Disclaimer: This is an unofficial summary and analysis.
Too Much and Never enough explains the psychological trauma that created the President, Donald Trump. Written by Donald’s Niece, Mary Trump, the book describes their family’s dark history. Mary links her “dysfunctional” family to the threats to world health, economics, and society shown by Trump as President. Mary mixes humor with her background in clinical psychology when talking about Donald Trump. This book has already been very influential. The book had already sold more than 950,000 copies before its publication date, and it has since sold 1.35 million copies. It is also Amazon’s #1 bestseller. The White House tried to stop this book from being published, but they ultimately failed.
About Mary Trump
Mary Trump is a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. and a teacher of graduate courses in developmental psychology and trauma. She is Donald Trump’s only niece and has previously spoken out against her uncle. Now estranged from Donald’s family, Mary has written this book as an insight for those who do not know Donald personally.
“Once inside the White House, we walked in twos and threes through the long corridors, past windows looking out on gardens and lawns, past life-size paintings of former first ladies. I stopped in front of Hillary Clinton’s portrait and stood silently for a minute. I wondered again how this could have happened”– Mary L. Trump
Why Mary Wrote This Book
“This book is published, hundreds of thousands of American lives will have been sacrificed on the altar of Donald’s hubris and willful ignorance. If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy”– Mary L. Trump
Mary explains that she has been forced to write this book for the good of America. She did not write this book out of revenge or in an attempt to make money. This might be what her aunts and uncles think, but Mary denies this. She explains, “If either of those had been my intention I would have written a book about our family years ago, when there was no way to anticipate that Donald would trade on his reputation as a serially bankrupt businessman and irrelevant reality show host to ascend to The White House.”
Instead, Mary wrote this book as Donald’s actions have forced her to. She claims that she can no longer remain silent. Hundreds of thousands of American lives are being lost through Donald’s social and COVID-19 policy. If Donald wins a second term, Mary believes that it will be the end of American democracy. She notes that Donald and her grandfather destroyed her father; she can’t let him destroy her country.
“Donald was to my grandfather what the border wall has been for Donald: a vanity project funded at the expense of more worthy pursuits.”– Mary L. Trump
A large part of this book is based on Donald’s relationship with his dad. Mary describes a time when Donald’s two sisters visited him for their birthdays. Donald pointed out a framed photo of his father. His father had a thick mustache and receding, dark hair. Donald asked his sisters, “Isn’t that a great picture of Dad?” Mary Ann, one of his sisters, just responded with, “Maybe you should have a picture of mom too.” This example shows the complicated relationship the family has with Donald’s father.
Struggling Under Fred’s Legacy
Donald has admitted in his memoir that he has sometimes struggled under the business legacy of his late dad, Fred. However, he is also thankful to his dad. Fred taught Donald how to be tough in the harsh business world. Fred also taught Donald how to motivate people and remain efficient.
Mary Trump sees things slightly differently. Mary describes Fred as suffocating. He had a very narrow view of masculinity and viewed any expression of emotion as a failure. He was destructive, emotionally unavailable, cruel, and controlling. Mary applies these attributes to Donald today. Mary explains that Donald’s bullying, disrespect, lack of empathy, personal insecurities, and huge ego all come from his dad. Fred did not see Donald as his next-in-line because he was intelligent or business savvy. In fact, Donald has had to deal with five bankruptcies, all of which Fred bailed him out. Fred saw a bit of him in Donald because Donald was willing to lie to get up the ladder of life.
The Trump Family Was and Is Dysfunctional
Mary describes the relationships within the Trump family as a wreck. They are dysfunctional. Mary recalls dinner time as being a time where the family dehumanized each other. They threw insults at each other and let their privilege and anxieties get the best of them.
The privilege of the family and their money also controlled their behavior. Mary describes the Trump family as only caring about money. Lying was seen as fine as long as it helped make more money. Apologies were not genuine. You would only apologize as a way of getting something out of the other person.
Mary’s Father and Fred Trump
“When Freddy (in 1960) and Donald (in 1968) joined Trump Management, each had a similar expectation: to become his father’s right-hand man and then succeed him. They had, at different times and in different ways, been groomed to fit the part, never lacking for funds to buy expensive clothes and luxury cars. The similarities ended there.”– Mary L. Trump
“But there’s no evidence to suggest that my father lacked the skills to run Trump Management, just as there is none to suggest that Donald had them.”– Mary L. Trump
Mary’s book focuses heavily on cross-generational trauma. This trauma not only impacted on Donald. Mary’s father, Freddie, was mocked continuously by Donald and Freddie’s father, Fred. This is because Freddie did not meet Fred’s unattainable demands and expectations. Freddie was supposed to take over the family business. Instead, Freddie wanted to follow his career dreams of being a commercial airline pilot.
“From his first day on the job, my twenty-two-year-old uncle was given more respect and perks and paid more money than my father ever had been”– Mary L. Trump
Fred wanted his children to be just like him. He wanted them to copy his personality and abilities until nothing of them was left. Donald was willing to do this, Freddie was not. Freddie suffered from alcoholism and heart ailments because of this. Although Fred was abusive, Freddie still wanted to make him proud and felt like a failure. As well as Freddie being erased from this side of the family, so was the author, Mary. They were written out of wills and were treated as outcasts.
Again, the Trump family only cared about money. Donald received money for giving up his personal identity. Freddie and his family were punished for not giving in to Fred by trying to claim back money through lengthy lawsuits.
Anecdotes of Donald’s Weirdness
“Donald today is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information.”– Mary L. Trump
As well as analyzing Donald psychologically, Mary offers some silly stories from growing up around Donald.
Firstly, Mary describes how Donald was struggling with his SATs. So, he just decided to pay a friend to take the SATs for him. This is just another example of the Trumps being obsessed with money and being deceitful. Similarly, Donald lies about his college degree. Donald boasts about his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance. However, Mary reveals that he only got into this university as a transfer student because Donald’s sister, Maryanna, did his homework for him.
“Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart, and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truth—that he is none of those things—is too terrifying for him to contemplate”– Mary L. Trump
Mary also explains that Trump and his wife were always very cheap when it came to giving presents. They would re-gift presents they had been gifted themselves. They would give people food baskets filled with old, out-of-date food. Plus, they would give people used designer handbags that weren’t in a great state.
Finally, Mary describes an odd personal experience she had with Donald. This experience happened when visiting Donald and his then-wife, Marla, for an outdoor lunch after a swim. Mary was wearing a bathing suit, and as she approached Donald, he said, “Holy S*** Mary, you’re stacked.” Mary was 29 years old at this point. Donald was commenting on the size of his 29-year-old niece’s breasts in the presence of his wife.
Donald’s Coping Mechanisms to Deal with Fred
“Donald’s initial response to COVID-19 underscores his need to minimize negativity at all costs. Fear-the equivalent of weakness in our family-is as unacceptable to him now as it was when he was three years old. When Donald is in the most trouble, superlatives are no longer enough: both the situation and his reactions to it must be unique, even if absurd or nonsensical. On his watch, no hurricane has ever been as wet as Hurricane Maria. “Nobody could have predicted” a pandemic that his own Department of Health and Human Services was running simulations for just a few months before COVID-19 struck in Washington state. Why does he do this? Fear.”– Mary L. Trump
As a psychologist, Mary was able to diagnose her grandfather, Fred. She describes him as a high-functioning sociopath. Sociopaths are often abusive, easily able to lie, and don’t care about whether something is right or wrong. Mary says that it is worrying that the President models himself on this kind of man.
To deal with this kind of father and his mother being absent because of illness, Donald had to develop coping mechanisms. These mechanisms include hostility, aggression, and indifference to emotion. He was unable to have his emotional needs met, so he started to hide his emotions. He also hid his emotions so that his father could not crush them for him. He learned to do this after seeing his older brother, Freddie, have his emotions crushed by their father. Therefore, Donald pretended he didn’t have any emotions. This stopped him from developing any real friendships when he was a child.
As well as diagnosing Fred, Mary also diagnoses Donald. She describes him as having an antisocial personality disorder. This disorder has led him to display chronic criminality and arrogance. Plus, it means he has a disregard for others and is unable to take responsibility for his mistakes.
“Donald’s ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself”– Mary L. Trump
Finally, Mary claims that Donald has always struggled to process information. She speculates that this might be because of an undiagnosed learning disability.
Today, Donald deals with his trauma by withdrawing to his comfort zones. These comfort zones are Twitter and Fox News. Mary describes Donald as a scared little boy who has been shielded from any of his failures. This shielding used to be from Fred, who would bail him out of terrible investments. Now, he is bailed out by the federal government to protect his ego.
Parallels Between Donald and Fred Trump
Just like Donald, Fred used to remain seated while his employees stood around him. This was the same whether he was in his Brooklyn Office or just hosting employees at his house in Queens.
As Donald does in his speeches and interviews, Fred always used hyperbole. This means that he would describe everything as great, fantastic, and perfect. It did not matter if this was true or not. Fred saw this as a legitimate way to do business. However, Donald is using these same tactics in politics.
While Freddie was being mocked and ridiculed by his father, Fred, Donald followed in his footsteps. On top of this, Donald became a bully at school. Donald also ignored Freddie and did not even attend his wedding. When Freddie was rushed to the hospital and about to die, Donald said he was too busy to stop and visit his dying brother. Instead, Donald went to the cinema.
Parallels Between Trump and Both Parents
Trump also holds similar views to his parents. Both Donald and Fred were sued by Richard Nixon’s justice department. The reason for them suing was discrimination in the Trump business. Examples of this discrimination are provided by Mary in this book.
Firstly, Fred frequently used the word “Jew” in a derogatory way.
Also, Fred was furious when the first Italian-American family moved into their neighborhood.
Finally, Donald’s mother would call Elton John a “little f*****”. This was happening while the author, Mary, was in a same-sex relationship.
In this book, Mary states that Donald’s parents inspired some of Trump’s current views. Donald’s comments about Mexicans and his nostalgia for Confederacy are inspired by his parents. Again, it is Donald’s parents who have created today’s US President.
COVID-19 and Trump
“The out-of-control COVID-19 pandemic, the possibility of an economic depression, deepening social divides along political lines thanks to Donald’s penchant for division, and devastating uncertainty about our country’s future have created a perfect storm of catastrophes that no one is less equipped than my uncle to manage”– Mary L. Trump
Mary ends the book by talking about COVID-19. Mary believes that Donald would facilitate death if it meant he made more profit. He would then ignore the fact that people died. Mary applies this point to COVID-19. With over 200,000 COVID-related deaths projected by election day, Donald is unimpacted. He ignores the facts showing the US has dealt with it worse than any other country. He falsely claims the situation is improving. Despite the advice, he demands that schools are reopened. Mary explains that Donald’s reaction to COVID-19 was expected. He will lie to make himself look better, no matter the harm.
We rate this book 4.1/5.
Too Much and Never Enough PDF, Free Audiobook and Animated Book Summary
If you have feedback about this summary or would like to share what you have learned, comment below or tweet to us @storyshots.
New to StoryShots? Get the audio and animated versions of this summary and hundreds of other bestselling nonfiction books in our free top-ranking app. It’s been featured #1 by Apple, The Guardian, The UN, and Google in 175 countries.