Donald Trump thinks he knows what's best — when it comes to how to make a deal or what shampoo to use.
This is the conclusion we here at Vox drew from reading all 12 of Trump’s books on politics and business. We wanted to better understand Trump’s candidacy and how his experiences and outlook on life might shape his views as a world leader. And, frankly, we wanted to understand what makes him tick.
And one thing you realize, reading through hundreds of pages of Trump’s text, is that this is a man who is confident he can advise people on pretty much everything. His books contain advice on everything from dealmaking ("Always shoot for the top") to how best to greet another human ("I believe in no handshake") to, yes, even shampoo ("The best shampoo is Head & Shoulders").
There were so many of these little moments — where Trump explains how he sees the world working and offers advice on how best to navigate it — that we used them to create this interactive.
Trump’s politics aren’t consistent. But his advice always is.
Surprisingly, we found that despite being constantly derided as inconsistent, Trump is actually very consistent on a number of key issues, including international business and trade, his thoughts on women, and how to win at negotiating (don’t cede anything). Additionally, he is far more self-aware of the image he projects as a loose cannon liable to say anything than his critics give him credit for.
In his latest book, Crippled America, published in 2015, Trump disputed the idea that his "unpredictable" nature is detrimental to campaign and instead argued its advantage is that it makes it impossible for his opponents to predict his next move.
Similarly, in reading Trump, one gets the sense that he is more adept at cultivating his media presence than many realize — both the ridiculous and the inflammatory. In some ways, it seems as if Trump’s desire to be in the national spotlight has been part of his plan all along.
Later in 2004, after the success of The Apprentice, Trump wrote:
What’s more, it is abundantly clear in reading Trump that he views the world as a zero-sum game filled with clear winners and losers, and that in order to win one must crush his opponent:
Additionally, the narrative that Trump is tenacious and unwilling to compromise has long been essential to how he views himself.
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