Rich, ruthless and famous, my guest is a New York institution known for the buildings he's built, and the wives he's divorced. You don't want to cross him though, because he likes getting even. And he's made it a rule that no one pushes him around -- ever. So how did he lose all his money and then get it back again? Donald Trump, a very warm welcome to the program. You say you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. That sounds like a very destructive business philosophy. Is it? Well, I'm not sure that I've actually used those words, but generally you have to shake things up pretty, pretty much in order to do something of consequence. And I have shaken things up, and I've had the best business years of my life by far. How rough is business in New York? We hear a lot about -- it's the toughest, the roughest, the most ruthless business in the world. Is it? Well, I think that business in New York tends to be tougher, maybe, than other places, but I'm not so sure that's true. The real estate business in New York is, is an amazing business. It's a great business. And anytime you have a great business, you always have competition and you always have, unfortunately, the smart and the tough people coming into it. You have to be a killer in business? I think you have to be smart in business. I don't think you have to be a killer. I think you have to be smart. Does that mean, eyes in the back of your head, always looking to see who's going to get you, who's trying to pull one -- a fast one on you? Well, one of the things I say in the book and I say very strongly is you have to be paranoid, and the book is selling so well, and I guess people believe this. But there is a certain advantage to having a certain degree of paranoia. You watch -- you can be a little bit careful. You watch what's happening behind your back, and I think that's probably very true in business. If you're paranoid, how much enjoyment is there? I mean, how much time do you have to actually sit back and say look what I've done? This is great! I think that there's great enjoyment. I think that the paranoia cannot be carried to a life-shattering crisis point But I think it's good to know that people are out there and they're looking, and they're looking to throw you off your throne. But I think success brings great enjoyment, and certainly it has for me. Is it the competition that fires you up? Is it the money? What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? What is it that drives you here? I really think it's the artistic, or the aesthetic. I love building great buildings, in the case -- most of my business is the building of things. And I agree. I get great artistic pride out of a great building like Trump Tower, which is on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York, or Trump International Hotel and Tower, my new building on Central Park West. And I get a great sense of artistic enjoyment out of those buildings. What do you think of business methods in the city? I mean you've been a New Yorker all your life. You've lived here. What do you think of the way people conduct business in the city? Well, I don't think that New York is that much different from other places. What I do think is that there's a greater energy in New York, there's a greater verve or a greater drive maybe in New York than most other places -- and really than any other place I've seen. But I don't think that business itself is much different in New York than it would be anywhere else. Greed. Corruption. I mean you say it's a throwaway line in the book, greed is good. Well I don't think greed is good, and as you know they did the famous villain where -- with Michael Douglas in Wall Street -- where greed is good. But that is not the case. I mean I think greed is bad. I think that you have to enjoy what you're doing. if you enjoy what you're doing, it'll be successful, generally. If you don't enjoy what you're doing ,it's almost never going to be successful. Rich men are always targets. The richer you get, I suppose, the bigger the target that you present to people. How much does that worry you? Well, I think that rich men, I guess, are always targets. Rich people are always targets, and I think that there's a level of celebrity that I've attained, which has become so ridiculous now, that it makes me an even bigger target. So it always bothers me. But there's really not much I can do about it. I mean, ridiculous in what way - the celebrity level? Well it's -- it's just become very tough to go out. It's very tough to do things. It's very tough to just even go to a restaurant in a sense, because it's always shaking hands and signing autographs and things and, you know, it didn't used to be that way. That's a symbol of success is it? You're a victim of your own success? It is. It's not necessarily a good symbol. It really -- it causes lots of problems. I mean you, you go out and you want to have dinner at a restaurant with a group of people, and it ends up being a big event, and you have people waiting at the entrance to the -- it's just a very tough way to lead a life, I find. You talk in your book about getting even, the importance of getting even. Is revenge sweet? I believe strongly in getting even. If somebody has hurt you -- if somebody's gone out of their way to hurt you -- I think that if you have the opportunity, you should certainly go out of your way to do a number on them. And I've had more criticism about that one statement in my book than any other statement. The clergy has called -- the ministers, the priests, the rabbis -- they've all said what a terrible thing to say, that's against our teachings. I just believe it. I believe in an eye for an eye. If you did turn the other cheek as the clergy are, presumably suggesting to you, what would that do to your reputation in business circles here in New York? Well, I don't know what it would do to my reputation. I just don't believe instinctively in turning the other cheek. If somebody was out to hurt you, if somebody was out to do a number on youm I really believe that you should just do a number on them if you get the chance. Can you give me an example? Well there were people that I really helped in business when things were very good in the 1980s, and when my company was going good. And they did not lift a finger to help me when I needed it, and there were a couple of them -- they could have easily helped me. Now, I have the opportunity to do a number on those people, and I will tell you I'm having a lot of fun with the opportunity. Who are the movers and shakers in this society? We get the impression in New York that power in the hands of a few, very very rich people -- yourself included. Decisions in smoke-filled rooms? Is that still the way business is conducted in the city? Well I think New York is very much run politically. I think -- we have a mayor that's named Rudy Giuliani, who's done an incredible job in New York. And just got re-elected. And just got reelected by huge margins, I guess the largest margin ever. He has been an incredible mayor. He's done an unbelievable job and -- he just been great. And he -- so, it's sort of it starts off with the mayor, the leadership and the politicians. We have other people within the business community, obviously, that are very important, and there are a lot of them. But the city has just become very, very hot and I think it's due to Rudy and lots of people in business that have done a very good job. When you say hot, it's more focused? It's really become focused. It's just a place where everyone wants to be, people want to come to New York. They love the city. They want to be here. They want the action. You know New York has action. New York has unbelievable action, and everyone wants to be here, and I happen to be the biggest developer in New York. My company now is doing much better than it ever did in the 1980s, I mean... What do you attribute that to? Well, I think one thing is perseverance. I mean when things were tough at the beginning of the 90s, for me and everyone else, the problem with me is I was getting all the publicity. The Great Depression you call it? I call it... I call it the Great Depression of the early 90s, because we were... actually, really in a real estate depression. And it was real estate, and retailing and airlines and various other businesses. They were in a total depression. They weren't in a recession. And I survived and most people didn't survive. I mean a lot of my friends, a lot of good people -- and bad people -- had to go bankrupt, and you know never heard from him again, and you probably never will hear from him again. But you know I survived, to a point where the company is much bigger now than it ever was, and much stronger financially than it ever was, and I wrote a book about it. But in the early 90s, you faced the possibility of losing everything. In fact, on paper you had lost pretty much everything. I had faced the possibility of losing everything and it I went back to work I focused I focused my mental energies and all of my energies You never thought of giving up? No I think one of the reasons I really succeeded and bigger than even in the 80s is the fact that it's a little word called perseverance. I didn't stop... It's quite a long word, actually. It's a long word, come to think of it. But I didn't stop, and I did persevere. I went against a lot of odds, and I came up with a phrase, Survive Til '95, that was in the early 1990s, and it turned out to be right, because the world changed, the economy changed, and there was a survival tactic till a certain year. And in 1995, things started changing. But I mean, it really started changing for me almost right at the beginning, because I went back to work I refocused my energies. How desperate were you at that time? I mean, how depressed did you get? Well, to start off with, I really blame myself a little bit, because I've always been able to pick markets, and I really wasn't focused toward the end of the 80s, because I was having too good a time. I was enjoying my life too much. Things were going too well. You dropped your guard. I did drop my guard, and it's no different than you. If you do fifteen great interviews, you know, you're sort of on the 16th, you can take it easy, because, well that happens in life, that's a human trait. And I did drop my guard, and what I did is, I re-put up my guard, and re-put up my defenses, and my offense is much stronger than I ever did in the 80s, and worked probably harder than I did in the 70s and 80s and actually, became much more successful. You have to believe in your own abilities. Wasn't there a time when you thought, I really can't hack it, I should get out of this. I'm not suited to this? There were some pretty depressing times, because I had owed billions and billions of dollars. $975 million or so was personally guaranteed, and that's a pretty deep hole. And when you're that deep in debt, you're mired in debt, and you're that deep in debt, and that's a pretty rough situation to be in. And the vultures are circling around you. Well, you have plenty of vultures -- plenty of bad people -- circling and some good people that frankly wanted to get paid. But it was just -- it was hunker down time, as they say in Georgia. And I... I did do that. Did you learn some lessons about the people who were your friends, and the people who weren't your friends? I wrote once... Painful lessons. They were painful. I wrote once that I would love to sort of have a bad period, financially, just to see who my friends would be and whom enemies would be. Now I will never write it again because it's not fun. It might be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Well, that's true. I don't want to write it again. I wrote it once, and I had that down period, and that down period I learned a lot. I learned a lot about myself. But I will tell you I also learned that there are some very good friends out there for me, and there were some people that did not help. Tell me about the women in your life, because there seems the sense in which you... you say in the book you've measured women by... by your mother, is that right? Well I have a wonderful mother, a great mother. And I don't say I measure women by my mother, but I have a woman in my mother who's a terrific woman. And I've been married to two very nice woman, but it just didn't work out. And I think part of that... one of the negatives to success is that there are lots of obstacles thrown in your way in terms of relationship. First of all, time. But even your own mental psyche. I mean my thing is, I'm thinking about deals, and I'm thinking about these great buildings all over, and you know, that I'm doing, and building the largest job ever approved by the New York City Planning Commission on the West Side. You know that's a thought process. There's a lot of things that I'm doing and building, and I'm thinking about that maybe as opposed to a relationship. I'm not saying that in a positive way, I'm saying it almost in a negative way, because it's very negative in terms of relationship. And success may be great in terms of living and lifestyle and beautiful homes and apartments and boats and planes and all of the stuff that doesn't mean very much, but success is not necessarily very good for a relationship. Women are far stronger than men, you say. yYu really believe that? I believe that women are actually stronger than men, and I actually say that they're not so much stronger, but I think they're more aggressive than men. And their sex drives makes us look like babies? I think that the woman's sex drive is actually as good or greater than a man's sex drive. And I, and I mean I've been witness to it and perhaps you have -- if you're lucky. But... but sex drive of women is extraordinary and they like to portray themselves as the weaker sex, but the weaker sex doesn't exist, believe me. I think they probably -- there's certainly the more aggressive sex, and even in business I found that some women are just more aggressiv, and I don't exactly know why. And I say this with respect. I don't say this with scorn -- with anything else -- I say this out of great respect. But I think that women in many cases are more aggressive than men. You've seen that sex drive firsthand. You talk about the woman of great social pedigree, and the dinner party that you went to. Tell me about that. Well I've had I've had a lot of circumstances where a woman's sexual drive has turned out to be just extraordinary, and not necessarily anticipated by me. And I write about this in the book, and it's pretty good stuff. This was really a specific dinner though wasn't it? This was a specific dinner, and... and... What happened? Well, I'd rather let the book speak to it, because to be honest it's almost embarrassing is talking about it in a... in an interview. But because it really is mostly a business book, but I think that women have a lot to do with business. They have a lot to do with the effect on your life, and how they affect your life. They have a huge amount to do with it. She embarrassed you though, this woman. I mean you don't name her in the book but she embarrassed you... I would never name her. Somebody else wrote a book and named all the women that he had as he said conquered and... Playing with the feet under the table... Yes, it was and... and it was a whole thing, and it led to something that was sort of interesting ,and it just wasn't a very good thing, especially with her husband sitting on the other side of the table. And there are so many instances like this, and I do talk about them in the book, and they're interesting. It's not what the book is all about, but the book is about success, and frankly women so influenced you... you and the world and the world around you, that I devote a lot of time to women in the book. you say women have one of the great acts of all time. The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they're real killers. so you have almost a sort of love hate relationship with women. Well, I might. I mean I have mostly a love relationship with women because I totally admire respect and love... I think women are incredible, but I really do I feel that they're... there is... I feel that the smart ones are the ones that really go out and do it, without waiving the banner of women's liberation. And if you look at the really successful women, those are the ones that have not had to wave that big banner. They've just gone out and done it. Two wives. You've had Ivana and Marla. Do... what do you think of them now? I have good relationships with both of them and... You've had fights. You're in an ongoing fight with one of them. Yeah. You were at the time the book was being written. I mean, we'll see. I'd rather be able to address that question sometime later, because at this moment I have a very good relationship with Ivana. I think I have a very good relationship with Marla ,but I'll be able to tell you better in about a month or two. We'll find out. You stress the importance, though, of the prenuptial agreement, even though you say it's a vicious, and it's an ugly document. And people who sign it are 50 percent more likely to divorce them those who go don't. Yet you stress this is this is a key to a happy marriage. Is it? Right, well prenuptial agreements are ugly, vicious, terrible documents that you have to have. I mean it's... if you're getting married and if you're a person of substance -- man or woman -- of substance you have to have a prenuptial agreement. And the reason is the word certainty. You need certainty over your business. You can't be going on for ten years fighting over a divorce agreement. You need certainty and you just have to have a prenuptial agreement. And even when you do, you have battles as you've shown. It's not foolproof, is it? You do. I mean even when you have a -- well a prenuptial is a pretty foolproof. But they still fight, and people will still fight over prenups. I mean the scores of people that have fought for more than their prenuptial agreements have given them are legion. But you know, the prenup is a very strong agreement to hold on. Do they take the romance out of it? Yeah, it does. It's always tough to go up to somebody and say, you know, gee I love you very much but if and when we get divorced this is what you're getting. So you know, would you agree to that? It's always... it's always really tough. It's a very unromantic agreement. There's nothing nice about a prenuptial agreement. But from a practical standpoint and living in this world and living through a very difficult court system and everything else, I think it's absolutely necessary for somebody to have one. And I mean so important, that I actually devote a chapter in the book to prenuptial agreements. So you think that if you can sort out the finances, that somehow the relationship will take care of itself? I think that finances and relationship are very, very different. What are one or two good examples? I think that... that finances -- that great success often leads to bad relationship, unfortunately. I think that the reason that somebody can become successful is that that focus is on his success, his or her success, not necessarily his or her relationship. But I think that there are times when both can work beautifully, and that's if you get the right partner, and getting the right partner is is a very important thing in life. I mean having the right partner can be a very beautiful thing in life, if you're lucky enough to do that. Taking a break from romance now? I sort of am. I'm not -- it's certainly not number one in my mind. I'm having a lot of fun doing what I'm doing. It's just not number one of my mind. Glad to be free? I really am. Available? I'm very happy. Very happy. Not that we're advertising. Nah, I wouldn't want to advertise, because I think there's nothing like having a great relationship. I think having a great relationship is more important than deals, and more important than everything else. I find that business comes very easy to me. Relationship is always a much more difficult thing, and I've just found that historically. That's been the case. Most people would say it's just the opposite, it's easier to have a relationship. I think that relationship is based on so many different things that are adverse to business, and... and I think that having, having that great relationship does not necessarily go with having that great business. Most important to you, seem to be your children, isn't that's right? This matters to you a great deal. Yeah I have great children and they're very important to me and I think that's one of the great things that came out of both relationships. And your parents, still very close to them? I'm very close to my parents. I have a great relationship with them. How did they inspire you in business? Because your father was a businessman -- is a businessman. My father was a builder in Brooklyn and Queens. He built moderate-income housing, and some low-income housing. He was really good at what he did. He was a real professional, and I learned a lot just sitting in his knee. You know, listening to him from the time I grew up and and I just learned a lot about negotiating, a lot... a lot about building. I learned a lot about business, and while he was at a different level in terms of the kind of thing he did, he's still built and he built, you know, some really good stuff. He built some jobs out in Brooklyn and Queens, out in the boroughs of New York for low and moderate income people, and you know, he did a really good job of what he did. Tell me about your friends because, you count some of the best known people in the world among your friends. There was a dinner you went out to with Michael Jackson, which you described in the book. Tell me about that, because he seemed almost lost when you took him out to a restaurant, lost looking at a menu. What do you remember about that evening? Well Michael Jackson was literally, just, I mean he's a very good guy, and he's having a difficult time, but he was he was literally to go to a restaurant, and we went to La Cirque the great La Cirque and -- with Sirio -- and Michael was sitting at the table and he just, sort of, it was just like he was never at a restaurant before. He didn't know about menus. He didn't know about things. He was just -- and I said to him what was the last time you were at a restaurant? And he said many many years ago, and I could believe that was true. Because he was so un at ease at the restaurant. It's just restaurants aren't his thing, Did you have to order for him? I mean, we -- he did fine. I'm just saying that he was just not somebody that was exposed to this kind of a life, and what really was interesting was at Le Cirque, you had these great celebrities. And they had never asked for an autograph in their life -- people ask them for autographs -- and they were coming up to my table asking Michael for his autograph. That to me was the funniest part of evening. Sylvester Stallone, another friend of yours? He is. He's a great guy. He's a good golfer. He's a... he's a very smart guy. You know, people don't give Sly credit for the brains. They give him other credits, but they don't give him credit for that. He's a very smart guy who's done a terrific job, and I mean he insisted on playing Rocky. They were going to have somebody else play Rocky. He wouldn't let it go without him playing. I mean this guy is smart and tough and he's a terrific guy. And Frank Sinatra, you fell out with at one point, didn't you? What was the what was all that about? Well, I had a dinner and I actually apologized in this book for it, because I said some negative things about Frank in my second book. I mean he's... he's just been a terrific guy over... over a lifetime. How did you fall out though? What was the incident? Well, he was very rough and tough at a table with somebody -- not me -- with somebody at the table. Namely his wife. And I... I was really shocked at it. I was surprised that -- I mean I've seen a lot of things I don't get shocked too easily, but I've been.. I've been, you know, I was just amazed at how... how bad this particular incident was. And then I realized... I mean you go outside and everybody's pulling at his coat strings, trying to get his autograph, and trying to break him down one way or the other. And it really was pretty tough from a lot of standpoints. And as I mellowed coming into my third book, I said, you know I feel badly about writing about him. And I did the same thing with Malcolm Forbes. I mean Malcolm Forbes was a great guy and a friend of mine. But when I was having trouble, Forbes magazine put me on the cover and they started doing some negative stories and everything else and I didn't feel good about Malcolm Forbes, and then I realized he was just doing his thing. He was just doing his job. He was doing the right thing and I apologized to Malcolm Forbes because he was really just doing his thing. And you know Malcolm Forbes has since died and New York City has lost a great guy and a great character. The, the impression from what you write is them you haven't had a good press. You haven't enjoyed relations with the press. You think the press misled you? Lied to you? Well... I think that... Is that an occupational hazard, or do you think you've been really badly treated? I think its occupational hazard. I think a lot of the press is very dishonest. I think a lot of the press is really, really dishonest. But I think that I've been totally... you see most people think I get great publicity. I happen to think I get terrible publicity, so you know what can I say? Do you mind what they write about you. What they say about you? I used to mind much more. One thing I have learned it's, it's a one-week phenomena. It doesn't matter at the end of a week. Usually at the end of the day, but usually at the end of a week, it's totally gone. Uou don't even remember the story and once you get that into your head, you can live with it. The lessons that you've learned of your career, nobody... nobody leans on you, do they? You are very, very focused about that. Well, I think... I think I help people. I like people. I have a good relationship with people. I have a lot of great relationships in terms of business, and in terms of people. Generally... Do people try to lean on you? Yeah, everyone tries to lean on me. But -- but I have... I have lots of really good relationships. And I don't mind being leaned on if it's to help somebody. I think I really enjoy helping people at high levels and at low levels. I'm -- I feel it's very important to give to charity. I give a lot of money to charity. I try and help as much as I can. But, but you know they're there are times when you just have to say that's enough, that's all I can do. People might look at you and think to themselves, I wonder what it's like to have all that money. Donald Trump, what is it like to have all that money? Well again, money does not buy happiness, and it does not buy lots of other things. But it certainly makes life easier, and it really does create -- it lets me create what I want to do artistically, because I'm an artist in a certain sense. I'm an artist. I built the greatest buildings in the world. I'm the biggest developer in New York City. I love what I'm doing, and I put up great things and, and having money -- and having the kind of access to money that I have -- allows me to do what I like to do best. And if someone says I want to be Donald Trump, what would you say to them I'd say lots of luck. Donald Trump, Thanks very much for sharing your views with us on HARDtalk. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Great honor.