Home Issues Leaders Recent Grid Archive Senate House VoteMatch_Quiz FAQs
 2016 Election:  Hillary's book Trump's book Bernie's book Ted Cruz's book  |   2016 Senate   Debates 

Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Think Big
Make It Happen in Business and Life
by Donald J. Trump and Bill Zanker

(Click for Amazon book review)


This book is written in collaboration with Bill Zanker, the founder of "The Learning Annex," as an outline for that educational institution. Trump was instrumental in funding Zanker early in the Learning Annex's development, and makes regular appearances with Zanker. If Trump had focused more on THIS institution, he might have avoided all of the controversy in Trump University (which is explored in the sister volume to this book, "Trump 101").

This book is organized for Learning Annex readers: each chapter has a "Sum it Up" section; a "Key Points" bullet list, and a "Zanker's Take" where Zanker comments on Trump's chapter. Trump uses this book to outline his approach to education and his approach to life – Trump's personality shines through in every chapter. Unlike in previous earlier books, which were much more measured and business-like, Trump had, by 2008, written enough books that he could finally be himself and let readers see the real Trump.

What is that real Trump? He's pretty much what you see on the campaign trail in 2016: a opinionated man who makes sure you hear his opinion; an earthy man unafraid to talk about women as a man sees them; and a straight-talker who speaks plainly and gets to the point.

The "earthy" part requires further elaboration, because when pundits call politicians "earthy," they usually mean "he speaks without a script and even says 'umm' sometimes, and he recognizes cusswords without raising an eyebrow." That ain't Donald: he is the real thing, when it comes to earthiness. If you google this book, you'll see its original title: "Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and in Life" – yes, that was the ACTUAL published title of the book! The term "Kick Ass" got softened to "Make It Happen" somewhere along the line, but Amazon still carries versions with the earthier title. And the title is just the tip of the iceberg: this book is so full of cusswords that OnTheIssues had to revamp our editorial policy to deal with it (we allow "ass" in context now, and a couple of other earthy phrases). And Trump has earthy advice on women, too – advising men to be cocky and confident, and "you will be able to get all the women you want" (p. 270).

Some pundits might say, "How could such a creature get nominated for president?" But of course, Trump's supporters know that that's his charm, not his weak spot. He says what he thinks; he is what he is; and you can take it or leave it, as far as he's concerned. The voters took it, and Trump captured the nomination, despite the pundits' aghast disbelief. Trump extends his attitude towards earthiness and women to the rest of his personality too, for example:

  • When someone crosses you, my advice is "Get even!" If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! (p. 29): Trump on the campaign trail has clearly applied this advice to his Republican opponents.
  • In the game of life, money is how you score (p. 43): This explains why Trump so proudly proclaims his wealth in numeric terms (he claims to be worth $10 billion, and perhaps the reason he won't release his tax returns is that the actual number is lower) – net worth, to Trump, equates to personal success.
  • I trust my instinct on business deals as well as personal (p. 91): Trump applies this concept to deal-making at both the domestic and international levels; we can expect an "instinctual" president, who decides with his gut more than his mind, if Trump wins.
  • The harder I work, the luckier I get (p. 119): This is Trump's response to critics who claim Trump started off rich and just got lucky; his critics don't really believe how hard Trump works, and Trump makes sure his readers know.
This is Trump's personality, laid out, pure and simple. With many politicians, you never know quite who you're voting for – with Trump, you KNOW. This book is the best outline of that personality – if you want to understand Trump, read it!

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, June 2016


Trump suggests "Think Big" as a business maxim – but how will that apply to his presidency? We'll discuss here how Trump applied "Thinking Big" to business, and then how he might apply it to politics.

In the first chapter, Trump begins with a rundown of all of his previous successes, all of which include becoming extraordinarily wealthy, meeting tons of celebrities and athletes, and being internationally famous. Trump immediately attributes his successes to the ideal of persistence, and how he wouldn’t have gotten where he is today, without being mentally tough, hardworking and willing to break through barriers in order to get what he wants. Those attributes apply in a straightforward manner to a White House role – we can expect Trump to be persistent and hardworking and willing to overturn old barriers to get what he wants.

More importantly, Trump emphasized the concept of “getting even” in business and in life. According to Trump “When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even. I get screwed all the time. I go after people, and you know what? People do not play around with me as much as they do with others” (p. 29). Most Americans learned in kindergarten that “getting even” not only diminishes one’s character from the perspective of others, but also provides no constructive means for solving the problem at hand. Later in the book, Trump dedicates an entire chapter to “getting even” and how he’s been able to slight others who wronged him in a myriad of ways. The key political question is: Will Trump apply "getting even" to politics as much as he applies his other business maxims?

Anybody who followed his 2016 campaign has seen this behavior from Trump on Twitter, in the media, or through his rants/speeches. How will "governing by tweet" work? Even after he was elected in November, Trump still takes shots on Twitter at accounts ranging from Saturday Night Live “Just tried watching Saturday Night Live- unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad” (Dec. 3), to nameless bloggers “ @filibuster @jeffzeleny Pathetic- you have no sufficient evidence that Donald Trump did not suffer from voter fraud, shame! Bad reporter” (Nov. 28) and critics “The Democrats, when they incorrectly thought they were going to win, asked that the election night tabulation be accepted. Not so anymore!” (Nov. 26). From a foreign policy standpoint, the concept of “getting even” is disastrous and threatens the integrity of the United States, as well as the safety of American citizens. For example, if the United Kingdom, decided to resurface and pass a ban of Donald Trump into their country during his presidency, would he suddenly insult parliament, or even worse, threaten the country with sanctions, or war?

Trump's focus on "getting even" feels like he is "thin-skinned" in this book. While in the White House, Trump cannot afford to have thin skin while dealing with foreign leaders, and certainly cannot immediately go after leaders of other countries that may slight his ego, or the country he represents. If for example, another leader embarrasses, belittles, or subtly harasses Trump, his first move cannot, and should not be to retaliate with insults, or worse with physical force via the military. What if President Nieto of Mexico refuses to pay for a wall on their northern border shared with the United States, and instead denounces Trump for calling Mexicans rapists? Will Trump respond by bombing the country? If Trump “goes after” foreign leaders, the United States government will appear incompetent and unstable around the globe, which will question the premise that the United States is indeed the greatest country in the world.

Instead of tearing other leaders to shreds, Trump should instead listen to a woman such as First Lady Michelle Obama who famously said at the Democratic National Convention, “When they go low, we go high.” For the benefit of the country he was elected to represent, Trump must not listen to the words he wrote himself, in the book “Think Big” and must deal with political situations rationally, and with care.

-- Will Hayes, OnTheIssues.org analyst, January 2017
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
    Donald Trump: In the game of life, money is how you score.
    Donald Trump: A great deal when both sides win? That's a bunch of crap.
    Donald Trump: I trust my instinct on business deals as well as personal.
    Donald Trump: Recuperated from debt with hard work and intelligence.
    Donald Trump: How big you think determines how big a success you become.
    Donald Trump: Look below the daily news to identify big sweeping changes.
    Donald Trump: Gave second chance to Miss USA who got caught with drugs.
    Donald Trump: College degrees open a lot of doors.
Energy & Oil
    Donald Trump: Green buildings take 40 years to get investment back.
Families & Children
    Donald Trump: Everyone getting married should have a prenuptial agreement.
    Donald Trump: Too many hollow compliments are not healthy for kids.
    Donald Trump: I would rather live a married life than be single.
    Donald Trump: Be cocky & confident & get all the women you want.
Foreign Policy
    Condoleezza Rice: OpEd: met with dictators, but that was all that happened.
    Donald Trump: Use tough negotiators instead of naive academic people.
    Donald Trump: It's about time we started thinking differently about Cuba.
Homeland Security
    Donald Trump: Focus & discipline are habits I learned in military school.
Principles & Values
    Bill Clinton: OpEd: Won election by going where others unwilling to tread.
    Donald Trump: Get used to hearing the word "no" and ignoring it.
    Donald Trump: When someone crosses you, get even!
    Donald Trump: The harder I work, the luckier I get.
    Donald Trump: Never forgive someone who is bad; always strike back.
    Donald Trump: 1980: We handled captives in Iran poorly.
    Donald Trump: OpEd: Praised Hillary Clinton in 2008 election.
    Hillary Clinton: Praised by Donald Trump in 2008 election.
    Jimmy Carter: OpEd: Much better after presidency than he did during term.
    Ronald Reagan: OpEd: Sunny optimist in the midst of fighting the Cold War.
Welfare & Poverty
    Donald Trump: I give a lot of money away to charity.

The above quotations are from Think Big
Make It Happen in Business and Life
by Donald J. Trump and Bill Zanker.

All material copyright 1999-2022
by Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
Send donations or submit quotations to:
1770 Massachusetts Ave. #630
Cambridge, MA 02140

Home Page
Most recent quotations Archive of books & debates Candidate Matching Quiz

Page last edited: Feb 25, 2019