The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life
I’ve always admired Ivanka Trump. As the Vice President of Real Estate and Acquisitions for the Trump Organization and owner of her own luxury jewelry line, I look to her as a role model. Her first foray into literature has been wildly successful, landing on the New York Times Bestseller List and garnering praise from the publishing community. Although the book starts out promising enough, with Trump refusing to apologize for the advantages she has enjoyed, her sage and learned advice begins to take a backdrop to anecdotes about her privilege.
Throughout the book, Trump attempts to prove that her success is not a product of her family name but of her hard work. This assertion, however, is undermined by constant references to her less-than-ordinary upbringing. Few if any people other than Ivanka Trump can boast that Michael Jackson attended their childhood ballet recital, nor could they brag about having a “part-time job” as a world-class fashion model while in school. Many of Trump’s youthful recollections involve some of the most influential people in the world and, while fascinating to read, discredit the notion that hard work will yield success similar to Trump’s.
Contrary to Trump’s belief, her career trajectory cannot be credited to hard work, at least not exclusively. Her refusal to acknowledge that high profile connections have played a role in her development is absurd. Prior to graduating from college, Trump was offered an internship at Vogue by Anna Wintour, the magazine’s editor-in-chief. I sincerely doubt that even the most brilliant fashion journalist with limited connections would be offered such a coveted position from the editor herself—and prior to graduation, no less.
It’s true that Trump’s successes are her own, but her book overlooks the fact that success comes from being in the right place at the right time, and is dependent upon having the opportunity to excel. Trump tries to downplay this notion, but I believe it is something that she understands intrinsically. Her book is called The Trump Card after all, undoubtedly a strategic decision to capitalize off of her family’s famous name. Branding the book as “Trump certified” probably didn’t hinder her chances of securing a publisher, either.
The Trump Card is an interesting read, but it is misleading to categorize it as “business and economics” literature. While the book offers generic career advice, it mainly serves to remind the reader that with hard work and persistence anyone can achieve extraordinary success, provided that they have a billionaire father.