This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on August 30, 2016.
“I think I have the best temperament or certainly one of the best temperaments of anybody that’s ever run for the office of president. Ever,” said Donald Trump in July. “Because I have a winning temperament. I know how to win.”
But in Trump’s second book, Surviving at the Top (released as Trump’s empire was crumbling under massive debt in 1990), he described his temperament in ways that wouldn’t seem to bode well for a leader of the free world. “I get bored too easily,” he wrote. “My attention span is short and probably my least favorite thing to do is to maintain the status quo. Instead of being content when everything is going fine, I start getting impatient and irritable.”
He also explained how he enjoyed the thrill of the chase more than anything else. “For me, you see, the important thing is the getting…not the having,” he explained.
It was a rare moment of introspection from the billionaire, but he clearly wasn’t the only one who noticed his blow-it-up streak. Trump also described a conversation he had with his friend Alan Greenberg, then the head of Bear Stearns, when Trump was pondering selling his over-the-top yacht to finance the construction of an even bigger one. “For you, getting these isn’t half the fun, it’s almost all the fun,” Greenberg replied, according to Trump. “You set out to achieve something, you get what you are after, and then you immediately start singing that old Peggy Lee song ‘Is That All There Is?'”
In Donald’s mind, Greenberg had nailed him. “Alan was right about that,” he wrote. “If you have a striving personality, the challenge matters most, not the reward.”