Donald Didn’t Do “The Deal”

 

Note:  no one suggests that “ghost writing” is bad–it often results in a good book.  Usually the subject of the book recognizes the contribution of the ghost-writer.  Check the end of this post for more on that.  RJN

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Product DetailsProduct Details

 

‘Art Of The Deal’ Ghostwriter On Why Trump Should Not Be President

Tony Schwartz (from left), Ivana Trump, photographer Francesco Scavullo and Donald Trump celebrate the publication of Donald Trump's 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, which was ghostwritten by Schwartz.

Tony Schwartz (from left), Ivana Trump, photographer Francesco Scavullo and Donald Trump celebrate the publication of Donald Trump’s 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, which was ghostwritten by Schwartz.  Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images

In 1987, the book The Art of the Deal elevated Donald Trump from playboy developer to best-selling author.

From the opening paragraph of Trump’s self-portrait as a shrewd and creative dealmaker:

“I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.”

Trump’s name is on the cover of that book. But there’s another one, too — beneath the portrait and the big golden letters spelling out TRUMP — the name of Tony Schwartz, the book’s ghostwriter.

Schwartz did not weigh in on the presidential campaign until this week in a lengthy interview with The New Yorker.

Schwartz tells All Things Considered‘s Robert Siegel that he is speaking out now because he is extremely concerned about what Trump would be like as a president.

He says the portrait that he painted of Trump in The Art of the Deal is not accurate.

“I helped to paint Trump as a vastly more appealing human being than he actually is. And I have no pride about that. … I did it for the money. It’s certainly weighed on me over the years,” Schwartz says. “Now, since he’s … in a position to potentially become president, it makes my decision back then look very different than it did at the time.”

Schwartz spent 18 months on the book, including eight or nine months sitting in Trump’s office virtually every morning to get the information he needed.

“One of the chief things I’m concerned about is the limits of his attention span, which are as severe as any person I think I’ve ever met,” Schwartz says. “No matter what question I asked, he would become impatient with it pretty quickly, and literally, from the very first time I sat down to start interviewing him, after about 10 or 15 minutes, he said, ‘You know, I don’t really wanna talk about this stuff, I’m not interested in it, I mean it’s over, it’s the past, I’m done with it, what else have you got?’ ”

The idea of a president in an “incredibly complex and threatening world who can’t pay attention is itself frightening,” Schwartz says.

Add to that the fact that Trump is so easily provoked, that what Schwartz calls Trump’s insecurity “makes him incredibly reactive whenever he feels threatened, which is very, very often.”

As an example, Schwartz says, his interview in The New Yorker came out on Monday. On Tuesday, he received “a long and threatening letter from his lawyer designed, I think, to muzzle me.”

“For 25 years, I think Trump has done a very, very effective job of muzzling anyone who has worked for him or with him by signing very, very strict nondisclosure agreements before they start working with him,” Schwartz says. “It just turns out that I started with him so early that he hadn’t thought of it yet.”

“The reason I’m stepping up is because no one else seems to be free or willing to do so,” Schwartz says. “Believe me, it is not fun.”

___________________________________________________________A ghostwriter is a person who is hired to authorbooks, manuscripts, screenplays, speeches, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, whitepapers, or other texts that are officially credited to another person.Celebrities, executives, participants in timely news stories, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written material. A common form of literature ghostwriters are hired for is a celebrity’s memoirs. In music, ghostwriters are often used for writing songs and lyrics. Screenplay authors can also use ghostwriters to either edit or rewrite their scripts to improve them.  Wikipedia

John Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage is a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning volume of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators throughout the Senate’s history …

Profiles was widely celebrated and became a best seller.John F. Kennedy is credited as the author, although the extent of his contribution has been questioned. In his 2008 autobiography, Kennedy’s speechwriter Ted Sorensen wrote that, while Kennedy provided the theme and supervised its production, Sorensen had written most of the book.  Wikipedia

 

Elmore Leonard and Mom

 

Image result for photo fat book

Today, while I was working on a story, I remembered several things.  For one thing, I remembered how our mother ripped through books very quickly.  When I remarked on that she said, “Oh, I only read the talking.”

Second thing, there are several writers like Tom Clancy making a lot of money writing big fat exciting boooks. Remember Hunt for Red October, book or movie?   Once I picked up one of these with the idea of reading every third page.  I enjoyed the story, never felt I had missed anything.

These thoughts led me to Elmore Leonard”s 10 rules for writers, specifically #10: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Come to think of it, I think I stepped on #6 today.  I’ll have to check,

 

Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules for Good Writing

Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules for Good Writingd. 2013                                                                      
Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns, then turned his talents to crime fiction. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, he’s written about two dozen novels, most of them bestsellers, such as Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch. ( Books of reasonable length, often funny about crooks)  Unlike most genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously by the literary crowd.  (A lot of his work has ended up in the movies or on television. rjn)What’s Leonard’s secret to being both popular and respectable? Perhaps you’ll find some clues in his 10 tricks for good writing:

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

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