Sunday, September 1, 2013

Get Rich Quick Books: Take Note of Trump University Lawsuit

New York’s attorney general has sued Donald Trump this past month for $40 million, claiming the real estate big-shot failed to make good on promises to make students rich. The AG says Trump’s expensive seminars were useless and the delivery of apprenticeships fell short. Some of the 5,000 students had paid as much as $35,000 and thought they’d meet the Trumpster. Instead all they got was their photo taken in front of a tourist-like life-size cutout of the man famous for his casinos, bankruptcy and reality TV show.

What’s interesting about all of this is not whether Trump is a hustler who sticks his name on anything, regardless of quality control, but that so many people (a) buy into the instant-riches gurus out there and (b) that people think they can hold these bullshitters accountable.

The book industry is guilty in that it keeps publishing books that propose easy or unrealistic paths to wealth. Not all books about making money are bad or even inaccurate-but too many propose that readers do nothing more than wish for something to make it so. Not everyone can buy and flip real estate and make a killing.

Do publishers have a moral obligation to tone down the rhetoric espoused in their “achieve overnight success”  books -- or is it simply “Buyer Beware?”

Not all of these books are bad. They seem to make sense but they fail to show the downside or drawbacks to their get-rich philosophy. Sure it takes a positive attitude, persistence, opportunity and luck -- but it also takes certain skills, resources and knowledge to really make it in the world. Many of these books play up the potential and the positives only.

It’s like someone talking about how you can win the lottery if you play often enough and pick the right numbers. All true -- but they fail to disclose that based on the odds, one has to buy millions of lottery tickets in order to have a strategic advantage. And even then, there’s no guarantee of a victory.

Book publishing releases many books that are filled with more hype than reality, more hope than truth, more possibility than probability. This includes books about weight loss, life extension, or age reversal and other changes to one’s lifestyle. But isn’t that the reason people buy such books -- they know they can’t change their lives but they want to try. Books give them hope, direction and at least a feeling of optimism.

Trump may be a fraud but even if he is, we need something like a Trump University to give us not the secrets to wealth, but hope to hold onto.

Just don't expect to get rich!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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