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on 13 May 2005
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (2005), ISBN: 0471718351

George Ross is the veteran legal adviser to New York property tycoons Donald Trump, the late Leonard Kandell, Sol Goldman, Alex DiLorenzo and many others. His experience encompasses decades as a property lawyer, an entrepreneur/VC in his own right and keen observer and apprentice magician of his wizard clients. His book is an interesting read for both neophyte and experienced property investors interested to learn about tricks of the trade. The title erroneously suggests this book talks only about Trump, in truth the author talks about several of his clients' experiences.

The first chapters of the book set out the negotiation techniques Trump and other have been using. Most of those techniques are fairly well known, but for an aspiring developer they are a good introduction to doing-deals-1-0-1. For the experienced negotiators, the war stories are the interesting part of the book. A weakness here is that the author repeatedly cites the same case stories over and over again, which results in a somewhat tedious amount of repetition.

Critical to the development process, in particular when dealing with larger projects, is the need for an experienced commercially aware property lawyer. As Sol Goldman said: "Every problem has a price tag." - a statement that truly captures the essence of the development process and its actors (see opportunities in the problems you have to resolve, problems will arise, problems cost money, problems are manifold, understand the problem its impact and by extension its solution). The author cites an interesting war story involving Trump's prestige golf course cum waterfall.

The final five chapters of the book then discuss the Trump approach of real estate development. This part of the book is exclusively about the Trump Touch and readers of his autobiographies will certainly recognise some of the lessons taught. Having said that, it is nice to find them distilled into some key bullet points and to read the illustrative cases. Nothing like a story to instil the message. Pay particular attention to the "aura of legitimacy" lessons - you will look at real estate listings and literature the same way again.

All in all, this book is worth a read for aspiring, beginning and experienced developers. It is not the best written book, but reflects the author's career and experiences as an investor/venture capitalist (negotiation techniques, financing structures, process management) and as a commercially aware property lawyer (deal structuring, financing, value issues). The book does manage to convey, though, the enthusiasm for deal making experienced by successful entrepreneurs. Perhaps, this book should also prove to authors that there is a market out there for someone doing a review of all of Trump's projects (failed and successful ones) for the benefit of the education of mere mortals like you and me.
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on 11 December 2005
This book gives interesting insights to the behind the scenes dealings of shrewd and successful investors. The insights that are shared and the knowledge that can be applied are worth far more than the cover price. I was however, expecting a better structure to the book as the author could have portrayed his abilities far better if the flow of ideas had been more ordered. I would have also liked to have seen more of the human side of Trump and his team (as seen to some extent on the The Apprentice) and not just about getting the deal no matter what!
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on 28 November 2005
This book is not only full of intersting insights into the mind of one of the most powerful investors in the Western world, it's also packed with solid ideas that can be applied by small investors.
I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to put these great lessons into practise!
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on 15 November 2009
Trump is a real estate player in the major leagues. This book is written by his right hand man, George H. Ross. Some of you might know him from the show The Apprentice. He focuses mainly on Trump's deals, but I really liked how he described what Trump does to sell himself. For example, Trump is very good at using his enthusiasm to inspire others, building relationships with everyone involved to lower their suspicion, and applying his showmanship skills to excite participants. Not only does the author show how Trump does it, but also how we can use it to help with our deals. To have showmanship, he uses an example of not just showing prospective buyers a vacant piece of land, but hiring an artist whose work can show the buyers what the finished product can look like. The chapter on negotiation is fantastic. I don't believe anyone can learn the information in this book in a classroom or from any other book.

- Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
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on 3 October 2013
I love this book, I couln't put it down once I started reading it. It is exciting, positive, gives a real insight into the business of a master. Even masters have it tough, but they never give up!
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on 14 November 2015
A must read
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on 30 December 2014
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