Tag Archives: Tony Schwartz

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz

  1. Trump’s philosophy on negotiation, business and more as well as some of his background and early life
Key Takeaways
  1. Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks
  2. Most people are surprised by the way I work. I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open. You can’t be too imaginative or entrepreneurial jd you’ve got too much structure. I prefer to come to work each day and just see what develops
  3. It never stops and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the pr sent. That’s where the fun it. And if it can’t be fun, what’s the point?
  4. Sometimes it pays to be a little wild
  5. I don’t hold it against people that have opposed me. I’m just looking to hire the best talent, whenever I can find it
  6. I hate la suits and depositions but the fact is that if you’re right, you’ve got to take a stand, or people will walk all over you
  7. Sometimes – not often, but sometimes – less is more
  8. I always take calls from my kids, no matter what I’m doing
  9. I understand the game and while I don’t like to play it, there is no graceful way out
  10. I’m not too big on parties because I can’t stand small talk. Unfortunately they’re a part of doing business so I find myself going to more than I’d like and then trying hard to leave early
  11. I like to keep as many options open as I can
  12. Ivana is one of the most organized people I know…she’s almost as competitive as I am…I wouldn’t bet against her
  13. I’m loyal to people who’ve done good work for me
  14. It just goes to show that it pays to move quickly and decisively when the time is right
  15. That experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make
  16. My philosophy is to always hire the best from the best
  17. If the city won’t approve something I think makes sense economically, I’ll just wait for the next administration and try again
  18. Small details make all the difference in the look and ambiance of a building
  19. My style of deal making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after. Sometimes I settle for less than I sought but in most cases I still end up with what I want
  20. More than anything else, I think Deal making is an ability you’re born with. It’s in the genes. I don’t say that egotistically. It’s not about being brilliant. It does take a certain intelligence, but mostly it’s about instincts. Most people who do have the instincts will never recognize that they do because they don’t have the courage or good fortune to discover their potential
  21. Trump Cards – deal making tips
    1. Think big – most people think small because most people are afraid of Success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage. One of the keys to thinking big is total focus. I think of it almost as a controlled neurosis, which is a quality I’ve noticed in many highly successful entrepreneurs. They’re obsessive, they’re driven, they’re single minded and sometimes they’re almost maniacal, but it’s all channeled into their work. Where other people are paralyzed by neurosis, the people in talking about are actually helped by it. I don’t say this trait leads to a happier life, or a better life, but it’s great when it comes to getting what you want
    2. Protect the downside and the upside will take care of itself – people think I’m a gambler. I’ve never gambled in my life. I happen to be very conservative in business I always go into the deal anticipating the worst. If you plan for the worst – if you can live with the worst – the good will always take care of itself. You can’t be too greedy
    3. Maximize your options – never get too attached to one deal or one approach. Even if deals are made, I always come up with at least half a dozen approaches to making it work because anything can happen
    4. Know your market – I do my own surveys and draw my own conclusions. I don’t hurt many number crunchers. I’m a great believer in asking everyone for an opinion before I make a decision. I ask and I ask and I ask until I begin to get a gut feeling about something. And that’s when I make a decision. Another group I don’t trust is critics as very few of them have any feeling for what the public wants
    5. Use your leverage – the worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood and then you’re dead. The best thing you can do is deal from strength and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without. It often takes salesmanship and imagination to come up with leverage
    6. Enhance your location – more than purely location, a great deal enhanced by promotion and marketing is the key
    7. Get the word out – hiring outside consultants is never as good as doing it yourself. Be straight with reporters, have bravado and play to peoples fantasies
    8. Fight back – if you believe in something deeply and people are obstructing you unjustly, fight back
    9. Deliver the goods – you can’t con people, at least not for long. At some point you must deliver the goods
    10. Contain the costs – every dollar counts
    11. Have fun
  22. Father was a real estate developer as well and built low income and rent controlled housing in NY
  23. Almost boasts about the fact that he gave a teacher a black eye when he was in the second grade
  24. Learned to “finesse and manage” the drill instructor at the military academy
    1. Maybe shows some of the early innate manipulation or as Scott Adams says, hypnotic, powers that Trumpe exhibits
  25. His father was a great negotiator because he knew the price of everything and was always fair and reliable
  26. Clean and well maintained apartments are always worth the investment
  27. Finds ways to cleverly deal with people and situations – manager Irving great but stole so paid him a low salary and expected him to steal
    1. Seems like a temporary strategy which will only destroy cukture and hurt in the end
  28. You can’t show fear. You have to stand your ground and whatever happens happens
  29. The simplest approach is often the most effective
  30. Early on I didn’t have much but what I did have was the willingness to go after things that people even in a better position wouldn’t consider seeking. I also couldn’t sell people early on on my experience or accomplishments so I sold them on my energy and enthusiasm
  31. In the end, we won by wearing everyone else down. We never gave up and the opposition slowly began to melt away
  32. The city’s desperate circumstances became my biggest weapon. I could act when others weren’t willing and help the city get back on its feet
  33. If you’re going to make a deal of any significance, you have to go to the top
  34. New manager at Grand Hyatt got Trump and his wife to leave them alone by being overly friendly and solicitous, asking for their opinion on every mundane decision
  35. Much more often than you’d think, sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure
  36. Regardless of industry, you want your customers to feel special
  37. I understand now that certain events can take on symbolic importance
  38. Controversy sells
  39. When you set the highest standards, they’re expensive to maintain
  40. Good way to end a partnership on a classy note – “as with most things in life, time calls for change and it jd best to accept that fact. Nevertheless, I shall always be proud of my involvement in the creation of Trump Tower and finely remember how we worked to bring it about.”
  41. I think it better to pay more for a sure thing
  42. There is always a buyer for the best
  43. I have a very simple rule when it comes to management: hire the best people from your competitors, pay them more than they were earning and give them bonuses and incentives based on their performance. That’s how you build a first class operation
  44. You don’t act on an impulse, even a charitable one, without considering the downside
  45. In any partnership, you’re only as strong as your weakest link
  46. Committees and high priced consultants can’t hold a candle to a group of guys with reasonable amount of common sense and their own money on the line
  47. My attitude is that you do your best and if it doesn’t work, you move onto the next thing
  48. You’re not measured by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish
  49. What I admire most are people who put themselves directly on the line
What I got out of it
  1. Some revealing insights from Trump how he thinks about business, life, competition. Some I thought were helpful but the vast majority show what I think is a “win/lose mindset” which isn’t sustainable

The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz

  1. Being conscious and intentional about managing your four sources of energy – physical (sleep, fitness, nutrition), emotional (high, positive energy), mental (control of attention) and spiritual (compelling sense of purpose) which helps you live a richer and more satisfying life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Break projects, reading, meetings, etc. down into shorter sprints. This helps you fully engage, get more done in a shorter period of time and at a higher quality. The maximum most people can work at a high level is 90 minutes, 3.5 times per day. After this point, quality goes down so make sure to take consistent “renewal” breaks to get back your focus
    1. Renewal periods are so important not only because they recharge us for the 90 minute intense spurts but also because most great ideas come to us when we let go of conscious control and step away from our task
  2. Deliberate practice is at the core of excellence. Short bursts with clear and specific goals
  3. Sleep is essential for every aspect of your performance and day time naps are a great practice to incorporate (ideally between 1 and 3 PM) as they are perhaps the most effective and efficient renewal breaks
    1. People need an average of 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Look to avoid anything stimulating (lights, TV, exercise, etc. within 60 minutes of bed time). Keep a consistent sleep and wake time
  4. Exercise is a great renewal practice – lunch time exercise is a great habit to set if you have the flexibility
    1. Exercise has innumerable benefits from the obvious (endurance, strength, cardiovascular, etc.) to increased brain functions, immune systems and recovery times. Aim for 20-45 minutes 3-6 times per week. A great start is to buy a pedometer and aim to get 10,000 steps per day
    2. Diet – key is not just the food we choose to eat but also how much of it we consume and at what intervals (eat 3-5 times per day and never feel full after a meal). Want to avoid sugar as much as possible. Having a plan for what to eat and when is extremely helpful
  5. Every human on earth strives to be accepted and valued, experience self-expression, feel significant and respected, and work on a team with a shared mission
  6. Awareness increases our knowledge, and knowledge enriches us. The more we’re willing to see, the bigger our world becomes
  7. Because all virtues are connected to others, any strength which is overused ultimately becomes a liability
  8. Can use a journal to become more aware of your energy levels and the quality of your work throughout the day. Everybody’s energy levels wax and wane throughout the day. Being aware of yours can help you become more effective by knowing when to schedule meetings, when to set aside time to think strategically/creatively and when to take renewal breaks
  9. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. That’s why people struggle so much to make changes that last. Become extremely conscious and intentional about your habits, which you want to change and which you want to develop. Once they become habit, they do not take thought and will not deplete your limited source of will power. Aim to only build 1-2 habits at a time as any more will likely not be productive. The time to “automaticity” of a habit varies with every person and every habit but it is extremely important to build rituals which are precise and specific (set a time, place, deadline, etc. for each habit). Also, focus on positive habits (what you want to do) rather than negative habits (what you resist doing)
  10. Enlisting the support of others in building new habits makes you much more likely to follow through
  11. Scheduling your week around changing energy levels:
    1. Monday – low-demand, administrative tasks (setting goals, organizing and planning)
    2. Tuesday – Wednesday – people are at their peak and most challenging work should be done on these days
    3. Thursday – good time for meetings as people’s energy begins to fade Thursday afternoon
    4. Friday – lowest levels of energy so this is good for brainstorming, long-term planning and relationship building
  12. People are very risk averse – losing something hurts much more than gaining that same thing. When feeling very stressed out and reactive, take a deep breath and exhale slowly as this helps ground you and forces you to respond to a situation rather than react to it. So, by being aware of your feelings, emotions, stressors, issues, etc. can greatly help you diminish your stress and reactivity
  13. Must fully accept and be aware of both one’s strengths and weaknesses. Denying either only stunts your growth and admitting your faults only inspires greater respect from others, not less
  14. “Everyone sees reality through a fixed lens which selectively filters our view of the world. We must learn to look through a broader range of lenses.” (pair with Munger’s mental models)
    1. Reflective Lens – ask “what are the facts here?” and “What is the story I’m telling myself about those facts?”
    2. Reverse Lens – looking at any given situation through the eyes of your perceived antagonist
    3. Long Lens – look out into the future, regardless of what’s going on in the present
  15. A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. People do more things than ever but have lost control of their attention. People learn much better when information is delivered in pieces over spaced periods of time. Emphasize doing one thing and doing it well over trying to juggle too many tasks and not doing any of them well. Nobody can truly multitask and it only leads to lower quality work. Aim for absorbed attention rather than “continuous partial attention”
  16. With increased precision, specificity and by having clearly defined goals, you can drastically shorten meetings and have them be much more productive
  17. Completing office-wide personality tests might be helpful in order to see people’s personalities, how they prefer to work, whom they naturally get along with, etc.
  18. CEO can also stand for “Chief Energy Officer” – their position and power make them extremely important in the process of nurturing and encouraging people to create schedules which make them most efficient and effective
  19. Developing a culture of humility, especially amongst the leaders, is extremely important and part of what makes teams / companies enduringly successful
  20. What keeps people long term is the organization’s reputation, the satisfaction of employees with the organization’s people decisions and having at least one positive relationship with a direct supervisor. In essence, value people and they will value you
  21. Must build a culture of trust and transparency (pair with Dalio’s Principles)
  22. On any given day, decide what the most important thing you have to do is and do that first. Set aside 45-90 minutes where you can focus solely on this goal – trading partial attention for absorbed attention. Shut off your cell phone, email and any other distractions during this time. Schedule time at the end of your work day to determine the most important tasks you need to complete the next day
  23. Meetings absolutely must have a rigorous agendas and clearly defined goals. Schedule meetings in 15 minute blocks instead of 30 and set a culture which is strict on starting and ending meetings on time (pair with Dalio’s Principles)
  24. Setting aside set times and separate rooms for creative / strategic thinking and brainstorming is a great practice
  25. “The ability to learn faster than competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage a company can achieve.”
  26. Management and team retreats can be very beneficial but only if the employees are offered some sort of follow up
  27. Important to clearly and precisely define goals for each role and what success looks like. This increases accountability and quality of work
  28. Values and behaviors which fuel us are more subjective and personal and each person has to discover them for themselves. Values are a source of identity, clarity and strength – knowing what you stand for gives you great energy and purpose. You must take the time to stop, think and define what your values are, consciously cultivate them and ask yourself if your life and behaviors match these values. A good way to define what you stand for is by determining the traits or characteristics which you most dislike in others. Ask yourself as often as possible, “How would I behave in this situation at my best?”
  29. People perform at a higher level when they are working towards something higher than their self-interest. Giving freely builds trust, deepens relationships and reinforces values that serve the greater good
  30. A good thought experiment is to think of something you love doing so much that you would be willing to do it for free. Try to find an outlet for passion and see if you can devote some percentage of your time to it
  31. “Purpose extends our sphere of influence not through the accumulation and exercise of power, but by giving us a clear route to adding value to others.”
  32. Integrity, honesty and humility are the values that employees most value in their leaders. Egocentricity is the value they least like to see in a leader
  33. “The core principle is value-driven attentiveness to the needs of followers: supporting, coaching and mentoring them; celebrating their contributions; pushing them to take risks, learn, and grow; and inspiring in them a strong sense of purpose around meaningful goals. Transformational leaders set high standards and encourage those they lead to be less concerned with their personal agendas and more concerned with looking out for one another and for the organization as a whole. Transformational leaders also tend to be focused on “why” – the purpose of their actions. By contrast, conventional “transactional” leaders are more narrowly concerned with “how” – the tactics and steps required to reach any given goal.”
  34. Every leader should strive to embody “servant leadership” – serve those around you as best as possible and find your highest calling
  35. Consciousness is king among virtues
  36. Important to have a view of “realistic optimism” – hopeful and positive perspective with a recognition that the desired outcome may not occur
  37. Leaders who avoid conflict often cause more harm than those who are more direct – must balance honesty and appreciation 
 More info found here

What I got out of it

  1. Find a good balance between physical, spiritual, emotional and mental and you will perform better. Break your working spurts into 90 minute sessions maximum, followed by renewal sessions



The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz


  1. Managing your energy, not your time, must be the main goal in order to achieve sustainable, long-term high performance
Key Takeaways
  1. Performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy
  2. Four Principles of managing your energy
    1. Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
      1. Sleep (7-8 hours), diet (5-6 small, nutritious meals) and exercise (interval training) are all necessary to perform at your highest level
    2. Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal
      1. Deep focus on your breathing is one of the quickest and most effective renewal exercises
      2. People heal, grow and think most creatively during these periods of recovery
      3. Determine which activities help you release stress and schedule time for them every day. Must treat this time as sacrosanct – it is its own reward but it is also key for sustained, high performance
      4. The more scheduled and systematic your positive rituals become, the more renewal they provide (in as little as 60-90 seconds)
      5. Aim to be fully engaged or strategically disengaged
    3. To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do
    4. Highly specific, positive energy rituals are key to full engagement and high performance
      1. Making a change which lasts requires a three step process – define your purpose, face the truth and take action
      2. The “deeper the storm,” the more inclined we are to revert to our survival habits and the more important positive rituals become
      3. Will and discipline are far more limited than most of us realize and therefore must be called on as selectively as possible.  “The sobering truth is that we have the capacity for very few conscious acts of self-control in a day
      4. Rituals help us create and implement structure into our chaotic lives and to facilitate change. Habits must have specificity of timing and precision of behavior
      5. Implement positive rituals (do something) rather than negative rituals (don’t do / stop doing something) as not doing something requires conscious energy and depletes your limited reservoir of will power
      6. The more exacting the challenge and the greater the pressure, the more rigorous our rituals need to be
  3. Long-term and sustainable success must stem from fierce resolve and humility (pair with Collins’ Good to Great)
What I got out of it
  1. Very similar to what Schwartz discusses in The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working – manage your energy carefully and take renewal breaks in order to have sustained, long-term high performance
  • Key competencies which fuel positive emotion are self-confidence, self-control, social skills and empathy. Smaller skills include patience, openness, trust and enjoyment
  • True empathy requires letting few of your own agenda, at least temporarily
  • The key competencies which fuel mental energy include mental preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management and creativity
  • Five stages of the creative process – insight, saturation, incubation, illumination and verification
  • Key competencies that fuel spiritual energy is character – the courage and conviction to live by your values, even when doing so requires personal sacrifice and hardship. Smaller skills include passion, commitment, integrity and honesty.
  • Living out your purpose is a lifelong challenge. Actively use your life as a vehicle though which to express your deepest values
  • Do not let yourself be “too busy” to discover your true meaning. Purpose becomes a more powerful and enduring source of energy in our lives in three ways: when its source moves from negative to positive, external to internal and self to others
  • Three important questions
    • Jump to the end of your life. What are the three most important lessons you have learned and why are they so critical?
      • Do your best – you will never regret it and it is simply the best way to live
      • Don’t take things personally – very, very rarely is it truly about you
      • Don’t make assumptions
      • Learn and experience as much as you can
    • Who are you at your best
      • Enthusiastic, loving, curious,
    • What one sentence inscription would you like to see on your tombstone that would capture who you really were in life?
      • Lived fully and lovingly. Died with no regrets
  • A value is ultimately just a road map for action
  • “Most often, self-deception is unconscious and provides short term relief while prompting long-term costs. At the most basic level, we deceive ourselves in order to protect our self-esteem – our image of who we are or wish to be. To keep at bay the truths that we find most painful and unacceptable – most notably the places in our lives where our behavior conflicts with our deepest values – we use a range of strategies.” (drugs, alcohol, etc.)
    • Can use projection (attributing one’s own unacknowledged impulses to others), somatizing (conversion of unacknowledged anxiety and anger into physical symptoms), sublimation (channeling an unacceptable feeling such as greediness into excessive generosity)
  • The central defect of evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it
  • Facing the truth requires making yourself the object of inquiry – conduct an audit of your life and hold yourself accountable for the energy consequences of your behaviors
  • Think for a moment of someone you actively dislike. What quality in that person do you find most objectionable? Now ask yourself, “How am I that?”
  • Until we embrace all of who we are, we remain our own worst enemies
  • Avoiding the truth consumes great energy and effort
  • It is both a danger and a delusion when we come too identified with any singular view of ourselves. We are all a blend of light and shadow, virtues and vices
  • Nothing succeeds like success and nothing fails like excess – don’t take on too much too quickly, build habits in increments
    • Chart the course – what you want to accomplish and how
    • Chart the progress – hold yourself accountable (even implement a checklist if you want)
  • Three great lessons
    • Marry someone you love and respect and make your family your highest priority
    • Work hard, keep your standards high and never settle for anything less than what you are capable of achieving
    • Treat other people with respect and kindness