I plead guilty to an obsessive interest in American politics. Perhaps that is to do with having grown up South of the 49th Parallel (the border between Canada and America). On clear winter mornings, when I ran down our long driveway to collect the morning paper, I was running straight towards a snow covered volcanic cone which looked like Mt Egmont. (That’s an Andesitic cone, another example is Mt Fuji. They all look pretty much the same.) Forgive me I digress. What I was setting out to tell you was that my canter down the drive was due east. The Volcanic cone in the distance was in America. Therefore I was living below the border. I was at the bottom end of Vancouver Island, and rather than continuing the straight line that sliced across North America from the Great Lakes to the Pacific, the border did a little jig so as not to excise off the bottom of the Island.
For any of you who read the article I wrote a year ago about Barack Obama you will know I am not a great admirer of Donald Trump. Never-the-less I was surprised and impressed to learn that he had written a book. I was even more surprised when I enquired at the library to learn that he had written a clutch of books, and even more surprised to find that one of them was on the shelves. It was called ‘The way to the Top’. The Best Business Advice I Ever Received. Regardless of how dubious you may be of Donald, there’s no denying he’s done a few things. Writing a book called The Way to the Top is not one of them. Although his ‘I mean business’ face and TRUMP are prominent on the cover, and he wrote a short introduction, that is where his input ends. This book is pages of passages written by other people followed by a three to ten-word tweet by Donald. Some of the pages have fourteen or less words on them: viz this pearl “You’re only as good as the people who work for you“, followed by Donald’s tweet “Choose employees wisely.” Some of the passages are interesting and enlightening like the five pages by the CEO of a company that you’ve never heard of, but who writes about people who inspired him and the work ethic he lives by. Donald’s tweet is “Make your own mark”.
If I got asked by Donald Trump, or a functionary of Donald Trump, to write about the best business advice I had ever received, I would settle down one evening and give it my best. Had that happened I would have been ripped off by Donald worse than the thousands who believed they were buying a book by him when they saw his photo and name on the cover. What I find really annoying was that he is called the author, and (employing a Trump technique for emphasising a point), I found it really really annoying that Trump probably netted $100,000 from sales of this book in which he had almost no input. And it is really really really annoying, or as Trump might say “Greatly annoying” that simply having this book lying around in airports and bookstores will have promoted his brand.
I borrowed ‘The Way to the Top’ to further my understanding of this man who finds himself as President of the United States. I was looking for some substance or sign of intellect. In the book I learnt nothing about Trump. That the book was marketed as being by Trump did however teach me, yet again, that you can go a long way on ‘alternative facts’.