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Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire's Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire

Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire's Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire

by Ryan Holiday
Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire's Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire

Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire's Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire

by Ryan Holiday


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An NPR Book Concierge Best Book of 2018!

A Sunday Times of London Pick of the Paperbacks

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735217652
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 327,059
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ryan Holiday is one of the world's foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker, strategist, and the author of many bestselling books including The Obstacle Is the WayEgo Is the EnemyThe Daily Stoic; and the #1 New York Times bestseller Stillness Is the Key. His books have been translated into over 30 languages and read by over two million people worldwide. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his family.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "Conspiracy"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Ryan Holiday.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

A Word 1

Introduction 4

Part I The Planning 11

1 The Inciting Incident 12

2 Deciding to Act 28

3 Turning to Conspiracy 41

4 Assembling the Team 51

5 Finding the Back Door 65

6 Tear Out Your Heart 81

7 Seizing the Sword 91

Part II The Doing 111

8 Prepare for Setbacks 112

9 Know Thy Enemy 131

10 The Power of Secrets 146

11 Sow Confusion and Disorder 161

12 The Ties That Bind 178

13 The Testing of Faith 194

14 Who Wants It More? 207

Part III The Aftermath 224

15 The Battle for Hearts and Minds 225

16 Managing the Aftermath 244

17 The Art of Settling 260

18 There Are Always Unintended Consequences 272

Conclusion 288

Acknowledgments and a Note on Sources 297

Sources 299

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