
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