More than a million copies of Donald Trump's 1987 hit, The Art of the Deal have sold, and Tony Schwartz has pocketed 50% of the royalties earned on each one. That's because he ghostwrote the book, the product of a year-and-a-half spent shadowing Trump, listening in on his work calls while sitting 8 feet away. As Jane Mayer writes for the New Yorker, Schwartz hadn't commented publicly on Trump in decades, but he decided he couldn't live with himself if Trump made it to the White House and he hadn't spoken out. Hence a June interview with Mayer, and the nearly 7,000-word piece that resulted. To say Schwartz is blunt about the horror he feels about a potential President Trump is putting it mildly: "I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization," he says.
Schwartz doesn't speak at all about Trump's political policy, but expresses grave misgivings about his personality. He recounts what he saw as a lack of attention span regarding "any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement" so extreme Schwartz had to alter the way in which he wrote the book (taking a fly-on-the-wall approach, rather than directly interviewing him). He literally can't imagine a President Trump listening carefully to a crisis briefing in the Situation Room, and describes Trump as having "a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance"—Schwartz doesn't recall seeing a book in Trump's office or apartment during their 18 months together. He goes on to frame Trump as a strategic liar with "a complete lack of conscience about it." What he'd title The Art of the Deal today: "The Sociopath." Read the article in full.