The 1987 book that Donald Trump is credited with writing, The Art of the Deal, was ghostwritten by Tony Schwartz. While it is not unusual for celebrities and politicians to hire ghostwriters to author books for which they are credited, Trump claimed on multiple occasions to have written the book himself. On June 16, 2015, in his presidential announcement speech, Trump said:
Now, our country needs — our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal.
He didn’t write the book. I wrote the book. I wrote the book. It was my book. And it was a No. 1 best-seller, and one of the best-selling business books of all time. Some say it was the best-selling business book ever.
Howard Kaminsky, the former head of Random House, responded to Mayer:
Trump didn’t write a postcard for us!
On July 1, 2015, Donald Trump also told CNN anchor Don Lemon that he wrote The Art of the Deal, and that he was “pretty sure” it was the number-one selling business book of all time.
While The Art of the Deal indisputably sold well (around one million copies), there are at least four other business books that sold several times more copies:
- How to Win Friends & Influence People (15 million)
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (10 – 25 million)
- Rich Dad Poor Dad (4 million)
- Steve Jobs (3 million)
In Mayer’s article, “Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All,” Tony Schwartz makes several comments regarding Trump’s relationship with the truth:
Lying is second nature to him. More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.
He lied strategically. He had a complete lack of conscience about it.
The millions of people who voted for him and believe that he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows—that he couldn’t care less about them.