David Cay Boyle Johnston (born December 24, 1948) is an American investigative journalist and author, a specialist in economics and tax issues, and winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting. More on the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/161…
The Making of Donald Trump is a 2016 biography of the American businessman, property developer and politician Donald Trump by the American investigative journalist David Cay Johnston. It was published by Melville House Publishing.
Johnston first met Trump as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer in June 1988 and likened him to P. T. Barnum. He subsequently reported on Trump for almost 30 years, and wrote the book in 27 days. In an interview with The New York Times Johnston said that Trump had “…seriously damaged his brand” with his presidential campaign and would “follow him for the rest of his life”. Johnston also felt that Trump was “masterful at understanding the conventions of journalism” and “remarkably agile at doing as he chooses and getting away with it.”
The book entered the New York Times hardcover nonfiction list in fifteenth position and spent four weeks there.
The book consists of 24 chapters, with an introduction and an epilogue. The book details Trump’s family history, personal biography and an account of his business career and marriages.
David M. Shribman, writing for The Boston Globe, felt that the book was “a chronicle of mobsters and mistresses, shady construction deals and financial shenanigans, monumental projects and miserable (and possibly illegal) business practices” and that “Much of this slender volume’s contents are already part of the public record; some of it is new”. Shribman noted that the book focuses on Trump’s personal and business life rather than his political career and that “More than a dozen Republican candidates and the entire Democratic Party have made the very same argument Johnston puts forward here. It is an important critique, yet an ignored one. Trump may, and probably does, have all these flaws. He also possesses perhaps the most important, and in some quarters surely the most appealing, message in this year of fear and discontent. The book that explains that is the one worth writing, and waiting for.”
The book was reviewed by Michael Russell for the Herald Scotland who wrote that the “24 short chapters of the very readable book contain substantial detail regarding Trump’s activities since that time. They also dig into his earlier years and some of his family background. As to the truth of these claims, readers will need to make up their own minds.” Russell felt that Johnston “sometimes comes across as being almost as self-satisfied and assertive as Trump” but concluded that “Inauguration, unlike baptism, does not wash away sins nor confer wisdom. If even a 10th of David Cay Johnston’s stories are true, then Trump is morally, intellectually, culturally, economically, legally and politically unfit for office of any sort. No wonder so much of the world is shaking its head but also holding its breath.”
David J. Lynch reviewed the book for The Financial Times and wrote that “Johnston has done voters a service with this unblinking portrait. He makes a compelling case that Trump has the attributes of both “dictator” and “deceiver” and would be a disaster in the Oval Office. …Yet, ultimately this is a dispiriting read. If Johnston’s rendering of Trump is at all accurate, it is not just the New York businessman who deserves rebuke. So too does an entire American political system that has put him within reach of the White House despite his manifest flaws.” Lynch was also critical of Johnston’s prose style, feeling that “This slim 210-page volume feels a bit rushed: the transitions can be choppy and, like his subject, Johnston has a healthy regard for his own abilities. …Tip: when you are taking down one of the world’s great narcissists, go easy on self-promotion” but that it “is a minor flaw in a work that delivers so much insight”.
As Maria Konnikova wrote in her book, “The Confidence Game,” “The whirlwind advance of technology heralds a new golden age of the grift. Cons thrive in times of transition and fast change” when we are losing the old ways and open to the unexpected.
We are easy marks for faux Nigerian princes now, when chaos rules, the American identity wobbles, and technology is transforming our lives in awe-inspiring and awful ways.
Trump voters allowed themselves to believe they had a successful billionaire who knew the art of the deal when he only knew the art of the con. They bought his seductive campaign narrative, that the system was rigged and corrupt and only he could fix it. After winning by warning voters they were being suckered, he’s made them all suckers.
.. Those who ignored whispers about Weinstein’s grotesque behavior burned to believe that Hollywood was more than juvenile comic-book movies, that it could still make classy, sophisticated films with great roles for mature actresses like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench. And despite tales of misogyny and sickening transgressions, they wanted to buy Harvey’s grand narrative, that he was a liberal feminist who could raise enough money to help elect the first woman president.
.. With Holmes, people were longing for a young woman to break into the club of boy geniuses conjuring unicorns
.. She played to that, imitating Steve Jobs by wearing a black turtleneck
.. She pitched a Jobs-like mythic story about her company, that it was not merely about making money, it was designed to be “the most important thing humanity has ever built.”
.. High-minded elites like to scornfully say that Trump voters fell for his scam because they were ignorant and racist. But the high-minded elites fell for Holmes’s scam, even the fake deep authoritative voice she put on. Her board had George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Jim Mattis and David Boies; Rupert Murdoch and Robert Kraft were investors.
.. Jaron Lanier, the scientist and musician known as the father of virtual reality, has a new book out, “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.” He says that the business plans of Facebook and Google have served to “elevate the role of the con artist to be central in society.”
MCEVERS: Think about it. Donald Trump was getting paid a salary by NBC to have this huge platform where he could promote his businesses, even when some of those businesses weren’t actually doing very well.
PRUITT: The brands, you know, like Taj Mahal – it was enormously difficult to promote that because you walk in there, and you see, you know, neons falling. It was the Ta Mahal or something. You know, there was no J because the neons were out (laughter). They just hadn’t had the opportunity to replace it yet. It wasn’t a priority because the carpets were already rotting, and, you know, it just stank to high heaven. So…
MCEVERS: But you mostly edit that stuff, too.
PRUITT: Well, also, the jet was, you know, questionable whether it would fly that week. The helicopter was up for sale, I believe. We didn’t know if we were going to have it next week.
MCEVERS: Huh. But that’s not the way you made it look…
PRUITT: Not at all.
MCEVERS: …In that opening sequence.
MCEVERS: Oh, my gosh. You created a fiction, a fictional billionaire.
PRUITT: Well, he had been a billionaire. I mean, everything we said about him was truthful. It’s what we didn’t say about him. Do you know what I mean? It was a convenient vacation of the truth.
MCEVERS: At the time of “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump’s companies had already been through four bankruptcies. And there were two more to come, including the Taj Mahal. But Bill Pruitt and the show made him out to be this wildly successful guy having the time of his life, a guy who millions of people started looking up to and even wanted to be like.
This is the thing that Bill Pruitt feels the most guilty about now. In helping make “The Apprentice,” Bill says he was a good con artist. He has the Emmys to prove it from other reality shows. And on “The Apprentice,” his con helped take Donald Trump all the way to the White House.
PRUITT: We told a story. We went with beginnings and middles and ends and villains and protagonists. And we went about the business of putting music and picture and sound together, the things that we thought we wanted to get up in the morning and do with our lives. And now, all of a sudden, we’re here. A cultural icon emerged because we weren’t necessarily truthful about our portrayal.