An encounter with a Trump book actually led me to being a better person
Eight years ago I read Donald Trump’s book Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and in Life while on a flight to Los Angeles. Barely out of my teens and in the thick of university I found myself looking for a mentor. Trump seemed successful so I bought his book to find out more.
I found the book quite forward to say the least, with the chapter ‘Revenge’ being the most notable. In between slamming Rosie O'Donnell and Mark Cuban Trump talks about how he had beaten Richard Branson, that he was superior and his business ventures far more successful. At the time I had no idea who Branson was but was curious as to why Trump disliked him so much. Who was this guy that Trump hated so much that he dedicated several paragraphs to disparaging him? What had he done?
So once I landed I gave myself a crash course on Richard Branson, looking up who he was, what he’d done and what he believed in. During my time in the US I even came across Branson’s book Screw It, Let’s Do It. I bought it and never looked back.
Everything Branson spoke about made sense to me: his focus on creating a strong, positive brand, his desire to give back to the community and (most markedly) his unwavering commitment to people. Compared to Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and in Life (which was arrogant and) Screw It, Let’s Do It was upbeat and sincere. Comparing the chapter titles the difference between the two business moguls is even clearer: Trump chooses intimidating chapter titles like ‘I love you, sign this’, ‘Fear factor’ and of course ‘Revenge’ while Branson uses titles like ‘Value family and friends’, ‘Have respect’ and ‘Do some good’. The two books could not be any more different.
Screw It, Let’s Do It introduced me to the concept of meaningful business, something which I’ve applied to my own business ventures ever since. Really there’s no point in just becoming a millionaire - it’s only a bunch of zeroes in your bank account. A truly successful business is one that not only can turn profit, but also provide a great culture for their employees, give back to their community and be environmentally sustainable.
Ironically, I have Donald Trump to thank for teaching me that.