RSS

Category Archives: News

“The Art of the Deal”

by Tony Schwarz

Why does President Trump behave in the dangerous and seemingly self-destructive ways he does?

Three decades ago, I spent nearly a year hanging around Trump to write his first book, “The Art of the Deal,” and got to know him very well. I spent hundreds of hours listening to him, watching him in action and interviewing him about his life. To me, none of what he has said or done over the past four months as president comes as a surprise. The way he has behaved over the past two weeks — firing FBI Director James B. Comey, undercutting his own aides as they tried to explain the decision, disclosing sensitive information to Russian officials and railing about it all on Twitter — is also entirely predictable.

Early on, I recognized that Trump’s sense of self-worth is forever at risk. When he feels aggrieved, he reacts impulsively and defensively, constructing a self-justifying story that doesn’t depend on facts and always directs the blame to others.

The Trump I first met in 1985 had lived nearly all his life in survival mode. By his own description, his father, Fred, was relentlessly demanding, difficult and driven. Here’s how I phrased it in “The Art of the Deal”: “My father is a wonderful man, but he is also very much a business guy and strong and tough as hell.” As Trump saw it, his older brother, Fred Jr., who became an alcoholic and died at age 42, was overwhelmed by his father. Or as I euphemized it in the book: “There were inevitably confrontations between the two of them. In most cases, Freddy came out on the short end.”

Trump’s worldview was profoundly and self-protectively shaped by his father. “I was drawn to business very early, and I was never intimidated by my father, the way most people were,” is the way I wrote it in the book. “I stood up to him, and he respected that. We had a relationship that was almost businesslike.”

To survive, I concluded from our conversations, Trump felt compelled to go to war with the world. It was a binary, zero-sum choice for him: You either dominated or you submitted. You either created and exploited fear, or you succumbed to it — as he thought his older brother had. This narrow, defensive outlook took hold at a very early age, and it never evolved. “When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now,” he told a recent biographer, “I’m basically the same.” His development essentially ended in early childhood.

Instead, Trump grew up fighting for his life and taking no prisoners. In countless conversations, he made clear to me that he treated every encounter as a contest he had to win, because the only other option from his perspective was to lose, and that was the equivalent of obliteration. Many of the deals in “The Art of the Deal” were massive failures — among them the casinos he owned and the launch of a league to rival the National Football League — but Trump had me describe each of them as a huge success.

With evident pride, Trump explained to me that he was “an assertive, aggressive” kid from an early age, and that he had once punched a music teacher in the eye and was nearly expelled from elementary school for his behavior.

Like so much about Trump, who knows whether that story is true? What’s clear is that he has spent his life seeking to dominate others, whatever that requires and whatever collateral damage it creates along the way. In “The Art of the Deal,” he speaks with street-fighting relish about competing in the world of New York real estate: They are “some of the sharpest, toughest, and most vicious people in the world. I happen to love to go up against these guys, and I love to beat them.” I never sensed from Trump any guilt or contrition about anything he’d done, and he certainly never shared any misgivings publicly. From his perspective, he operated in a jungle full of predators who were forever out to get him, and he did what he must to survive.

Trump was equally clear with me that he didn’t value — nor even necessarily recognize — the qualities that tend to emerge as people grow more secure, such as empathy, generosity, reflectiveness, the capacity to delay gratification or, above all, a conscience, an inner sense of right and wrong. Trump simply didn’t traffic in emotions or interest in others. The life he lived was all transactional, all the time. Having never expanded his emotional, intellectual or moral universe, he has his story down, and he’s sticking to it.

A key part of that story is that facts are whatever Trump deems them to be on any given day. When he is challenged, he instinctively doubles down — even when what he has just said is demonstrably false. I saw that countless times, whether it was as trivial as exaggerating the number of floors at Trump Tower or as consequential as telling me that his casinos were performing well when they were actually going bankrupt. In the same way, Trump would see no contradiction at all in changing his story about why he fired Comey and thereby undermining the statements of his aides, or in any other lie he tells. His aim is never accuracy; it’s domination.

The Trump I got to know had no deep ideological beliefs, nor any passionate feeling about anything but his immediate self-interest. He derives his sense of significance from conquests and accomplishments. “Can you believe it, Tony?” he would often say at the start of late-night conversations with me, going on to describe some new example of his brilliance. But the reassurance he got from even his biggest achievements was always ephemeral and unreliable — and that appears to include being elected president. Any addiction has a predictable pattern: The addict keeps chasing the high by upping the ante in an increasingly futile attempt to re-create the desired state. On the face of it, Trump has more opportunities now to feel significant and accomplished than almost any other human being on the planet. But that’s like saying a heroin addict has his problem licked once he has free and continuous access to the drug. Trump also now has a far bigger and more public stage on which to fail and to feel unworthy.

From the very first time I interviewed him in his office in Trump Tower in 1985, the image I had of Trump was that of a black hole. Whatever goes in quickly disappears without a trace. Nothing sustains. It’s forever uncertain when someone or something will throw Trump off his precarious perch — when his sense of equilibrium will be threatened and he’ll feel an overwhelming compulsion to restore it. Beneath his bluff exterior, I always sensed a hurt, incredibly vulnerable little boy who just wanted to be loved.

What Trump craves most deeply is the adulation he has found so fleeting. This goes a long way toward explaining his need for control and why he simply couldn’t abide Comey, who reportedly refused to accede to Trump’s demand for loyalty and whose continuing investigation into Russian interference in the election campaign last year threatens to bring down his presidency. Trump’s need for unquestioning praise and flattery also helps to explain his hostility to democracy and to a free press — both of which thrive on open dissent.

As we have seen countless times during the campaign and since the election, Trump can devolve into survival mode on a moment’s notice. Look no further than the thousands of tweets he has written attacking his perceived enemies over the past year. In neurochemical terms, when he feels threatened or thwarted, Trump moves into a fight-or-flight state. His amygdala is triggered, his hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activates, and his prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that makes us capable of rationality and reflection — shuts down. He reacts rather than reflects, and damn the consequences. This is what makes his access to the nuclear codes so dangerous and frightening.

Over the past week, in the face of criticism from nearly every quarter, Trump’s distrust has almost palpably mushroomed. No importuning by his advisers stands a chance of constraining him when he is this deeply triggered. The more he feels at the mercy of forces he cannot control — and he is surely feeling that now — the more resentful, desperate and impulsive he becomes.

Even 30 years later, I vividly remember the ominous feeling when Trump got angry about some perceived slight. Everyone around him knew that you were best off keeping your distance at those times, or, if that wasn’t possible, that you should resist disagreeing with him in any way.

In the hundreds of Trump’s phone calls I listened in on with his consent, and the dozens of meetings I attended with him, I can never remember anyone disagreeing with him about anything. The same climate of fear and paranoia appears to have taken root in his White House.

The most recent time I spoke to Trump — and the first such occasion in nearly three decades — was July 14, 2016, shortly before the New Yorker published an article by Jane Mayer about my experience writing “The Art of the Deal.” Trump was just about to win the Republican nomination for president. I was driving in my car when my cellphone rang. It was Trump. He had just gotten off a call with a fact-checker for the New Yorker, and he didn’t mince words.

“I just want to tell you that I think you’re very disloyal,” he started in. Then he berated and threatened me for a few minutes. I pushed back, gently but firmly. And then suddenly, as abruptly as he began the call, he ended it. “Have a nice life,” he said, and hung up.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/16/i-wrote-the-art-of-the-deal-with-trump-his-self-sabotage-is-rooted-in-his-past/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.0ce290c151f6

Advertisements
 
Comments Off on “The Art of the Deal”

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Blog, News, USA

 

The thieves’ paradise

protest1

Victoria Square, Bucharest

Tonight the new government of Romania established Romania as the thieves’ paradise. The tremendous corruption that marred Romania was always there but in the recent years was challenged by a relentless group of prosecutors under the remarkable leadership of Codruta Kovessi who was able to prosecute in a “mani puliti” style lots of Romania politicians. It came to the point that a very large number of MPs were under prosecution or landed in jail after they lost the seat in the Parliament.
Unfortunately not all that were proved corrupt and accepting bribes because many dossiers were lagging in process but it was know that they will be soon prosecuted.

protest3

Victoria Square, Bucharest

Tonight the government voted in a exceptional session, late in the night, especially chosen, a 18F frosty night, an executive order by which all who were under investigation were cleared giving basically a clean slate for a national theft and graft. The thugs won! The main thug is the leader of ruling Socialists who was already with a number of dossiers hanging on his head and his Justice Ministry , Florian Iordache, who is at the second try to pass such a law.

protest2

The Romanian government building, Bucharest

After the Ministry of Justice obnoxious and aggressive press conference that happened around 10:30 PM, unexpected for the politicians, hoards of people in the entire country marched to the city center in a huge protest. The crowd surrounded the government building, blocking all access gates, hoping as one protester put it “to burn the rats live inside”. What made it interesting was that all this flux of protesters coming into the square was incessantly flowing after midnight, in a freezing midnight. In Bucharest, watching at 1:00 AM, I saw coming from all corners of the Government Square throngs of young people like in a procession that was mourning the Romanian democracy. It looked like a candle-less Easter procession but this time a mournful and angry one. TV anchors were denouncing the executive order that tried to protect not only the politicians but also their family and second degree relatives. Some anchors advised the viewers to leave Romania and emigrate because is nothing left to do in Romania except theft.

protest4

The Romanian Government building in Bucharest

In Romania if you are not a thief, you are a sucker!

 
Comments Off on The thieves’ paradise

Posted by on February 1, 2017 in Blog, News, Romania

 

Complete 9 DVDs series about Tibet’s culture and tradition

western-tibet-kailash

We reedited with new material and a different story the pilgrimage we did several years ago to Mount Kailash, the holiest mountain in Tibet venerated by Tibetan Buddhists, Shiva followers, Jains and the followers of the Bob religion, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. From there we continued to Lake Manasarovar, the holy lake revered by Shiva followers whose pilgrimage was mentioned in the old Indian Purana writings thousands of years ago. We ended the foray in Western Tibet at the base camp of Mount Everest, in Rongbu Monastery, the highest monastery in the entire world, hiking towards the peak till Camp One. These two new DVDs complete a series of videos about about Tibet, a 9 DVD foray into the traditions and culture of this distant land, about a mysterious city located somewhere over the edge of the world in a land brutally occupied by the Chinese; a spiritual devotion not easily encountered anywhere in the world, a charismatic leader well known to the entire world and a 6 year old boy imprisoned to control the future of this spiritual land.

Click here to order the videos

western-tibet-manasarovar

 
Comments Off on Complete 9 DVDs series about Tibet’s culture and tradition

Posted by on January 29, 2017 in Blog, News, Tibet

 

For the inauguration…

…we wish you a happy, healthy and swift … impeachment!

20160315edloc-a

ability

 
Comments Off on For the inauguration…

Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Blog, News, USA

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

header4

Chilling under the sun,
Relaxing under the stars,
Sipping on a raspberry cocktail,
Riding buses in the night
Trying exotic dishes,
Bicycling on unknown routes,
Canoeing in small rivulets,
Learning the language and rituals of the locals
Losing yourself in temples lost in the jungle
Staying with shamans in the forests
Waking up at dawn for meditation
Writing books about the experience
And shoot lots of footage and make videos

Happy Holidays and a wandering New Year from all of us at FlyingMonk!

2017-2

 
Comments Off on Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Blog, News

 

H.L. Mencken’s prophecy happened today

menken

….Today the electoral college voted in a “downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron”. A sad day for our country.

 
Comments Off on H.L. Mencken’s prophecy happened today

Posted by on December 19, 2016 in Blog, News, USA

 
Image

Trump wins!

limitless-stupidity

 
Comments Off on Trump wins!

Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Blog, News, USA