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Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue Hardcover – February 27, 2018
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“...a profound masterwork by a talented young writer...one helluva page-turner"—The New York Times
“In this age when people compete to be contrarian, it’s rare to encounter a genuinely startling proposition. That’s what makes the premise of Ryan Holiday’s ‘Conspiracy’ such a delight...’” —The Washington Post
“Brilliant and terrifying.” —Rich Cohen, author of The Fish That Ate the Whale and contributing editor of Vanity Fair
“An artful examination of how true power really works and how it affects all of us.”—MICHAEL LOMBARDI, host of GM Street on The Ringer and former Cleveland Browns general manager
“Every one of Ryan Holiday’s books is appointment reading for me. If he writes it, I make the time to read it.”—Brian Koppelman,producer and creator of Billions
“CONSPIRACY will captivate you, terrify you, intrigue you, and piss you off. It’s a sizzling, can’t-put-down, read-it-in-one-sitting story. Ryan Holiday has crafted a hell of a book!” -Brad Thor, #1 New York Times bestselling author of SPYMASTER
“Ryan Holiday is one of his generation’s finest thinkers.”—Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire
“This book is the Art of War for any twenty-first century conspirator....A brilliant meditation on strategy, with numerous lessons.”—Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery
"Riveting...an astonishing modern media conspiracy...that is a fantastic read. Holiday is a fine writer. He brilliantly elucidates... [with] a reporter's eye for detail." --The Sunday Times of London
“More than mere business history, Holiday elevates the story into something far more lasting, casting Thiel's actions into the timeless mold of the conspirator: the man who, armed with patience and an indignant urge to reshape the world, co-opts allies, musters resources, lulls adversaries, and ultimately strikes when the time is right, changing everything. 'Conspiracy' will be the last word, the veil-lifting exposé, on that Gawker/Thiel war all of us read about, but none of use really understood, until now.” – Antonio Garcia Martinez, author of Chaos Monkeys
About the Author
RYAN HOLIDAY is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I'm Lying; The Obstacle Is the Way; Ego Is the Enemy; and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multiplatinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.
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Most know the initial story - a private tape of Hulk Hogan released in the media - but the full story and its implications are well covered here. Holiday refers to Peter Thiel's love of chess more than once in the book, and this story also reminded me of a chess match. It's never a 'page-turner' in the traditional sense, but a very subtle battle between two opponents that swells over ten years. (I would highly recommend reading this rather than listening to it for that reason - there is enough depth to the story that it works best on the page, otherwise you will miss things).
I had read a little and already seen the Netflix documentary on the case, but here is what I really liked about the book:
* The story of the 'why did Peter Thiel do this' is much more complicated than can be explained by a documentary. Even after you remove all motives except for the personal, Holiday points out there were significant financial motives as well.
* Why choose the battlefield that they did? Thiel had almost limitless options to accomplish his ends, but chose a very specific means.
* I had not realized before reading this how much this case signals the clash between the right to privacy and the right to freedom that is still heading towards collision.
* Thiel is a fascinating guy, full of contradictions. One of my biggest takeaways is that I want to just learn more about him and read more about his Christian faith.
* There is not an easy answer to the question of who was right in this case, and Holiday does a good job of holding that tension for the entire book. Despite how despicable Gawker was in many cases and how easy it is to delight in their downfall, there is a real question of whether the ends justifies the means.
* The ultimate loser in this story, to me, is the legal system. It's very apparent that no one except for someone with very deep pockets could have made this happen. Depressing to realize that even a public figure like Hulk Hogan basically has no chance without being bankrolled by a billionaire in a case like this.
If you are interested in the story already, definitely pick this one up. There is a lot here that really adds to the public record and it is well worth your time to consider the larger questions it raises.
A real-life conspiracy to take down a media giant happened under our noses while being heavily covered in the news and this is how it went down. Don’t get stuck on the politics, the story is utterly fascinating and all the historical asides and lessons that come with it alone make this worth reading.
I was understandably confused when I learned that his latest book was about Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Peter Thiel. It seemed really strange to me. I didn’t immediately pre-order it, I waited. I had to know, why this book, why this story? After release, the reviews and thoughts began trickling out and I knew I had to read the story.
Ultimately it’s not about the key players, it’s about our history and the history of conspiracy, as an act. It’s a story of a modern day conspiracy and the players happen to be Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and Peter Thiel. But it’s more than that. It’s about our world and our current landscape, political and social.
It gave me insights into a few questions I’d had in the past year and it also gave me a lot to think about (and an even larger stack of books to read!).
Ryan is always engaging and easy to read, he uses quotes liberally which is refreshing and often “cheating” at writing, but it works well for the things he’s trying to convey.
While I’m not familiar, neither interested, in the Gawker against Bolena case, I was surprised about the tools that both parties used along the events. It’s specially notable how Peter Thiel took a long term approach to deal with a powerful media company.
This book is a solid recommendation to every one interested in power maneuvers related to politics.
On thing to look at for: At first, I had a hard time with the frequent shifts in tense -- present to past to present to past, on and on. But as I read further, these little speed bumps melted away.
This really is a book worth your time -- I'm so glad I read it.
Most recent customer reviews
I love how ruthless, brilliant, and cunning Peter Thiel was to execute this strategy to take...Read more