Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday

This book is pretty controversial for some. Me? I loved it! trust-me-im-lying

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t agree with many of the tactics Ryan has used (outright lying! fake documents/pictures etc) but I found this a fascinating read into his manipulation of the media system and particularly how he used the online news and blogs to spin different fabrications of stories.

The book delves into Ryan’s work as Marketing Director for American Apparel and his work for authors like Tucker Max. For his part he says he has published this book so people can see that the media system is broken (he likens his marketing job to feeding beast). And what they do with the tactics (use them for good or evil) is up to them.

Here are six of Ryan’s comments on the media system

(all quotes directly from the book)

  1. “Usually, it is a simple hustle. Someone pays me, I manufacture a story for them, and we trade it up the chain—from a tiny blog to Gawker to a website of a local news”
  2. “At the first level, small blogs and hyperlocal websites that cover your neighborhood or particular scene are some of the easiest sites to get traction on.”
  3. “And when I want to be direct, I would register a handful of fake e-mail addresses on Gmail or Yahoo and send e-mails with a collection of all the links gathered so far and say, “How have you not done a story about this yet?” Reporters rarely get substantial tips or alerts from their readers, so to get two or even three legitimate tips about an issue is a strong signal.”
  4. “Gawker paid writers twelve dollars a post as late as 2008. And of course these rates don’t include the other duties bloggers are stuck with, such editing, responding to e-mails, and writing comments. Professional blogging is done in the boiler room, and it is brutal.”
  5. “One of the quickest ways to get coverage for a product online is to give it away for free to bloggers (they’ll rarely disclose their conflict of interest).”
  6. “Pageview journalism treats people by what they appear to want—from data that is unrepresentative to say the least—and gives them this and only this until they have forgotten that there could be anything else. It takes the audience at their worst and makes them worse.”

Want a read? Grab it here. 

Ryan has also written on Growth Hacking. 

Happy reading,


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