The Forty-Seven Known Donald Trump Rules of Acquisition

Note: According to the Star Trek franchise, there are 285 Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. In the Star Trek franchise canon, the Rules of Acquisition is a collection of rules for the fictional race known as the Ferengi. The Ferengi are driven by an ultra-capitalist society based on acquiring wealth. As a long-time tekkie, I soon realized that Donald Trump can be better understood when you take his actions and fit them into the rules. Not all of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition are known because the franchise has not revealed all of them. However, the Star Trek canon has accepted the following as the official Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.

The Known Donald Trump Rules of Acquisition

Compiled by
(with examples)
Last Updated on December 10, 2016

1. Once you have their money, you never give it back.
Example: Trump University
3. Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.
Examples: Presidential campaign, paying Polish workers and using H1B visas for his hotel and modelling businesses
6. Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.
Example: numerous divorces
7. Keep your ears open and your eyes on the mark.
Example: 2016 presidential campaign
9. Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.
Example: real estate opportunity instinct
10. Greed is eternal.
Example: Trump’s ostentatious transportation and residences
16. A deal is a deal.
Example: numerous business examples where investors lose money while Trump enriches himself
17. A contract is a contract is a contract… but only between Trumps.
Example: various examples of Donald Trump refusing to pay subcontractors their earned contractual payments and Donald Trump’s numerous lawsuits enforcing the contracts that benefit him or to silence dissention
18. A Trump without profit is no Trump at all.
Example: obvious when you examine his children’s public profiles
21. Never place friendship above profit.
Example: see the bankers and investors who have lost money from Trump deals
22. A wise man can hear profit in the wind.
Example: numerous examples of the various types of businesses Donald Trump has embarked upon — clothing, schools, steaks and wine, among others
23. Nothing is more important than your health… except for your money.
Example: Donald Trump is fastidious about his health as evidenced by his numerous statements that he does not consume alcohol or smoke and yet his primary focus remains his business empire
31. Never make fun of a Donald Trump’s mother.
Example: although no examples are needed, it is important to note that he is very loving of his mother but has no problem discarding his wives as needed
33. It never hurts to suck up to the boss.
Example: his father, worked for him to get his financial support to get start his business empire
34. War is good for business.
Example: on again and off again support of the Iraq War
35. Peace is good for business.
Example: see rule number 34
45. Expand or die.
Example: Donald Trump’s continued expansion of his business empire
47. Don’t trust a man wearing a better suit than your own.
Example: evidenced by Trump’s dress in public and on the magazine covers
48. The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
Example: plenty of evidence
57. Good customers are as rare as gold. Treasure them.
Example: there are very few known examples of former customers and employees that publicly support Donald Trump
59. Free advice is seldom cheap.
Example: Donald Trump has profited from selling “advice,” even dubious ones
62. Profit is its own reward.
Example: evidenced by his focus on profiting by any means possible, i.e. bankruptcy and tax avoidance
74. Knowledge equals profit.
Example: Donald Trump’s books
75. Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of gold.
Example: Trump’s worldwide business empire
76. Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies.
Example: Trump’s recent friendliness towards, Hillary Clinton (not keeping his promise to prosecute her), friendliness towards Barack Obama and meetings with Mitt Romney and other Republicans
94. Females and finances don’t mix.
Example: divorces
95. Expand or die.
Example: Trump’s expanding business enterprises
98. Every man has his price.
Example: Mitt Romney
102. Nature decays, but gold lasts forever.
Example: just look at his focus on possessions
103. Sleep can interfere with…
Example: Tweeting at 3:00am
109. Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.
Example: Donald Trump’s numerous public scandals
111. Treat people in your debt like family… exploit them.
Example: his business relationships
125. You can’t make a deal if you’re dead.
Example: no example needed
139. Wives serve, brothers inherit.
Example: Donald Trump’s numerous examples of his treatment of women
168. Whisper your way to success.
Example: Twitter
190. Hear all, trust nothing.
Example: Trump’s willingness to listen to many but act on his own accord
194. It’s always good to know about new customers before they walk in your door.
Example: see Trump University’s process for acquiring new students
203. New customers are like razor-toothed gree-worms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back.
Example: Donald Trump settled the Trump University lawsuits with a $25 million payment
208. Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer.
Example: see the presidential debates
211. Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don’t hesitate to step on them.
Example: Polish immigrant construction workers and H1B visa models
214. Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach.
Example: Donald Trump’s negotiating style is all about subterfuge
217. You can’t free a fish from water.
Example: Donald Trump uses the legal system for his business advantage whenever he needs it, especially when a deal threatens his financial or public status
229. Gold lasts longer than lust.
Example: numerous divorces
239. Never be afraid to mislabel a product.
Example: Trump University
263. Never allow doubt to tarnish your lust for gold.
Example: Almost all the political pundits declaring Donald Trump could never win the presidency
285. No good deed ever goes unpunished.
Example: numerous former employees and investors that have lost money dealing with Donald Trump
Unknown: A man is only worth the sum of his possessions.
Example: Donald Trump ostentatious lifestyle

Adopted from the Star Trek franchise — Ferengi Rules of Acquisition via Memory Alpha, Rules of Acquisition, by Martin Paredes (

A downloadable PDF version is available at this link.