Conspiracy - Ryan Holiday


By Ryan Holiday

  • Release Date: 2018-02-27
  • Genre: Industries & Professions
Score: 4.5
From 85 Ratings


An NPR Book Concierge Best Book of 2018!

A stunning story about how power works in the modern age--the book the New York Times called "one helluva page-turner" and The Sunday Times of London celebrated as " astonishing modern media conspiracy that is a fantastic read." Pick up the book everyone is talking about.

In 2007, a short blogpost on Valleywag, the Silicon Valley-vertical of Gawker Media, outed PayPal founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel as gay. Thiel's sexuality had been known to close friends and family, but he didn't consider himself a public figure, and believed the information was private.

This post would be the casus belli for a meticulously plotted conspiracy that would end nearly a decade later with a $140 million dollar judgment against Gawker, its bankruptcy and with Nick Denton, Gawker's CEO and founder, out of a job. Only later would the world learn that Gawker's demise was not incidental--it had been masterminded by Thiel.

For years, Thiel had searched endlessly for a solution to what he'd come to call the "Gawker Problem." When an unmarked envelope delivered an illegally recorded sex tape of Hogan with his best friend's wife, Gawker had seen the chance for millions of pageviews and to say the things that others were afraid to say. Thiel saw their publication of the tape as the opportunity he was looking for. He would come to pit Hogan against Gawker in a multi-year proxy war through the Florida legal system, while Gawker remained confidently convinced they would prevail as they had over so many other lawsuit--until it was too late.

The verdict would stun the world and so would Peter's ultimate unmasking as the man who had set it all in motion. Why had he done this? How had no one discovered it? What would this mean--for the First Amendment? For privacy? For culture?

In Holiday's masterful telling of this nearly unbelievable conspiracy, informed by interviews with all the key players, this case transcends the narrative of how one billionaire took down a media empire or the current state of the free press. It's a study in power, strategy, and one of the most wildly ambitious--and successful--secret plots in recent memory.

Some will cheer Gawker's destruction and others will lament it, but after reading these pages--and seeing the access the author was given--no one will deny that there is something ruthless and brilliant about Peter Thiel's shocking attempt to shake up the world.


  • Worthless

    By Rcsjaw
    Author fails to see conspiracy of majority of media. Poorly written
  • Great story, but too much philosophy.

    By CD3020
    As one with a legal, trial background, I could not put this book down. It is a fascinating story. A third of the way through, though I had to began skimming through the author’s excruciating analogies to Machiavelli, Hitler, Eisenhower, Roosevelt and everyone else. Ok, we get it! Great battles and times require unique strategies. Then Trump gets thrown in at the end. Again, this was interesting except for the drawn out philosophical bs. Thiel is hard core enough to bring down Gawker AND support Trump. He gets it right half the time, maybe like most of us.
  • Yet again , another Holiday gem

    By JBconway
    I was initially concerned when I heard this would be Ryan's next book. It's so far off his other works that it was an immediate no-buy for me when I thought about release day. The topic did nothing for me but I caved in and bought it and it is a page turner for sure. I will buy anything this man puts out!
  • Great story, but I could do without ...

    By Longhorn5555
    ... the authors anti-trump lectures at the end. If I wanted political op ed pieces and Trump bashing I know where to go. Kudos to Peter Thiel and to Hulk Hogan.