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Book Summary of Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

What is the book about?

This is a novelization of the first months of the Trump presidency until Stephen K. Bannon, Former White House Chief Strategist leaves. The important bits of the book can’t be verified but Michael Wolff himself, who has visited the White House countless times is quoting from something like over 200 sources inside the White House.

This book contains some reveals about Trump and his White House; it is also titled inside the Trump White House. Everybody who is at least a bit interested in u.s. politics should be interested in this book. Trump even tried to stop this book from publishing.

With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time.

Thanks to his deep access to the west wing, best-selling author Michael Wolfe tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fury like a man himself.

About the author 

Michael Wolff has received numerous awards for his work, including two National Magazine Awards. He has been a regular columnist for Vanity FairNew YorkThe Hollywood Reporter, British GQUSA Today, and The Guardian. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling Burn Rate and The Man Who Owns the News.

Among the revelations:

  • What President Trump’s staff really thinks of him?
  • What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama?
  • Why FBI director James Comey was really fired?
  • Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn’t be in the same room?
  • Who is really directing the Trump administration’s strategy in the wake of Bannon’s firing?
  • What the secret to communicating with Trump is?
  • What the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers?

Fire and Fury Summary

The book starts talking about the Trump campaign leading up to the election day, where Trump is quoted saying I don’t think about losing, because we’re not losing we’re totally winning.

“He would come out of this campaign, Trump assured Ailes, with a far more powerful brand and untold opportunities. “This is bigger than I ever dreamed of,” he told Ailes in a conversation a week before the election. “I don’t think about losing because it isn’t losing. We’ve totally won.” What’s more, he was already laying down his public response to losing the election: It was stolen!” 

Trump didn’t even plan on becoming president but instead, he wanted to use this to promote his TV personality and just as a marketing campaign.

Trump liked to portray his business as an empire, it was actually a discrete holding company and boutique enterprise, catering more to his peculiarities as proprietor and brand representative than to any bottom line or other performance measures.

Trump, as well as everybody else, didn’t even expect to win; that is why he doesn’t want to spend any money on his campaign as well.

The Trump campaign had, perhaps less than inadvertently, replicated the scheme from Mel Brooks’s The Producers. In that classic, Brooks’s larcenous and dopey heroes, Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, set out to sell more than 100 percent of the ownership stakes in the Broadway show they are producing. Since they will be found out only if the show is a hit, everything about the show is premised on its being a flop. Accordingly, they create a show so outlandish that it actually succeeds, thus dooming our heroes.” 

It all kind of makes sense and then it shows the reactions that when indeed they win, everybody is shocked Trump apparently seemed like he had seen a ghost after the election.
Then the book goes on to discuss the week that follows up, Trump’s reactions and shows that Trump apparently suddenly thinks he deserves the presidency.

“Here was another peculiar Trump attribute: an inability to see his actions the way most others saw them. Or to fully appreciate how people expected him to behave. The notion of the presidency as an institutional and political concept, with an emphasis on ritual and propriety and semiotic messaging—statesmanship—was quite beyond him.” 

It also displaced Trump not really being fit for the presidency because he can’t really focus and doesn’t think straight. In the end when in spite of all the protests at airports because of the executive order to shut out the Muslim immigrants, Trump still seems to think that he had an amazing first week and everybody else is baffled because the week really was not that good.

By the second week of the Trump presidency, everybody in the White House seemed to be maintaining their own list of likely leakers and doing their best to leak before being leaked about.

The book continues to talk about the organization in the Trump White House. First of all the Trump white house is not very organized; that is because Trump doesn’t like to read. In fact, this book claims that Trump does not read at all and instead mostly consumes TV!

“But not only didn’t he read, he didn’t listen. He preferred to be the person talking. And he trusted his own expertise—no matter how paltry or irrelevant—more than anyone else’s. What’s more, he had an extremely short attention span, even when he thought you were worthy of attention” 

He also doesn’t like PowerPoint presentations, apparently, that’s something he hates.

“The information he did not get was formal information. The data. The details. The options. The analysis. He didn’t do PowerPoint. For anything that smacked of a classroom or of being lectured to—“professor” was one of his bad words, and he was proud of never going to class, never buying a textbook, never taking a note—he got up and left the room.” 

On top of that he doesn’t like to listen to others, he just wants to hear the points that he thinks are important; so that’s just another claim on Trump not being fit for the presidency.

“while he was often most influenced by the last person he spoke to, he did not actually listen to anyone. So it was not so much the force of an individual argument or petition that moved him, but rather more just someone’s presence, the connection of what was going through his mind—and although he was a person of many obsessions, much of what was on his mind had no fixed view—to whomever he was with and their views.” 

The next thing is that Bannon Kushner and Reince Priebus all try to push their own agenda and influence the president because they’re his closest advisors.

The book goes on to show the power struggle between these forces and how Bannon and Ivanka struggled to gain control of the White House, also how Bannon tried to save the White House because if Trump can be separated from his children, that might save the White House.

“Here was yet another battle to be won or lost. Bannon regarded Kushner and Cohn (and Ivanka) as occupying an alternative reality that had little bearing on the real Trump revolution. Kushner and Cohn saw Bannon as not just destructive but self-destructive, and they were confident he would destroy himself before he destroyed them. In the Trump White House, observed Henry Kissinger, “it is a war between the Jews and the non-Jews.” 

It goes on to discuss the Russia investigation a bit, where Bannon says that he thinks the meeting with Russian is prisoners and it’s unpatriotic; they’re going to crack Donald like an egg on live TV.
It just covers a lot of the presidency Trump’s Travels and dealings with the middle-eastern Arabians, the NFL, the Charlottesville, and the North Korea incident. Where the name actually originates from fire and fury is what Trump said he would bring on North Korea as the world has never seen before.

Wolff remarks on the decision to fire former Director of the FBI James Comey, implying that Trump’s resentment that he had made an effort to befriend and “seduce” Comey, and yet, Comey still chose to come out against him, was the motivating factor for the mean-spirited termination.

“Offering forceful and dire warnings, Bannon told the president: “This Russian story is a third-tier story, but you fire Comey and it’ll be the biggest story in the world.” 

What did you learn from the summary of Fire and Fury? What was your favorite takeaway? Is there an important insight that we missed? Comment below or tweet to us @storyshots.

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Text storyshot is adapted from Yes I Read That and Book Reviews Youtube channels.

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