I wrote a book about how Hulk Hogan sued Gawker, won $140M, and bankrupted a media empire...funded by billionaire Peter Thiel to get revenge (or justice). AMA

Hey reddit, my name is Ryan Holiday. I’ve spent the last year and a half piecing together billionaire Peter Thiel’s decade long quest to destroy the media outlet Gawker. It was one of the most insane--and successful--secret plots in recent memory. I’ve been interested in the case since it began, but it wasn’t until I got a chance to interview both Peter Thiel, Gawker’s founder Nick Denton, Hulk Hogan, Charles Harder (the lawyer) et al that I felt I could tell the fully story. The result is my newest book **[Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue](https://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Ryan-Holiday/dp/0735217645/)** When I started researching the 25,000 pages of legal documents and conducting interviews with all the key players, I learned a lot of the most interesting details of this conspiracy were left out of all previous coverage. Like the fact the secret weapon of the case was a 26 year old man known “Mr. A.” Or the various legal tactics employed by Peter’s team. Or Thiel ‘fanning the flames’ of #Gamergate. Sorry I'm getting carried away... I wrote this story because beyond touching on many of our most urgent issues (privacy, media, the power of money), it is a timely reminder that things are rarely as they seem on the surface. Peter would tell me in one of our interviews people look down on conspiracies because we're so cynical we no longer believe in strong claims of human agency or the individual's ability to create change (for good or bad). It's a depressing thought. At the very least, this story is a reminder that that cynicism is premature...or at least naive. *[Conspiracy](https://www.amazon.com/Conspiracy-Ryan-Holiday/dp/0735217645/)* is my eighth book. My past books include *The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, The Daily Stoic, Trust Me, I’m Lying*, and *Growth Hacker Marketing*. Outside writing I run a marketing agency, [Brass Check](http://www.brasscheck.net/), and tend to (way too many) animals on my ranch outside Austin. I’m excited to be here today and answer whatever reddit has on its mind! Edit: More proof https://twitter.com/RyanHoliday/status/973602965352341504

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14 Mar 2018 00:58 - +1404
For people who know the story of Gawker and Thiel, what additional value does the book provide? What was the most interesting thing you learned about the case when writing the book?
14 Mar 2018 00:58 - +1256
Did it ever come out who leaked Bubba’s video? I live in Florida and used to listen and it was heavily implied that the video originally came from one of his cohosts.
14 Mar 2018 01:24 - +773
Where would you rank Hogan slamming Andre the Giant at Wreslemania 3, in front of 900,000+ screaming Hulkamaniacs, among the greatest moments in human history?
14 Mar 2018 00:57 - +420
How did you convince both Peter Thiel and Nick Denton to talk to you for this book?
14 Mar 2018 00:57 - +395
In what way did Peter Thiel surprise you the most?
14 Mar 2018 02:49 - +294
Did anyone at Gawker ever address the hypocrisy of posting the Hogan tape while Jezebel made a huge deal over the celebrity nude leaks?
14 Mar 2018 00:58 - +289
One of the narratives about the Hogan/Gawker/Thiel saga has been, in its distilled form: Since Peter Thiel's financial resources far outpaced Gawker's, he shut down the company (personally, I see it as more nuanced, but fair enough). Then the narrative goes on to talk about how dangerous this is for journalism. What's your take? Is Thiel's involvement in this case an inauspicious omen for journalism? Does Thiel himself reveal any kind of dislike for the free press? Any predictions for how this case will be impacting the media ecosystem 5-10 years from now?
14 Mar 2018 03:20 - +248
Hi Ryan, I loved your appearance on The Biggest Problem in the Universe, which was 3.5 years ago now. Your problem, Outrage Porn, was great and was rightfully voted to #10 biggest problem on the list. Since you like researching lawsuits, are you aware of the lawsuit that is going on right now between the two hosts of that show, Maddox and Dick Masterson? What are your thoughts on the suit?
14 Mar 2018 01:39 - +135
Hi Ryan, What on earth did you do to elicit this twitter reaction? https://twitter.com/film_girl/status/967186983880552448
14 Mar 2018 02:04 - +124
How much money do you estimate Peter Thiel spent backing Hogan?
14 Mar 2018 00:59 - +90
Hi Ryan. Do you think it's better for a marketer to be a generalist with a broad knowledge across a number of disciplines, or be highly specialized in one? And do you ever think you'll turn your hand to fiction writing?
14 Mar 2018 02:01 - +90
I think one of the weirdest things I've seen was when AJ Daulerio joked around during a taped deposition about drawing the line at publishing a sex tape if the celebrity was under the age of four. Do you get the sense that many people and institutions still shoot themselves in the foot this spectacularly on the regular? One would think with the advent of social media people would become more wary of saying completely stupid things. Have you ever been present for one of these moments where you thought "I absolutely cannot believe I just heard that."?
14 Mar 2018 01:24 - +79
Hi Ryan, I'm a huge fan of your work and just finished up Conspiracy last week. I had two questions for you if you'll excuse my greed: 1) What tenet of Stoicism do you find most difficult to practice in your own life? 2) Given that Conspiracy is a departure from your previous works, what unique challenges did you face while writing it?
14 Mar 2018 00:58 - +69
Hey Ryan, I am always blown away by how much you seem to accomplish in such a short amount of time, while juggling media appearances, your own company, a farm, and a baby (congrats!). My question is, what does your "ideal day" look like when you're busy writing a book?
14 Mar 2018 01:13 - +65
If you could meet Marcus Aurelius what would you do and what would you ask him?
14 Mar 2018 01:13 - +64
How many times did you watch the footage?
14 Mar 2018 01:26 - +54
What's the *weirdest* thing you've read in a book by the likes of Seneca or Marcus Aurelius? Those dudes came from different cultures.
14 Mar 2018 01:22 - +52
You're not a journalist, yet you wrote in this investigative report in your typical style drawing from history/prior works. Did you ever feel you were stretching to craft a narrative, for example seeing the book on ancient strategy on Theil's desk? Or were their things said in the interviews that lent themselves to the way you crafted the "story?'
14 Mar 2018 01:50 - +46
The weirdest part of all this was the judge allowing Hulk Hogan to wear his bandana. What kind of legal ramifications did this have? How can a fictional character(WWF Hulk Hogan) sue? FYI I'm glad he won.
14 Mar 2018 01:41 - +42
Did you get to meet Hulk Hogan? Is he as awesome as I thought of him while growing up? I loved Hulk Hogan and have always wanted to meet him. Could you have him call me if you're in contact?! It'd make my year, easily!
14 Mar 2018 01:32 - +35
I've heard an idea that, "You're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with." Who are the people you talk to or spend the most time with?
14 Mar 2018 01:30 - +31
Hey Ryan, since Machiavelli said that conspiracies are weapons of the people, why do you think there are so few of them today? How are you so prolific? What systems/routines had the most impact on your life? I'm halfway through the book and loving it!
14 Mar 2018 02:05 - +26
Ryan, how did you personally feel about Gawker? The site elicits are a lot of strong reactions around the web (especially here on Reddit) with people being strongly in favour of the work they did or despising it. Where do you stand? Do you think it was a particularly vile institution or was it no different than any internet blog/'news' site - just a lot bigger?
14 Mar 2018 01:30 - +24
This sounds like a good read. When does the movie come out?
14 Mar 2018 02:17 - +23
Do you ever wake up at night with Ashley Feinberg standing over you?
14 Mar 2018 00:56 - +22
First!! Greetings from Finland Ryan! I am enjoying the book on Audible! Can you tell more about choosing this Project? Also are you planning more same kinds of books?
14 Mar 2018 03:56 - +21
Ryan - I enjoyed two of your other books (*Obstacle* and *Ego*). One piece of constructive criticism I would have is that when you create the audio book, could you consider getting a professional book reader? I don't want to sound like a dick or anything, but the hardest part of the Audiobooks for me was that your voice was kind of... monotone-ish. Thanks!
14 Mar 2018 02:49 - +15
Do you know how Peter Thiel consumes news?
14 Mar 2018 02:57 - +13
Roughly how many screaming hulkamaniacs would you say were in attendance when the Hulkster body slammed Andre the Giant in the Pontiac Silverdome?
14 Mar 2018 03:23 - +12
Why should journalists be allowed to flaunt their complete disregard for a court order and expect to get away with it?
14 Mar 2018 02:13 - +11
What inspired you to move from marketing into journalism?
14 Mar 2018 02:03 - +9
I worked at the company that did the valuation for this. Where I worked determined that value of $140 M. For those that are interested, Rights of Publicity are valued based on a few different styles. For him, we relied on the change in the amount of unique user traffic that visited Gawker during the period this video was up. AMA?
14 Mar 2018 02:16 - +7
Hi Ryan - been following your great work since 'Trust me - I'm lying' .. Apple was no fan of Gawker - especially after the whole iPhone 4 leaking affair .. Do you think they had anything to do with this case? Or were they just cheering from the sidelines (like many others) .. ?
14 Mar 2018 01:11 - +7
What’s your next book?
14 Mar 2018 04:07 - +6
What do you make of Gawker's arrogance during the whole thing? I recall the child porn comment. It seemed insane.
14 Mar 2018 01:06 - +5
Hi Ryan, thanks for taking the time today for this. In the past, you’ve written about your notecard system as a central place for quotes and ideas for constructing the narrative and key anecdotes for your books. Can you share how you take the abstract ideas of your notecard system and translate that to the actual development of a book? Do you start with the agenda for the key theme you want to get across, the facts of the existing topic, or relevant facts from related themes from history? In other words, how do you take this mass of (somewhat) unrelated information, prioritize what’s relevant, and collate that down so that it all works together on a common agenda?

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