Lion of the Blogosphere

Classic posts: Donald Trump vs. Gordon Gekko

with 55 comments

I wrote this book review 14 years ago in May, 2004. It’s extra interesting to re-read this because it’s about Donald Trump. At the time I never would have predicted that Donald Trump would someday be President of the United States. So you can see here what I thought about Trump before politics were involved.

* * *

As a birthday present, my sister sent me the book How to Get Rich, by Donald Trump. Sadly, the book did not reveal any roadmap to getting rich, nor even any tidbits of advice that have not already been written before by others.

The book contains a lot of very short chapters, each containing what Trump considers a pearl of wisdom, but none of these pearls of wisdom are the least bit original or eye opening. The book is a mishmash of management advice, lifestyle advice, negotiating tips, factoids about Trump the person, a week in Trump’s life, and an inside (but not very deep inside) look at The Apprentice.

The book only gets interesting when Trump confesses some weird facts about his personal life. I found it very interesting that Trump hates shaking hands, because he says that it spreads germs. I also discovered that Trump is fond of junk food, and he will eat nothing at a fancy dinner, and instead head home and have a bag of pretzels. He also reveals a fondness for McDonalds. Yesterday evening I had Coke and pretzels for dinner, and thanks to Trump’s new book, I felt good about it.

After reading the book, it occurred to me that the movie Wall Street is a better and more entertaining source of information on how to get rich. Most of the important pieces of advice covered by Trump are also covered in the movie.

Wall Street is the story of Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen. Fox is a stockbroker who is not doing too well, but who very much wants to get rich. Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas (who won an Academy Award for the role), is a Donald Trump-like tycoon who takes Fox under his wing and teaches him the ropes. One could say that Fox is his apprentice.

Early in the book, Trump writes about the importance of having a good executive assistant, who screens his phone calls among other things. In Wall Street, Gekko’s executive assistant is Natalie, who steadfastly prevents Fox from getting to speak with Gekko. Fox finally gets past her when he shows up at Gekko’s office on his birthday, with a box of Cuban cigars for a birthday present.

It is interesting to note that the sign in Gekko’s office reads “Gekko & Co.”, while Trump’s company is named The Trump Organization. Both Gekko and Trump have big egos, so they both name their companies after themselves. The difference is that Trump’s ego is bigger than Gekko’s. Trump puts his name on everything. Instead of the movie tycoon being a parody of the real life tycoon, the real life tycoon is a parody of the movie tycoon.

The most important theme in the management section of the book is about hiring and retaining the best employees. Gekko also has the best people working for him. During Fox’s initial meeting with Gekko, Gekko introduces him to his trader, Ollie. “Doesn’t look like it, huh? This guy’s the best.”

Donald Trump recommends that you wear expensive clothes, and specifically endorses Brioni. (Have you ever priced Brioni at Neiman Marcus? That stuff is expensive.) Gordon Gekko tells Bud Fox to get better suits. “And buy a decent suit. You can’t come in here looking like this.” This is despite the fact that Fox already wears $400 suits, which is a lot of money for a suit in 1980s dollars.

Donald Trump writes, “I rarely go out for lunch. I still consider it an interruption in my workday.” Gordon Gekko says more simply, but much more memorably, “lunch is for wimps.” If you recall The Apprentice, one of Omarosa’s great failings is that she was often more interested in eating a leisurely meal than working.

Donald Trump advises you to “know every aspect of what you’re doing.” Gordon Gekko says “the most valuable commodity I know of is information.”

Donald Trump writes, “when somebody hurts you, go after them as viciously and as violently as you can. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.” An important part of the plot of Wall Street is Gekko’s quest for revenge against corporate raider Lawrence Wildman.

Donald Trump advises you to get a prenuptial agreement before getting married. Trump’s friend tells him “Donald, I’m so in love with this woman that I don’t need a prenuptial agreement.” Donald writes, “I didn’t have the courage to tell him what I was thinking to myself. Loser!” Gordon Gekko says that love is “a fiction created by people to prevent themselves from jumping out of windows.” We can be sure that Gekko has a prenuptial agreement.

Trump and Gekko both see relationships as a business deal in which money buys a gorgeous girlfriend, wife, or mistress. Gekko explains to Fox that one of the benefits of being rich is that he will be able to “afford a girl like Darien.” Darien Taylor is the interior decorator played by the very beautiful Daryl Hannah, and definitely the “best that money can buy.” (However, Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes, back when he was my high school English teacher, said that Daryl Hannah was “just another tall blonde.”)

Trump’s book includes several chapters of advice on public speaking. He covers the basic public speaking tips, such as to be enthusiastic, entertain your audience, and not to read from a prepared speech. In a scene from Wall Street, Gekko addresses the stockholders of Teldar, a company he is trying to buy out. The scene begins with Cromwell, the CEO of Teldar, giving a boring speech. He stands before the podium, frequently looking down, presumably reading from a prepared text. Then Gekko takes the microphone, and we see Michael Douglas, who plays Gekko, give one of the greatest speeches ever to grace cinema.

Although Gekko isn’t reading from any notes, it may be pointed out that Michael Douglas, the actor, has memorized a written screenplay. However, the difference between a regular person giving a speech, and Michael Douglas giving this incredible performance, is that Michael Douglas is an Academy Award winning actor performing from a screenplay written by professional Hollywood writers. Don’t think for a minute that you can write your own speech, then read it, and be anything but incredibly boring. Even President Ronald Reagan, also known as the Great Communicator, and an actor himself before he became a politician, was at his best when he was ad-libbing and not reading from a teleprompter.

In his book, Trump reveals that he wakes up every morning at five o’clock. In Wall Street, Gekko calls Fox at sunrise, waking him up. Gekko’s first words are “money never sleeps.” Rich people are too busy making money to waste time sleeping. The wakeup call scene from Wall Street is one of many in which it is subtly revealed that Fox just isn’t made of tough enough stuff to become rich like Gekko.

In writing this comparison between Donald Trump and Gordon Gekko, it would be incomplete if I didn’t address the issue that Gordon Gekko was supposed to be the bad guy. A very simplistic synopsis of Wall Street is that Gekko is the crooked business tycoon, and Fox is the innocent lamb who initially falls under Gekko’s evil spell, but eventually, with the help of wise advice from his upstanding father, he sees Gekko for the crook that he is, and betrays him. Fox will probably have to go to jail himself, but those are his just desserts. With Fox’s assistance to the SEC, Gekko will also probably wind up in jail.

That’s the simplistic synopsis. The way I see it, despite the left-wing anti-business message that Oliver Stone may have intended, and one that Michael Douglas may have agreed with, Michael Douglas transcended the screenplay and gave Gordon Gekko his own life and reality. Oliver Stone explains in the additional features that come with the DVD that he wanted to leave the morality of the movie open ended. When the investigator from the SEC tells Fox that he “did the right thing” by helping to gather evidence against Gekko, the audience is supposed to wonder if he truly did the right thing.

Comparing Donald Trump to Gordon Gekko, it is Gekko who seems like the real person, and Trump who comes off as the fictional character. Trump’s big ego and penchant for putting his name on everything seem a tad bit too overblown to be part of the real world. So if Gekko is a villain, what does that make Trump?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Books, Uncategorized

55 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Great piece of writing, Lion!

    Yakov

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Seconded

      Andrew E.

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Completely agree – that was a pretty informative and at the same time amusing post. Me gusta this turn to classic Lion.

        Stickler

        May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Your older posts are longer.

      gothamette

      May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • Actually, most of the posts from that era were short and devoid of interesting content. There were only a handful of long interesting posts.

  2. “very beautiful Darryl Hannah”

    I’m going to have to agree with Frank McCourt on this one, except pretty sure she’s a bottle blonde. Her jaw is very square and she has no assets, which the film highlighted by putting her in some very low-cut outfits that do nothing for her.

    Maybe it’s her hair, but she also looks like she was in her mid-30s when Wall Street was released, despite being 27.

    Off the top of my head, Ivanka, also a bottle blonde, seems significantly prettier at age 36 than Darryl was at 27.

    Still, enjoyed this post overall.

    Wency

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Porn-actress breasts are trashy. Daryl Hannah was an elegant beauty. I should be so lucky.

      • I heard she’s also autistic. You might like that too.

        GondwanaMan

        May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

      • She kind of looks like a guy in drag to me, albeit an attractive guy.

        Funny about skipping haute cuisine for pretzels. Bloomberg admitted to a cheez-it addiction. Many chefs- I’m talking michelin rated chefs- eat junk food in lieu of loftier fare too. David Chang loves dominoes.

        Great writing lion, I like these classic posts. 😀

        toomanymice

        May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • FWIW I think Sean Young did a great job as the bitchy wife. Probably she wasn’t even acting.

      fortaleza84

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  3. Giuliani was clever to disclose the payment upfront. It’s not’a by news anymore. I still don’t understand why Kim would accept the deal when you see how Americans treat people who denuke (like Ghadafi sold to beasts)

    Bruno

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Kim will end up dead if he follows through with de-nuking.

      jjbees

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Kim knows HRC will never be Secretary of State again.

      Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • With Hillary’s blessing, the Europeans, mainly the French Foreign Legion and air power, took out Khadafy. She wanted to look military tough for the presidential election. China’s Xi is the only one who could take out the Rocketman by allowing the US to decapitate him by drone or bunker buster, then invade to confiscate the plutonium pits.

      cesqy

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  4. A well-written and entertaining post, as usual.

    What you may have omitted to mention, though, is that both characters are fiction — Gekko obviously, and Trump inasmuch as he presents himself as a self-made man, when a more accurate portrayal is that of an upper-class kid whose real merit is having safeguarded and expanded a business empire.

    Though undoubtedly, grit and lack of scruples can help one’s chances of financial success, life is not a movie and few things in life go as they were planned. In each “success story”, the dice of Fortuna have played a big role.

    “Donald Trump writes, “when somebody hurts you, go after them as viciously and as violently as you can. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.”

    This is so away from the reality of Christian tradition that it physically hurts to read. For Trump, it’s as if the New Testament never happened. Trump is functionally Jewish; why does he insist on calling himself a “Presbyterian”?

    Thomas

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • “an eye for an eye” is the exact opposite of “viciously and as violently as you can.” So it’s even dumber. The whole point of that rule was that justice must be proportionate. You can’t kill a guy for injuring you.

      bobbybobbob

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  5. “he will eat nothing at a fancy dinner” — don’t politicos do this so they can not be photographed eating? Trump is concerned with his image. He doesn’t want a picture out there of him eating food because it can be used against him.

    JRM

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Did you forget about the pic of Trump eating a taco bowl on cinco de mayo?

      Joe Joe

      May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • He posed for that to troll his critics.

        ScarletNumber

        May 17, 2018 at EDT pm

  6. And many people voted for Trump because he sounds real..

    Georgvon1

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  7. Darryl Hannah was never really hot. High class women like her are not so much objects of lust but works of art. She is elegant and demure. Stormy Daniels (in her prime) was most definitely hot and I am sure that given the choice most men would have rather had sex with a twenty five year old Stormy than Darryl. But Stormy is trash. The nuances of beauty are very interesting.

    B.T.D.T.

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • I agree, never had any urge for Hannah. My screen wants were Dyan Cannon, Jill St.John, Karen Valentine, Rosanna Arquette, and Greta Schacchi.

      Marty

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  8. Gekko May be Trump but Fox is Comey only Comey hasn’t come clean.

    BTW- I read Teacher Man, McCourt’s memoir and it was an easy and entertaining read. I was looking for a reference to a prole Jewish kid from Staten Island attending Steyvesant but no distinctively Lionish character appeared though perhaps your real life persona differs from your online persona and you’re in there just hidden?

    There are hilarious Lionesque parts of the memoir, particularly his own awareness of his low social status and general lack of concern about it. His transition from teaching dumb uninterested prole kids at some Staten Island tech school to teaching upper end (mostly) talented kids at Stuyvesant. His description of taking a group of black kids (not Steyvesant) to a Shakespeare play in the 70s and traveling on the subway is LOL hilarious.

    Seemed like a good guy.

    Curle

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  9. How low has this country sunk? The beauty editor of Good Housekeeping identifies as gender queer.

    gothamette

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  10. Wall Street could have been morally ambiguous, but it wasn’t.

    The Teldar Paper speech makes a case for that, as Gekko argues that men like him clear out the overpaid deadwood at sclerotic companies. But Gekko’s “we create nothing” speech and his treatment of Blue Star Airlines shows he’s just private equity shark who adds no value to society.

    Good guys in the movie are Bud Fox’s dad, Wildman, and the senior broker who warns Bud about the abyss, but all have shades of gray.

    Great movie though. Top 5 from the ’80s.

    Dave Pinsen

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  11. OT, but a Trump-supporting Jewish lawyer in NYC is the subject of a two-minutes hate today: https://twitter.com/search?q=%22Aaron%20Schlossberg%22&src=tren

    Dave Pinsen

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  12. These old book-related posts are really good Lion, well-written and employing interesting comparisons.

    Gozo

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  13. The white woman who called the cops on the sleeping black student in Yale:

    “@***** has two summa cum laude engineering degrees (aerospace and mechanical) from the University of Minnesota, as well as a JD from Fordham Law, and she is a member of the NYS Bar. Her secularism and women’s rights advocacy (including with Ni Putes Ni Soumises in Paris, France) led her to obtain an MA in Philosophy, to address the sub-human legal status of the world’s women at the source, the philosophical foundations of law. @***** is interested in applying game theory and cognitive science to the philosophical foundations of law, including international law. This endeavor encompasses her interests in practical reasoning and social ontology, as well as perceptual and social cognition, including language acquisition. ”

    Added sentence: “Her life is now over. She might as well go into a witness protection program.”

    gothamette

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Sounds like she’s getting exactly what she asked for.

      Anyway, since she’s apparently spent ~20 years going to college, she must have $$$ parents.

      snorlaxwp

      May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

      • The white woman does seem like a bit of a nutcase, but the campus police straightened it out and left the black woman alone. Now she’s a media star.

        Maybe a couple of enterprising folks can arrange to do this for money, sort of like the old skin game in slavery days. There was a movie about this. It actually happened a couple of times.

        gothamette

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • The Starbucks incident was clearly a setup.

        snorlaxwp

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • Why do you think that?

        gothamette

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

    • Dave Pinsen

      May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • As they say Dave:

        Every. Single. Time.

        gothamette

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • P.S. Damn good looking Jewish guy! Looks like he has nice, firm abs ‘neath that shirt! Face very handsome, better looking than Jared (with his thin eyebrows has a slightly effeminate look).

        P.P.S. Someone in CA got into this kind of trouble for berating a woman in nikab. Not hijab – nikab. The whole face covering thing. The comments at WaPo were vicious towards the man. My question is, “How would you feel if you were surrounded by them? Would you be so liberal, then?”

        gothamette

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • I saw three of them walking in Penn Station a few weeks ago, and it was scary, like terrorists were walking around.

      • They give me the creeps. BTW, there is a law (which I think you once said you thought was weird) proscribing mask wearing by three or more people in a public area.

        Technically they could have been arrested, but try doing that. Instant witness protection!

        gothamette

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • Troubling is the fact that he’s Jewish who harassed a lady who spoke Spanish in Midtown Manhattan.

        His law firm also “hablo espanol”, Chinese and Hebrew.

        https://www.aaronschlossberglaw.com/

        Is this surreal or what? Something is missing about this story that we don’t know about.

        If not, human behavior gets more deranged by the day.

        JS

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • “Something is missing about this story that we don’t know about.”

        The fakestream media will NEVER report any mitigating circumstances in a story about RACISM. I assume that there was some reason the guy was annoyed that goes beyond hearing people talk in a foreign language, which you hear every day in Manhattan. Because he understands Spanish, maybe he understood what they were actually SAYING and was annoyed that they thought they could secretly disparage white people by speaking in Spanish.

      • I’m sure Mr. Schlossberg is a liberal at heart, despite being a fickle Trump Supporter, or else he wouldn’t be running a law firm that speaks several foreign languages, the kind of languages spoken by welfare leechers in NYC.

        Is this a case of SWPL hypocrisy when push comes to shove?

        I love my fellow Hispanics, because they behave exactly what White Americans of the entire political spectrum cannot speak in English. Healthy racism!

        Maybe the Hispanic workers were speaking of these entitled SWPL types who get slighted over a small thing like tomatoes are missing in the salad.

        JS

        May 17, 2018 at EDT am

      • “Something is missing about this story that we don’t know about.”

        The fakestream media will NEVER report any mitigating circumstances in a story about RACISM. I assume that there was some reason the guy was annoyed that goes beyond hearing people talk in a foreign language, which you hear every day in Manhattan. Because he understands Spanish, maybe he understood what they were actually SAYING and was annoyed that they thought they could secretly disparage white people by speaking in Spanish.

        Most likely scenario: he wasn’t annoyed by them speaking Spanish, per se, but by the employees holding up the line by having long conversations with their friends in Spanish while he and other customers were in a rush and waiting for their food.

        Dave Pinsen

        May 17, 2018 at EDT pm

  14. ResetEra melts down over the fact that Mueller will not be indicting Trump: https://www.resetera.com/threads/giuliani-to-cnn-mueller-told-trump-team-he-would-not-indict-trump.43031/

    Otis the Sweaty

    May 16, 2018 at EDT pm

  15. Trump’s grandmother started the company, and named it after herself.

    Linda Seebach

    May 17, 2018 at EDT am

  16. On Tucker Carlson, just saw David D Burstein, a NYU alumni. He was so stupid. And so obviously an self-serving hypocrits, milleniums are great and I fight for them, he is a millenim !, and White are privileged and should fight for minorities with no arguments. Then all is message was repeating useless expressions like “the point you are missing” or “what we both agree on” . Such a crap. Must be a jewish legacy on east cost as Ron Unz as rightly spoted. I believe White non jewish, not asian, is the most discriminated upon group in the USA at University level.

    Bruno

    May 17, 2018 at EDT am

  17. Gary gray

    May 17, 2018 at EDT am

  18. Well. Hungary has adopted a libertarian free-entry border-buffer /invasion cooler approach similar to Mexico’s. They get what libertarians are talking about, one of the may tools they propose be legal.

    In contrast, neither the alt-/far-right or -left in the US do. Or maybe they get it all too well.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/05/no_author/hungarys-multi-layer-border-wall/

    Off topic.

    Robert

    May 17, 2018 at EDT am

  19. > Gordon Gekko tells Bud Fox to get better suits. “And buy a decent suit. You can’t come in here looking like this.” This is despite the fact that Fox already wears $400 suits, which is a lot of money for a suit in 1980s dollars.

    I’m reminded of the Bernie Madoff scheme. On one floor they had some people wearing expensive suits. It was all for show. This is where they brought investors. Two floors down in a separate office were the guys actually running the operation and keeping two sets of books. They wore jeans.

    The business culture triumph of the West Coast over the East Coast is essentially complete now. The Cali and Seattle disdain for formal dress rules the country. If you were to wear a $1,500 suit in most contexts you’d be more likely to catch flack than gain an edge. Hollywood continues to pretend otherwise, because nobody wants to see poorly dressed slobs on TV.

    bobbybobbob

    May 17, 2018 at EDT pm

  20. Yesterday evening I had Coke and pretzels for dinner, and thanks to Trump’s new book, I felt good about it.

    The LOTBiest line of all time?

    Greg Pandatshang

    May 18, 2018 at EDT am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: