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Conspiracy

Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
Narrated by: Ryan Holiday
Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (81 ratings)

Non-member price: $31.21

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Publisher's Summary

In 2016, one of the giants of modern journalism fell: Gawker Media, infamous for saying what other outlets wouldn't say, was sued for publishing Hulk Hogan's sex tape, lost the case and went bust. After countless other lawsuits it seemed that Gawker had finally run out of luck. But luck had nothing to do with it.

Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and billionaire investor, had masterminded the whole thing. Still furious at an article that had outed him 10 years previously, and increasingly disgusted at Gawker's unscrupulous reporting methods, Thiel had spent nearly a decade meticulously plotting a conspiracy that would lead to the demise of Gawker and its founder, Nick Denton. After a multiyear proxy war through the Florida legal system, the settlement of $140 million in favour of Hogan ended it. 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 free speech? For privacy? For culture?

In Holiday's masterful telling of this nearly unbelievable conspiracy, informed by exclusive 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.

©2018 Ryan Holiday (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, terrible narration

This is the second Holiday book I've read, and he's certainly improved as a writer. I was captivated by the narrative throughout, and even though there's perhaps a little too much analysis the paving was good enough to keep me enthralled.

But Holiday. Stop. Reading. Your own. Books. Your pauses. Hurt. My ears. You are far. Too. Monotonous. You are not. A good. Narrator. I don't know if it's a cost saving tactic, but it really doesn't make me want to read another of your books.

Overall a great read, I can't deny that. I'm glad I got the book. But geez Holiday you make it a difficult decision.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fine Story but Ignore the last three chapter

It's a fascinating story but the last few chapters are completely irrelevant to the story of Peter Thiel vs Gawker via Hulk Hogan.

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I really enjoyed this

Very different to Ryan Holiday's normal writing, this was truly awesome. I really liked it, could not stop listening.

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Cool story

Such a fascinating story
Well read, well written and much enjoyed.
I think if you like Ryan’s other books, you’ll like this one too.

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Fascinating story!

Amazing story, interspersed with Holiday's usual historical anecdotes and contemplations.

The narration is a little distracting but the content shines thru.

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Captivating story and author covers the strategy excellently

A very well written book covering the story and all aspects extremely well. If you like Ryan Holiday's other books and his take on the world you'll enjoy this too. The coverage and analysis of Peter Thiel's strategy really gets the mind going and the author went into the finer details here exceptionally well.

The only downfall was the audio version where the narrator separates each sentence into 3 parts with unnatural pauses in between each. It's one of those things you focus on once you notice it and distracts henceforth.

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Shakespearean drama played out in modern times.

Ryan Holiday has reached a new level in telling this tale of conspiracy in the modern age. As much a lesson on the nature of conspiracy as an engrossing tale of power, the author leverages his relationships with the protagonists to lift the veil on a story that could have been at home in a Shakespearean drama. I loved every moment of this, including Ryan's musings on the players and their drives. Well narrated and utterly spellbinding. Highly recommended.

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Good but padded out

Was a great short story. But it was clearly padded out just to make it into a novel.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Shatner-esque delivery makes it a grind to finish

This was tough to listen to.

The author pauses. Several times. Before finishing. A sentence. Sometimes. Breaking up words. With. Un. Necessary. Pauses. Very. Distracting.

Also. Towards. The end. It completely. Derails into. An anti. Trump. Diatribe. Which feels. Out of. Place. In this book.

Not a bad book but a frustrating listening experience.

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hard to put down

great story that challenges your thoughts on right and wrong. Another great book from Ryan

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  • Maxwell Hertan
  • 06-03-2019

Ryan Holiday takes an interesting story and makes it about him and draws it out

The story is fantastic, the characters are great but the writing is waffling. Full of repetition.

The narration is like this.

He wanted. To receive. The news. But on this. Day. The news. Was not. To be. Found.

Frustrating to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Traian
  • 21-07-2018

Ryan Holiday's reading style ruined the book for m

He pauses in the middle of sentences. Difficult to listen because of this. I enjoyed the story though and the insiggt into Peter Thiel's thinking.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • RMR
  • 18-04-2018

Great story, weak performance.

I’m Ryan’s greatest fan but he read his other books sooooo much better than he read this one.

It was like he broke the whole book into two or three word phrases in an annoying rhythm instead of speaking freely in full sentences like in his other books.

The book is good enough to compensate, but his normal cool and relaxed accent is missing.

I hate slamming one of my hero’s but I hope it is taken constructively.

Epic story and brilliant angle. The subject of the book is not either party or the gossip but the use of conspiracy as a weapon. It is totally inspired.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen Schoenberg
  • 26-03-2018

Much to think about, but much unsaid

The best thing about this book is that it will make you think about a lot of issues. The story at its core is quite fascinating, and I appreciated the historical connections made by the author. I think that Holiday's "Tell 'em what you are going to tell 'em, tell 'em, and tell 'em what you told 'em" style detracted from the story: Michael Lewis would have made it more compelling. The book troubled me in the days after I read it, for the things it did not say. First, the book is a very sad commentary on the US "Justice" System, which seems to be more a complex auction than a tool of justice.
The more troubling aspect is that Holiday seems to have been captured by his subject Thiel. He clearly spent some time with Thiel and did not regain the distance to be objective. Holiday barely seems to note that Thiel wants to avenge his loss of privacy, while leading a company that seeks to violate everyone's privacy. Indeed, the real difference between Gawker and Thiel is that Gawker made their discoveries public, while Thiel sells your secrets to the rich and powerful. The recent scandals about Facebook show Thiel's DNA in that company's approach to user's data as well. Finally, Holiday seems too struck with Thiel's intellectual depth to point out that his fondness for Ayn Rand does not comport with that view.

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  • jaxx Morgan
  • 20-03-2018

A balanced tale of patience, perseverance and pride

Holiday strikes the perfect tone of inquiry and investigation as he details Peter Thiel’s ten year takedown of Nick Denton and the Gawker empire. His story examines both sides of each man’s hubris and arrogance. With personal access to Thiel and Denton, Holiday steps us through a decade of bad behavior that results in a remarkable lack appreciation for the nature of consequences.

An easy listen and a compelling story for our times.

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  • Rodney
  • 14-03-2018

Great insight

Book examined the inner workings on the entire Gawker trial. Because Holiday worked with all the parties, it gave an in-depth look into the whole case from start to finish. Great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • 13-03-2018

Amazing

The story by itself is incredibly compelling but Ryan Holiday masterfully weaves the strategy and philosophy behind conspiracies into the story.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Just trying to help
  • 11-03-2018

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

The story was interesting. The book could have been half the size. A lot of filler.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tzin
  • 08-03-2018

Wow!!

Great book detailing the underground war that took down the outrageous yet feared celebrity blog site Gawker. Ryan Holiday masterfully weaves together an intriguing tale with modern and ancient parallels!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • AudreyLM
  • 03-03-2018

Great story

Any additional comments?

It's a great piece of research but the author should not be reading his own books. Very distracting.

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  • G-Montoya
  • 13-03-2018

Thrilling!! Amazing story masterly told!

If this was Ryan’s debut book of this genre! I cannot wait for the ones that will follow!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • PM1982
  • 01-08-2019

So... long... pauses...

So... long... pauses...after...every...word
Struggling to listen even with 2.5x speed.
Also not a huge story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 02-07-2019

Really badly written and read

No doubt this is a story worth telling but the author has really made a mess of it. “Why use one word when twenty will suffice “seems to be his motto.

This is one of the best examples of why an author should not read his writings. His voice grates and he frankly isn’t commercial book standard.

Very disappointing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jogile
  • 02-06-2019

Dragged out and boring

Unnecessarily dragged out with forced insights into Machiavelli's writings. Got 4h in and just couldn't handle what felt like a failed attempt at an intrigue

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Patrick
  • 06-03-2018

very disappointing end to mostly excellent read

absolutely excellent book of Holidays, when he sticks to journalism he is unrivalled. I thoroughly enjoyed this book until his political Trump Derangement syndrome views leaked in and ruined it. Unnecessary and unwanted commentary on what was a mostly excellent story.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-2019

Jeez.. give this man a glass of water

Author should not have read this. Don't mind the tangents but delivery made this impossible.

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  • rikki
  • 27-07-2019

amazing, totally gripping, a real gem

I know nothing about Thiel, Hogan, Gawker and only got this because I liked another Ryan holiday book.
This was a brilliant cyber whodunit.
Ryan gives a great account of this story of a private person ( Thiel) being outed in an gossip "newspaper" and his ultimate revenge.

it will make you want to read more of Ryans books

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  • Angus Hawkins
  • 15-12-2018

Great Goliath vs hidden Goliath story, but....

Really enjoyed this well researched story about Thiel vs Gawker with enough detail and certain amount of philosophizing to make it into one of my favourite books this year from a content perspective. A good amount of detail, yet also a good amount of reflection on various interpretations of facts presented.


However, the narrator's strength of slow reading when conveying details becomes soporific when using the same slow methodical intonation to relate the exciting, surprising and weird that also regularly occurs in the book

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Sweeney
  • 11-10-2018

Interesting story undermined by author’s strange staccato delivery

This is an interesting tale...it covers many contemporary themes...however...the tale is not...well read...by its author.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David Jones
  • 20-08-2018

Somewhat over ambitious, okay

This book is a description of the way the Hulk Hogan case was fought and won, and how (and why) it was financed.

I would have liked more about the actual case in court, but perhaps that was not in itself very interesting. The courtroom itself zips by.

It was interesting, but it felt very padded. Could have said as much in half as many words. My fault maybe for buying the unabridged version.

The author tries hard to use the case to say something about the nature of conspiracies, but that seems like a huge reach throughout and I was profoundly unconvinced.

The narrator didn't use enough inflection for me. Every sentence seemed to be read with the same gradually reducing pitch.

I bail on bad audio books very quickly but I listened to this until the end so it can't have been that bad.