CONSPIRACY Book Summary - CONSPIRACY Book explained in key points

CONSPIRACY summary

Ryan Holiday

Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue

Listen to the first key idea

Key idea 1 of 6
00:00
4.4 (50 ratings)
17 mins
6 key ideas
Audio & text

What is CONSPIRACY about?

Conspiracy (2017) reveals the incredible true story behind the downfall of one of America’s most controversial media outlets. The author explores the motivations and machinations of billionaire Peter Thiel, who conspired against Gawker Media, and details the dramatic courtroom trial that saw wrestler Hulk Hogan win millions in damages against the world’s most notorious gossip website.

About the Author

Ryan Holiday is the best-selling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying. His work has appeared in publications such as Fast Company and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Table of Contents
    Key idea 1 of 6

    In 2007, Peter Thiel believed Gawker Media had invaded his privacy.

    “The beginnings of all things are small,” the Roman politician Cicero once said. So it was with the conspiracy at the heart of this story. That small beginning was a blog post published by a gossip website in 2007, which outed a tech investor named Peter Thiel as gay. Just 400 words long, this post is the genesis of a conspiracy that cost millions of dollars and lasted over nine years.

    To understand why this post was so significant, we must first learn a little more about both its subject, Peter Thiel, and its publisher, Gawker Media.

    Let’s take a look at Peter Thiel first.

    In 2007, Thiel was already a wildly successful entrepreneur. Having made his fortune as a founder of the online payments system PayPal, Thiel had also gained recognition as Facebook’s first major investor. Despite coming out to his friends, family and colleagues, Thiel was still discreet about his sexuality in 2007, preferring to keep it a somewhat open secret in Silicon Valley. Indeed, when it came to any aspect of his personal life, Thiel was intensely private.

    Now let’s examine the website that published the blog post. This website was called Valleywag. Though it was billed as a tech-news site, Valleywag took its editorial direction from its parent company, the notorious gossip website, Gawker.

    Both the Gawker and Valleywag websites were owned by an Englishman named Nick Denton.

    Denton’s background may have been in the tech industry, but his true interests were secrets and gossip. Specifically, exposing other people’s secrets via his websites, in the name of entertainment and transparency.

    Whose secrets? Particularly those of the rich, powerful or famous. Using an army of young, hungry writers with a gift for witty yet contemptuous writing, Denton encouraged his bloggers to expose and ridicule public people and institutions they felt were hypocritical or hiding something. And audiences loved it. By 2005, Gawker and Denton’s other websites were making $120,000 in monthly advertising revenues. By 2012, Gawker’s revenues were close to $40 million.

    However, for all Nick Denton’s media savvy, he gossiped about the wrong person on that day in 2007.

    Want to see all full key ideas from CONSPIRACY?

    Key ideas in CONSPIRACY

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    Who should read CONSPIRACY

    • Anyone interested in current affairs
    • Media buffs interested in journalism
    • Business students wanting strategy tips

    Categories with CONSPIRACY

    What our members say

    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    25 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    91%
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial