Conspiracy Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday
3,747 ratings, 4.03 average rating, 428 reviews
Open Preview
Conspiracy Quotes Showing 31-60 of 41
“There is a scene in the movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. At the beginning, in the woods, Robert Ford, played by Casey Affleck, illustrates this phenomenon. He thinks the outlaw Jesse James is a great man. He thinks that he, himself, is a great man, too. He wants someone to recognize that in him. He wants someone to give him an opportunity—a project through which he can prove his worth. It just happens that Frank James would size the delusional, awkward boy up in the woods outside Blue Cut, Missouri: “You don’t have the ingredients, son.” In contrast, Mr. A is ambitious, but it’s paired with self-confidence, social adeptness, and a clear sense of what Thiel wanted. Even so, the prospect of meeting with Thiel is intimidating: his stomach churning, every nerve and synapse alive and flowing. He’s twenty-six years old. He’s sitting down for a one-on-one evening with a man worth, by 2011, some $ 1.5 billion and who owns a significant chunk of the biggest social network in the world, on whose board of directors he also sits. Even if Thiel were just an ordinary investor, dinner with him would make anyone nervous. One quickly finds that he is a man notoriously averse to small talk, or what a friend once deemed “casual bar talk.” Even the most perfunctory comment to Thiel can elicit long, deep pauses of consideration in response—so long you wonder if you’ve said something monumentally stupid. The tiny assumptions that grease the wheels of conversation find no quarter with Thiel. There is no chatting with Peter about the weather or about politics in general. It’s got to be, “I’ve been studying opening moves in chess, and I think king’s pawn might be the best one.” Or, “What do you think of the bubble in higher education?” And then you have to be prepared to talk about it at the expert level for hours on end. You can’t talk about television or music or pop culture because the person you’re sitting across from doesn’t care about these things and he couldn’t pretend to be familiar with them if he wanted to.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“In the years he conspired against Gawker, Thiel would come to see the U.S. legal system differently. He later said that, before the case against Gawker, he had believed that the problem in America was too many lawsuits and too many lawyers. Like many media outlets, Gawker’s legal strategy had been to lean into that understanding—to be the black hole of time and money whose event horizon no one could afford to confront. With his immense resources, Thiel believed he had simply changed the equation. The fact that Hulk Hogan, a “single-digit millionaire” as Thiel put it, would not otherwise have had the funds to pursue a case like this means that there might be many other legitimate legal precedents or cases that have otherwise gone unpursued out of intimidation or lack of funds (it cannot be said with a straight face that A.J. and Nick did not have “legal protection”). Having actually gone through the system, Thiel would come to believe that maybe there weren’t enough lawsuits. That people should try more. And so he puts more money behind the idea, funding in 2016 a start-up called Legalist, conceived by a Thiel fellow, dedicated to bankrolling lawsuits with a high probability of winning and possibly setting new precedents.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“But that’s the nice thing about lawyers: as long as you’re paying them, they’re usually good with whatever terms go along with it. Compartmentalization is their job. It’s how they represent people who are guilty, how they file long motions they know are unlikely to be successful, how they can patiently keep secrets that they’d otherwise love to be able to share. Harder was nearly twenty years into his legal career when he was first approached. Though he often worked on celebrity cases they tended to be for routine matters, not exciting criminal proceedings or blockbuster cases, and when you’re retained to enforce rights of privacy and publicity on behalf of your clients, it tends to follow that they don’t want you grandstanding in the media on their behalf, building a profile as you work for them. His last appearance in the New York Times had been in 2001, about a case for a client who had been let go from an ad firm almost immediately after she left her new job to join it. Harder won two months’ back pay. It’s not exactly the kind of victory that marked the career of lawyers like Marty Singer, whom Harder had once worked for, and whom the Times had called the “Guard Dog to the Stars.” A lawyer who had publicly fought cases over celebrity sex tapes, who tangled with Gawker once on behalf of Rebecca Gayheart and the actor Eric Dane when their tape had run on Gawker and managed to eke out a small settlement, without an admission of guilt. So why not hire Singer? Because Peter Thiel and Mr. A didn’t want someone who was content to settle, or another lawyer who knew the standard Hollywood saber-rattling routine. They wanted someone who would win. Now, in mid-2012, they appear to have that man.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“Peter thought he’d be greeted as a liberator, that Gawker was a scourge that once eliminated would allow for open, collaborative discussion. If anything, the opposite has happened. The candidate he helped put in office embodies many of the bullying traits that Thiel claimed to abhor. Trump would also come to actively stymie expression, threatening to “open up” the libel laws in this country and pressuring NFL owners to fire the players who kneeled during the national anthem. This must hit Thiel sometimes, perhaps in the quiet cabin of his Gulfstream, that the man in the White House is essentially the opposite of everything he had spent his life believing in, that Trump threatened the very libertarian freedoms and open civil discourse that Thiel had spent his money protecting. To know he is associated with that, in certain ways responsible for it, might be the most unintended consequence of all.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“With patience and resources,” Mr. A would come to say often on his weekly calls with Peter, “we can do almost anything.” Tolstoy had a motto for Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov in War and Peace—“ Patience and Time.” “There is nothing stronger than those two,” he said, “. . . they will do it all.” In 1812 and in real life, Kutuzov gave Napoleon an abject lesson in the truth of that during a long Russian winter. The target, Nick Denton, is not a patient man. Most entrepreneurs aren’t. Most powerful people are not. One of his editors would say of Denton’s approach to stories, “Nick is very much of the mind that you do it now. And the emphasis is to get it out there and be correct as you can, but don’t let that stand in the way of getting the story out there.” Editorially, Nick Denton wanted to be first—which is a form of power in itself. But this isn’t how Thiel thinks. He would say his favorite chess player was José Raúl Capablanca, and remind himself of the man’s famous dictum: To begin you must study the end. You don’t want to be the first to act, you want to be the last man standing. History is littered with examples of those who acted rashly in pursuit of their goals, who plunged ahead without much in the way of a plan, and suffered as a result. One could argue that the bigger of Nixon’s two blunders wasn’t his attacks on the Democratic Party but the decision to go after Katharine Graham and the media, and yet both decisions were the product of a fundamental lack of patience and discipline. Or consider the late head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, who responded to a series of Gawker articles and attacks by allegedly hiring private detectives to follow the reporters around. Not only did he find nothing of practical value, but these heavy-handed tactics came back to embarrass and discredit him at his most vulnerable moment. In fact, two weeks after the news of this disturbing conspiracy broke, he would be dead. How ought one do it then?”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“Once one forges oneself into a hammer of justice and feels the power of crushing one’s enemies, driving them before one and taking their possessions as one’s own, does one become addicted to it? It can become a cycle without end. It can change you, ruin you. One of the worst things that can ever happen to a leader is to unconsciously associate resistance and criticism with opportunity. When everyone tells you you’re wrong and you turn out to be right, you learn a dangerous lesson: Never listen to warnings. And so the reason that few conspiracies are followed by additional successful conspiracies is because of this process and the changes that power produces.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“He forgot what Kierkegaard had said about the public and how the gossip press was like a mean dog that could be watched with amusement from afar. The papers could be set upon some superior, and everyone got to watch and never feel bad. If someone ever got hurt and the police came, the public could say: I wasn’t the one who bit you. That’s not my dog, I am merely a subscriber. Nobody would ever have to admit that they had enjoyed the story in 2007 when Gawker had outed Thiel, or that they were one of the seven million plus people who had watched the Hulk Hogan video.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“When someone categorizes something evil, as Sherman did, as Peter and Mr. A repeatedly did, he implicitly gives himself permission to do what needs to be done to destroy it.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“Machiavelli said that a proper conspiracy moves through three distinct phases: the planning, the doing, and the aftermath. Each of these phases requires different skills—from organization to strategic thinking to recruiting, funding, aiming, secrecy, managing public relations, leadership, foresight, and ultimately, knowing when to stop. Most important, a conspiracy requires patience and fortitude, so much patience, as much as it relies on boldness or courage. The question that remains: What would a world without these skills look like? And would a world with more of them be a nightmare or something better? That’s for you to decide. In the meantime and for the record, I simply present what happened.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“There is a special sadness in achievement, in the knowledge that a longdesired goal has been attained at last, and that life must now be shaped towards new ends.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue
“Lyndon Johnson would famously conspire to steal a Senate election from Coke Stevenson in 1948, which put him on the path to the presidency. But given how it went, and the fact that Coke died an old man, surrounded by people who loved and admired him, who is to say that LBJ really won? Perhaps the most interesting unintended consequences, however, were the obvious ones. The ones that no one seriously thought could happen. First, the sex tape actually disappeared. Try to find it—I dare you. You can’t. The Streisand Effect now has at least one exception. Trying doesn’t always backfire.”
Ryan Holiday, Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue

« previous 1 2 next »