‘IF YOU STILL SUPPORT HIM, WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WOULD’VE DONE WHEN HITLER CAME TO POWER’
In September, after reports surfaced that Trump knew the coronavirus was deadly as early as February, the professor tweeted: “We have a President who was willing to let Americans die when he knew he had the power to stop it. It is not incompetence. It is not immorality. It is not criminality. It is not treachery. It is all of the above. And none of it is a surprise.”
After the President’s first debate with Joe Biden, Malhotra summed up the event this way: “Last night@realDonaldTrump refused to disavow white supremacy; refused to tell his supporters not to engage in violence; rejected a peaceful transition of power. If you still support him, we know exactly what you would’ve done when Hitler came to power. Yes, it’s ok to say that.”
When Malhotra cast his vote for Biden on October 23, he wrote that it was a productive day. ” I was able to vote against incompetence, corruption, racism, immorality, misogyny & fascism all with one stroke of the pen.”
And before Trump’s more recent spate of Presidential pardons and commutations, the HBS professor had this to say on Twitter: “You can sell your soul for him. You can sacrifice your reputation & career. He will still throw you under the bus w/o a second thought. Unless you literally go to jail for him – be at the point of needing a pardon for your crimes – he won’t be loyal back.”
NOT IMPRESSED WITH TRUMP’S ABILITIES TO NEGOTIATE
As an expert in negotiations, he is also not all that impressed with Trump’s self-congratulatory belief in his own negotiation abilities. “He has a certain approach,” Malhotra says of Trump. “Be really aggressive. Be seemingly unpredictable. The fact is, any tactic can work in the right circumstances. Trump’s tactics might have worked some of the deals he was doing when he put his name on buildings. Maybe he’s good at marketing and branding. The irony is that even his book, The Art Of The Deal, was actually written by someone else and that guy negotiated the best possible deal a ghostwriter could have ever gotten. He not only got 50% of everything, he also got his name on the book. So, you have a Trump Art Of The Deal book where the writer got a better deal than anyone who has ever written a book for someone else.”
Malhotra doesn’t consider himself a political activist and does not intend to continue his frequent criticism of Trump once he leaves the White House. He is too devoted to education for that, an allegiance that took hold after
earning his Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2002. Malhotra has won numerous awards for his teaching, including the HBS Faculty Award and the Charles M. Williams Award. His three books have received significant acclaim. Negotiating the Impossible was named among the “Top 10 Business Books of 2016” by The Globe & Mail. Negotiation Genius, his book with co-author Bazerman, which was awarded the 2008 Outstanding Book Award by the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, while I Moved Your Cheese, a motivational business fable he wrote in 2011, became a Wall Street Journal Best-Seller in 2012 that has been translated into more than 20 languages.
He sincerely believes that the purpose of education is to increase one’s capacity for empathy and to help people view the world from the perspectives of other people. “Not just the people you disagree with but also the people you can’t understand, and the people whose thoughts, behaviors, and ideology are absolutely abhorrent to you,” he once told a group of graduating Harvard MBAs after being selected twice for the honor of delivering an end-of-year lecture.
Even the open letter he authored was never meant to be anti-Republican or against Trump supporters, whose perspectives he thinks are important to understand. The letter was a call to action against Trump and the threat he posed to the Republic.
SPENT MUCH OF THE PANDEMIC WRITING HIS FIRST NOVEL
Just before the pandemic hit, he had completed a series of 40 free videos on negotiation and taught a new elective course he created from scratch called War & Peace: The Lessons of History for Strategy, Leadership & Humanity. Then, and at the inspired by a conversation with a 20-something entrepreneur, Malhotra spent much of the pandemic writing his first novel, tentatively titled Heirs of Herodotus.
Starting in late April, he knocked out one page and then another and another. “I wrote every night, often from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. after the kids were in bed,” says Malhotra who has three children aged 13 through eight. “I was completely sucked into this world I had created. I began living the characters and getting to know them.” Within four weeks, he had written 30,000 words and finished his first full draft of 150,000 words in early August. He expects to self-publish the book in early 2021. “It has a lot to do with war and peace. It is set in the near future with a sci-fi hook and a lot of lessons on history and strategy weaved throughout.”
That seems apropos for someone who just organized a course called War & Peace. “It is time to move past Trump & Trumpism, and to work towards addressing our differences and grievances without ever again resorting to hate,” believes Malhotra.
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