Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire's Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire
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 "riveting...an 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.
Praise for Conspiracy: A True Story of Power, Sex, and a Billionaire's Secret Plot to Destroy a Media Empire
“...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
“A fantastic read.”—The Sunday Times
"Startlingly deep cultural history of conspiracies, examined through the lens of the brutally effective Gawker takedown, with full access to the main players." --Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz
“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