O'Brien, Timothy L. 1961-
O'Brien, Timothy L. 1961-
Born 1961; son of Arthur O'Brien (deceased); children: Greta, Jeffrey. Education: Georgetown University, B.A. (cum laude); Columbia University, M.A., M.S., M.B.A.
Home—Montclair, NJ. Agent—c/o Andrew Blauner, Blauner Books, 12 E. 86th St., New York, NY 10028.
Bad Bet: The Inside Story of the Glamour, Glitz, and Danger of America's Gambling Industry, Times Business (New York, NY), 1998.
TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, Warner Business Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Journalist Timothy L. O'Brien has written for both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Most of his writings focus on business, and past article topics have included money laundering, white-collar fraud, and terrorist financing.
In 1998 O'Brien published his first book, Bad Bet: The Inside Story of the Glamour, Glitz, and Danger of America's Gambling Industry. The book analyzes the political and economic development of legalized gambling in the United States, from Las Vegas to bingo in church basements to the recent surge of internet gambling Web sites. O'Brien claims that gambling has failed to contribute to local economies and companies who sell gambling as entertainment cover up the risks associated with it. The author also provides anecdotes from addicts and others affected by the gambling industry.
Reviews of Bad Bet were somewhat mixed. Mark Wiedman, writing in the Washington Monthly, observed that the book is "chock-full of tidbits about gambling" but found the organization of the book to be "jarring, flitting from topic to topic on a given page." Library Journal reviewer John Berry agreed, calling the book "a good read" but also pointing out that "O'Brien's unwillingness to grapple with the big questions raised by his critique can be frustrating." Additionally, a contributor for the Economist claimed that "O'Brien gradually abandons his objectivity to make it clear that he does not much approve of all this," and felt that the author "is also given to somewhat sweeping statements." However, a Publishers Weekly critic felt differently, calling the book a "lively and enlightening social history," and commenting that it is "thorough and entertainingly written, but also humane. [O'Brien] never loses sight of the human toll these financial miracles take."
O'Brien followed Bad Bet with TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald in 2005. O'Brien began reporting on Donald Trump in 1990, and developed a personal relationship with the real estate mogul. In the book, O'Brien utilizes his own experiences with Trump as well as interviews with Trump's friends and enemies to gives his opinions concerning Trump's career. O'Brien also provides his own estimates of Trump's wealth, which significantly differ from the estimates given in Forbes magazine's annual list of the 400 richest Americans. Several critics praised the work. Michelle Archer, writing in USA Today, calledTrumpNation "a revealing attempt to separate Trump the reality from Trump the reality show," while aKirkus Reviews critic concluded that the book is "a bemused, entertaining portrait of a gold-toned incarnation of the American dream, plus some believable financials for anyone who wants to know the real fiscal story."
In an article in the Loyola Focus magazine, O'Brien made the following comment about TrumpNation:"Donald Trump is a vehicle for looking at Americana, from casinos to reality television to business. He is a modern-day P.T. Barnum, and the book aims to examine how and why pop culture, business, and the American Dream have come to intersect."
In 2006 Trump filed a defamation lawsuit against O'Brien and the book's publisher, Warner Books, for a total of five billion dollars in damages. Trump claimed that TrumpNation contains falsehoods, including the statement that Trump is not really a billionaire.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Economist, December 12, 1998, "Gambling: Double Sixes," review of Bad Bet: The Inside Story of the Glamour, Glitz, and Danger of America's Gambling Industry, p. 6.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2005, review of TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald, p. 902.
Library Journal, October 15, 1998, John Berry, review of Bad Bet, p. 80.
Loyola Focus, summer, 2005, "Author and Investigative Journalist Timothy L. O'Brien '80: Documenting Some of the Defining Moments of Our Time."
Publishers Weekly, September 14, 1998, review of Bad Bet, p. 59.
USA Today, December 12, 2005, Michelle Archer, review of TrumpNation, p. 9B.
Washington Monthly, January, 1999, Mark Wiedman, review of Bad Bet, p. 46.
FindLaw,http://www.findlaw.com/(January 31, 2006), Julie Hilden, "Donald Trump Sues for Defamation: Is His Net Worth a Fact, or a Matter of Opinion?"
Timothy L. O'Brien Home Page,http://www.timothylobrien.com(June 20, 2006).