“Best” doesn’t mean the most qualified, talented, or honest

This is a running theme throughout the book: When Trump gets sued, he hires the “best” lawyers. When his casinos are struggling, he hires the “best” managers from other companies.

The point is that he sees “hiring the best people” as a legitimate solution to problems with his deals. While most politicians think they themselves are supposed to come up with policy solutions to problems, Trump actually thinks that “hire the best people” is itself a policy solution.

This isn’t an original observation. Scott Alexander, the excellent writer behind SlateStarCodex, had a similar thought after reading The Art of the Deal.

“This thing about hiring the best people, for example, seems almost like an obsession in the book,” Alexander writes. “When he says that he’s going to solve Medicare by hiring great managers and knowing all the right people, I don’t think this is some vapid way of avoiding the question. I think it’s the honest output of a mind that works very differently from mine.”

But there’s an important difference between what Trump means when he says “the best people” and what most people think he means. For Trump, “best” doesn’t necessarily mean the most qualified, talented, or honest: it means the person whose services most benefit Trump, and who will be the most loyal to him personally.

–Zack Beauchamp, Donald Trump’s run for president is baffling–until you read The Art of the Deal

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