With a net worth in the billions, Donald Trump is one of the wealthiest men in the world, but a few short years ago The Donald was almost sent to the poor house, owing more money than most people can imagine. The turnaround is the subject of his new book called Trump: The Art of the Comeback. Donald Trump Hello, Matt. This is so impressive with all these thousands out here. It's unbelievable. They're here for you, Donald, you know that. I mean, I've never seen anything like this, all the people looking outside. I would never say to a good friend, How much money do you make every year? But your -- your worth is always bandied about in the press. Forbes magazine puts you at about $ 2.4 billion Believe Forbes, I think they're very accurate. I mean, I really -- I don't know what it is. I have no idea what it is. You have no idea what your net worth is? I know that I have some great assets and I know that Forbes values them at one thing, and, perhaps I think differently, and that got a lot of press as to which is right, but I -- I will assume that Forbes is right, because once you get over the first million it doesn't matter much. It's almost amazing, though, that you're worth anywhere near this kind of money because, as I said, back in the 1990s you owed something like $ 900 million. Your empire was pretty much... Much more than that. You owed more than that? Nine hundred and seventy-five was personal guaranteed. That was just the small part. It was just the harder debt. But I owed many, many billions of dollars, and now my company is much bigger and stronger than it was in the '80s, actually. So, it has been talked about. It sort of has been an amazing trip. But I went back to work and I focused and I wrote about it in this book. Yeah, but how did you let is slip away? There are people who say that your ego is partly to blame, that you were blowing your own horn a little bit and maybe your pride didn't allow you to stop and take a look at really what was happening to the empire. Well, they're probably right, but I had so many home runs in a row. I mean, it's like a batter gets up and hits 20 home runs in a row and I started not focusing, Matt, and all of a sudden I had to get back to work. Otherwise, you wouldn't be doing interviews with me, to put it mildly, unless it was on the other side of an interview. How hard was it? You had to go into the banks. You were -- you were on the verge of a huge debt payment for Trump Castle, the casino... That's right. You didn't have the cash. You had to go back into the banks, hat in hand... I had to renegotiate some of the deals. And even borrow more money. And borrow more money, and the borrowing of more money was the best bet I ever made. But by borrowing more money I was able to work it out, keep it going, and then things started changing. And I worked very hard, I focused, I had a great team of people, and I really went back to work. I really focused, and I took a company that was really in trouble, it was really strong in the '80s, and now it's much, much bigger than it was in the '80s, much -- much richer and stronger, so I'm happy about it. When you were down, you say some friends of yours, some people you'd helped out, abandoned you. Let me read a couple of lines from the book. Some of the people who forgot to lift a finger when I needed them Well, I do. I mean, I believe in an eye for an eye, if you have the chance. I don't think you should necessarily go out of your way, but in one particular case I had a chance to get even with somebody that could have lifted up his hand and made a call, somebody that I really helped a lot, and when it was time to help me that person wasn't there. And now all of a sudden it's sort of come full circle. Why not be bigger though? Why not be bigger than that and say, You know what? Bygones, bygones.' Because I don't -- I like being small. I don't mind. I mean, I just -- I just believe in it. If you help somebody and they don't help you, you know, this has created disloyalty, and I don't like disloyal people. I'm a very loyal person. You've got kids. Would you want your kids to grow up with -- using that philosophy? They have to decide for their own -- you know, for themselves, but I just feel that if somebody goes out of his way to hurt you when you've helped them, it's your turn to get even. So I look forward to the chance. You say you learned a lot of things based on the comeback and you have tips that you pass on to other people, although you say it even works for homemakers and people like that, although I don't know a lot of homemakers who owe $ 900 million. But you say get even I like -- I like going against the tide. Oftentimes, being a contrarian, oftentimes that will work. That worked out on Wall Street. I bought buildings on Wall Street when everybody was selling, and now those buildings are very valuable. The Wall Street area has had an unbelievable resurgence. Forty Wall Street is one of the most successful buildings in New York. When I bought it a few years ago everyone said I was crazy. I went against the tide and it turned out to be a -- I mean, just a grand slam home run. So, I like going against the tide. You can't always do that, obviously, but I do like, where appropriate, going against the tide. Another of your tips, you say, Be paranoid. These days I do, and I like assuming that. I don't want to be paranoid to a total sickness, but I like having my guard up. I think having the guard up is a positive thing because people are more vicious than the lions and the tigers that we watch on television every night. I mean, they're the most vicious of all, and it's -- frankly, it's terrible, and it's no way to lead a life, honestly, but you do have to have your guard up at least slightly. Otherwise, you will be hurt. It's -- it's probably safe to say you do have some enemies, but it is definitely safe to say there are certain peo -- and you know this... Right. ...there are certain people out there who just don't like you. You -- you bug them. Why do you think that is? I really don't know. I -- I will say this, when I meet people, and know people, like you, I get along great. It's the people that don't know me. I mean, I have a lot of people that really dislike me a lot, but when I know them, when I learn who they are, they learn who I am, I develop a relationship. I have great friendships, and -- I mean, really great friendships. But, hey, overall it seems to be working, so what can I do? Another one of your tips is Get a prenuptial agreement. You've had to put one of those into effect twice Somehow we'll keep it going, I think, and just -- I hope everyone likes the book. We're so happy with the way that it's selling. The Art of the Comeback. We'll see you tomorrow when you come back. Thank you, Matt. Seven-fifty-two. This is Today on NBC. Much more, after your local news. It's 7:56, we're back with Donald Trump whose new book is called The Art of the Comeback. March 26th, 1991, big day in your life. You're sitting in your office, that debt I talked about, the payment on Trump Castle is just about due, The New York Times is saying your empire is through. You're sitting there, the phone's not ringing, you want your friends to kind of chime in and say, Hey, Donald, you'll be all right,' and the phone finally rings. What happens? Well, it was Ivana, and she -- we're great friends now and everything, but I thought she was calling for condolences, 'cause I had just gotten a front-page article in The Times, and The Wall Street Journal saying that there was just no way I could make it back, I was too far in debt, the world was crumbling. And I said, Gee, isn't that nice? Ivana's calling to give me like a little pep talk,' because this was like a low point. And she said, I want my money now.' And it was sort of a famous quote. I guess it's been heard around the world. And she was talking about the prenuptial agreement? And she was talking, and, you know, she had served me numerous times, and had not been successful trying to get much more than the agreement had said. And then all of a sudden when the world was hitting the bottom, she was very happy to get what was in the prenuptial agreement, and she said, I want my money now.' And I was disappointed but we're -- we're very good friends, and we're...[Inaudible]. How do you go from that? How do you go from being sued several times by your ex-wife to getting -- and I guess kids have something to do with it -- to becoming friends again? Kids have a lot to do with it. I have great kids. I have three great children with Ivana and one magnificent child, really beautiful child with Marla, and -- and the kids really keep you hanging in there, I think. But Ivana's a very good woman and we have a great relationship, and, you know, we leave it at that. Let me take you to some current events. Last Monday, the stock market lost 550 points. How much money did you lose? Well, I'm not in the stock market, I'm in real estate, so... You have no stocks? It would have been -- it would have been bad for me because, I mean, all of a sudden people who want to buy up apartments for $ 9 million are saying, Wait a minute, maybe I shouldn't buy them.' But you've divested yourself with stocks? You're not in the game anymore? For the most part I don't have stocks, other than my own company, I have a company stock. I have a public company, which is Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, which is a casino company, which is doing very well, except in the stock market. Yeah, the stock market, the stock price has been very much down. The stock price of the gaming companies has been down over the last year or so, and -- and we're a gaming company so our stock prices are down, but the company does great. If people could -- I've always thought about, this would be fun -- I walk up to you at a party, I say, Donald, look, I'm going to give you $ 25,000. Take it, here's a check. Do something with it so that I'll make money.' What would you do with it? Well, I'm a real estate guy, and I've always been a real estate guy, and I've made most of my money in real estate. When you talk about the billions, I mean, I've made out of real estate, I haven't made it in the stock market, I haven't made it in other things. So, I like to invest in real estate. I think real estate's a great investment. It's been a great investment for me, but it's a complex business and you have to know your business. Five seconds, what return could you get me on my money? Oh, at least 50 percent return. I'll talk to you after the show. Donald, thanks. We're back in a moment.