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“So, what are you reading, Tom Hoopes?”

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Elizabeth Scalia - published on 02/07/17

Two books by two very different men. One talks about avoiding pain, the other about mastering it...

[Aleteia loves books, and is always interested in asking that age-old question, “Read any good books lately?” Today we’re asking author, Aleteia contributor, and writer-in-residence at Benedictine College Tom Hoopes to share what he has been up to, book-wise. – Ed.]

“I’m reading two books by Republicans who are newcomers to major offices in the United States: Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal and Eric Greitens’ Resilience.”

“Good heavens,” you might ask, “what brought this on?”

“I began reading (okay, listening to) Art of the Dealout of fright: Who is this man and what does he plan to do to my country?”

Hoopes’ take is that both books are worth reading, particularly together. “Art of the Deal turns out to be a great predictor of Donald Trump behavior,” says Hoopes. “Trump is a business person who understands marketing intuitively, from the Christmas decorations of Trump tower to the immigration issue. What he does, in the book and (seemingly) in the White House, he does to close a deal that is the closest possible to what he wants. We can look at that and feel comforted, as Scott Adams does, or we can look at it and be frightened, as Noah Rothman does — but we must look at it.

“Trump’s book was written early in his career. So was Greiten’s. The new governor of Missouri is a former Navy SEAL and the basis for the book was a series of letters he wrote to another former Navy SEAL trying to deal with the mind-numbing life as a civilian after the trauma of combat. It is a remarkable work: a lesson in applied Great Books readings that quotes ancient Greeks, the Talmud and literary figures.”

The contrast between the two writers is marked, and comparing the two books is, for Hoopes, a “fun” exercise: “Both talk about the necessity of fun, and the possibility of greatness. Greitens writes about getting the most out of who you are; Trump writes about using who you are to get more for yourself. Trump talks about avoiding pain; Greitens about mastering pain. Greitens counsels practicing honest and encouraging ‘self-talk’; Trump counsels living large and using ‘truthful hyperbole.’

“It will interesting to see which approach the future of the Republican Party will take.”

Find out what other friends of Aleteia are reading here.

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