Tony Schwartz (author)
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- I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is. I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes, there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.
I wrote The Art of the Deal with Trump. He's still a scared child (2018)
- I wrote The Art of the Deal with Trump. He's still a scared child (18 January 2018), The Guardian.
- There are two Trumps. The one he presents to the world is all bluster, bullying and certainty. The other, which I have long felt haunts his inner world, is the frightened child of a relentlessly critical and bullying father and a distant and disengaged mother who couldn’t or wouldn’t protect him.
- Trump’s temperament and his habits have hardened with age. He was always cartoonish, but compared with the man for whom I wrote The Art of the Deal 30 years ago, he is significantly angrier today: more reactive, deceitful, distracted, vindictive, impulsive and, above all, self-absorbed – assuming the last is possible.
- Even those closest to Trump recognise his utter lack of fitness to be president, even if they are too cowed and cowardly to do anything about it.
- Fear is the hidden through-line in Trump’s life – fear of weakness, of inadequacy, of failure, of criticism and of insignificance. He has spent his life trying to outrun these fears by “winning” – as he puts it – and by redefining reality whenever the facts don’t serve the narrative he seeks to create. It hasn’t worked, but not for lack of effort.
- Because the office Trump now occupies makes him the most powerful man on Earth, his fears, and the way he manages them, have necessarily become ours. We fear Trump because he is impulsive, irrational and self-serving, but above all because he seems unconstrained by even the faintest hint of conscience. Trump feels no more shame over his most destructive behaviours than a male lion does killing the cubs of his predecessor when he takes over a pride. Trump has made fear the dominant emotion of our times.
- About the only thing Trump truly has in common with his base is that he feels every bit as aggrieved as they do, despite his endless privilege. No amount of money, fame or power has been enough to win him the respect he so insatiably craves. His anger over this perceived injustice is visceral and authentic.
- The fearful divide Trump has exacerbated is not simply between his supporters and his detractors, the rich and the poor, or Democrats and Republicans, but between the best and the worst in each of us.
- In the face of fear, it is a physiological fact that our most primitive and selfish instincts emerge. Control of our behaviour shifts from the prefrontal cortex to the emotionally driven amygdala – sometimes referred to as “fear central”. As we move into fight-or-flight mode, we become more self-centred, and our vision narrows to the perceived threat, which in the modern world is less to our survival than to our sense of value and worthiness. We lose the capacity for empathy, rationality, proportionality and attention to the longer-term consequences of our actions. ... It is when we feel safest and most secure that we think most clearly and expansively. It’s also when we are most inclined to look beyond our self-interest, and to act with compassion, generosity, consideration and forgiveness.
- My own path over the past two decades – prompted in reaction to my experience with him – has been to help business leaders become more wholly human, and to humanise workplaces.
- Whatever happens, may the worst of Trump inspire the best in us.