Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life

by Donald Trump and Bill Zanker; Collins Business, 384 pages, $26.95/$14.95 (paperback) (Translated into the Hebrew by Irit Zerubavel; Matar Publishing and the Israel Management Center, 272 pages, NIS 95)

There are more than a few people who are convinced that the face of the real estate baron and star of the American reality TV show "The Apprentice," Donald Trump, is the face of success, the personification of the American Dream. If so, then this book by Trump, co-written with Bill Zanker, presents a portrait, and a sorry one at that, of just what the American Dream is, and what it means to attain it.

The declared goal of "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life" is to provide an answer to the question people are always asking Trump (or so he announces in the first line of the first chapter): "How did you get to be so rich?" To provide an answer, Trump comes up with an abundance of advice, recipes for success and personal anecdotes that always come with a moral.

Trump's advice ranges from the banal to the paranoid. He tells readers to do things they enjoy, to maintain dignity under pressure, to never give in, to follow their instincts, to think positively - and, in the most original of his predictable suggestions, to learn from their mistakes.

The advice this book purveys is so simple, ridiculous and shallow, and has already appeared in so many books that have preceded it, that it's almost lacking in any value. That makes it hard to believe Trump wrote it to actually help the reader become rich like him. Rather, the book seems to be yet another stone in the decadent edifice of the author's megalomaniacal cult of self-worship.

"Think Big and Kick Ass" contains countless examples of Trump's wisdom, and of the way he defeats his enemies, overcomes obstacles, gets back at those who wish him ill and rewards those who remain loyal to him. It's stuffed with insults aimed at the little people who didn't appreciate him and songs of praise for his own television success, his wealth, and the ostentation in his life: the clubs he's established, the buildings he's erected and the philanthropic contributions he's bestowed.