unpicking the career advice in ivanka trump's 2009 book, 'the trump card'

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The opening line of Ivanka Trump’s 2009 bestseller, The Trump Card, is almost too good to be true. She was 27 years old, a member of America’s most exorbitant family and the Trump Organisation’s Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions when she wrote: ‘in business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you.’

The irony of that statement coming from her is, of course, excruciating. She follows promptly with some caveats: ‘Yes, I’ve had the great good fortune to be born into a life of wealth and privilege, with a name to match. Yes, I’ve had every opportunity, every advantage. And yes, I’ve chosen to build my career on a foundation built by my father and grandfather, so I can certainly see why an outsider might dismiss my success in our family business as yet another example of nepotism.’ She says things like this throughout the book – because if she’s the one to say it, it takes the weight off the accusation.

Ivanka spends the next 241 pages trying to argue against the allegation of nepotism. She tries to justify her success and establish her identity outside the Trump brand, while neatly laying out exactly how it benefited her career. She tells the story of her childhood with parents Donald and Ivana Trump as though it’s a professional qualification in itself – because, in her case, it was. She speaks about her astonishingly fast ascent in business (at 25, she was the youngest board member of a publicly traded company in the United States), she has to believe that success belongs only to her and you can tell she’s trying to convince herself as well as the reader.

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