CONSPIRACY Book Summary By Ryan Holiday

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CONSPIRACY is an incredible true story about a media scandal that rocked the world.

Author Ryan Holiday reveals the shocking behind-the-scenes plot of billionaire Peter Thiel's efforts to take down Gawker Media.

From backstage conversations to dramatic courtroom trials, CONSPIRACY gives its readers a front seat view of this high-stakes drama.

The book also dives deep into the motivations and machinations of Thiel, who sought revenge against Gawker by backing Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against them.

You'll be taken through every move in the courtroom as well as what was really happening behind-the-scenes in this riveting thriller.

Ultimately, CONSPIRACY offers insight into how one man reshaped the culture and power of the media landscape forever.


Book Name: CONSPIRACY (Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue)

Author(s): Ryan Holiday

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Book Summaries

Author Bio

CONSPIRACY is the newest book from Ryan Holiday, the best-selling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying.

He has been featured in various publications such as Fast Company and the Columbia Journalism Review for his works.

Ryan brings an interesting blend of topics to his writings and is passionate about creating books that challenge readers to think critically.

From solving complex scandals to relationships and success, his writing delves into a variety of contemporary subjects.

Readers can expect thought-provoking stories full of strong characters and unique takes on current issues when they pick up a book by Ryan Holiday.

The Fascinating And Controversial Story Behind Peter Thiel’S Plot To Destroy Gawker Media

Gawker Media

Ever wondered how Gawker Media, one of America’s most powerful and respected publications faced its own downfall? Explore the ins and outs of the famously known ‘Gawker vs.

Hogan’ case to get an inside scoop on what happened.

Discover why tech investor Peter Thiel had so much hatred towards Gawker and how his covert actions resulted in their ruin.

Analyze arguments for and against Thiel’s involvement in the case as well as how exactly Gawker found itself on the stand in the first place.

Uncover secrets like a celebrity sex tape that was related to this conspiracy and find out how a few determined people managed to destroy such a large company.

The Post That Sparked A Decade-Long Conspiracy: How Peter Thiel And Gawker’S Nick Denton Faced Off

In 2007, Peter Thiel was no stranger to the spotlight.

He had made a fortune as PayPal’s founder and had gained recognition as Facebook’s first major investor.

Behind closed doors, though, he much preferred to keep his private life private.

That was why he was so outraged when Gawker Media published a blog post that outed him as gay.

It was an invasion of privacy that Thiel took very seriously and it set the stage for nine years worth of legal battles.

Gawker were no stranger to controversy either: their aim was to expose and ridicule public people and institutions they felt were hypocritical or keeping secrets – something which their audiences enjoyed.

But on this day, they chose to gossip about the wrong person and targeted Peter Thiel instead.

Despite his best efforts, Thiel found himself in a fight against one of media’s biggest names – not only did Nick Denton own Valleywag but all of Gawker’s other websites too – with millions in advertising revenues at their disposal by 2012.

All because of that fateful blog post; a tiny spark that lit a fire of conflict still raging today.

Peter Thiel’S Hatred Of Gawker Began Long Before The Outing: Understanding A Decade-Old Grudge Against An Unstoppable Media Organization

Media Organization

Gawker Media’s 2007 outing of Peter Thiel was far from an isolated incident.

Rather, it was just another example of the boundary-pushing journalism that made up part of Gawker’s mainstream presence.

In the years leading up to its villainization, Gawker Media reveled in publishing stolen material and anonymous leaks, with some of its articles garnering 500,000 combined views from 2007-2008 alone.

Disregarding boundaries and consequences alike, this behavior allowed Gawker to proudly state things other media organizations wouldn’t always dare.

At the time, vulnerability was granted little space in public discourse – especially when it came to LGBT+ figures such as Thiel.

The world climate at that period rendered any openness by a gay person a risky personal compromise, one which few individuals were prepared or willing to make.

This made Gawker’s expose on Thiel feel like a personal attack against his right to privacy which marked the beginning of what would be an intense and enduring antagonism felt by Thiel towards Gawker Media as an organization.

Unfazed by Peter Thiel’s attempt at defending himself against their journalistic practices, they responded with further provocation only reinforcing the notoriety associated with their brand name today.

How Peter Thiel Took Down Gawker: A Lesson In Strategic Planning

It was no secret that Peter Thiel wanted to do something about Gawker Media, but his friends and acquaintances were sure that taking on a powerful media company was virtually impossible.

After all, they were protected by their freedom of speech and it seemed like nobody had ever managed to win against them in a conflict.

But Peter Thiel was determined to prove everyone wrong.

When he finally came up with a plan in 2011, the odds looked bleak – after all, attacking Gawker was difficult given all the legal protections they had.

Still, Thiel had a lot of resources at hand that he could dedicate to the task, including money and two determined people – himself and an associate who went by ‘Mr.


Together, they hatched an audacious plan which involved setting up a shell company whose mission was to scour through thousands of Gawker stories looking for evidence of wrongdoing – anything from libel or plagiarism – which didn’t fall under free-speech protection in American law.

If Mr.

A’s investigations unearthed any damaging information about Gawker, Thiel would file lawsuits against them until they relented and agreed to his demands – whatever those might be

Pursuing Revenge, Peter Thiel Secretly Backed Hulk Hogan’S Lawsuit Towards Gawker Media

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel had been looking for the perfect opportunity to bring down Gawker for years, and in 2012, he finally got the opening he was waiting for.

Earlier that year, Hogan had been filmed without his knowledge or consent having sex with his best friend’s wife.

This footage was then anonymously given to Gawker, who promptly published it on their website before Hogan sent them a cease-and-desist letter.

Gawker refused to remove the footage, and so Hulk Hogan and his lawyers prepared to sue them.

This was exactly what Peter Thiel needed; the legal battle would not focus on free-speech laws but rather would challenge Gawker’s right to privacy.

Seeing an opportunity here, Mr.

A contacted Hogan and asked if he’d be interested in suing Gawker backed by an anonymous third party — namely Peter Thiel himself.

Hogan did not care who was behind the financial backing; all he wanted was the sex tape removed from Gawker’s website.

So with this move, Thiel opened up a legal course of action which gave him a real chance at taking down Gawker once and for all.

Gawker Media Paid A Heavy Price For Its Flippancy Toward Bollea V

When the case of Bollea v.

Gawker emerged, it seemed as if Gawer weren’t too worried.

CEO and founder Nick Denton and his lawyers felt that since Hogan wasn’t a billionaire, he wouldn’t be able to afford a long court battle and would eventually settle for far less than $100 million.

Unfortunately for them, this proved not to be the case.

Hulk Hogan had more money at his disposal than they had initially realised, providing him with the means to fight against their careless attitudes towards him in court – a mistake that Gawker quickly came to regret.

As the trial unfolded in Florida where Hogan was seen as a local hero, those sarcastic and callous articles which had been published by Gawker did not go down well with the jury – resulting in them finding in favor of Hogan and awarding him an astonishing $140 million in damages.

This face-back was a major consequence of underestimating Hulk Hogan’s abilities due to lack of knowledge about his financial backing, because if Gawker had have known, perhaps they wouldn’t be writing such famous last words today.

Peter Thiel And The Lessons To Be Learned From His Conspiratorial Victory Over Gawker

Peter Thiel

When a court ordered independent media company Gawker to pay $140 million in damages, the only option Nick Denton had was to declare bankruptcy and shut down his business.

Little did he know that Hulk Hogan’s case would also have an unexpected effect on Peter Thiel.

As Hogan’s benefactor, Thiel had stayed under the radar while the trial was ongoing.

But as soon as it was won, his bragging revealed his involvement and soon enough, it was all over the news.

The media were not pleased with Thiel for conspiring against a heroic underdog and denounced him as a petty, vengeful billionaire threatening free speech throughout America.

Hurt and perplexed by these accusations, Thiel defended himself by claiming that he had done a philanthropic deed on behalf of those who can’t afford to stand up for their rights.

Despite his immense resources, he acted within legal means for which some credit needs to be given.

And yet still – throughout this entire ordeal – we can admire Thiel’s dedication and determination in aiming to achieve his goals without settling for the status quo.

This speaks volumes about what is possible when focus, drive and ambition are fully geared toward achieving a goal.

Wrap Up

CONSPIRACY takes a deep dive into the long, winding saga of Peter Thiel’s plan to take down Gawker Media.

After nine years of preparation and around $10 million spent, the billionaire’s conspiracy eventually succeeded in bringing down one of the online world’s most feared publishers.

It involved a professional wrestler as well as plenty of legal cases, and had both supporters and detractors providing commentary throughout its duration.

In the end, we are left with much to contemplate on this story – its participants’ motivations, their ultimate successes or failures, and whether it was ultimately worth it or not.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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