"Conspiracy" by Ryan Holiday

Review by Borodutch

Ryan is one of my favourite authors (except for the most recent series of his books on stoicism on the four virtues that recycle his earlier works). The "Conspiracy" story about the process between Gawker and Hulk Hogan with Thiel in the background reads as fiction even though it happened in real life, and the book is more of a documentary.

I had this lawsuit happening somewhere in the background of my life, and I was not paying too much attention to it. However, it turns out it was one of the most fascinating things in the judiciary system in the last decade. The way the author uses rules of conspiracy to describe the actions taken by Thiel and his co-conspirators is mesmerizing. The whole plan is as clear as day in hindsight, but the amount of effort to keep it all secret, the reasons, the purposes, the goals, and the approaches are so peculiar one can't stop turning the pages.

Ryan dedicates a good chunk of the book to describing Hulk Hogan's (Terry Gene Bollea in real life) life and personality. This part reads more like a biography with all the ups and downs of the famous wrestler. Sometimes the book takes unexpected turns (or should I say the life takes them?) with FBI operations, extortion attempts and new evidence haunting Bollea afterwards with his racist attitude. The actions of his "worst best friend" are simply heartbreaking.

Even though I don't sympathize with either of the characters in the book (Denton, Holiday, Bollea, Thiel, etc.) — I'm very neutral in my opinion of them — some of the chapters touched deep in the soul with the descriptions of the events. I would recommend reading this book for entertainment reasons, somewhat for the knowledge of the schemes used, partially for Ryan's talent as a writer — and partly to learn more about everybody involved in the story. I'd say this is a must-read!